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The Rise and Fall of a Modern Concept

Andreas Fahrmeir


Yale University Press

New Haven and London
Copyright 2007 Yale University

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Fahrmeir, Andreas.
Citizenship: the risc and fall of a modern concept/Andrcas Fahrmcir.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-300-11848-3 (alk. paper)
1. Citizenship. 2. Citizenship History. I. Title.
JF801F34 2007
3.6 dc

A catalogue record for this book is availablc from the British Library.

1 0987 6 5 4 3 2 1

Acknowledgements VII


1. Before Citizenship: Inclusion and Exclusion in Ancien Reginte

Europe 9
Contexts for tbe Definition o f Forntal Citizensbip 10
Political Kigbts in tbe Ancien Regime 15
Econonuc Rigbts in a Society of Orders and Estates 17
Local Social Support and tbe Problent o f Mobility 21

2. T h e Revolutionary Moment and the Invention of Citizenship 27

Federal Republican Citizensbip: The United States 28
Centralized Republican Citizensbip: France 37
Monarcbical Citizensbip 1: Tbe United Kingdonr 42
Monarcbical Citizensbip 11: G
em<an States 43
Inventing tbe Modern Passport? Travel Controls in tbe
Revolutionary Era 46
Tbe Curious Absence of tbe Work Pernrit 50
Poor Citizens or Paupers? 51
Civic Universalisnt? Citizensbip in tbe Revolutionary Era 53

3, E xperimenting ivith Citizenship in a Liberal Era (1815-1870s) 56

Political Citizensbip in a Post-Revolutionary World 57
Syste>natizing Forntal Citizensbip 61
Passports and Migration Control: Rank before Citizensbip 71
An 1nternational Market in Free Labour 75
Poor Relief versus Alarkets 80
Citizensbip, Race and Rank in the Liberal Era 85

The Ethnic Redefinition of Citizenship (1870s-1918) 89

Etbrric Citizenslrip and Political Power 90
Tbe Rise of Scierrtific Migration Control 96
Citizens' Preference or Free (Laborrr) Markets? 101
Insrrrarrce and Social Citizensbip 106
National Honrogerreity, Heredity arrd Class 112
Tire First World War 118

Engineering Populations (1919-1945) 124

Fronr War to Peace 125
Women's Riglrts, Descent and Expatriation as Punisbrnent 126
Politics of the Ballot and Politics of tbe Street 137
Entry Permits, Work Pernrits arrd 'Immigration Status' 144
Inclrrsion and Exclrrsion irr tbe Enrerging Welfare State 155
Racial Categorization in Wartinre 163

The Demise of Ethnic Citizenship (1945-1960s) 166

Fornral Citizerrsbi pr Cbange tbrorrglr Continuity 168
Political Citizensbip in tire Age of Parties 177
Migration Corrtrol in an Age of Prosperity 182
Social Citizensbi p in Post-War Welfare States 194
Tbe Denrise of Scientific Racisnr 200

Citizenship, Individualism and Globalization (1970s-2000s) 202

Cbange and Corrtinuity in Fornral Citizensbip 204
Political Citizerrsbip irr Decline? 213
Tracking Innnigrants and Managing Enrployrnent:
Markets versrrs Planning 217
Tbe Denrise of Social Citizensbip? 223

Conclusion: Citizenship a Concept in Decline? 228

Notes 233
Select Bibliography 286
Index 289

This book has benefited from two favourable circumstances: time, which could
be dedicated almost exclusively to research and writing, and good advice. The
time was due to the generosity of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which
allowed me to think about questions discussed in this book in the ideal circum-
stances of a Heisenberg Fellowship (FA 454/1-1) between late 2002 and early
2004. Marie-Luise Reeker and Ulrich Muhlack made that essential resource
always in particularly short supply at universities office space available at
the time.
Advice came from many sources. Klaus J. Bade, Stefan Berger, Tobias
Brinkmann, Francis Dernier, Nancy L. Green, Jochen Oltmer, Maiken Umbach
and Patrick %Veil allowed me to present ideas for discussion at research seminars
and conferences. Derek Beales and Peter AVende contributed more to the book's
development than they may suspect, while Anna Bremen, Annika Klein and
Thorsten Maa8en provided valuable help with individual questions of fact. My
colleagues in the history departments at the universities of Frankfurt am Main
and Cologne created an atmosphere where the concerns of administration and
the demands arising from the perennial reform of German higher education did
not displace historical debate.
Finally, I have been immensely fortunate in receiving more assistance than
could reasonably (or even unreasonably) be expected from Yale University
Press. Adam Freudenheim and the press's anonymous referees were crucial to
the project's initial stages. Robert Baldock, Hannah Godfrey and Rachael
Lonsdale then saw it through to completion.
It goes without saying that while others share much of the credit for its
possible merits, the book's faults are the author's responsibility alone.

When the members of France's National Assembly approved the declaration of

the rights of man and of the citizen on 26 August 1789, this was a defining
moment for the history of a concept of social organization which has since
become central to everyday life, political controversies, and academic research:
citizenship. The National Assembly defined the relationship between states and
their residents in terms of rights, not authority. In doing so, it raised specific
questions about where the boundaries of citizenship lay, which concrete rights
were attached to citizen status, and how citizens were to be identified.
Henceforth, concepts of citizenship informed debates on political participa-
tion, economic privileges, social benefits, and systems of identity documenta-
tion, all of which evolved in different ways in republican and monarchical,
federal and centralized, libertarian and authoritarian states. The purpose of
this book is to trace the broad outlines of this history, using as examples four
countries whose concept of citizenship has differed in all dimensions: Britain,
France, Germany, and the United States.
The meaning of citizenship is not only contested, it has also become quite
diffuse. Like the 'civil society' of which almost everybody approves, citizenship
' has come to mean anything and nothing: the nationality indicated by a pass-
port, participation rights in various public and private contexts, entitlement to
benefits, commitment to a particular political or social order, even decent
behaviour towards one's colleagues on university campuses.' Consulting
Google for information on 'citizenship' testifies both to the potential sweep of
the subject (147 million entries in July 2006) and the diversity of meanings. In
the United Kingdom, the search engine user is directed to the 'citizenship'
section of the national curriculum. The German search engine presumes an
interest in corporate citizenship, whereas Google France suspects users are
interested in the United States Citizenship and Immigration service.-"

Even in the narrower sense intended here membership relations beoveen

states and their citizens meanings of the term must be explained. The most
precise one is what I propose to call 'formal citizenship'. the legal definition of
a close relationship between individuals and one state, usually documented in
passports or other citizenship certificates. Recent research has shown that, in
modern times, formal citizenship emerged in the decades around 1800, with
important prccursors in British political practice and the political and economic
institutions of eighteenth-century France.
Formal citizenship was a means to an end, a way of defining groups entitled
to particular rights, with the focus initially on particular types of property and
economic activity. T. H. Marshall has famously identified three categories of
citizenship rights: civil, political and social. Under civil citizenship, Marshall
grouped 'the rights necessary for individual freedom liberty of the person,
freedom of speech, thought and faith, the right to ow n p roperty and to
conclude valid contracts, and the right to justice' imposed by the courts.
Political citizenship was the right to participate in the exercise of political
power, for instance as an elector, whereas social citizenship encompassed 'the
whole range from the right to a modicum of economic xvelfare and security to
the right to share to the full in the social heritage and to live the life of a civi-
lized being according to the standards prevailing in the society'.3 Marshall's
1949 Marshall Lectures, in which he introduced these distinctions, were mainly
concerned with the impact of the redefinition of citizens' rights as claims
against the state and citizens' duties as payment of taxes on post-war British
society. For this purpose, his three dimensions were admirably designed. XVhat
Marshall also suggested was that these dimensions of citizenship corresponded
ttI a chronological order: a reliable legal system had preceded mass political
participation, which was in place before states accorded social rights to their
For reasons which will become clearer in thc passage on the devclopmcnt of
British citizenship in the decades after 1945 (sce pp. 170ff.), Marshall was not all
that concerned with the question this book poses: how the boundaries of citi-
zenship developed, and who benefited from citizenship rights. Put differently,
this question is how, when, why and to what extent the category of 'citizenship'
in a state came to triumph over alternative models of social organization,
primarily membership of a (potentially international) 'estate', 'corporation',
or class, and membership of a locality, religion or ethnic group. Thc book will
argue that, rather than being different facets of one 'citizenship', dimensions
of citizenship rights were (and continue to be) available to different groups
which overlap with the community of formal citizens only in part. Alternative
membership categories remained important for longer than is generally recog-

nizcd, even in official contexts, and their significance may even bc growing as
the boundaries of citizenship begin to shift once again.
I propose a slight modification of Marshall's categories, in that I will discuss
political, economic and social citizenship. In this book, as in Marshall's essay,
political citizenship describes the ability of individuals to participate in poli-
tical decision-making processes, for instance by casting votes in clcctions or
standing as candidates. Economic citizenship refers to the right to earn an
income by accepting employment or opening a business. Economically liberal
but politically restrictive regimes show that economic citizenship can be sepa-
rated from the right to freedom of expression and action, which Marshall's
'civil citizenship' includes. Social citizenship, finally, I would restrict to a claim
to direct or indirect support from the state.
These three dimensions are not necessarily connected logically, but they
were linked to the concept of citizenship in practice. This emerged even from
debates on citizens' rights in the age of the eighteenth-century Atlantic revolu-
tion, as the French National Assembly's deliberations showed. When members
of parliamentary assemblies brought up in societies intensely conscious of
gradations of rank spoke of 'citizens', they had in mind economically inde-
pendent, male and, usually, Christian heads of households. These citizens were
to determine the laws and budget of a polity (as described in articles 6, 11 and
14 of the Declaration des droits de I'/~omme) charged with safeguarding
'sacred' property rights (article 17). Why these limitations on the ability to
become a citizen seemed so important has been documented in discussions of
the ideology of 'classical' liberalism: only those not subject to the commands
of employers, landlords, husbands or guardians or prey to religious prejudice
could speak their minds without fear in public debate. Only the owners of
property would restrict state access to private property; paupers and others in
economic difficulties might succumb all too easily to the temptation to
expropriate their neighbours.
Limiting political rights to citizens while insisting all men were equal of
course involved a contradiction. Either 'men' (as well as women and ethnic or
religious minorities) would remain only potential 'citizens', or all men would
have to bc able to become citizens. The latter aim could be advanced in two
ways: by increasing citizens' economic opportunities (perhaps by restricting
those of non-citizens), or by using public funds (to which no 'party' influence
would be attached) to provide all members of the state with a degree of eco-
nomic independence. Therefore, even the definition of formal citizenship in a
political context implied considerations of economic and political citizenship.
It is my contention that a historically nuanced view of citizenship is useful
for present-day debates on citizenship and immigration policies in a number of

ways. It highlights the fluidity of boundaries and the ambiguities of citizen-

ship, which may bc particularly relevant as boundaries of citizenship rights
have become a matter of intense debate. Moreover, the state of research on the
history of citizenship, which has progressed rapidly recently, makesit possible
to attempt a first comparative overview.
For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the nation state appeared
to be the 'natural' unit for historical enquiry, and the national population was
regarded as a largely immobile basis of immutable national character and
mentalities,~ as the focus of enquiry was on internatiorial relations and the
origins of wars, the relations between classes, crises of internal governance, and
the development of state bureaucracies.
Though the United States' population was clearly not immobile and homo-
genous, citizenship did not appear to be a decisive category for America either,
because its borders seemed to be open for much of the nineteenth century,
while ethnicity and religion appeared more important indicators of difference
than citizen or alien status. When, from the 1870s, borders were apparently
closed for the first time, the crucial categories of analysis were still the
emerging quota systems' categories: national origin or race.
Increasing interest in the (self-)fashioning of nation states prompted by the
experience of two catastrophic world wars did create interest in the historical
development of nationalism after 1945, but not, at first, in citizenship. When
Karl W. Deutsch attempted to explain and predict the success of nation states
on the basis of what bound residents to 'the state', he focused on criteria like
taxation and a national press.5 His use of formulas for which precise data were
lacking made the widespread application of his theories difficult, though they
influenced research on nation-building in central Europe in later decades.
Other scholars concentrated on analyzing the intellectual construction of the
'nation' in key texts of leading intellectuals, the press, parliamentary debates
and, later, popular culture. The distinction between 'western' and 'eastern',
'voluntarist' and
'French' and 'German', 'democratic' and 'authoritarian',
'ethnic' definitions of nationality developed by Hans Kohn, Theodor Schieder
and others as a result of their study of the pathologies of German nationalism
to which Schieder had himself succumbed soon became basic paradigms
for the study of nationhood.7
This distinction seemed to be sufficient to explain differences between c1t1-
zenship laws. Two criteria for the automatic attribution of formal citizenship
the place of birth and the nationality of the parents, or its soli and i>
sangtiinis were associated with the two understandings of the nation, with
the voluntarist, iirs soli version widely considered the more progressive. Indeed~
Germany, with its emphasis on ethnicity, found it impossible to come to te

with massive immigration in the post-war period; France, Britain and the
United States, apparently 'traditional'ignissoli states, were by all accounts more
From the 1970s, interest in the quantitative and qualitative history of migra-
tion also increased. This line of enquiry challenged the view of the population
of nineteenth-century European states as static. Concerned with economic
determinants of migration and with immigrants' social and cultural integration
into their adopted countries,8 migration history initially left the state out of the
picture. On the basis of contemporary quotations which linked the First World
War to the end of an age of unchecked movement, most migration historians
assumed that states did not intervene in migration, and that up to the twentieth
century immigration and citizenship laws were less significant than 'nationality'
determined by ethnicity or cultural heritage.9 The lack of interest of both
general historians and migration specialists in the subject ensured that citizen-
ship was mainly discussed by legal historians.' The professional predisposi-
tions oftrained lawyers ensured that the focus remained on legalnorms and
their internal consistency, and that continuity was often emphasized over
A first combination of these research traditions was achieved by Rogers
Brubaker in his seminal book on citizenship in France and Germany." Drawing
on the research on migration, citizenship law and naturalization policy avail-
able to date, Brubaker provided a nuanced description of the evolution and the
practical effects of a voluntarist and an ethnic citizenship and immigration
policy in France and Germany respectively. His account considered citizenship
both as a result and an agent of social change.
Just as Brubaker's book was published, two factors encouraged a re-
examination of the history of citizenship and immigration policies. An inten-
sive debate on immigration, naturalization and refugee policy in the late 1980s
and early 1990s gave questions of citizenship and immigration an unprece-
dented degree of contemporary relevance, prompted the publication of books
and articles which drew attention to the contribution of foreigners to national
histories and the 'normality' o f m i g ration, and encouraged scholars to
conceive academic studies on aspects of the history of migration policies.'z
In Germany, the. existence of a ' dominant' concept of nationality was
increasingly questioned, as the experience of the quick re-construction of a
pan-German identity after 1989 demonstrated that seismic shifts in political
opinion left behind little trace of previous convictions. New studies docu-
mented that the intellectual construction of nationality was unstable. The
contrast between the voluntarist and ethnic views of nationality allegedly elab-
orated in France and Germany respectively turned out to be neither the sole
6 C I T I Z E N SH1P

