Explain the meaning and responsibilities of citizenship in the United States and Massachusetts.

Focus Question: What has been the changing history and meaning of citizenship in the United States?

Topics on the Page
Becoming an American Citizen
The Citizenship Test
Citizenship History
  • European Citizenship
  • African American Citizenship
  • Asian American Citizenship
  • Native American Citizenship
  • Mexican American Citizenship
  • Puerto Rican Citizenship
Citizenship in the 21st Century
Taking the Oath of Allegiance
Taking the Oath of Allegiance

Becoming an American Citizen

How to Become an American Citizen from Department of Homeland Security

To be a citizen at birth you must:
  • be born in the United States orin certain territories or outlying possessions of the United States and be subject to the jurisdiction of the United States;
  • have a parent or parents who are citizens at the time of your birth (if you were born abroad).
  • and meet other requirements

To become a citizen after birth, you must:

primary_sources.PNGNaturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America

Citizenship Test

external image Gov-us_passport.jpg

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 12.06.19 PM.pngClick here for selections from the U. S. government's citizenship quiz with the option of taking only a sampling of questions.

game_icon.svg.pngCivic Literacy Exam from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Average score among American adults was 49%.

Who Deserves to be Called an American Citizen? Annalise Orleck, Dartmouth College

European Immigration

1790 Alien Naturalization Act
  • Stated only a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof,"

multicultural.pngAfrican American Citizenship

14th and 15th Amendments

14th amendment and citizenship from the Library of Congress
  • 14th Amendment to the Constitution
    • This amendment granted citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed.
      • In addition, it forbids states from denying any person "life, liberty or property, without due process of law" or to "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Asian American Citizenship

Searching Chinese immigrants for opium, San Francisco, 1876
Searching Chinese immigrants for opium, San Francisco, 1876

Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Chinese Immigration and the Chinese Exclusion Acts

The Chinese Exclusion Act

primary_sources.PNGThe Chinese Exclusion Act: Primary Documents

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 11.53.33 AM.pngNative American Citizenship

external image 1924_Indian_Citizenship_Act.jpg

The image above shows President Calvin Coolidge with four Osage Indians after Coolidge signed the bill granting Indians full citizenship

Indian Citizenship Act of 1924

Congress Grants Citizenship to all Native Americans Born in the U. S., June 24, 1924

Image from University of Houston Law Center
Image from University of Houston Law Center

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 1.00.01 PM.pngMexican American Citizenship

America's Forgotten History of Mexican-American Repatriation, Fresh Air, NPR, September10, 2015
  • With a scarcity of jobs during the Depression, more than a million people of Mexican descent were sent to Mexico; 60 percent with U.S. citizens

book.pngDecade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s. Francisco Balderrama and Raymond Rodriguez, 2006

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 1.41.57 PM.pngHernandez V. Texas (1954)
  • Purposeful exclusion on Mexican-Americans from jury service violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment

Jenniffer Gonzalez
Jenniffer Gonzalez

Puerto Rican Citizenship

The Jones Act (1917)

Puerto Ricans can carry U.S.passports, enter the mainland freely, but cannot vote for President

In 2016, Jenniffer Gonzalez was elected the first woman Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico

Citizenship in 21st Century

primary_sources.PNGFor writing by teachers and students about citizenship in the 21st century, visit an online exhibit from the National Council for the Social Studies in the National Gallery of Writing.

primary_sources.PNGClick here for an article regarding a speech given by President Obama on his definition of citizenship

massseal.gifGo here for an Outline of the requirements for being a resident of Massachusetts

external image Red_apple.jpgClick for a lesson plan, including essays and other resources on "Promoting Active Citizenship"