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Naturalization Act 1870


On July 14, 1870, President Ulysses S. Grant signed into the law the Naturalization Act that created a system of controls for the naturalization process and penalties for fraudulent practices. This act extended the naturalization process for aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent. Asians and other people of color were not included in this act and remained excluded from naturalization (Naturalization Act of 1870, n.d.). Through the content of the act, it was obvious that the U.S. Congress responded to the growing anti-Asian sentiment in the American society. This sentiment came from the fear and threat of competing with Asian immigrants for job and economic opportunities. This Act restricted all immigration into the U.S. to only white persons and persons of African descendants, barring Asians from U.S. citizenship. In comparison with previous policies, Naturalization Act 1870 was more flexible when allowing African Americans to be citizens of the United States. However, there were so many problems remained unresolved. One issue was clear: race was obviously a determining factor in one’s ability to be naturalized in the United States.



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