nor ahvays the dominant tradition in either country. For example, until the
twentieth century the ethnic definition of German nationality contrasted with
the often very popular particularist policies of German states like Bavaria,
Wurttemberg, Hanover or Saxony.'
The results of research made the image of the steady rise of the bureaucratic
and interventionist state described by political history ever more difficult to
reconcile with the image of the passive, non-interventionist state described by
migration history for the nineteenth century. The question mark was confirmed
by re-examinations' of the history of citizenship law and immigration policies
on the basis of hitherto neglected archival evidence. Revisionist histories of the
topic now exist for most European countries and the United States,'" and show
that state management of the practical boundaries of citizenship did not follow
long after the invention of dominant concepts of nationality and citizenship,
but both were closely related from the eighteenth century at the latest. This also
changed perceptions of the twentieth-century story, as practices which simply
seemed to continue 'national' traditions increasingly came to be seen as the
outcomes of conscious political decision-making.
Research on individual countries has produced different narratives of
national policy-formation. In the United States, studies have tended to focus on
legal codification of citizenship, often presenting a problem which slowly
moved towards resolution in a (Supreme) court decision.' I n t h e U n ited
Kingdom, too, judicial rulings play an important role. In France, much more
a ttention seems to be paid to i ntellectual and parliamentary debate.' I n
Germany, finally, the bureaucracy looms largest, with much research seeking to
reconstruct its behaviour from quantitative data. These differences reSect the
logic of present-day political debates as well as the nature of the available
sources and, for the United States, the problem involved in trying to recon-
struct practice in up to 50 states, many of them with broad internal variations.
In Germany, where judicial files are not particularly well preserved, the admin-
istrative dimension tended to w i n , out w here administrative and judicial
competences overlapped, and the political independence of the judiciary was
limited. In Britain and the United States, judicial documents are more readily
available, and local administration often took judicial rather than administra-
tive forms. The availability of many more studies on the statistical profile of
citizens by naturalization in Germany and France compared to the United
States or the United Kingdom is one example.'
This book attempts to add two considerations to the state of research.
Histories of citizenship and nationality politics have often had little space to
deal with the change in the concept's relevance, which can be illustrated with
a few figures. In the eighteenth century, even the most 'democratic' countries

(such as the France of the 1789 Estates General, or Britain and her American
colonies) allowed scarcely more than half o f a d ult householders to vote;
expressed as a proportion of the population as a whole, this amounted to at
most 4 per cent. The number of aliens in the countries under study, even in the
United States, probably remained well below double percentage figures, with
many entitled to some type of local citizenship rights. The amount of public
funds spent on social services was modest. By the early twenty-first century, the
vast majority of the population of European states and North America was
theoretically entitled to vote, though practice was sometimes different. The
proportion of non-citizens in the population had risen, though many countries
admit non-citizens to naturalization on generous terms. Finally, expenditure on
social benefits had become one of the largest items on governments' balance
sheets, and the majority of the population depended on state or state-regulated
transfer payments at some point in their lives. These changes affected the
formulation and goals of citizenship policies, the groups at which citizenship
legislation was directed, and the relevance of citizenship rights for the general
population, and it is worthwhile trying to make this explicit.
The second point is the comparative dimension. The fact that this book
focuses on European states and on the United States as a former British colony
is largely due to the personal competence of the author, and does not mean to
imply that citizenship is primarily a European phenomenon, though that
hypothesis has been defended." The comparative and international dimension
is important because citizenship is a concept negotiated both nationally and
internationally. Formal citizenship tends to become relevant, and can be cast in
doubt, mainly when people move ignis soli and ins sangiiinis have identical
effects on a stationary population. The history of citizenship has been charac-
terized by phases of international cooperation in the search for universal rules,
just as it has experienced long periods of states using citizenship as a domestic
policy tool, regardless of the international implications of their actions.
Finally, it is necessary to emphasize what this book does not deal with. It is
concerned with the relationship between the state and citizens; it therefore
necessarily neglects the perspective of those affected by citizenship policies-
migrants, refugees, or those excluded from citizenship in their own countries-
as well as the actions of private agencies and agents in shaping individuals'
rights. Embracing the perspective from above in a broad overview in restricted
space creates an additional problem. It almost mandates a structural approach,
which tends to pass over differences of opinion between parties, interest
groups, layers of the bureaucracy or individuals much too briefly; complex
decision-making processes are summarized, often in the passive voice. My
hope is that, in spite of these restrictions, the perspective will still reflect a

reality of citizenship policies: they tend to become effective only in the long
term, and are often shaped by legal and political continuity and structural
The last limitation which requires some preliminary explanation is the focus
on citizenship in terms of rights rather than duties. The equivalence between
citizens' rights, such as voting, and citizens' duties, such as military service, is
often alleged. In practice, however, any such correlation emerged late and
disappeared relatively soon, and was far l ess absolute than is generally
supposed. Even after the, introduction of general conscription, political citi-
zens were not necessarily likely to be soldiers; indeed, the opposite was often
the case. In times of military crisis, considerations of citizenship generally
took second place to individuals' availability. Perhaps surprisingly, thercforc,
the citizen soldier is much less relevant to the history of citizenship than the
citizen voter or the citizen recipient of benefits.


Phillip Il 'Augustus' ruled part of what is now France from 1180 to 1223. He is
known for administrative reforms which created a permanent royal bureau-
cracy. For a time, he figured in historiography as the first king to use the title
franciaerex, 'king of France',rather than francorwn> rex, 'king of the Franks',
emphasizing rule over territory rather than people. In fact, the shift, which
took place gradually, may actually have occurred first in English writs.'
Early medieval monarchs' titles emphasized their claim both to continuity
with the Roman Empire and to be head of a tribe. When monarchs began to
style themselves governors of a territory, they postulated a fundamental change
in the nature of rule. To control territory rather than a group of persons bound
to the king by personal loyalty, the 'crown' had to be recognized as the sole
giver of laws and arbiter of disputes rather than as a distant power behind
local grandees. This, in turn, required cash, to finance internal administration
and external war.
The crown gained control of taxation in peacetime with or without the
consent of representative assemblies only in the seventeenth'century, and this
provided the financial resources allowing the 'state' to extend its internal
control and external power.z Near-constant warfare in early modern Europe
created competition between systems of government: administrative ineffi-
ciency resulted in military defeat and p ossibly annexation; successful
modernization permitted further expansion. While competition between states
favoured centralization, it did not favour a particular type of government. In
France, Austria, Prussia and many of the principalities of the Holy Roman
Empire, power rested with the reigning king or queen and his or her advisers.
In Britain and i n t h e G erman principalities which retained functioning
'estates', such as Wiirttemberg, power was in the hands of a monarch acting
with the consent of an assembly which represented influential sections of the

population, grouped by 'orders' or ' corporations' of t h e n obility, clergy,

universities or towns, or, in Britain, separated into Lords and Commons.
Outside capitals and major cities, early modern states continued to do
without a year-round central administration. In around 1715, roughly 48,000
officials governed the 20 million residents of France, which was probably the
most densely administered state in Europe at the time. Only 700 to 800
officials ivere selected and paid directly by the crown; the others owned their
posts or owed them to local or noble patronage. The crown's military police
numbered 3,000 men."
The crown's main concern was foreign policy. Between 75 and 90 per cent of
central government expenditure in major European states was on the standing
army, warfare and debts accumulated in wartime; the remainder went on court
culture, diplomacy and pensions for important noblemen, thereby funding
alternative power centres.
The state's power over its population was further restricted by a concept of
law, which held law to be unalterable. New legislation or court verdicts could
reverse the inevitable corruption of the true law by sinful interpreters, but
could not alter what was right and what was wrong. Legal reform to manage
social and political change remained all but unthinkable.

Contexts for the Definition of F o r mal Ci t izenship

As titles like fraiicoruni rex indicated, the concept of a community of people

bound together by descent was all-important in the early Middle Ages. Descent
also determined which social group an individual belonged to. This in turn
determined whether or not he was subject to particular laws applied by partic-
ular juries or judges. British peers, for example, answered to the House of
Lords, whereas clergymen were only ever tried in ecclesiastical courts.
The growth of state power increased equality in this regard over time. In
England, clerical privileges were transformed into a distinction between felonies
'with benefit of clergy', which allowed clerical exemption from the death
penalty and those 'without benefit of clergy', which were punished by execu-
tion for everybody by 1706. Similarly, while the Paris executioner Sanson was
able to make a point about his social ascent when he changed his favourite
saying from 'I' ll be hanged' to 'I' ll be decapitated' on purchasing a noble office
in the early 1700s, common punishments like hanging were imposed on nobles
and non-nobles alike by the middle of the eighteenth century.s
Where the law came with the person, aliens were not subject to the 'law of
the land'. In the Middle Ages, alien criminals had been allowed to 'abjure' the
country and leave without their goods. T h ough exempting aliens from

punishment was incompatible with any claim to control territory, limited

allowances remained even after the logic of rule changed around 1200. In
England, for example, aliens had a right to a mixed jury of six subjects and
(any) six aliens from 1303 until 1870. Unlike France or most German states,
nineteenth-century Prussia sought to punish aliens according to their native
countries' laws if those were more lenient than Prussian ones.' In theory,
English and Prussian criminal law thus required a definition of who was a
subject and who was not. In practice, the place of birth tended to be used for
determining status."
Another distinction between aliens and citizens affected inheritance law. The
right of escheat or droit d'aiibaine allowed the crown to claim the property of
aliens who died within a realm's borders. As the right of escheat affected the
peak of society, it gave rise to court cases brought by wealthy plaintiffs from
which an outline of a law of subject status emerged.
In France and England, basic problems were similar. Subject status was
acquired by birth in the crown's territory, which was thought to establish a
permanent link between sovereign and subject. A strict law of the soil (iiis soli)
combined with the right of escheat would have prohibited subjects' children
born abroad from inheriting their parents' landed property. In order to allow
overseas merchants to avoid this risk, England and France extended subject
status to subjects' children. In England, the law of descent (iiis sangiiinis)
applied to all children and, from 1773, to the grandchildren of British men
whose absence from the British Isles was not connected to treason. In France,
the Paris partement granted subject status to the foreign-born children of
French parents residing permanently in France in 1576. This solved the
problem of inheritance by making dual nationality the rule for children born
abroad '-
England's early modern history was shaped by personal unions with
Scotland (from James I) and Hanover (under Kings George I, II, III and IV, and
' william IV); the Dutchman william III was another foreign king. The first
personal union, with Scotland, raised the question of whether the right of
escheat applied to subjects who inherited property in their monarch's other
kingdom. In 1608, the Court of Exchequer Chamber ruled in a lawsuit brought
in the name of an infant called Calvin that subject status was a result of
allegiance to a person, so that no subject of James I of England could be an
alien in the territory of James VI of Scotland, as both were the same man.'
During the second personal union, with Hanover, this was not a viable
proposition. %William III's Dutch advisers had alienated English elites, and
parliament wished to prevent George I's Hanoverian courtiers from obtaining
a similar degree of political and economic influence. Personal union with

Hanover was, unlike personal union with Scotland, unlikely to be per1nanenf

Quite apart from the fact that English politicians had little interest in the poor
and remote German territory, the rules of succession there differed from those
in England by excluding women; personal union ended in 1837, when Victoria
inherited the British throne.
The 1701 Act of Settlement, which established the Hanoverian succession,
excluded aliens from political influence. Naturalized subjects could not obtain
land from the crown or be appointed to British offices unless parliament
explicitly decreed otherwise (which it did only in the case of future kings or
their immediate family). As parliament assumed that personal union did not
make Hanoverians 'natural-born subjects', Calvin's Case was clearly not
considered fundamental to the definition of citizenship.'~
In France, personal union was not likely. Kings appointed foreign-born
politicians,' but feared loss of territory; hence the focus on permanent resi-
dence as a condition for recognition as a subject (regnicote). Children and
grandchildren of aliens resident in France could inherit from 1515, and the
droit d'aubaine was gradually abolished by blanket exemptions. Between 1766
and 1787, 75 treaties exempted natives of almost every country, though some
conventions retained a 10 per cent departure tax for reasons of reciprocity. If
exemption from the droit d'a1(baine distinguished Frenchmen from aliens, then
practically everybody within France's borders was now French.'
Naturalization could turn aliens into subjects. In Britain, naturalization and
denization appear to have had identical effects by the eighteenth century.
Naturalization was granted to Protestants by parliament in a p r ivate act;
anybody could obtain denization through letters patent issued by the crown.
Both procedures were expensive: it cost around 63 pounds to 100 pounds for
naturalization and anything from H pounds for denization.' In France, natu-
ralization was granted by the crown either retrospectively or for the future
through the royal chancellery, and registered with the tax office in chat'ge of
the applicant's place of residence. The procedure cost more than 350 livres (the
equivalent of three years' salary for a skilled Parisian craftsman); the crown' s
right to a portion of an applicant's possessions was waived from the late
sixteenth century onwards. British naturalization offered a lesser sort of subIt
status valid only in England and AVales, Scotland, or Ireland, whereas French
naturalization conferred all the rights of a regnicole.' Th ere were an average
of 45 naturalizations a year in France between 1660 and 1789, and betwee"
(1660 to 1759) and around 14 (1759 to 1780) in Britain.'
Occasionally, free or discounted naturalization was offered as an incerIte
to immigrate. In Britain, denization at a discount was available between 1681
and 1688 (and was taken up by 3,510 individuals). Similarly, naturalizat1on

