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"We Do Not Want Our Girls to Marry Foreigners": Gender, Race, and American Citizenship

Ann Marie Nicolosi
NWSA Journal
Vol. 13, No. 3, Gender and Social Policy: Local to Global (Autumn, 2001), pp. 1-21
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4316841
Page Count: 21
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Abstract

This article argues that the Expatriation Act of 1907, which made citizenship for married American women contingent on the citizenship of their husbands, provided the state with a means to manipulate women's citizenship in order to obtain the objectives of foreign and domestic policy and of prevailing racial attitudes. While the act was officially designed to eliminate instances of dual citizenship when American women married foreign men, an application of a gendered analysis of the act reveals a much more complicated piece of legislation that penalized American women for marrying foreign men, especially men who were racially ineligible for American citizenship. Because citizenship has been constructed in the United States using a sex/gender system that established a hierarchy of male and female, the state was able to employ female citizenship to achieve its objectives.

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