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Such laws were grossly unjust. If the alien husband of an alien woman refused to petition naturalization, she was compelled to remain an alien so long as the marital relation continued. On the other hand, the alien woman who married an American citizen, by that marriage automatically became a citizen of the United States, without regard to her mental, moral, or physical fitness. If she could not speak or read English, it did not matter. Indeed, it made no difference whether she could read at all. Her one act, that of marrying an American man, compensated for all her other shortcomings.

But there was no reward for the American woman who married a foreigner. Instead, she was subjected to a heavy penalty, absolute loss of her birthright. Because she had become an alien by her marriage, in some States she could neither inherit nor buy real estate.

A still greater discrimination was thrust upon her. After 1900 many women began entering actively into commerce and the practice of the professions. The privileges enjoyed by citizens engaged in these occupations were closed to the native-born American woman who married a foreigner and automatically became an alien.

Treaties had been ratified by the United States, by the terms of which the nationals of the contracting parties were permitted to enjoy in the country of any one of the contracting parties the privileges enjoyed by the nationals of that country. Obviously, these reciprocal privileges were not available to the American woman whose marriage had terminated her United States citizenship and made her an alien against her will.

The same hardship confronted such a woman if she sought to practice law. For instance, there was a young woman in New York who had been born in the United States of American parents. After completing her college education, she obtained a law degree from the University of New York law school, passed the bar examination and became a member of the New York bar in regular standing. During the next few years she arduously toiled and carefully, built up a remunerative practice of law. Later, however, she married a man of Dutch nationality and automatically became an alien. Not only did she lose her American citizenship, she also lost her law business and the right to practice law in New York, for the laws of that State required that in order to practice law there a person must be a citizen of the United States.

Such a woman also was prohibited in many States from practicing medicine. She could not teach in the public schools. She could neither take a State or Federal civil service examination nor hold any Government office, whether elective or appointive. These privileges were restricted to American citizens, and her marriage had taken her American citizenship away from her. In most States she could not vote, even after equal suffrage was granted. If she went abroad the United States Government would neither give her a passport nor protect her while outside the country. In fact, by exercising a power incidental to its sovereignty the United States could even have expelled her from this country as an alien, although she was native born and her ancestors had been closely connected with the early struggles of our great republic.

A case illustrating this predicament was mentioned by Senator Philander Chase Knox from Pennsylvania, during a debate on an amendment to the trading with the enemy act. He said:

I have in mind the case where a descendant of one of the earliest colonial families in my State did not marry a German title, but married a poor German professor in the University of Pennsylvania, and lost the fortune which her father and her grandfather and her great-grandfather had accumulated in Chester County, Pa.; people whose names have been recorded in every phase of Pennsylvania history, in every phase of Pennsylvania activity, in every phase of Pennsylvania philosophy.?

When we entered the World War many women who had never been outside the United States and who never for a moment had thought of any other than their native allegiance, awakened to find that they were alien enemies, merely because they happened to have married a resident foreigner whose country was at war with us. The Government seized their property, and these women were subjected to humiliating surveillance by Government officials for the duration of

the war.

Certainly this state of the law was completely out of harmony with the modern increase of woman's freedom of action and self-expression. More than that, it jeopardized a married woman's rights. It belittled the dignity of her citizenship. Who can say that a woman has ever been less loyal, less patriotic, less proud of her native citizenship than a man?

To change this situation, bills had been introduced in Congress in 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919, 1920, and 1921; but Congress continued to blink at injustice and refuse to change the law. At last, however, when the fight for equal suffrage had been won, the battle for citizenship independence and equality began in earnest. Renewed energy and force were injected into the battle by the victory convention of the National American Woman Suffrage Association in Chicago in 1920. That convention adopted a resolution which urged "Federal legislation insuring to the women of the United States the same independent status for citizenship as that which now obtains for men.”

Forthwith representatives of many of the national women's organizations which had participated in the fight for equal suffrage appeared before the conventions of the national political parties and induced them to write into their 1920 platforms the principles of the victory convention resolution. Typical of the pledges and resolutions adopted in the political platforms that year in this: We advocate

the independent naturalization of married women. An American woman, resident in the United States, should not lose her citizenship by marriage to an alien.