requirements were eased from 1709 to 1712 (for 2,329 people). Unattractive
occupations, places of residence or investments conferred subject status auto-
matically: three years' activity in the northern whale fisheries allowed an indi-
vidual to qualify, as did five years' trading in the southern whale fisheries,
moving to Ireland with their families and possessions, or purchasing 580 of
Bank of Scotland stock. France offered exemption from the droit d'aubaine
as an inducement to work in factories, settle in any of four specific provinces
or in 12 cities, clear uncultivated land, join a guild, study in France, or serve in
French armies. ' Neither France nor Britain made the acquisition of indigenous
language skills a condition for naturalization.
Naturalization did not affect individuals' obligations towards their native
country. The British legal system assumed that releasing subjects from the
'natural and perpetual' allegiance acquired at birth was impossible. In a time
of volunteer armies, no one was likely to have to take up arms against his
country of birth on the orders of his country of residence, and fighting as a
volunteer was rarely considered treason.~
Britain's American colonies were established by private corporations under
royal charters which specified that British subjects and their children, as well
as children born in the colonies, retained or acquired subject status according
to the same rules that were followed in Britain. Aliens' rights were determined
by the corporation's proprietors. Many non-British immigrants obtained
letters of denization before crossing the Atlantic in the seventeenth century, but
naturalization in the colonies was equally possible. In Virginia, the Carolinas,
New York and Pennsylvania, naturalization required an oath of loyalty to the
proprietors, with or without a minimum period of residence. In New England
colonies, parishes admitted aliens to the 'freedom' of the colonial 'corpora-
tion'. Elsewhere, naturalization was granted to individuals by representative
assemblies in an act analogous to parliamentary naturalization in Britain,
particularly after 1700.
Colonial naturalization was valid in one colony, where it granted political
rights, but not the right to participate in foreign or intercolonial trade, which
was reserved to natural-born or naturalized Britisb subjects. Because of the
hIgh cost of naturalization in Britain, colonial proprietors, particularly in
Pennsylvania, which had many German immigrants, lobbied for reform. In
1740, parliament allowed residents of British colonies in North America who
had been present for seven years (with no absence greater than two months)
who were Protestants, Quakers or Jews, and who swore an oath of allegiance
before a judge and paid a fee of at most 2 shillings, to become naturalized
British subjects with political rights limited to the colonies. In1756 the residence

requirement was lowered to five years for officers and engineers serving in the
army, and in 1761 to two years for all soldiers.
there were 55Z l o cal n a t uralizations
Between 1700 an d 1 740,
Pennsylvania, 135 in Ncw York and 83 in Maryland. After the 1740 act was
passed, almost 7,000 people were naturalized in American colonies under its
terms up to 1773 (there were Z11 per average year, and 6,400 naturalizations
took place in Pennsylvania alone). In other colonies, local naturalization
Jews, who were refused naturaliza
remained the preferred option, except for
tion in some New England colonies. A 1773 ban on colonial naturalization
was thus a major caesura, which made naturalization policy an issue in the
imperial crisis of the later eighteenth century+
In the Holy Roman Empire 'of the German Nation', the right of escheat did
not exist. Long-term residence was considered sufficient evidence of subjection
to the local ruler; an Austrian decree of 1784 stated that all 'aliens, who have
been present for a full ten years, are to be considered natives'."-~ Admission to
residence was thus the functional equivalent of naturalization.
The law of escheat was relevant only to aliens with landed property worth
more than naturalization cost and to some overseas traders. The proportion of
individuals entirely without property was around 50 per cent in England and
Wales in 1688, 60 per cent in mid eighteenth-century Paris, and 50 to 80 per
cent in German states.+
The bulk of international long-distance migration in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries was motivated by religious differences. Peaks resulted
from political turning points or religious communities' emigration decisions:
tens of thousands left Ireland and the German territories in the late seven-
teenth and early eighteenth centuries, and hundreds of thousands left France
after the revocation of the edict of N a ntes.~ Religious emigrants usually
sought to resettle as communities, something encouraged by receiving govern
ments'. grants of corporate, cultural and religious autonomy, as well as through
the tax benefits that were available to new scttlcmcnts in ncw towns or ncw

quarters of old towns. This increased monarchs' ability to divide and rulc a
recognized immigrant groups' distinct status in thc society of orders"
The 1730 to 1731 'Salzburg transaction' of 30,000 cmigrants added about
1 per cent to Prussia's population; roughly every sixth Berliner was Hugucn
in 1700.1+ I n s e venteenth-century Britain, t o tal H u g uenot i m m igrat' "
amounted to less than 1 per cent of the population, and even the 'massive
influx o Palatine emigrants into London in 1709 was less than 3 pecn
ux of
the town's population.
The perm
manent or temporary migration of individual merchant a
n downers, or mercenaries for economic, personal e d u
craftsmen lando

reasons is hard to quantify. In the future United States, the proportion of long-
distance migrants in 1775 was probably around 10 per cent of the population,
or 220,000 individuals, with around 97,000 of these not British subjects, and
around 12,000 non-subjects free individuals making about 4 per cent of the
population non-subjects, and less than 1 per cent free aliens. Few aliens were
to bc found among the political and economic clitcs.~ Analysis of a tax on
'aliens' in 1697 France suggests that the proportion of non-citizens from
abroad (illegitimate children and anbairr's heirs' were also taxed) was below
1 per cent of the population. It never exceeded 4 per cent of the population in
Paris suburbs.
Aliens appeared highly desirable to the British and French governments.
They were seen as specialists in commerce or manufacture or as purchasers
of property. This was a biased perception, but impressionistic perceptions
were characteristic of eighteenth-century economic analysis. ' Less well-to-
do immigrants were classed as 'foreigners' not integrated into a local commu-
nity. Hence, the status of 'foreigner', foraitt or Frenider z was often morc
disadvantageous than being 'alien', anbain or Anslander.

Political Rights in the Ancien Keginre

Table 1.1: Individuals able to exercise national political rights, around 1780

Country Electorate Elcctoratc as Electors with Active

proportion of an opportunity electors as
thc population to vote proportion of
the popularion

England, Wales -300,000 -4% <75,000 -1%

and Scotland

France -40-50% of <10% 0 between 1614 0%

heads of and 1788
Prussia 0
Austria 0
Frankfurt 44 01% 44 0.1%
Thirteen -50-80% of <4% 5 0-80% or U>-I0% < 4 % or < %
Coloniesu adult vvhite of adult white
males males ~

Formal participation in state-wide political processes was the exception

throughout ancien reginre Europe. In France, state-wide estates were not
convcncd between 1614 and 1789. Nor were they established when the
Hapsburg Empire or Prussia expanded to new territories.

Representative assemblies were not islands of 'democracy' in a sea of auto

cratic 'enlightened despotism'. They represented 'estates' or corporations,
which were usually made up of the clergy, the aristocracy and the towns. Their
main concern was with local disputes and privileges. M ost members owed
their presence to inheritance or other offices, or were drawn from a small elite.
In Wurttemberg, which is often cited as a particularly vibrant example of
estates, 20 per cent of m embers were appointed by the duke, while the
remainder represented the regional administration. In the free city of Frankfurt
am Main, 12 per cent of i nhabitants could aspire to membership in the
decision-making body the 44-member city council provided they were co-
opted. Eighty per cent of seats in the House of Commons were in the hands of
800 'parliamentary families' in the long eighteenth century.
In theory, members of Britain's House of Commons were elected by around
300,000 men qualified to cast votes in one or more constituencies. The fran-
chise depended on effective control of land valued at an annual rent of more
than 40 shillings in the counties, and on ownership of specific property, or on
membership of craft guilds or councils, possession of a town's 'freedom', or
residence or tax status in the more numerous 'borough' (town) constituencies,
roughly half of which had only a few electors.
In practice, British electors had 'fewer opportunities to cast a vote than to
observe Halley's comet'. Between 1734 and 1832, a quarter of constituencies
witnessed at most one election, while half had at most three; 'most of the elec-
torate was a stage army, never or rarely voting'. XVhen elections did take place,
the expense of 30,000 to 100,000 pounds per candidate ensured that they were
controlled by members of the economic elite.~
Aliens could not own land in Britain, though they could theoretically effec-
tively control it through short-term tenancies. Aliens could also obtain the
freedom of British cities or enter local guilds. If they were thus qualified, aliens
seem to have been allowed to vote at least occasionally. 8
Parliamentary assemblies in Britain's American colonies were not national
parliaments; their decisions could be rejected by the crown or the XVestminst
parliament. Except in Rhode Island and Connecticut they did not influence the
appointment of the governor or other high officials. Their franchise was avail-
able to men over 21 (though widows occasionally voted) who met property and
status requirements: owners of (rather than those who controlled ) land valued
at 40 shillings or 40 to 50 pounds of 'visible estate', 'freemen', discharged
apprentices, or householders. Many colonies imposed residence requiremen~~
of between six months and two years, Catholics and Jews were excluded from
the franchise in some colonies (six colonies for Catholics, seven for Jews)
though the extent of enforcement is uncertain. Non-whites were usually also

excluded, though without much legal basis. Only two colonies convinced
British officials to accept statutes permanently excluding non-whites from the
franchise. Usually, they failed to see 'why one Freeman should be used worse
than another, merely upon account of his complexion', as attorney-general
Richard West put it in 1724. Aliens were not systematically excluded from the
franchise (and were explicitly admitted to it in Georgia), but were barred from
holding office or becoming members of representative assemblies." Between
50 and 80 percent of adult males qualified for the franchise on the basis of
property, but taking age, sex and race into account, it appears that the fran-
chise was available to less than 4 per cent of the population. Contested elec-
tions were more frequent than in England, with electoral turnout averaging
around 50 per cent, often as a result of difficulties in reaching polling places
and uncertainty about possible rejection there.~'
Where representative assemblies had ceased to meet, political decision-
making occurred in royal councils selected by the monarch. Even when it
became customary for the king to accept the recommendation of his council-
lors as in Louis XV's France- the monarch could choose to end proceedings
before a vote. Recent emphasis on the limitations of 'absolutist' power is no
doubt justified; nevertheless, even if it required cooperation from elites, the
crown could choose which sections of elites it wished to cooperate with."-'

Economic Rights in a Society of O r ders and Estates

Economic and political relations were linked in ancien regime European soci-
eties. Today, economic contracts involve the exchange of goods, services or
money between individuals, companies or institutions. While the relationship
may be asymmetrical, the two contracting parties are equal outside the work-
place. In early modern societies, however, superiors master craftsmen,
teachers, professors or landlords acquired power over subordinates; they
could impose a range of sanctions like beatings, detentions, fines, or expulsion
from the corporation either individually or through corporate courts. Where
land tenancies were involved, power relations created 'feudal' bonds between
lords and tenants, who assumed a variety of obligations to provide money,
goods or labour for various institutions. These included tithes to the Church,
corvees, robot (labour service, usually for road-building and maintenance) and
militia service to the crown, or goods or services to landlords. In return, land-
lords undertook to maintain order, represent the local population vis-a-vis
central authorities, and supply some emergency relief. In some regions, the'
extent of tenants' obligations could turn them into serfs or Leibeigene. In

towns, power tended to be shared between the full members of the urban
corporation with public duties imposed on a greater proportion of residents.'3
These power relations were reflected by the division of society into 'estates'
dedicated to specific occupations and social roles. The clergy mediated
be@veen the present and the afterlife and regulated family affairs. The nobility
dominated civilian and military state service. Burghers dominated crafts,
trade, long-distance commerce and the emerging financial services. Farmers
produced food. The large proportion of t h e p opulation which remained
outside estates was available for dependent, transitory work such as personal
service, soldiering, casual labour and mobile retail trade.
No estate was entirely closed or immune from competition. University-
educated sons of burghers or farmers could aspire to posts in crown service,
while wealthy merchants could purchase aristocratic estates. Aliens and
operating with privileges from the crown, as well as craftsmen in the guild-free
countryside, challenged town burghers' monopolies.~ Estate membership
required training, talent and personal choice for instance membership in a
country's established Church- in addition to honourable birth. Higher educa-
tion was a prerequisite for entry into the clergy or the legal profession, and
most guilds required the successful completion of a n a p p renticeship.
Nevertheless, career options were limited by family traditions and financial
realities. Being born an aristocrat was more likely than being ennobled as a
reward for exceptional deeds.
The order of estates was, in many ways, international. Manners and dress
that communicated social rank were recognized in much of Europe. This was
most obvious at the top of societies, for instance in rules of court etiquette
which took account only of rank and family relationships.~ Of the countri~~
studied here, only Britain banned the employment of aliens in g overnm
Elsewhere, people of rank could seek to attract any monarch's notice to obtain
a post in the administration or military; a ban on non-nobles was me
common than a ban on aliens, particularly as senior military commanders
almost had to outrank their subordinates and sovereigns of smaller terrltorles
or their legitimate or illegitimate sons were thus particularly suitable
Membership of craft guilds, a community of burghers or land tenure by
contrast, accorded economic rights valid only in one place, though this Inlgl'
include exemption from duties or tolls in a larger area. Guilds and town
admitted aliens as well as natives.~7
The central state's ability to control economic migration focused on eco
nomic sectors 'below' the estates. Unskilled labour, domestic servic~
commissioned ranks of t h e m i l itary and some forms o f l o n g-distance

commerce were controlled through police laws, recruiting practices, or

navigation acts. However, state interest in soldiers, combined with officials'
lack of interest in members of the lower orders tended to ensure openness to
The society of estates evolved in different ways in the British metropolis, the
British colonies, France and the German states in the course of the eighteenth
century. In Britain, 'estates' were becoming less relevant. By European stan-
dards, the aristocracy was small, with o nly 220 t o 25 0 English peers.
Membership brought mainly the right to sit in or (in Scotland) elect represen-
tatives to the House of Lords, and owed much to achievements or wealth: in
the 1780s, for example, only three members of the House of Lords could trace
their noble status to medieval roots.""
'Feudal' obligations were privatized or turned over to public bodies. Major
roads were'turnpikes' maintained by access charges rather than labour service;
paving, lighting, security and sewerage in cities were increasingly financed
through rates."' Most corporate towns still had a legally defined 'membership'
of burgesses or freemen with a monopoly of retail trade and crafts. Merchants
and wholesalerswere encouraged to take up the freedom and were offered
exemption from dues in the corporation or t h roughout the kingdom in
exchange, but the character of local economic regulation varied enormously, as
the 1835 municipal corporations' commission documented in a four-volume
report. Villages could be organized as municipal corporations, for example,
whereas Manchester lacked a corporate structure. Similarly, trade monopolies
were enforced strictly in some places, but not at all in others and freeman
statuscould be acquired by tmining, descent, and/or purchase. Though reli-
gious conformity remained important for some economic opportunities, such
as access to brokers' licences, in other ways British society was beginning to
resemble a 'class society', where wealth and standing were more relevant than
membership of an estate.
Though some features of ancien reginte society existed there, American
colonies were still less estate-oriented. There was no local aristocracy, though
closed municipal corporations existed until well into the republican period. '
By contrast,the boundary between free and unfree labour was more
pronounced than in Britain. Slavery in the colonies differed from the kind of
Indentured service that was common in Britain by its indefinite duration,
heredity, and a legal framework that treated slaves as goods, denying them
rights to property or marriage. Though this form of labour management was
considered necessary in the Caribbean sugar islands, it was seen as unaccept-
able in the imperial metropolis, as Lord Mansfield's judgement of 1772
declaring slavery illegal in Britain documented.5z

