Volume 2

Tortuous Path, Elusive Goal: The Asian Quest for American Citizenship

by Charles J. McClain

During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, American citizenship was not available to many Asians who immigrated to this country. However, many of these immigrants actively sought American citizenship and judicially challenged a number of laws and court decisions which prevented them from becoming American citizens. In this Article, the author traces this historical quest for citizenship by members of various Asian ethnic groups. The author describes the landmark cases brought by Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Filipino, and Korean immigrants as they sought to establish citizenship by birth and by naturalization. These cases reveal an Asian immigrant population that was not afraid to stand up to state and federal discrimination. This Article points to the importance of citizenship in an immigrant community’s search for full membership in the American political community.


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June 2011

Volume 18

Volume 18 was produced during the 2010-2011 school year.

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