Armed with these political party pledges and encouraged by their suffrage victory, the women concentrated their forces in Washington when the Sixty-seventh Congress convened in March of 1921. These women, representatives of national women's organizations 500,000 strong, were efficiently organized into the women's joint congressional committee. The joint congressional committee was formed by representatives of the American Association of University Women, Council of Jewish Women, Daughters of the American Revolution, General Federation of Women's Clubs, National Federation of Business and Professional Women, National League of Women Voters, National




: Congressional Record, vol. 59, pt. 8, Sixty-sixth Congress, second session, p. 8473.

| Republican Party platform, 1920; cf. also the platforms of the Democratic, Prohibition, and FarmerLabor Parties in 1920.

Women's Trade Union League, and the Women's Christian Temperance Union.4

The author had the privilege, as a member of the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, of introducing H. R. 12022, a bill conforming with the platform pledges of 1920 and containing the principles of citizenship equality for women.

Under the able leadership of Mrs. Maud Wood Park, chairman of the joint congressional committee, the most energetic lobby ever concentrated on Capitol Hill besieged the House committee and urged favorable action on H. R. 12022. In time a committee hearing was held. Mrs. Park appeared before the committee, and her statement is expressive of the spirit which prompted the introduction of the bill. She said:

The underlying reason for this bill is that the right of citizenship should rest in the individual person and should not depend upon the marital status of that person. A woman is as much an individual as a man is, and her citizenship should no more be gained or lost by marriage than should a man's. To forfeit or acquire citizenship by the mere fact of marriage, without regard for the desires or the qualifications of the individual affected, belittles both the individual and the sacred right of citizenship.5

Subsequently the committee reported the bill favorably back to the House.

During the debate in the House on H. R. 12022 Congressman Albert Johnson, Chairman of the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, cited the case of a native-born American woman who had married an Austrian. She had thereby become an Austrian under the act of 1907. The husband was killed in a mine accident in the State of Washington, and, under the workmen's compensation act of that State, the widow was to be paid compensation. However, war was declared against Germany and Austria, and this woman, although she was born and had always resided in the United States, was held to be an alien enemy. Thereupon the money was seized and held by the Alien Property Custodian.

After each Member of the House of Representatives had been interviewed by members of the determined women's organizations which were supporting the bill, it passed the House by an overwhelming vote on the 20th of June, 1922. Then the bill was sent to the Senate, and the battle was carried to that side of the Capitol. The Senate Committee on Immigration favorably reported the bill back to the Senate, September 1, 1922.

The Senate passed the bill on the 9th of September, 1922. Tirelessly the women had worked for this favorable action in Congress. Nor did they stop at that; they immediately carried their fight to the White House.

When the bill arrived at the Executive Mansion, President Harding found himself confronted by the demand of thousands of American women for his approval of the bill. On September 22, 1922, he signed H. R. 12022, and it became law.?

Congressional Record, vol. 62, pt. 12, Sixty-seventh Congress, second session, p. 13039; vol. 62, pt. 9, Sixty-seventh Congress, second session, p. 9043.

5 Statement of Mrs. Maud Wood Park; hearings before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, Sixty-seventh Congress, second session, p. 570.

• Report on H. R. 12022, Report No. 1110, House or Representatives, Sixty-seventh Congress, second session; cf. Appendix F, p. 44, infra.

7 42 stat. L. 1021-1022; for the different steps toward the enactment of H. R. 12022 cf. Congressional Record, Sixty-seventh Congress, fourth session, vol. 64, pt. 5, p. 5182. Cf. copy of law, Appendix E, p. 44, infra.

For the first time in the history of the United States there was written into our statute books the principle that marriage shall not affect a woman's citizenship.


Аст By the women's independent citizenship act of September 22, 1922, America officially declared that marriage shall not affect a woman's citizenship. No longer does marriage with an alien deprive an American woman of her citizenship, any more than it does an American man. The law of the United States on this subject was completely reversed. This reversal and abrogation of our antiquated citizenship doctrines forcibly demonstrates the close adherence of this Nation to the principle that injustice in this country at least will not long prevail, a principle so fundamental that it has become inherent in our great Government.

Ours was a radical departure from the law existing in most of the countries of the world at that time. Regardless of how backward the laws of other nations were, the United States had the courage of its convictions and to-day stands foursquare on this principle. Full credit for the changes in our law is due the valiant and tireless women who fought so courageously until their rights were recognized.