In France, much of the population formed part of estates with well-defined

privileges. 'Gentry' status in Britain was a matter of perception, but 'nobility'
in France was a matter of law for around 2 per cent of the population. The
French nobility was not a closed caste: only 5 per cent of families could trace
their noble lineage back to the Middle Ages. The monarchy sold patents of
nobility, and in some provinces 'living nobly' for a number of generations was
sufficient to have one's status recognized; immediately before the Revolution,
tax farmers were about to succeed in redefining themselves as a noble estate.
The nobility benefited from a substantial array of p r ivileges Nobles and
burghers of some cities were exempt from most taxes other than royal income
tax, received degrees more quickly at universities, had preferred access to
offices at court and were the only legitimate owners of noble estates. The
nobility was in charge of local jurisdiction. The French nobility was required
to obey the monarch, to continue to maintain a noble lifestyle and to pass most
of its estates on to the oldest son.
Crafts were regulated by general police regulations, and by metiers j oresin'
towns. Towns could accept foreigners from outside the city or aliens as munic-
ipal citizens and members of guilds. Exceptions existed only for a few profes-
sions of national importance, such as banking, where aliens were required to
post a substantial surety. A competing form of access was the purchase of
membership from the crown. In 1776, the crown even granted aliens and
Frenchmen access to guilds on equal terms. Legal divisions between orders
remained in place, but cash payments to the crown could provide a degree of
access corporations considered improper, with the nobility's complaints about
the admission of social climbers echoed by guilds' protests against admissions
of Huguenots and Jews.s4
Slavery in France's Caribbean colonies was regulated by the ambivalent 1685
Code Noir, w h ich treated slaves as their masters' property but a ls o
Catholics and subjects protected against extreme violence. In metropolitan
France the legal status of slavery was uncertain, as the Paris parlenIent had
refused to accept the Code Noir in 1716, and blacks in metropolitan France
achieved a degree of legal equality with whites of similar rank. Slave owners
could theoretically bring their 'property' to France for instruction, but the
Paris parlenient and the admiralty court situated in its jurisdiction freed 245
slaves between 1752 and 1790.
In the Holy Roman Empire, the imperial legal system ensured some homo-
geneity. Journeymen were required to spend a few years 'tramping' (working
f or various employers outside their native region) before recognition
masters; the structure of towns was broadly similar; and university degrees
were recognized throughout the Empire. The weakness of the Emperor's posi-

tion in the eighteenth century prevented a central institution from providing

honours without estates' consent, let alone alternative routes to corporate
membership, while the existence of imperial courts prevented territorial rulers
from modifying the privileges of estates.
Membership of German estates was difficult to acquire, as corporations
desired to provide maximum benefits for existing members and new members
without capital or access to new trade routes would have reduced that benefit.
This logic applied to towns, villages and the nobility. Whether outsiders came
from outside the Empire, another territory of the Empire or the same 'state'
was irrelevant: the emphasis was on assets and prospects combined with entry

L ocal Social Support and the Problem of M o b i l i t y

In 1692, France suffered a disastrously bad harvest. The year was unusually wet
and cold even by standards of the short 'ice age' between 1687 and 1700. In a
good year, the country produced only enough crops for its population. In 1692,
it failed to do so, and the next year was no better. To make matters worse,
France was embroiled in the War of the Palatine Succession against a pan-
European coalition that had begun in 1688 and was to drag on until 1697. War
brought unburied bodies, unburied bodies brought disease, and disease spread
like wildfire in a population weakened by hunger. From 1692 to 1694, France
sufferedthe greatest demographic catastrophe in her modern history,a popu-
lation decline of almost 7 per cent. More than 1.3 million people died in those
two years. (During the First World War, France then a country twice as popu-
lous as it had been in the late seventeenth-century 'years of misery' lost 1.4
million men in four years.) Local authorities and the crown did what they
could, which amounted to very little. Some grain was distributed and there
were attempts to keep food prices stable through subsidies and legislation, but
spending for the military was the first priority, and food supplies were insuffi-
cient. An even greater crisis developed in the 'great winter' during the
Northern War of 1709 to 1710, when the population of Prussia's eastern
districts dropped by almost half.5s
Due to better climatic conditions, the introduction of new crops, more
intensive farming methods and improved transport links, no such crisis
recurred in the eighteenth century. Relief of extreme poverty became a real-
istic possibility. Again, European states faced similar problems, but adopted
slightly different solutions.
In any society, a proportion of the population lives at or below a 'poverty
lIne' defined with reference to an average state of economic wellbeing. Until

favell into the nineteenth century, thc poverty linc was equal to subsistence.
Thc number of thc poor in thc early modern period fluctuated with the price
of foodstuffs and the availability of work. In most of Europe, beaveen 30 and
80 pcr cent of the population required support as soon as either they were out
of svork or the price of foodstuffs rose above average. Beoveen 5 and 10 per
rent of town dwellers the best documented group were 'paupers' requiring
pcrmancnt relief.~ In colonial America, poverty was less widespread. At most
onc third of the colonies' population was 'poor', less than 2 per cent of urban
inhabitants were paupcrs in New York. '
By the seventeenth century at tl>e latest, poverty had come to be regarded as
a problem rather than a sign of saintliness. Contemporaries distinguished
beovccn two groups: those 'deserving' charity because they were unablc to
cat'n their living, and the 'undeserving', who failed to do so. Thc very young,
the very old, thc ill and the infirm could not work; all others should fend for
themselves.62 Localities, individuals and foundations supported the 'deserving'
poor who passed a test of means and morals with gifts, licences to beg, appren-
ticeship contracts, or places in a ' h ospital', 'poorhouse' or ' a lmshouse'.
Deserving poor werc stigmatized, even though the New York practice of
forcing paupers to wear a brightly coloured badge and using one building as a
combined poorhouse, workhouse and prison benvcen 1736 and 1775 was
somewhat extreme.' Higher ranks of society had access to relief from their
'estate', which did not formally class them as paupers. Government employees
retained part of their salary in old age; merchants and master craftsmen could
cl u p p o rt or a sinecure from their guild or municipality~
'Undeserving' poverty was a crime. Travelling without cmploymcnt, ready
money or proof of status was 'vagrancy'. Low-income mobile occupations
such as pedlar, showman 'bear-baiter', or m u sician, were restricted
outlawed. Penalties included imprisonment, corporal punishment, publ"
humiliation, branding, forced labour, removal to colonies, or recruitmen~ Int
the army or navy. In some smaller German tcrritorics, gypsies' vagrancy could
theoretically be punished by death, though cxccutions were rare. While some
scholars assume that edicts referring to 'gypsies', bobentiens or Zi g <>IC"
targeted a distinct ethnic group, the balance of the evidence suggests tha
authoritics stigmatized mobile and poor people in general.
R elief was administered locally, with wide variations of practice. Po ' " '
was usually more generous in towns, with 'hospitals' offering semi-pcrman "
accommodation to the sick poor, cash relief with less social control and m
p rivate charity. Urban officials therefore lived in constant fear of paup g ' a
tion from the countryside. In sixteenth-century France and England, the o' "
responded by imposing countrywide rules. Individuals could only claim II

at their domicile or 'settlement', normally thc place of birth documented in

baptismal records. England's law of settlement considered residcncc of more
than one year with permission of poor law officials, municipal office, or resi-
dence in a dwelling worth more than 10 pounds in rent annually as a change of
scttlcment. Parishes could also accept continued responsibility for individuals
elsewhere in settlement certificates. People who fell on hard times outside their
settlement were 'removed' there unless this parish agreed to fund their stay
An analogous system existed in Britain's'American colonies. In the course of
the eighteenth century, colonial legislation placed more emphasis on settle-
ment certificates, and conditions for acquiring a new settlement became more
stringent than in England. In Rhode Island, localities could even send away
individuals with settlement certificates or bonds. The only protection against
deportation was purchasing land worth at least 40 pounds.~ In German terri-
tories, settlement derived from individuals' status as members of a corpora-
tion. In towns individuals who were not members of a guild or town burghers
could become BeisasseII or ScbIItzverIvandte (non-burghers offered protection)
with residence rights.
Tying poor relief to settlement discouraged vulnerable social groups from
moving. The notion that strangers not on official business, travelling for
pleasure or instruction, or on their way to a new employer were 'suspicious'
was therefore not an irrational, 'almost paranoid' fear of outsiders, but a
rational assessment of likely behaviour patterns. N evertheless, many people
moved, though usually over shorter distances in search of (seasonal) work.'
In England, where the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII and the
merger of the established Church and the state had reduced the role of the
Church in caring for the poor, relief was financed by local taxes on property
administered by parishes, which could decide to relieve members living in other
parts of England. Claimants from Scotland or Ireland were generally removed
to their settlemcnt, but aliens without a settlement in Britain or Ireland usually
obtained relief in their place of residence. '
In Prance thc Church continued to be the most important poor relief insti-
tution, and it paid little attention to secular regulations. 'State' intervention
was limited to 'public' institutions in towns and the prevention of pauper
mobility, mainly through the para-military rural police, the mareclsaIIssee.By
the early eighteenth century, critical enlightened analysis blamed the crown' s
policy for the extent of poverty. By focusing on keeping grain prices low, the
French monarchy reduced farmers' purchasing power and reduced employment
opportunities in crafts and trade, depressing wages below subsistence level; by
forcible recruitment into thc army, it encouraged desertion and vagrancy.

The crownbbeganttooverhaul
over au the poor relief system in response focus,n
the construction o f hospitals
iospita s for the relief of the poor which provided accom
d '
modation,, ru imcntary medical treatment or outdoor relief for o r pliaiis
invalids, the aged and the sick who had lived in a town for at least a year
though neivcomcrs had little prospect of places often reserved years (cl,
advance. Some towns coordinated charity in birrenwx de dynritq
offices). In times of severe economic crisis, the crown initiated programmes o f
public ivorks; suchnteliers de cbnriti (charity vvorkshops) became a fixture o f
French poor relief policy from at least 1770. The crown also increased the
repression of 'undeserving' paupers by removing them to colonies, and, from

1767, forcing them to work in depots de ntendicite (xvorkhouses).

In German states, poor relief was managed by individual corporations
or th e e m pire.
ivithout much supervision by territorial governments
Workhouses proved expensive rather than profitable, and xvere established only
in larger states, notably in Prussia, Austria and Bavaria. Austria and Prussia
also attempted the 'internal colonization' of sparsely settled eastern territories
vvith skilled vvorkers. What set German arrangements apart from those in more
cohesive states was thc emphasis on getting rid of paupers, including long-term
residents, by 'pushing' them across the border of the town, the village or the
territory. Austria organized regular transportations of paupers to Franconia,
for instance. This approach exacerbated the problem of legal homelessness.
Once outside their domicile, paupers were vagrants and thus criminals, w
had little alternative to surviving through crime.
Formal citizenship played at most a marginal role for poor relief or the
punishment of vagrancy. Local officials were concerned with migrants' o
nomic prospects, not their allegiance. Vagrancy was a crime that both citizens
and aliens could corn mmit, andboth could offer a settlement certifica e o
written tcstimony from m a respectable person in defence. Anyone could "
removed from a place whe h ere he or she vvas not settled, and could c" n
banished from the settlement
ment as a punishment for crimes. If offered to vv
integrated, respected individuauals, however, charity or poor relief did not ""
to lead to expulsion.7~
There were thus a number er oofdiffcrcnces
differc between practice in netc" " g'
societies and the concept of citizenship.
citizenshi . In In tthe economic, politic~I an
eres, w at counted was, primaril ' y,' ran
rank, Moreover, many rights w
e internationally or locally, but hard
a y, ut Iardiy ever'only nationally. This folio" "
car y mo em states, which lacked the p '
to impose uni
orm rules,
I and reflected te
ed the relative importance
y,cu ture, anguage, religion and status.

Early modern societies emphasized differences between 'estates', provincial

privileges, individual tax liabilities and corporations. All large states were
composite states consisting of distinct provinces with individual law codes,
currencies and measurements. In Britain, this remains the case, with different
currencies (with th e same value) in E ngland and Wales, Scotland and
(Northern) Ireland. Concern about linguistic uniformity and ethnic homo-
geneity was limited. In France, the use of French was officially mandatory, but
parish registers in the Pyrenees continued to be kept in Catalan. In Prussia and
other German states, the continued use of French by Huguenot immigrants
was encouraged, and French remained the language of instruction in schools in
Huguenot areas until well into the nineteenth century75
Ethnic origins were of relatively little importance because the most widely
accepted explanation for 'national' differences emphasized the role of climate.
The effect of climate on the 'humours' and 'fibres' of the body, apparently
confirmed by experiments on animals, stimulated certain potentialities at the
expense of others. Germans' and Britons' sober work ethic was therefore as
much a result of their surroundings as were Italians' and Spaniards' passion
and indolence. Climate acted on the body immediately. If this was true and
hardly anyone assumed it wasn't integration followed from moving, though
moving would not change relative rank.
This environmental view of h u manity's differences followed from the
description of its common origin in the Bible. The evolution of different
European 'nations' from 'Nos peres,tes anciens Gerniains'~ ('our fathers, the
ancient Germans' ), as Montesquieu put it, in the course of a few centuries
provided further proof, as did the enlightenment exploration of Asia.7'
In areas where slavery was common, the climate theory's insistence on
universal human similarity was d isregarded for A f r icans. Montesquieu
summarized theories declaring slavery economically necessary and calling the
humanity of people with black skin into question, but found them largely
unconvincing, though slavery might be justifiable as a temporary expedient for
rcibie civilization in extremely hot climates, provided slaves were treated
liumanely, not subject to sexual abuse and allowed to receive poor relief in old
age A dvocates of slavery proposed alternative sociological theories based on
a biological difference between white and black races, which as yet found little
Montesquieu accepted that slavery might be the quickest way to convert
fricans to Catholicism." Habits and culture might be functions of climate,
b l i g ion was a matter of absolute truth. Religious disunity threatened the
liold of the monarch over his population, and all European countries except
Prussia and Britain were confessional states with one officially recognized
i( c.f f f/f:r>sffff

rc lif!>r>r> tii wllicl,' ll sr>l>jccts oF thc crown werc required to conform. prussia
;>f>cl ltrif.>r'r>'stcilcr;>tie>>ic>f rclif>jr>crs disscntcrs had distinct limits for Catho]pcs
'f lic. kc y rr>crlic.rsl>rl> crrtcria irr thc society of estates were local membership,
rr>k, rc.lif!Ic>r>,cr>cl> ir> terr>c>tc cc>lonics, ethnicity linked to the economic status
>very,'I l>c>crt!l> icf!'rl (le%>>itic>rrs c>f citizenship cxistcd in some countries,
r>l sl>
Ilrcy werc lrr rrry w;>ys rctrrcitc from everyday cxpericncc.



