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Naturalization and Citizenship

Directions
The following questions are designed to test your ability to work with historical documents. As you analyze the documents, take into account both the source of the document and the author’s point of view.
 
Historical Context
Naturalization is the act of granting to immigrants the full legal rights and benefits held by native-born United States citizens. Naturalization laws and regulations in the United States have changed over time because of new patterns of immigration, changing ideas of citizenship, diplomatic relations between the United States and other nations, and the need to standardize the process.

The Constitution gave Congress the power to "establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization." In the 1800s, naturalizations could be carried out by any court of record. The states controlled the civil and political rights of resident aliens, especially regarding real estate ownership. In 1825, any immigrant in New York who wanted to own land had to file a deposition stating their intention to permanently live in the United States. The deposition also required the immigrants to be naturalized as soon as possible.

Nineteenth century courts in the United States did not have a consistent way of naturalizing aliens. In New York, the courts required only one person to testify on the alien's behalf. The federal requirement was for two people to testify. In the 1880s, the federal government started the process to centralize control of immigration. This resulted in the creation of the federal Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization in 1906.

In the early twentieth century social reformers and policy makers began to fear that the newest immigrants were not prepared or motivated to take on the duties and privileges of American citizenship. A separate federal Bureau of Naturalization was formed to work with public schools and citizens' organizations to prepare immigrants for citizenship.

Throughout the twentieth century Congress and the federal courts have struggled with the question of which racial and ethnic groups would be granted American citizenship. Federal laws regulating the number of immigrants admitted to the United States, and the treatment of legal and illegal aliens, have changed repeatedly. Qualifications for becoming a citizen are still in place today and include the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 that states that citizenship cannot be denied based solely on race, gender, or marital status.

 
Task Description
Using information from the following documents and your own knowledge of history, in Part A answer the questions that follow each listed document.  Your answers to these questions will help you complete the writing assignment given in Part B.
 
Part A: Instructions
Read and analyze each document and answer each of the questions in the space provided.
 
Part B: Essay
Essay 1
Using information and evidence from all of the documents to support your thinking, and using your own knowledge of history, write an essay that describes how the requirements of citizenship for immigrants have changed over the last 200 years.  Your essay should be well organized and should include an introduction, at least three paragraphs, and a conclusion.
 
Essay 2
Using information and evidence from all of the documents to support your thinking, and using your own knowledge of history, write a persuasive essay from the perspective of an immigrant from a country of your choice during a time period of your choice about why you want to become an American citizen.  Your essay should be well organized and should include an introduction, at least three paragraphs, and a conclusion. 
 


     Immigrants on Deck of Steamer Awaiting Debarkation at Ellis Island
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_A14541
 
Document Description
Immigrants on deck of steamer awaiting debarkation at Ellis Island, circa 1925
 
Questions
  1. When was this photograph taken?
  2. Where was this photograph taken?
  3. Who do you see in this photograph?
  4. Based on this photograph, what do you think the conditions were like on the immigrant ships?
  5. Describe what you think happened next to the people shown in this photograph after they got off the ship and entered Ellis Island.
 

     INS NYC flyer/fact sheet, six languages, 1989
New York State Archives, NYSA_16034-99_B3F3
 
Document Description
INS flyer and fact sheet in six languages, New York, NY, 1989
 
Questions
  1. In what year was this flyer made?
  2. This flyer was available in six different languages.  Why do you think they made the flyer in different languages?
  3. What does this flyer say is required for immigrants to maintain their lawful status in the U.S.?
  4. How is this different from previous requirements?
 

     Alien deposition, Patrick Hyland, 1825
New York State Archives, NYSA_A1869-78_B1F1_Dep10_HylandP
 
Document Description
Alien deposition of intent to become citizen of the United States, Patrick Hyland, 1825
 
Transcription
State of New York
Oneida County
I William Hyland late of Clunsast [sic] in Ireland, now of Verona in the county aforesaid, being an alien born under the Allegiance of the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, being a duly sworn do solemnly depose and say, that I am a resident in and intend always to reside in the United States and to become a citizen thereof as soon as I can be naturalized, and that I have taken such incipient measures as the laws of the United States require to enable me to obtain naturalization.
William Hyland
 
 
Questions
  1. In what year were these documents written?
  2. What country are the Hyland brothers from? 
  3. Using your knowledge of history, what was going on in Ireland in the 1800s that may have made the Hyland brothers leave Ireland?
     
  4. Why do the Hyland brothers need to tell the court that they intend always to reside in and to become citizens of the United States?
  5. What county in New York do the Hyland brothers live in?
  6. Why might the Hyland brothers want to have the title to land in that part of New York State?
 

     Alien deposition, William Hyland, 1825
New York State Archives, NYSA_A1869-78_B1F1_Dep8_HylandW
 
Document Description
Alien deposition of intent to become citizen of the United States, William Hyland.
 
Transcription
State of New York
Oneida County
I Thomas Hyland__________ late of Clunsast [sic] in Ireland, now residing at Verona in the county of Oneida aforesaid, an alien born under the Allegiance of the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, being solemnly sworn do depose and say that I am a resident in, and intend always to reside in the United States, and to becomes a citizen thereof as soon as I can be naturalized, and that I have taken such incipient measures as the laws of the United States require to enable me to obtain naturalization.
His Mark X
Thomas  Hyland
 
Questions
  1. In what year were these documents written?
  2. What country are the Hyland brothers from?
  3. Using your knowledge of history, what was going on in Ireland in the 1800s that may have made the Hyland brothers leave Ireland?
  4. Why do the Hyland brothers need to tell the court that they intend always to reside in and to become citizens of the United States?
  5. What county in New York do the Hyland brothers live in?
     
  6. Why might the Hyland brothers want to have the title to land in that part of New York State?
 

     Alien deposition, Thomas Hyland, 1825
New York State Archives, NYSA_A1869-78_B1F1_Dep9_HylandT
 
Document Description
Alien deposition of intent to become citizen of the United States, Thomas Hyland
 
Transcription

State of New York
Oneida County
I Patrick Hyland, late of Clunsast [sic] in Ireland, now of Verona in the County aforesaid, being an Alien born under the Allegiance of the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, being duly sworn do solemnly depose and say that I am a resident in, and intend always to reside in, the United States and to become a citizen thereof as soon as I can be naturalized, and that I have taken such incipient measures as that laws of the United States require to enable me to obtain naturalization.
His Mark X
Patrick Hyland
 
Questions
  1. In what year were these documents written?
     
  2. What country are the Hyland brothers from? 
  3. Using your knowledge of history, what was going on in Ireland in the 1800s that may have made the Hyland brothers leave Ireland?
     
  4. Why do the Hyland brothers need to tell the court that they intend always to reside in and to become citizens of the United States?
     
  5. What county in New York do the Hyland brothers live in?
  6. Why might the Hyland brothers want to have the title to land in that part of New York State?
 

     Naturalization papers, Alexander Rudolph, 1840
New York State Archives, NYSA_J1061-82_B4_Rudolph_Alexander
 
Document Description
Naturalization papers of Alexander Rudolph, Rochester, N.Y., 1940
 
Questions
  1. In what year was this document written?
  2. In what country was Alexander Rudolph born?
  3. How is this document similar to the alien deposition documents of the Hyland brothers?
  4. How is this document different from the alien deposition documents of the Hyland brothers?