Papers of the American Negro Academy. (the American Negro Academy. Occasional Papers, No. 18-19.)

Papers of the American Negro Academy. (the American Negro Academy. Occasional Papers, No. 18-19.)

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Excerpt: ... fact that they have suffered the inevitable handicap incident to an environment in which large numbers of human beings suffer inequality and subordination? But for the difference which has been historically accentuated in North America between white and black which difference has inflicted much of suffering upon both races, it would not be necessary to consider such a subject as the citizenship status of the free Negro prior to 1860. Before the Constitution of the United States was amended by the addition thereto of the Fourteenth Amendment the statement that "The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States" was the only definite deliverance to be found in that instrument in relation to the subject of citizenship. In other words there was no national definition of citizenship, and up to the time of the deliverance of the Dred Scott Decision in 1857, there had been no comprehensive treatment of the subject in adjudications by the Supreme Court of the United States. The mention of the term "citizens" in the Constitution in the quotation just given indicates that it had a meaning of such generally accepted significance that definition was not necessary. Presumably citizenship conveyed then, as it conveys now, an idea exactly the opposite of that conveyed by the term slavery. A slave everywhere in the world was understood to be a person who was absolved from allegiance, and was not due protection as that term is ordinarily understood, and who could not invoke ordinary legal process nor own property; a citizen was a person who owed allegiance, was entitled to protection, had the right to invoke all the processes of the law, could become the owner of property, and possibly, if not a woman or a child, exercise the right of the elective franchise. Such was the common understanding of the term citizen at the adoption of the Constitution, and such is substantially the understanding of that term...
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Product details

  • Paperback | 26 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 1mm | 68g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236691423
  • 9781236691422