The period between thc outbreak of thc An)ric;))) ltcv))l))th))) i)) l775 ))))d il)
end of thc Napoleonic Wars in 1815 was;) turni))g 1)))i))t h) )I) I)l <)))))'y ))f
modern citizenship. Thc United States Dclartion ()f l))dcl)))d))c ))I' I, f))ly
1776 and the French Declaration of thc Rigl)ts of Mn ))tl ()f tl)v. ('i)lzc)) ol
26 August 1789 repudiated monarchical govrnn)cnt ()f ) s()ic)y ()f 'v<)[))(c!)'
and proposed to base government on the dcisions ()f 'l)v))ple' ))r 'cl)iz))!)',
Constitutions which translated abstract principles int)) c))))crete 1)rct)c)'il))i()))!i
were designed to answer thc question of who 'the pcopl' or 'th. itizc))!)' wcr<
and how they would participate in government.
Government was the main, but not thc only, area of change, 1',<'t;)l)libel)d I))
France in the early 1790s and soon adopted throughout I'.un)1)c,;) c)))))prvl)cn
sive passport regime created thc 'documented citizen',' whil thc n)ili);)ry
mobilization of the French citizenry in 1793 added the citizen-in-;)rn)s t)) tl)c
citizen-at-the-poll as an icon of republican citizenship. The Irn))st sinu)lt;)-
neous emergence of the 'citizen' as political actor, conscripted soldier ))d
passport holder is usually seen as marking the invention of 'modern' citizen-
ship as membership of a society of equals governed democratically The exclu-
sion of ivomen, ethnic minorities and the poor from citizen status in tl)e
revolutionary era therefore appears as a failure by revolutionaries to live up to
their principlca.z
European monarchies had to confront not just the idrolcv~>cal appeal of a
society of equal citizens but the military potential of the French republic. ln fe;s
than four years, th transition to rep&~lic~ go;erne.~n iud t ransformed
fu)anciaIIi and tnonlly bankru"-t co<~. i nto an in)perial pr"w +ter~)<ng from
Spa)nto~io~mc. Tb<ss ~ s o . ' ~ oI w m = ~ ' c )Jz~ i k : p t u ~ e h t ) nroan ob I
fo r tn- rela"..on cwp be:.~ ~ ~ e ~ 3. c~ ~ ~ o - s < '-e<-sL". ~ <r < ~:.e..
As even:s ~ve-. so cz;~ ~ " . "
.. c~ a r a n ons oL~ e<: m) ,. ~~ ~ s o c ) ~ ~ an ' ~~e
Y'0 " t<o~~w ~ r~ < - a km pc~-.- o~ H ~ n l E 'K o - ~ o r t )"e U~ e <

religion to which all subjects of the crown were required to conform pruss>a
and Britain's toleration of religious dissenters had distinct limits for CatholIc~
The key mcmbcrship criteria in the society of estates were local membershIp
rank, religion and, in remote colonies, ethnicity linked to the economic stats
of slavery. Though legal definitions of citizenship existed in some countries
they werc in many ways remote from everyday experience.


The period between the outbreak of the American Revolution in 1775 and the
end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 was a turning point in the history of
modern citizenship. The United States Declaration of Independence of 4 July
1776 and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of
26 August 1789 repudiated monarchical government of a society of 'estates'
and proposed to base government on the decisions of 'people' or 'citizens'
Constitutions which translated abstract principles into concrete prescriptions
were designed to answer the question of who 'the people' or 'the citizens' were,
and how they would participate in government.
Government was the main, but not the only, area of change. Established in
France in the early 1790s and soon adopted throughout Europe, a comprehen-
sive passport regime created the 'documented citizen',' while the military
mobilization of the French citizenry in 1793 added the citizen-in-arms to the
citizen-at-the-poll as an icon of republican citizenship. The almost simulta-'
neous emergence of the 'citizen' as political actor, conscripted soldier and
passport holder is usually seen as marking the invention of 'modern' citizen-
ship as membership of a society of equals governed democratically. The exclu-
sion of women, ethnic minorities and the poor from citizen status in the
revolutionary era therefore appears as a failure by revolutionaries to live up to
their principles.z
European monarchies had to confront not just the ideological appeal of a
society of equal citizens but the military potential of the French republic. In less
than four years, the tnnsition to republican government had transformed a
financially and morally bankrupt country into an imperial power extending from
Pn to Moscow. This success of 'revolutionary'citizenship turned it into a model
r the relationship between the state and citizens or subjects in monarchies.3
As events were so dramatic, declarations of equality appear so clear, and the
revolutionary era remains a key point of reference in the histories of the United
)I' .li;i!!g is;ill too asily 'x; ggcratcd. On lo.
Ni;iles,ill I 1'I;i)ice, ill 0 1,!
)iisli c iiiii,1)i1't it it t) i)i;ii } I"ii 1 r ilou i lly niodifi d thc soci ty o f o d
;iiitl csi;iis tv) t lit!i'It s'i'tvc)I'ill), it aiv;i} coiupletel}'. )<Cvo)utio!iary citizenship did
;hi;6 this)i in'3} )lait Iit thc ICI,Ac} of cIitfe're!ice conditioned by social rank,
lii,0 'v!4 ) IAi',it 4ic'AIBA 'I shii'>, I!CI'!der, in arital stAtus, religious beliefs and ethnic
4)Atit}'. h'<itI s, 'IiA'ss')i!}rt-hAIdcrs A'Iid s<i)diers ivcre nor three dcscriptloiis o f a
sili).'1 lii l)c 'Dl I7I!1} I r)lc}' hk'CI'c t)il'ee x! !sr!net' gi'oilps.

I'it)i'I",I) l(i'I'I'tih)iiii'n 'Cttiz~vnsh'ip': Thi.. United States

r I

!411'ii<'II'IX )>i'I'!it'i'I'I!ii'It!!i' ! I'Iid hi.'r <e)6n)css in X<'or'rh America Vcrcrioratcd:in

't)ii '<'i'c'<'I!It) 'lull' V>t 't)ii k'il.hrcir'ith itiitiin' hs Britain ioughr xo >incrca+ 'r'hc
<r>)<III!~:th Vr>i\ri i)iu\)(iti t6 'thea c6st i ll <fil f'I e t5 i l I lpibsint'. neiv Jut!cs. .kt rile
~':iI!ic't! !iii,'li'q.iirirrh)')i'l~!itiQih'the )iiiiiv. +t.'j!ir)i;I'ii!cant''poiv~~ h<d;par'li ulnr
rpti'si'Iitcd.!It IXi~tmin: tcr4 n d 'v-"rc
i'~I>l!,1)it'r ',I~ .II)iiii h.":!h'LMI)ll)inc'Ai'c ix')Iht "r<s
r > r r r ' .> -. : - '
I ))i. I) 'i!)~I!)! I II'>II)) i!i))'a)! t!i<''v ) "& ki t real '-t)is ir iC' Iii Iiic'.iiirn) '-I li!ch~t 7.'
VH! i <
' ~" " ' i " ' IIII< i' "ii) I 'I) ;) q rliIlt x r('trilie I pi.!,.)ts) ~ )i<~'..) n ~ t!II>)i' s. v'hose
IlV. lit i X Sl ' ' )' )'li'l IIl< '4 > II)lIK)i"I 4 < i t z r<>< !ill! . .!I I<l)'CC)pin r.
I '! ' 'I' ' r
lI l ,s

I 1 1 'I 5"I I~c ) );+ 'I< 111'lit!' ""2i i '!! < X i'4>'11N:"!Uk<!~
" 'i' " I' " ' I ' l ' ' ( " )Q ui)I'))" i t a)) g'>iire~~qp ~ ' l r ( 1-:>!Cc~> -'!it!i!i~fr 'ti- illtr ' - -
i4 Vt!! IV!II.I));Iri>ilia'. biv t)ici s)! Iluucr qf r 1),r>,
! Il Jep<,'I4)eilce, i
Tlits Jcr,'ISLvti cuu)d.hei'".!qr.ii>ju~qIlI." J; v,! 'Ii rc>cr!:<1>is.',!!-1! i.; Ljtjti,!i-.p>4ttv -1:
Ir ir) tltuti; ii!I dely, read;i>utl>S,) t>i,JOLui Lrde)-r''S 7li <I-11i!icl)S S 0U" O'O'% L'! M <i<a:
JUJUcd.tli.I!Q)lti,u( s(IL>ic<.ts~ .UlJ -tIii Ir.c<)nw)u~!oii~.>veri cr >Ii(!ri!1e.l b~'; t)ie
;i!i!i- Quart,revu)utivti,u t I6~~~<, Ih< c<>)oiiists.pre>crr<J-'ti>-;IJore i
tiuti'11 euli-htenc J:p ublic.
iiliicli.inc)u J J <potential ininiiga i i t i ;Ind:t)ie[ejore=
fu<,use J on 'thc rights,uf, iueii.
n the!
1! ! IIr,c')aratiou ut,lndep<;IIJciic<:girt>niiseJ a !!i'd' guyernn!e! It'- O'I~) .
on thc sc)f-deteriuinatio!I.of 'the pe<iplc'; it h;id in ruin J u!Ily t)!
i pse.in-fay ! '
of secession., The crime of treason against c<>lo!!I;I) governniciits.intruJuce<l un
J e 6 ..4 t r l ppe4 oy;llists. of tlieir p
apJ pruperty rig!its., Once
hostilities.endcJ, rthe pcupl' haJ tu b<. reddined for a-nun!bur-of-pra<-'tie!I)
reasons The 17S3: S3. T '
TrciItv off I aris xvhic)i. granted ind<.'1 1L'll d ellce t u .
A llleric;In cololllcs eiltl t lcJ British
es~ntit!cd B subjects.tu conipi!sation, tliuug I I}rita
anJ the United State reed
's aI d oil lunl))-su!ns.l
I I ye'1rs]ater. r Iior t)ie.future
17S3 treaty dcterinined in I'livid'iduals. a))cgiancc by thir p)ace of resi Jei icThis
ivas ill lllle ivltll tra J 'it!oil:
'o I: peace tratics gnerally handed ovr territones.ivI'h
their resideiits,and ivhueyer iv's
vished to retain their previous allegiance li'I"- "
<'nligi'ate. Ikesidclits of all Alnci
crican state at thc time' of inilepnJence
' '

' became-

state citizens not due to rev

L'rt)sit y, l)tit I ii I l)<: est<)l)li))l)<I )')ilnh i) j
international law.
As the colonies seceded from l>rit.tit);) s 'freL ))<I j))<l<.j)L))< !U))i r)I;) tch', I j)cy I) ) <I
no common citizenship, However, tl)e hrtjL'j<.s of Co))f<fcr<)tj<))) L~tc))<je<j ij)c
reach of state citizenship for tl)e re:tso))l)ly well-<)ff i)))<lrcsj)cci il)jc l)y I)r.))) tj))I)
'citizens' of the individual states ring)
ts ~)f 'citjyA'))> ))<l j))j)I)jt))th' j)) <)ij)ci
states if Ihey were not 'paupers, vagalio)) J s,<,)'j iiij)) js ))<3f i)I<jl jycs f) <)iii ji) hi jLJ
(artide IV the socaHed 'privileges ai)d)i)ii)iuiiitis' LIus)." ''g'jIL )'LI)ultni<)))s))))
formal ciIIzeIIsIIip, IIaturajizatio)) and p<>li ti'< aI riy) It pss8 ly' rllL' hl '1 frch Qll 3 1 jl<.
UnIted States b rween 3776 It)id 3789 w<'f<' 'll'll)<,'<j IPJ,c<)lltl' 1|i<:t<)rp,llc('4 s/ J'Itc
loose federar)oII of IIen]y i n d eputidetit:tel)ul>liLs:i)) N<)rtl) A)it<:ri<.;1 w;th i<).;iic<irL.
))Ls&anc" ~vhichIIad dkni vtijy>teatsd;<4< c<Jt)5 Iiti<J)ts;f<)r Aiii< ri< iiii I<)/ l<p)5I-
<dtsapII ~~ Zs 4 potellttiti.tttl)'<.j111<J
c<J(I IlluLh Ii?,'tiv;H:ll;,l)c,4<Jilltl)<;r<.it) 11<15I
3QD'losvIIin<' '.EDV-
"Znln<' <" li(e: In J p<Jpt(jnf;ill<JV!(I)<',l? ts,(l)5)Iil? I<;$I;" .rli<.,<g?j5!ili<,'h
SsoU-31? M ~ Buon " y ; n n J !lnil11p'Jvi 'r,'I
S''Jul,'I; I(t5!I)<'. Qt (<Il)<!+Ill??U,(I I(I<.',;tl)
iimmittritti!<n<ul) j)' <;5n)Ip5ijfi5)I),5?f,jip<,'I I5?ri?g<.'>I?Ill?It)<<rjii",
~~ ~ < 6 0D' [6D II w.'
u.it";tuttnnnIIIC;anuu<.)II)MI <Iti u,:ti;r <n);II)jP tII)$5)I)~<<I) I(?I'<II1! Ili;I' tl<rHII5y <5'r
LIL~~~ II I I )m ;II mul l <cii ~HI tt al,",} i1~;<I tt) I)1w ill>';1?.'~~ L<,I">~?Ij<.-' I C~v c<5?II H'<('t', <
tH<miV.=-!Iu "ui @sat v<itndtt .ui hii VSInriintiiiiit)ii)<I'<? l)t' l5>.' tli6I) I IiIS'(S'"L=IIIlk!-'
~' ; 2 > c~' 1~ ~)' tk'~mtL.:~intitittei-';t)/.<)I)nit tit)I)IIIL<'*f)?It('-t(5<II?L

W~ I I ZXI I I I r

Tao-'~~! 6 taeaztzu Jii =zioh 'a~ Iat) on'.". b 'rivecn" I , 6-Ur<'d- I "90 <"

/ ' 2'. . '.. J: r .

N<tzttr Jii"ziotr< ResidirrcLi 0th'er' Vn'rin''g B<gibiiity'
regulated'by" rertuircm
cnr'. H
rcrluirc5'en'ci"- rtgt<ts' fn'r'
(ih Hd<I<rfnhn HssCmbly)
tc<'ra:,<lee an'd'-'
Pennsylvania Constimtion OhL<vca I' 'C<nnd- fnibied<"Hii' T<vo ) cars
( I//) characier', residincc'
Virmonr.. Constitution Oncg ear' 'Gnod-' Ininiedihre' Two years
( I/ii C chHracter", residence'
New York. Constitution Pi.rmanent ' /<<bjumtinn'of
(l~zz foreign'
special act of
Ieg Iisatu re
<51atyland S tatute (1r r 9) N o n e - Christianity; Immedi
ate Seven
white; oath years
Virginia Statute (1779) T 6'o years hVhite; oath' I mmediate

States and France, the degree of change is all too easily exaggerated. On clos~~
inspection, thc revolutionary era profoundly modified the society of ord~~s
and estates svithout ssvecping it away completely. Revolutionary citizenship dId
asvay ivith only part of the legacy of difference conditioned by social rank
local corporate membership, gender, marital status, religious beliefs and ethnic
identity. Voters, passport-holders and soldiers were not three descriptions of a
single male citizenry; they were three distinct groups.

