Doesn't the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prove that to be a US citizen, you must have full allegiance to the United States?

Asked over 2 years ago - Sykesville, MD

I have a current case and several attorneys here are saying that you only need to be born here to be a citizen. According to the Civil Rights Act of 1866, it clearly states:

"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all persons born in the United States AND NOT SUBJECT TO ANY FOREIGN POWER, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States;"

And isn't that further confirmed by the naturalization oath of allegiance, which clearly states:

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;"

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Benjamin I. Hirsch

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . No, because people are allowed to have dual citizenship in the United States.

    Representative Michelle Bachman, for example,was eligible for dual citizenship with the united States and Switzerland since 1978, which she applied for this year.

    The information provided is based solely on the general information given and should not be construed as legal... more
  2. Bruce E. Burdick


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . No, that act is inclusionary not exclusionary. If you meet the criteria, you get automatic citizenship. If not, you apply for citizenship. Naturalization is one such way. Also, you do not need to HAVE full allegiance, as the oath is administered on an honor system. Once a US citizen, you are not required to reaffirm full allegance, which is how people can gain dual citizenship in countries that do not require citizens to have renounced prior citizenship.

    So far, this is free to you. Until you pay a fee, I am not your lawyer and you are not my client, so you take any... more
  3. Robert Lincoln

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . The Constitution refers to "natural born citizens." A person born in the United States is considered a citizen. In fact, statutes are being proposed to limit this where the new-born's parents are not citizens and there are serious questions about their constitutionality.

    A person born in the United States does not need to prove that they are not subject to a foreign power in order to get a social security card, driver's license or voter's registration. I'm sure that you didn't.

    The important goal of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 was to make all slaves into citizens of the United States despite state laws that had previously denied them that state. It went on to prohibit the states from denying state citizenship to any citizen of the United States.

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