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republic—a country governed by leaders who are selected by the
people themselves and are expected to do what the people want. right of self-government-right of a group of people to manage
their own affairs. town—a group of houses, larger than a village, and the people
who live in them; also a form of government. townships-parts into which a county may be divided for gov
ernment purposes. units—single things, single parts of a group or organization. universities—places of higher education. vary-are different from one another. villages-groups of houses, smaller than towns, and the people
who live in them.
How We Qualify for Group Membership
* In our first chapter we learned that we do not live alone but as members of groups. For thousands of years people have lived together in families, villages, towns, cities, states or countries, and nations. They have also come together in pleasure groups, work groups, and religious groups. In time some of these groups have died out and others have grown. Today the life of the people is made up of thousands of groups, and each of us belongs to a number of them. Let us figure out how we become members of the various groups to which we belong.
Most groups set up certain qualifications for their members. For example, before you can join the group of people who vote for the President of the United States you must be a citizen of this country. Before a child can join a school group he (or she) must have reached a certain age. To join most clubs one must be elected and pay dues. Every group must set up some definite qualifications for its new members, if it is to last long and grow. Very few of us would care to belong to a group that admitted every kind of person. You would not want all kinds of people admitted to your work group. If you were ill in a hospital, you would not want to find that the doctors or nurses had no proper qualifications for their work. You would not want the swimming pool in a park near your home to have a lifeguard who could not swim. You would not want the police force in your town to be made up of policemen who were lazy and careless. You would not want your neigh
borhood filled with persons who were criminals. And certainly you do not want bad people admitted to citizenship.
In setting up its qualifications for citizenship in the United States, our Government has tried to keep persons who would not make good citizens from becoming members. No doubt you are glad of this. If you are joining the biggest club of all, the United States, you will want to understand its membership. Let us see what qualifications one must have to join this national group.
WHO MAY BE MEMBERS OF OUR NATIONAL GROUP Most persons who are citizens of the United States were born in this country. The Constitution of the United States provides in the Fourteenth Amendment that:
“All persons bom ... in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein
they reside." Children born to American parents who are traveling or living outside this country are also American citizens, under certain conditions. And our National Congress has made laws to give citizenship to the people of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands-parts of the United States which are separate from the main part and are not part of the 48 States.
The Constitution also provides that the Congress shall make rules by which persons who were born in foreign countries may become American citizens by naturalization. When a foreign-born person becomes naturalized; he actually takes our country as his own country and becomes a full member of our national group. In becoming naturalized, a person must give up his old country and become a loyal citizen of the United States. Millions of persons who were born in foreign lands have become members of this Nation just as though they were born here.
The laws made by our Congress provide that an applicant for naturalization in this country:
a. Must prove that he (or she) is a person of good moral character.
b. Must show that he whole-heartedly believes in the principles of the Constitution of the United States.
c. Must swear to give up all allegiance to any foreign king, ruler, government, or country.
d. Must swear that he will support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States against all enemies, outside or inside the country.
These qualifications of the naturalization law are only another way of saying that all new members of our Nation (1) must have “the makings” of good citizens; (2) must believe in our form of government; (3) must give up all membership in any foreign country; and (4) must honor and obey the principles of our Constitution.
Until about 60 years ago the United States kept its doors open to almost any person who wished to make his home here. From all over the world people came to this great country of about 3 million square miles. In 1882 the Congress began to limit the kinds of people who could come to our land. Today the entire immigration from all parts of the world except North, Central, and South America is limited to about 150,000 persons in any one year.
WHO MAY BECOME NATURALIZED CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES
A white person, or person born in Africa, or person of African descent, or a person who is a descendant of a race native to the Western Hemisphere, who is an alien, who has been admitted to live in the United States in the way provided by law and who has lived here without a break for 5 years, can be naturalized, if he or she has done all that the law requires. But it is the duty of the Government to refuse citizenship to persons who have committed crimes, to anarchists (persons who are against all organized government), and to other persons who do not seem likely to become good and loyal citizens.
HOW DOES A PERSON BECOME NATURALIZED?
There are nearly 2,000 Federal and State courts to which the laws passed by the Congress have given the power to naturalize aliens. At any time after lawfully entering the United States as an immigrant an alien who is at least 18 years of age and who has a real home here, may make a declaration of intention to become an American citizen. This declaration is made before the clerk of a court which has the power to handle naturalization cases.
This is the first step which an applicant takes. In this first step the applicant says that it is his intention to give up forever any membership in a foreign state and to become a citizen of the United States. In this way the applicant is beginning to meet the qualifications for membership in our national group of citizens. .
In not less than 2 years nor more than 7 years after he makes his declaration (provided that he has lived in this country continuously for 5 years without a break of a year or more), the applicant is ready for the next step. In the second step he goes to the clerk of the court and signs and swears to his petition for naturalization. He states in this petition (1) that he is not against organized government, (2) that he firmly believes in the principles of our Constitution, and (3) that he intends to give up his membership in the country from which he came to the United States. At the time that this petition is signed, two American citizens who are known to be truthful must swear before the clerk of the court (1) that they know the applicant to have lived continuously (without any long break) in the United States during the last 5 years, (2) that he is a person of good moral character, and (3) that he is attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States. Before the petition is acted upon by the court, the applicant and his witnesses are asked questions by an examiner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the United States Department of Justice. The purpose of this examination is to make sure that the applicant is qualified, according to the law, to become a good citizen of the United States.
The third step is the appearance of the applicant in court. The law states that at least 30 days must pass after the