Federal Republican Citizenship: The United States

Relations beovecn Britain and her colonies in North America dctcriorated in

thc second half of thc eighteenth century as Britain sought to increase thc
colonists' contribution to the cost of empire by imposing new duties. At the
same time, a general debate on the limits of parliament's powers had particular
resonance as American colonies were not represented at Westminster and were
concerned about parliamentary neglect of their commercial interests."
American oppositional groups formed parallel political assemblies, whose
rcprcscntatives gathcrcd at a first Continental Congress in 1774 Philadelphia.
In 1775, when Massachusetts militiamen first clashed intensively with British
soldiers, a second Continental Congress opted for the creation of an inter-
continental army; by the summer of 1776, it was prepared to demand
This decision could have been justified with reference to the British political
tradition; widely read works like John Locke's Two Treatises on Governinent
deduced the rights of subjects, and their conclusions were confirmed by the
anti-Stuart revolution of 1688. The colonists preferred to address an intern>-
tional enlightened public, which included potential immigrants, and thercfo
focused on thc rights of men.
When thc Declaration of Indcpcndcnce promised 'a ncw government' based
on the self-determination of 'the people', it had in mind only those in favour
of secession. The crime of treason against colonial governments introduced on
24 June 1776 stripped 'loyalists' of their political and property rights. On
hostilities ended, 'thc people' had to be redefined for a number of practIca
reasons. Thee 117838 Treaty of Paris, which granted independence t h
American colonies, entitled British subjects to compensation, though Br' an
and the United States
ates agreed on lump sums 11 years later." For the future~th
' ty determined
1783 trea ' ned 'individuals
d' allegiance by their place of residen T "
was in line with tradition:
' 'on: peace treaties generally handed over territories w' "
theirresidents and whoever ver wished to retain their previous allegiance had
emigrate. Residents of an American
A state at the time of independence bam

state citizens not duc to revolutionary generosity, but to the cstablishcd rules of
international law.
As the colonies seceded from Britain as 'free and independent states', they had
no common citizenship. However, the Articles of Confederation extended thc
reach of state citizenship for the reasonably well-off and respectable by granting
'citizens' of the individual states rights of 'citizens and inhabitants' in other
states if they were not 'paupers, vagabonds, criminals and fugitives from justice'
(article IV, the so-called 'privileges and immunities' clause).' The regulations on
formal citizenship, naturalization and political rights passed by the states and the
United States between 1776 and 1789 were shaped by contradictory needs. The
loose federation of newly independent republics in North America was insecure.
As France, which had effectively created the conditions for American independ-
ence, disappeared as a potential ally, and conflicts between the commercial and
landowning governing elite and popular movements mounted," the colonies
sought to attract money and manpower from Europe. At the same time, they
feared the effect of immigration on the composition of an electorate numbering
perhaps 600,000 men.'z
The automatic acquisition of citizenship through birth in a territory or
descent from a male citizen remained a universally accepted rule. By contrast,
there was no consensus on the admission of immigrants to citizenship (see Table
>.1). New England states continued to admit immigrants to the 'freemanship' of
a corporation.'

Table 2.1: State naturalization regulations beoveen 1776 and 1790'

State Naturalization Residence Other Voting Eligibility

rcgulatcd by r eq u i rement requirements rights for
(in addition assembly
to 'male' and
Pennsylvania Constrtutron One year 'Good Immediate Two years
(1776) character', residence
Vcrmoru Constitution One year 'Good Immediate Tsvo years'
(1777) character', residence
New Yorlc Consntunon Permanent Abjuration of
(1777) foreign
special act of
Maryland Smrute (1779) None Christianity; Immediate Seven
vvhite; oath years'
Virginia Statute (1779) T w o years White; oath' Im m ediate

Table 2.1: contiIIIIcd

Stale Naturalization Rcsidcncc Othe!' Voting Eligibility

rcgulatcd by rc q u i rcmcnt rcquircmcnts fights for
(in addition
to 'male' and

Virginia Statute (1783) T lvo years White; Immediate

marriagc Io a
cltlzcn oI'
purchase of
5100 property
South Constitution On e year White; 50 One year' s Thrcc
Carolina (1778) acres propert) residence yea I'5
Georgia Statute (1785) Registration White; court Seven years'
lvllh Coul't ccrtificatc rcsidcncc
for testifying Io and special
landolvncrship; honest act of
onc year fol' conduct; oath lcgislaturc
'frcc citizen'
Dclalvarc Statute (1788) None Oath Five years'
Nclv Jcrscy Constitution None Tlvclvc
(1776) months'
and Q'0
property for
all inhabitants

The most frequent solution of the property versus politics dilemma was a
tivo-tier naturalization procedure, which provided swift access to land owner-
ship, but delayed political rights, thus separating the right to property from
political citizenship. The right to own land was generally extended to aliens
soon after the revolution.'
Residence was proof and means of assimilation to thc republican way of life
Naturalization did not require a knowledge of English or significant wealth~'
and only Maryland imposed a religious test for naturalization. Many states did
however, impose religious tests on office-holders, denying office to Jews Most
of these restrictions were rescinded by the later 1820s, but religious limits on
office-holding remained on the statute books of North Carolina and New
Hampshire until 1868 and 1876 respectively.' While British naturalization law
had been colour
lour blind, Southern states explicitly prohibited the naturalization
of foreign-born non-whites immediately after independence. Naturalizatl "
involved a significant element of discretion in defining 'good conduct' ho'
was used is apparently not well known.

When the federal Constitution was drafted in 1787, formal citizenship

acquired an additional layer of complexity. The Constitution allowed Congress
'to establish a uniform rule of naturalization', but no uniform franchise for
federal elections. The economic and political implications of formal citizen-
ship remained distinct, and the Constitution placed naturalization in an econ-
omic context by linking it to 'uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies'.
The articles describing the qualifications of Representatives, Senators and
President created something like a federal political citizenship for office
holders: Representatives had to be over w> and 'sevenyears a citizen of the
United States', Senators over 30 and 'nine years a citizen of the United States'
(article I). Anyone who was 35 years old and a 'natural-born Citizen', 'fourteen
years a resident within the United States', or 'a Citizen of the United States, at
the time of t h e adoption of t h i s Constitution' could be elected to t he
presidency (article II).
These clauses left open whether 'citizenship' described acceptance as a
'freeman' or eligibility to a state legislative assembly. The case of Albert
Gallatin, considered an alien by the Federalist-dominated Senate in 1794 and a
citizen by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives in 1795,
muddied the waters further. The federal 1790 Naturalization Act provided an
alternative, not an exclusive route to formal citizenship; state naturalizations
are documented until the 1840s, though they declined markedly after 1795.'9
The 1790 Naturalization Act came close to the most generous state condi-
tions for admission to economic rights. Prerequisites for federal naturalization
were two years' residence (one in the state of naturalization), good character,
white skin and an oath of loyalty in a court. Naturalization automatically
included all minor children of male applicants resident in the United States.
(The 1802 Naturalization Act turned the wives of naturalized men into citizens,
and an 1804 statute extended the privilege to widows and orphans of men who
.died before completing the naturalization procedure.)
American citizenship by descent was henceforth available only to children of
fathers who had resided in the United States. The status of alien women who
married natural-born United States citizens and of American-born women who
married aliens was determined by 'coverture', a legal construct which assumed
that the husband 'covered' the legal personage of his wife for the duration
of the marriage. Marriage to a citizen thus changed a woman's allegiance
only temporarily. Coverture ensured wives' citizenship ahvays followed their
husbands', but allowed married women to escape penalties for disloyalty in
wartime. Because they did not become enemy aliens themselves, they did
not lose their property; likewise, imposing penalties on women for obeying
their enemy-alien husbands by moving abroad would have seemed unfair. In

ac time coverture was less convenient, because foreign-born wives of

natural-born American citizens reverted to alien status after their husbands'
Federal naturalization procedure was revised in 1795, 1798 and 1802 for
party-political reasons. International migration o f p o t ential voters was
increasingly influenced by politics. The American and French revolutions drove
up to 100,000 loyalists and 150,000 e>nigres out of the country, while repub-
lican government was an added attraction for many immigrants who fled an
increasingly radicalized France or slave revolts in the Caribbean.-' These
politicized immigrants entered a country split between state-centred and
libertarian Jeffersonian Republicans and centralizing Federalists, constantly
reminded by the presence of Swiss-born Republican floor leader Albert Gallatin
that naturalization could have harmful effects.
The 1795 Naturalization Act was a first Federalist attempt to recalibrate the
electoral system by prohibiting naturalization by the states, increasing the resi-
dence requirement to five years (one in the state of naturalization) and forcing
free and white applicants of good character to file a declaration of intent to
become citizens (so-called 'first papers') three years before they could finalize
naturalization by three oaths (of allegiance, of abjuration of their previous
government, and of abjuration of belief in a hereditary aristocracy). The
requirement to file first papers delayed all federal naturalizations until 1798.
The practical impact of the 1795 law was limited by the absence of federal
control of the franchise or naturalization. State naturalizations continued, and
some states allowed non-citizens to vote.~ Federalists adopted even harsher
measures when the moratorium on new naturalizations expired in 1798.
Concern about subversion had grown; it led to legislation which punished crit-
icism of the President or administration, authorized the President to deport
enemy aliens in wartime and subversive aliens at all times, and obliged aliens
to register with the federal government on arrival or within six months if tliey
were already in the country.
T he 1798 Naturalization Act formed part of this package of Alien "
Sedition Acts, which Republicans interpreted as a general assault on residents'
liberties.24It increased the residence period to 14 years (five in one state)~ with
a declaration of intent required five years before naturalization. 'First papers
and naturalizations were to be filed in Washington. The 14-year residence
period began only after official registration under the Alien Friends Ac4 pos
poning naturalizations until 1812; those who had already filed first paper
could, howeve
however, complete the process within four years. A proposal to impose
a tax of 20 dollars on naturalizations, which was defeated in 1797, was no
resurrected: fees were 50 cents for registration as an alien, 2 dollars for the

declaration of intent and 2 dollars for naturalization.~ When Jefferson was

elected and the Republicans gained a majority in Congress, thc registration
requirement and the president's power of deportation werc allowed to expire.
ln 1802, the United States essentially reverted to the provisions of the 1795
Naturalization Act.
The domestic purpose of the Naturalization Acts explains their disregar
for international implications. Abjuration of previous subjecthood was scen as
a commitment to the American polity, not a change of citizenship. A change
would have contradicted the common law doctrine of 'inalienable allegiance'.
Federal courts never recognized voluntary expatriation in practice, even for
citizens of Virginia, where state law permitted it, and Congress did not provide
for denationalization.~ The dispute about British searches of United States
ships for American dcserters, which formed part of the background to the
Anglo-American war of 1812, was not concerned with inalienable allegiance,
and the question of the effects of naturalization was not settled by the peace
treatyz7 Rather than on formal citizenship, political rights depende'd primarily
on the place and duration of residence, wealth, skin colour, age and gender'
(sec Table 2.2).

Table 2.2: Franchise regulations in United States states after 1776~

State Date S t atus Residence Pr o p ert y Other Condit i o ns

for lection

Ncw 1782 Poll tax

Vcrmom 1777 Freemen Protestanr
of towns
hiassachusetts 1780 Adult males E60 property
New York 1777 Adult males Six months gI00 freehold Frccmen of
in onc county (for clcction of Albany and
Senators and New York
goscrnor)I ~0 created
frecholds or before 1775
40s. tencmcnt resident in
and tax the cities;
payment oatlt OI'
(assembly affirmation
mem bers) of allegiance
I'cnnsylvania 1776 Adult One year Taxpayers aml Test oath C h r istian
f reemen in s t a t e their adult (1778)

Table 2.2: Continued

State Date Status Rcsidcncc Pro p ert y Other Conditions

for clcctlon

NcN Jersey I r r 7 Adult 12 mo n ths in Qo property No loyalists Zl,ooo

inhabitants o n c county until 1788 (proclamation
money) in onc
(council), Qoo
one year
rcsidcncc in
one coumy
Virginia 1776 Adult males Freeholders in
(ovcr 125 for county or
Senate borough
hlaryland 1776 F reem
en Onc year if Qo visibleMunicipal Onc year's
over I qualification franchise in residence in
property or 50
is through city of
acres m one county; Qoo
property county Annapolis property
North Carolina 1777 Ttveltr Taxpaying Onc year' s
months in onc (lour house) / rcsidcnce and
county 50-acre freehold 300 acres in
for six months county for
(upper house Senate, six
and governor) months'
rcsidcncc 1nd
100 acres
frcchold or life
tenure for
South Carolina 1778 Free vvhitc Ttvclvc 50 acres Plural Protesmnt, 30
aduh males, months in frcchold for voting years old, five
religious state six months or permissible years
test equivalent tax residence,
(acknotv payment / property of
ledgcmcnt assess ment E2,000tvhen
of God) resident, of
(Scnatc) /
Protestant, 21
years, thrcc
years' rcsidcnt,
and qualified
as elector if
Q,500 if non-

Gent/la 1777 Free white S i x months f10 or TN'cln months'

adult male 'mechanics in rcsidcncc in
inhabitants trade', tax state, thrcc
paymenr months'
residence in
county, 2l
years old,
Protestant, Ul 0
acres of land
or f250

That formal citizenship should affect political rights at all was far from
obvious: the phrase 'no taxation without representation' had suggested that
taxpayers alone were 'the people'. The Articles of Confederation had treated
'citizens' and 'citizens and inhabitants' a s s ynonymous. Though the
Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in 1811 that 'inhabitants' in law meant
'citizens' in practice, 'inhabitants' did refer to residents in Vermont, New
Jersey, Ohio, Illinois and territories.
Exclusions affected more than 'comparatively few white men'. The impact
of residence tests was far from trivial. Property requirements kept between
25 per cent (Pennsylvania) ' and 60 per cent (Maryland and New Jersey) of
adult white males from the polls. In South Carolina and New Jersey, property
requirements for election stabilized the rule of a wealth oligarchy. -' In practice,
participation was even more uneven. While only 5 per cent of registered voters
cast their votes in a 1793 election for the governor of Connecticut, franchise
restrictions could also be ignored. While all parties admitted unqualified
voters in districts they controlled, Republicans were more inclined to back an
expansion of the franchise. However, legislation to do away with property
requirements was passed only in Maryland (1802 to 1810) and South Carolina
(1810) and a one and two year residence test remained in place in these areas.
Defining political citizens as independent property owners automatically
dtsenfranchised the vast majority of Native Americans and African Americans,
wtth Native Americans also excluded as alien peoples not quite within, and not
Iutte tvithout, the United States' jurisdiction. Attitudes to Native Americans
re ambivalent; though denied naturalization as non-white, they became
symbolsfor the American insurgency in the Boston Tea Party'scostumes and
in caricatures.35
Blacks were increasingly presumed to fail the test of 'freedom' for political
ctti enship, even if there was no formal test of whiteness. Being 'free' was
ot just the opposite of 'enslaved' or 'imprisoned', but included freedom of
on rol by a master, employer or husband. A r t icle 1 of the United States'

