United States Statutes at Large/Volume 1/1st Congress/2nd Session/Chapter 3

United States Statutes at Large, Volume 1
United States Congress
Public Acts of the First Congress, 2nd Session, Chapter 3

March 26, 1790.
Chap. III.—An Act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.[1]

Repealed by act of January 29, 1795, ch. 20.
Alien whites may become citizens, and how.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any alien, being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof, on application to any common law court of record, in any one of the states wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such court, that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law, to support the constitution of the United States, which oath or affirmation such court shall administer; and the clerk of such court shall record such application, and the proceedings thereon; and thereupon such person shall be considered as a citizen of the United States. And the children of such persons so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization,Their children residing here, deemed citizens.
Also, children of citizens born beyond sea, &c.
shall also be considered as citizens of the United States. And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States: Provided also, That no person heretofore proscribed by any state, shall be admitted a citizen as aforesaid, except by an act of the legislature of the state in which such person was proscribed.[2]

Approved, March 26, 1790.

  1. This act was repealed by an act passed January 29, 1795, chap. 20.

    The acts relating to naturalization subsequent to the act of March 26, 1790, have been: “An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and to repeal the acts heretofore passed on that subject,” January 29, 1795, chap. 20. Repealed April 14, 1802.

    An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and to repeal the acts heretofore passed on the subject, passed April 14, 1802, chap. 28.

    An act in addition to an act entituled, “An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and to repeal the acts heretofore passed on the subject,” passed March 26, 1804, chap. 47.

    An act relative to evidence in cases of naturalization, passed March 22, 1816, chap. 32.

    An act in further addition to “An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and to repeal the acts heretofore passed on that subject,” passed May 26, 1824, chap. 186.

    An act to amend the acts concerning naturalization, passed May 24, 1828, chap. 116.

  2. The power of naturalization is exclusively in Congress. Chirac v. Chirac, 2 Wheat. 259; 4 Cond. Rep. 111.

    A naturalized citizen, who in time of peace, returns to his native country for the purpose of trade, but with the intention of returning again to his adopted country, continuing in the former, a year after the war between the two countries, for the purpose of winding up his business, engaging in no new commercial transactions with the enemy, and then returning to his adopted country, has gained a domicil in his native country, and his goods are subject to condemnation. The Frances, 8 Cranch, 335; 3 Cond. Rep. 154.

    The various acts on the subject of naturalization submit the decision upon the right of aliens to courts of record. They are to receive testimony; to compare it with the law; and to judge on both law and fact. If their judgment is entered on record in legal form, it closes all inquiry, and like other judgments, is complete evidence of its own validity. Spratt v. Spratt, 4 Peters, 393.

    It need not appear by the record of naturalization, that all the requisites presented by law, for the admission of aliens to the rights of citizenship, have been complied with. Starke v. The Chesapeake Ins. Comp., 7 Cranch, 420; 2 Cond. Rep. 556.

    A certificate by a competent court, that an alien has taken the oath prescribed by the act respecting naturalization, raises the presumption that the court was satisfied as to the moral character of the alien, and of his attachment to the principles of the constitution of the United States. The oath when taken, confers the rights of a citizen. It is not necessary that there should be an order of court admitting him to be a citizen.

    The children of persons duly naturalized before the 14th of April, 1802, being under age at the time of the naturalization of their parent, were, if dwelling in the United States on the 14th of April, 1802, to be considered as citizens of the United States. Campbell v. Gordon, 6 Cranch, 176; 2 Cond. Rep. 342. See also ex parte Newman, 2 Gallis’ C. C. R. 11; Peters’ C. C. R. 457.