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

1781-1788 – Articles of Confederation Kept Citizenship and Naturalization of Immigrants under Individual States’ Control

“Under the Articles of Confederation [Enacted in 1781 and Replaced by the Constitution in 1788], the question of citizenship and the naturalization of immigrants remained with the individual states. Pennsylvania allowed any foreigner of ‘good character,’ who took an oath of allegiance to the state, to acquire property and after one year’s residency become a citizen entitled to ‘all the rights of a natural born subject of this state.’ New York followed Pennsylvania’s model and added a requirement for foreigners to renounce all allegiance to any foreign prince. Maryland’s naturalization law required a declaration of ‘belief in the christian religion’ and an oath of allegiance. In South Carolina, full naturalization required at least two years of residency and a special act of the legislature.”