' '

o I ' I speci'f'ied tI la t t h e 'free' population bc counted, 'including
, ivhich
those bound d to service for ta termrm of o years'(indentured servants or redemp-
d '
tioners), was dcsigncd to proviide e aa pr o x y for wealth, not population, with
'd d mo
more productive than slaves, who were valued
indentured servants consi cre
n '
at three fifths of a person, or tthe >e 'Indians not taxed', whose labour was irrcle-
vant to state budgets. .~ ~ Tl
>em meaning
e aningoof ' 'black' continued to oscillate between
ethnicity a and an alien lower class (workers in general; Catholic Irish workers
I j , ' t doug
in particularj, I I> 'w 1iiitee i' i ncreasingly defined the racial rather than the
social or confessional limits of political citizenship.
After independencc, slavery was abolished only in states where hardly any
slaves lived (Vermont 1777, Massachusetts 1783, Ohio 1802, Indiana 1816,
Illinois 1818). Thc remainder of the North instituted a programme of very
gradual abolition because it wished to avoid expropriating slave owners. In
fact 25 pcr cent of blacks in the North (27,000 people) >vere still enslaved by
1810. In the South, the number of free blacks grew as well, though it never
exceeded 10 per cent of blacks in the Upper South and 4 per cent in the Lower
Slavery, however, could hardly be legal in only one part of the United States,
because of the inccntivc that vvould then exist for slaves to escape to non-slave
states. The highly profitable institution~' was preserved most easily by tying it
to membership of a visible minority. Widening the gulf between blacks and
whites through largely immaterial wages of whiteness' (for example, deferen-
tial treatment in court emphasizing the social connection between white whit small
farmers, labourers, craftsmen and plantation owners), for small farmers, white
labourers and craftsmen, segregating prisons and almshouses from the he 1820s
prohibiting 'miscegenation' to preserve a clear dichotomy of 'black' and 'white',
limiting blacks' economic opportunities (including access to most federal jobs)
and making slavery a central punishment for blacks all reduced thc status of
free blacks to quasi-slaves of thc state in the South by the 1820s. Congress also
endorsed slavery by allowing individuals to claim blacks as fugitive slaves in any
state from 1793. Faced with what seemed like a southern attempt to export
poverty through thc expulsion of elderly slaves, northern legislative assemblies
responded with prohibitions on blacks' entry and a reduction in blacks' social
and political rights."'

The role of race in the definition of formal and political citizenship in the
Constitution and early republican years has been much dcbatcd because of its
implications for the moral assessment of the United States' founding fathers
The authors of the United States' Constitution have been criticised as racists
who considered it self-evident that only white people were 'men'," or described
as pragmatic politicians who recognized slavery temporarily only to save the

'eav e " lar

% tl l S M I

Union, and cxprcsscd their 'real' intentions in the anti-slavery 1787 Northwest
Ordinance. One assessmcnt argued'thc framers [of thc Constitution] werc half-
consciously trying to frame two constitutions, one for their own time and thc
other for the ages, with slavery viewed bifocally- that is, plainly visible at their
feet, but disappearing when they lifted their eyes'.~ While no amount of eye-
lifting disguised that United States citizenship was defined in racial terms, the
decision on cxtcnding or withholding formal and/or political citizenship"s on
ethnic grounds ultimately rested with the individual states, where different visions
of United States citizenship egalitarian or hierarchical, white supremacist or
anti-racist evolved in parallel.

Centralized Republican Citizenship: France

On5 May 1789, the French monarchy assembled the Estates General to resolve
its financial crisis."6 The crown and its ministers were locked in a struggle with
18 parlenrents, superior law courts staffed by a wealthy hereditary service
nobility and the peers of the realm, who claimed to represent the country and
were keen to maintain their tax exemptions and other benefits. Dissolving the
parlentents had not worked. The attempt to get them to agree to innovative
economic policies had also failed."7By the later 1780s, the king and his advisers
saw no alternative to resurrecting the 'Estates General' to override the
parlentents' vetoes.
The Estates General were the only representative assembly in the Europe of
the day whose composition was unknown in advance. They had no appointed
or hereditary members."s Uncertainty increased when the crown invited four
representatives from each of the country's 48$ electoral districts, one each
from thc clergy and nobility, and two from the 'third estate', creating the-
unfoundcd expectation that voting in the assembly was to be by head, and
the third estate would be the first two estates' equal.
The Estates General were elected by adult French men, though some locali-
ties allowed residents who were not French subjects or who were younger than
2'i or female to participate." In the clergy, every parish and each monastery or
cathedral chapter cast one vote, privileging thc lower ranks of the secular
clergy over higher ranks and monastic orders. M ale noblemen voted in the
second estate. In the third estate, 200 heads of rural households selected one
representative for the district electoral assembly, which chose the men to go to
Versailles, while town guilds sent either one or two representatives.
38 C 1T I Z ENSH1P
Table 2.3: Elections of Frcndt Representative Asscmblics, 1789-1810

Electoral Original Votes cast Qualification Second O ri g i ttal

stage electors as
(date qualification clcctors ( m i llions) for second
elected) for first stage (millions) stage of e lectors % of thc
of elections elections (millions) population

Estates Membership -1.75 Unknown Election n/a 6

General in an order or (probably
(1789) or corporation >>50%)
Legislative h laic, >~A, W .3 10 days' 0.05 15
(1791) 'active citizen', salary tax
domiciled, no payment
paylllg two
days' salary
in mx
Convention Male, >U~, -7 0.7 n/a
Nationale domiciled,
(1792) no servant
Plebiscite 1.4 n/a 5
on (officially: (officially:
Consulate 3.0) 10)
(1800) M114 >21,
Plebiscite domiciled, 2.8 n/a
on not servants,
no bankruptcy,
for life no missed
(1802) court
Plebiscite appointments 2.5 n/a
on Empire

The government's calculations proved partly c orrect: public o p inion

favoured the abolition of special privileges, but the political process spun o
of control when the Estates General declared themselves a National Assembly
(Constitnante) which set about abolishing privileges of rank and the order
estates and expropriating the Church (itself soon subjected to the state)~ the
crown and exiled nobles. A new assembly elected in 1791 even ended reltgu
From spring 1792, the French state was under attack from a coalition which
soon came to include almost all major European monarchies. The domesttc
government radicalized; by late 1792, France was a republic; by 1793, a committee
of public v'
blic virtue instituted a reign of terror, introduced a new calendar, ordered
complete military mobilization,'abolished Christianity and emancipated slaves~
allowin go pponents
onen of emancipation to suggest a systematic link between slav
emancipation, terror and atheism. ~ From 1794, the French republtc wa

search of a new system of government, turning first to a Directory, then (in

1799) to a Consulate headed by Napoleon and finally to Napoleon's empire.
The country remained at war almost continually. Demand for soldiers was mct
by conscription from 1798, with replacements permitted (and supplied by about
5 per cent of conscripts). The monarchical army had consisted of 'volunteers'
aged between 16 and 40, with approximately 1 pcr cent of those eligible enlisted.
During the revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, recruitment focused on the
young, butdrew in about 43 per cent ofmen aged between 20 and H >.
The definition of French citizenship was not among the 1789 National
Assembly's first concerns. In its last years, the French monarchy had abolished
all formal distinctions between citizens and aliens. In 1778 and 1788, a Swiss
Protestant had been First Minister. Aliens served in the army, the navy, held
municipal office, entered guilds on the same terms as citizens from 1776 and
engaged in commerce without restriction.+ Formal citizenship had to be
defined only when the Constituante began the search for a new description of
voting rights.
The first definition of post-revolutionary French citizenship was contained in
two 1790 edicts regulating 'naturalization' and 'reintegration', which became
part of the 1791 Constitution. They preserved the mixture of ius soli and ius
sanguinis and the focus on residence characteristic of ancien reginIe legislation,
but reversed effects of religious persecution. All children born in France and all
children of French fathers who lived in France and took the civic oath were
Frenchcitizens.The directdescendants of religious refugees forced to leaveFrance
at any time in the past could be 'reintegrated' into the community of French
citizens if they returned and took the civic oath.
The edict of April to M ay 1790 regulating naturalization and the 1791
Constitution differed slightly when it came to aliens without ties to France.
The edict stated that aliens 'become French citizens, and are admitted to the
rights of active citizens on taking the civic oath' after five years' continuous
residence, provided they established a business in commerce or agriculture,
purchased real estate, became burghers of a town or married a French wife.
The Constitution omitted the reference to burgher status and made swearing
the civic oath a condition for naturalization, even though the record of the
debate indicated that the assembly intended no change.
These provisions translated the revolutionaries universal aspirations into
law: all long-term resident heads of households became French citizens. The
Constitution denied naturalization to alien domestic servants, employees,
studentsand to the alien mercenaries who made up around 15 per cent of the
Fnch army. Theoretically, members of these social groups could marry a
French wife, ' but in practice, they could hardly marry and keep their jobs.

Thc Constitution of spring 1793 abandoned ins sangtrinis, but offered mor
generous terms for naturalization, It admitted the following people 'to excrcIse
the rights of French citizens': anyone born in France, after reaching the age of
21; any alien over 21 who had lived in France for one year 'of his own labour'
had adopted a child, nourished an aged person, acquired a property or married
a French woman or was considered worthy by the legislative assembly. A civic
oath was no longer required. The combined effect of the 1790 decree, the 1791
Constitution and the 1793 Constitution was to turn almost all alien residents
of France who did not wear uniform into French citizens as a matter of right,
regardless of whether they desired this to happen.
The year III (1795) Constitution, drafted svhen the Convention's social
experiments had proved a resounding failure, made naturalization morc exclu-
sive. It now rcquircd a declaration of intent to fix one's domicile in France,
which could be made at age 21. After seven years, naturalization followed auto-
matically for aliens who paid a direct contribution, had married a French wife
or owned an agricultural or commercial establishment thc restriction of
naturalization to 'independent' people had returned. French citizenship was now
attributed automatically only to individuals 'born and resident in France', 'acci-
dental' birth in French territory or descent from a French father was no longer
sufficient. The year Vill (1799) Constitution increased the residence period prior
to naturalization to 10 years, but did away with the social requirements to
incrcasc the pool of conscripts.~9
All these laws viewed the community of citizens as a political unit, though
admission by naturalization was often more resrrictive than admission to the
franchise, from which only servants and bankrupts remained excluded. Thc
expansion of political rights to the vast majority of settled males between
1789 and 1799 was remarkable, though democratization went hand in hand
with ballot-stuffing, and many electors refused the offer of active political
participation: this applied to 75 pcr cent of electors in the election of thc togisi~
tive, 90 per cent in the Convention, and at least 60 pcr cent in Napoleoc
plebiscites. The focus of political citizenship thus remained on a respectable
body of independent adult men, not a national community which include
ivomen, children, servants, criminals and bankrupts.
As formal citizenship depended on respectability, it could bc lost outside thc
country (by joining another political community or opposing the RcvoiutIon
ideas a well as inside the country by forfeiting one's honour permanen "
i eals) as
through a criminal conviction or temporarily through servitude or bankrup cy'
This sct citizens far apart from conscripts, who included all men in a spccifI
age group.

A diffcrcnt reading was constructed in early nineteenth-century court

rulings as part of an attempt to expand the political concept of rcspectablc
citizenship to suit the needs of universal conscription. This reading argued that
thc first part of thc 1799 Constitution's first article defined French nationality
(' every man~ born and resident in France'), while subsequent conditions (such
as being aged over 21 years, entered on the civic register, or resident for more
than one year on thc republic's territory) defined political citizens. '
Thc Napoleonic era brought a new degree of systematization and a partial
return to pre-revolutionary practice'. From 1802, naturalization once again
became a discretionary decision on the part of the government, which required
one year's prior residence in France. In 1803, the definition of citizenship was
placed on a completely new footing with the promulgation of the first title of
the Code civil des franglais. The Code civil separated 'the quality of being
French' from political rights, introducing a difference between a 'nationality'
of men, women, children, servants, bankrupts or criminals and a 'citizenship',
which conferred political rights on respectable and independent adult males, as
defined in the constitutions.
The restriction of automatic admission to the community of citizens to male
citizens' descendants represented a rare defeat For Napoleon. The First Consul
had wanted the 'quality of being French' defined as broadly as possible, to
make children of aliens born in France into future conscripts. The lawyers
drafting the Code civil, by contrast, persuasively argued that the nation, as a
family writ large, should be bound by ties of blood rather than geography. This
was in linc with the linguistic programme of the French Empire, which resur-
rected the terminology of rule over people rather than territory in the name of
popularsovereignty:Napoleon was the firstFrench monarch since the days of
Philip II Augustus to crown himself ruler of the Frencl~ (Louis XVI was,
however, already referred to as 'King of the French' in article 2 of the 1791
Constitution). Thc principle of 'family unity' also applied to married couples:
the citizenship of wives corresponded to their husbands'.
Family unity was challenged only for children who had been born in France
of foreign parents and continued to live there for at least five years. They could
opt for French nationality at 21. Foreign-born children of alien fathers who
wished to live in France now had to apply for naturalization at the discretion
of the administration in a two-step process which began with a declaration of
intent to settle in France. Tcn years later, aliens had to make another applica-
tion to the head of state for full naturalization. Aliens in France could also
seek 'admission to domicile' on the basis of a passport, birth certificate and
character witnesses, which would grant them all the rights of French citizens
except for the franchise and protection against deportation.""-

Later commentators chastised the Code civil provisions on citizenship

'peii logiqtie et assez con fi(sc' ('not very logical and quite confused'), because
like most laws of thc time, they did not avoid systematic dual citizenship, and
because they created a group of people whose citizenship was unpredictable
until they rcachcd the age of 21: the French-born children of alien fathers.
When thc need for soldiers reached new heights, and allied states had to be
kept on a particularly tight leash during the preparation for the assault on Russia
in 1811, Napoleon modified the Code civil by decreeingthat birth in territory
now part of the French Empire conferred French citizenship. Authorization for
expatriation cost 1,000 francs and did not free former French citizens from the
operation of treason laws. Officials in German states born on the left bank of
thc Rhine now incorporated into the French Empire thus had to choose
between supporting France in all circumstances, retiring from public life or
facing the firing squad if Napoleon deemed their actions 'treasonous'.~
In France, the purpose of citizenship regulations was originally similar to
their purpose in the United States: to define the boundaries of the French
political community by drawing a line be@veen citizens entitled to vote and
aliens. Until 1795, thc political community was defined exclusively by status
and residence. From 1795, a distinction between French citizens by birth and
aliens forced to apply for naturalization was (re-)introduced, but naturaliza-
tion remained at the discretion of the applicant until 1802. In 1803, the defini-
tion of the political citizen was supplemented by the definition of the French
man and French woman as members of a nation imagined as a family writ
large. In all cases, one citizenship law covered the entire country.
French rcvolu)ionary conceptions of citizenship did not d o away with
distinctions of scx, wealth, personal history or political beliefs, and the posi-
tion on distinctions of r ace and religion remained ambivalent. Slavery
remained in place in the colonies for most of the period. For Jews> place
continued to matter for rights, because the Napoleonic administration did n
consider Alsatian Jews sufficiently 'modern' in their attitudes to civil marriagc
and military service to admit them to full civic rights.

