Last updated on: 1/30/2017 | Author:

1740 – British Parliament Enacts the Plantation Act, Which Serves as Model for Future US Naturalization Acts

“In 1740 the British Parliament passed an act which came to be known as the Plantation Act –meaning the colonies–that sought to regularize the naturalization process. As such, it was also intended to encourage immigration to the American colonies. Under British law at the time, aliens could not engage in British commerce without severe penalties. This aspect was not rigorously enforced in the colonies, but nonetheless such British law made it advantageous for immigrants of the colonies to become naturalized citizens. In England itself, the naturalization process required a profession of Christian faith and proof that an individual had taken the Sacrament in a Protestant church. As noted in this law for the colonies, exception was made for Quakers and Jews but specifically not for Roman Catholics (referred to in the law as Papists). This law, although British… governed all the English colonies until Independence, and furthermore… it was the model upon which the first U.S. naturalization act, with respect to time, oath of allegiance, process of swearing before a judge, and the like, was clearly based.”