The women's independent citizenship act abolished many deplorable discriminations against women which had been carried over in our law as incidents to the Middle-Age doctrine that the husband and wife are one in the eyes of the law, and the husband that one. The new law declared that "a woman citizen of the United States shall not cease to be a citizen of the United States by reason of her marriage after the passage of this act." 2 Thereafter American women might enter into commerce or practice the professions with the same privileges as men. They no longer were constantly in danger of losing these privileges, as well as their American citizenship, in case they should marry men who happened to be aliens.

After the act of 1922 was passed American women whose husbands were aliens could hold real estate in those States which previously had prohibited them that privilege because they had been deprived of their native citizenship by marriage. Since the enactment of that law American women have been able to vote, to teach school, and to hold Government positions, whether their husbands are American citizens or not. Under that law they are entitled to the passport privileges and the protection of the United States Government. No longer are they deprived of their precious birthright.

There was but one exception to the rule that an American woman who married an alien should not lose her native citizenship. That exception was the case where such a woman married an alien ineligible for naturalization.3 At the time the new law was passed all the members of Congress had not yet been completely won over, and this proviso was inserted by the committee to make sure of the passage of the bill. Since 1922, however, this provision has been stricken from the law.4

"Cf. House Document 326, Fifty-ninth Congress, 1906: Report of James Brown Scott, David J. Hill, and Gaillard Hunt on Citizenship, Expatriation and Protection Abroad.

Sec. 3, act of Sept. 22, 1922; 42 Stat. L. 1022. • Ibidem. * Sec. 4 (a), act of Mar. 3, 1931; Public No. 829, Seventy-first Congress.

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It is particularly interesting to note that even if an American woman's husband expatriates himself, his act does not change his American wife's citizenship. For example, an American by the name of Neil Sanderson went with his American wife to Italy. In time he became prominent in the affairs of an Italian city and later became mayor of that municipality. By accepting that position, Mr. Sanderson lost his American citizenship and became an Italian. The change in his status, however, had no effect at all on the citizenship of his native-born American wife; she remained an American.

The Department of State holds the same to be true in the event the American husband becomes naturalized in a foreign country or takes the oath of allegiance to a foreign sovereign. The severance of his citizenship ties does not deprive his wife of her native citizenship.

Since many other nations still cling to their antiquated citizenship doctrines and make the wife of one of their citizens or subjects take the citizenship of her husband, and since our law does not deprive one of our women of citizenship when she marries an alien, it is true that some American women possess dual nationality. A woman in that situation is a citizen of both the United States and her husband's country. However, even in the absence of laws in other countries, our law provides her with a means of overcoming this difficulty. If she cares to do so, she may renounce her American citizenship. Or, she may otherwise sever her allegiance to the United States; she may either become a naturalized citizen of her husband's country, or she may take the oath of allegiance of his sovereign.

A case illustrating the ability of the American woman who marries an alien to renounce her American citizenship is that of Gwendolyn Field, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Field, jr., of Chicago. Gwendolyn Field married Archibald Charles Edmonstone, an Englishman, April 5, 1923. Finding that she possessed dual nationality because of the conflict of the citizenship laws of Great Britain and the United States, she decided to sever her allegiance to the United States. In January of 1924, while she was in Edinburgh, she had her lawyers file a declaration of renunciation in the Federal district court in Chicago, and the court formally declared that she thereby terminated her American citizenship. Although she had not appeared personally before the court, the judge held that she had thereby relieved herself of dual nationality.

The section of the women's independent citizenship act applicable to this situation reads:

A woman citizen of the United States shall not cease to be a citizen of the United States by reason of her marriage after the passage of this act, unless she makes a formal renunciation of her citizenship before a court having jurisdiction over naturalization of aliens

In view of the wording of this provision, it is questionable whether Mrs. Edmonstone's renunciation actually was valid and effective.

Can an American woman who has married an alien and thereby acquired his citizenship, and retained her own, renounce her American citizenship while she is outside the United States? This question came to the attention of the Department of State in the case of Ellen Stanton, an American woman who married Walter Hinton,



Sec. 3, act of Sept. 22, 1922, 42 Stat. L. 1022. 6 Sec. 2, act of Mar. 2, 1907, 34 Stat. L. 1228; this portion of the 1907 act was not repealed by the act Sept. 22, 1922; of sec. 3, act of Sept. 22, 1922.

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