Monarchical Citizenship I: The United Kingdom

While definitions of citizenship changed in the new republics, the Brith
ation was characterized by continuity. When Great Britain and Ireland fo
a United Kingdom with a single parliament in 1801, thc status of 'naturabze
Irish subject' disappeared. When Hanover was annexed by Prussia in 1805 an
incorporated into the Kingdom of Westphalia in 1810, Hanoverian sub]ccts~
even those fighting in thc King's German Legion, remained aliens.6 Thc sa

applied to natives of East India Company possessions, Even though thc

company progressed from gunboat-assisted trade to territorial governance
from 1765 and was placed under parliamentary supervision in 1773, it
remained a 'private' company, and the inhabitants of its territories remained
aliens in Britain;~
Thcrc were only minor adjustments to naturalization, even though Britain
became a preferreddestination for French refugees about 40,000 arrived in
1792 alone. Even though naturalization or denization were in theory available
immediately, refugees' expectation that 'exile would be short ensured that
numbers did not even remotely approach the numbers of refugees: the peak
was 369 naturalizations in the decade between 1801 and 1810. In 1798, the
House of Lords authorized the Home Secretary to veto naturalizations by
refusing to issue a certificate of fitness. Nevertheless, only three applicants
were turneddown in 1798, and only five in 1801 and the first half of 1802.
The decline to 76 successful applications between 1811 and 1818 appears to
have been due to the personal opposition of Viscount Sidmouth, Home
Secretary from 1812, to immigration and naturalization; he viewed both as a
cause of domestic unrest. Between 1810 and 1819, 119 of 224 naturalization
applications were declined. Until 1818, however, aliens turned down in London
could become British subjects by purchasing Bank of Scotland stock, or seek
admission to the freedom of Irish towns like Dublin and Drogheda," so that
Sidmouth's actions also drew attention to the Home Office's lack of control.
The definition of political citizenship in England and Scotland remained
unchanged, though the inclusion of Ireland in the United Kingdom highlighted
the importance of confessional restrictions to voting.' M o reover, campaigns
against slavery, the international slave trade and the United States' expansion
into Native Americans' territory highlighted the fact that British subject status
was in conscious contrast to United States citizenship open to people of all

Monarchical Citizenship II: German States

In Germany, thc formal continuity of monarchical government masked revolu-

tionary change. In 1795, France annexed the left bank of the Rhine, promising
compensation. Eight years later, Napoleon prodded the Holy Roman Empire
Implement an expropriation and compensation scheme: ecclesiastical terri-
ics were secularized and smaller territories hitherto subject only to the
Empire werc incorporated into larger states. The focus of the realignment of
bdcrs was in southern and western Germany. Compensation went primarily
to "rench allies: Prussia quadrupled in population and territory and in Baden

only German state to pass laws on citizenship, in this case by adopting thc
Code civil, svhich remained valid in theBzstate until it w as replaced by the

German Biirgerticbes Gesetzb<tcb in 1900.

Outside Bavaria, Baden and Austria, membership in a corporation, rcgu
lated by the rules for thc acquisition of a town's Biirgerrecbt (burgher) or
Beisassen(resident)-status, domicile in a village or admission to a guild deter-
mined individuals' relation to the state. Anyone outside the order of estates
lacked mcmbcrship or residence rights. Such people still entered states' field of
vision, but mainly did so as a problem of public order or as potential soldiers
who belonged to whoever managed to recruit them.

Inventing the Modern Passport? Travel Controls in the

Revolutionary Era

In Junc 1793, the French National Convention approved the most liberal natu-
ralization regulations ever in force in France. Tsvo months later, the tide had
turned. Thc Convention now considered ordering all aliens to wear red, white
and blue armbands inscribed with the word bospitatite" to p r o tect them
against assault by super-patriots. Even though this suggestion was not
implemented, on 16 October 1793 the Convention ordered the arrest of all
cncmy aliens other than women married to French men not suspcctcd of
counter-revolutionary activities."5
In retrospect, 1793 marked thc point at which the debate on controls versus
freedom of movement in revolutionary France, which had brought about a
series of abrupt legislative reversals, was definitively resolved in favour
control." Together with the 1793 British Alien Act and measures to control the
immigration and residence of French emigrants in German states,
October decree appears to mark the invention of a modern passport system
which imposed a ncw type of state control on travel and introduced a new
administrative distinction between citizens and aliens. In France, Britain and
the German states, the reason was an external military threat, whereas in the
United Statesin 1798, fear of subversion predominated. The response was
ahvays a combination of registration, documentation and deportation
Contemporary observers saw the measures of 1793 as thc 'monster bIrth
of a bureaucratic passport system. This view was still current around 190 ~
and most recent work on modern passports agrccs. 9 Scholars focusing
earlier periods, by contrast, have pointed out that passports were corn "
bcforc 1789, that their format hardly changed, and that attempts incrca
surveillance date back to the 1770s in Paris.~

I propose to advance a third position. Thc passport system remained

wedded to past practices in focusing not on separating citizens from aliens, but
strangers from rcsidcnts. Rank and status remained much morc important
than nationality. What was revolutionary was thc attempt to transform pass-
,ports from letters of recommendation, issued by individuals or corporations,
into a state monopoly. '
Travellers frequently proceed from places where they arc known to locations
where their identity is uncertain. How they can prove who they are changes
with time. In the ancien reginte, the established Church kept records of births,
marriages and deaths of identities conferred, of identities changed, and of
identities extinguished on earth. Travellers' identity as part of a corporation
could besurmised from dress,baggage and behaviour; for example, traces of
corporal punishment or branding indicated expulsion from decent socicty9z
Documentary indication of status was required only when thcrc was a
danger of mistaken (corporate) identity or exceptional reasons to control
migration existed. 'Passports' contained a request For assistance, sometimes on
a prc-printed form with blanks for the name, personal details and route. This
text, pushed to the margins today, was thc document's optical centrcpicce. The
focus of today's documents, which is the issuing institution's cmblcm and the
physical description of t h e bearer, was marginalized or omitted entirely.
Passports could speed the progress of diplomatic missions, certify freedom
from disease or protect against arrest. As they authorized an itinerary, they lost
their use once the j'ourney was complete. Passports werc routinely handled by
servants; officials rarely encountered prominent bearers in person.
Though the theoretical requirement to have a passport could bc quite exten-
sive in later seventccnth-century France, it covered all domestic and interna-
tional travel surviving lists of passports issued by officials and of passports
controlled at checkpoints suggest that passports were issued primarily to trav-
ellers from thc upper ranks of society by anyone who expected his or her name
be recognized, except in times of war or epidemics, when more travellers had
passports, As passport-giving was a personal affair, royal passports issued by
the king or foreign minister were only available to those with access to court."'
Decrees requiring all travellers to carry royal passports were either 'laws not
enforced' typical of carly modern states (an attempt to actually curb 'useless'
travel was only made in Joscphist Austria)' or indicative of an implied distinc-
tion bctwecn types of travel. Royal supervision was relevant only for those who
came to the court's notice. Other types of mobility were a problem of public
order which was regulated by local policing, and lower-class travellers carried
letrs of rccommcndation issued by a parish priest or local notable.'" Parisians
e required to bring each of their visitors to the authorities' attention from
thc fifteenth century in theory, but the fact that the rulc was actually enforced
from thc 1770s was thc equivalent of headline news.~
Even before the Revolution, problems emerged. In parishes of up to 25 000
members, church records were incomplete and unreliable. The pevolutjon~s
introduction of civil registration of births, marriages and deaths was also
designed to rcplacc the Church's uneven presence. "
The Convention's passport laws must be seen against this larger back-
ground. State-issued identity documents conformed to the Convention's anti-
clerical policics, fear of counter-revolution, desire for ideological conformity,
and projects of centralized management of economic resources and military
manpower. Putting municipalities and departentent officials in control of all
travel outside thc ca@ton 'would have turned France into a gigantic prison in
which thc cantons constituted the individual cells', had the Convention been
able to turn this vision into practice. But the crucial distinction remained that
between locals, vvho did not need permits, and 'foreigners' from outside the
district, who did. Applicants for 'papers' who did not know a member of the
relevant committee had to bring along two people xvho did. When all Paris resi-
dents werc required to procure cartes de securite,in 1795, the colour codes
(cards werc issued in rcd, white and blue) distinguished Parisians under 14>
Parisians over 14 and non-Parisians. Continuity in techniques of identification
contrasted with an explosion in the number of identity documents: 2,500 royal
French passports had been issued between 1712 and 17&>; 12,500 passports
werc issued in Lyons from 1792 to 1793 alone.'~
Thc Convention's control of internal travel was supplemented by legislation
against arrivals from abroad. Aliens who wished to enter France initially had
to wait at the frontier for entry clearance from Paris, but from 1795 they u
wait for the entry permit at their destination.' '
.In Britain and German states, the emphasis was also on thc boun a y
between 'strangers' and those who werc 'familiar'. In Britain, freedom
movement had bccn a part of British liberties since thc days of Magna Ca
It was not even certain that aliens could be legally removed from the country'
The 1793 alien bill was therefore a departure from preccdcnt and was deer
b y the opposition as an attack on British liberties.
The Alien Act passed in 1793 required aliens who arrived after 179
aliens were affcctcd from 1798) to obtain a registration card on a' a ~
procure passports for travel inside thc country from a Justice of the Pcaan
to keepthe Home Off' informed of their whereabouts. The Home Secretary
e Office
could order aliens to!cave
to! or to reside in a specific place; identity and
levels were determined
' cd with the aid of references from 'known' indiv
The paperwork, includin ing passports given up in exchange for
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identity, itinerary and employment history, which was entered in It b y

employers and state officials.' '
The central alien offices set up in Paris, London, and Washington processed
thousands or tens of thousands of documents per year, issued either by local
officials or foreign states. The system could function only because those trav
cllers who appeared more of a political threat were members of a compara-
tively small elite. They could hardly hide their identity as they lived and worked
in royal palacesand government offices, which were semi-public places
attended by numerous mobile servants and tourists. Using the passport system
as a means of surveillance for the entire travelling population divas, however,
pointless, as the rapid fall in the price of forged documents indicated.'

The Curious Absence of the Work Permit

The British Home Office received many economically motivated complaints

about aliens in the revolutionary era. In 1827, in reply to yet another letter, it
summarized previous practice: 'the Alien Act divas not intended to place Aliens,
in respect to their private affairs, in a worse, [sic] situation than his Majesty' s
Subjects'." T h e same was broadly true of attitudes in the United States,
Franceand the German states.
Governments focused on reducing restrictions on economic opportunity by
acting- more decisively in the United States, France and Britain, and less deci-
sively in the German states to free markets in land and labour from corpor-
ate restrictions, except for minorities like blacks and Native Americans in the
United States, and some religious minorities in Britain, the German states and
parts of France. Outside Germany, guilds were abolished or deprived of much
of their legal basis; land could be turned into private property through enclo-
sure in Britain, the abolition of feudal dues and the purchase of church pp
erty in France, and 'peasants' emancipation', a process allowing tenants to pay
off feudal dues in lump sums, in German states (though the process there
dragged on until after 1848). The results were increasing disparities in wealth
and fewer corporate barriers to economically motivated migration that mad
use of economic opportunitics.'" Few regulations limited aliens' economIc
activity, and most of these focused on security issues, affecting, for example~
ownership of land and ships, membership in thc army in Britain, or appom
ment to administrative positions in Napoleonic France. This concern was less
pronounced in German states, where appointment to a civil service po
conferred naturalization.'"-
C onversely, few aliens crossed borders, In the United Kingdom, 0. 1 P e n
of the population were registered as aliens in 1801, and 0.15 per cent in 181

When cartes de secnrilc were introduced for non-Parisians in 1792 Paris, 2.8 pcr
cent of the city's population came from outside France. In thc United States, 13
per cent of the population was foreign-born in 1790 and 10 per cent in 1810; thc
failure of the 1798 aliens' registration scheme makes it impossible to detcrminc
how many of them'were citizens. In thc smaller German states, the number
of people born outside the state was higher, but thc decisive legal distinction
was between members and non-members of corporations, with students and
journeymen ableto access support networks throughout thc German lands."
The main obstacle to long-distance migration was low wages: travel over
longer distances required an i n t erruption of work f e w c o uld a f ford.
Economically motivated long-distance migration in Europe was therefore
largely made up of migration of the elite for educational and commercial
purposes, and seasonal migration linking specific employers and workers, often
over substantial distances. Stove builders from Craveggia near Milan conquered
a considerable part of the trade in eighteenth-century Paris, for instance.n"
In the pre-revolutionary period, migration from Europe to colonies in North
America had been coerced,with slave traders, convict traffickers or govern-
ments paying the passage, or transport financed by speculators seeking to
exploit wage disparities. This type of migration ended in the revolutionary era
with the rejection of convicts by the United States, the end of the slave trade to
the United States and court decisions challenging the trade in indentured
servants or 'redemptioners'. From the 1780s, immigrants to thc United States
required capital, which made them attractive would-be citizens."
Migration across state borders thus presented few economic threats. Even
the fact that one state's gain was another state's loss led only to half-hearted
attempts to stem the emigration of productive and/or wealthy citizens.'"
Overall, faith in free labour markets gained ground.

Poor Citizens or Paupers?

In the early phases of thc French Revolution, social tensions were a decisive
factor in encouraging thc deputies of the National Assembly to embark on
radical reform. Yet, thc sale of church property and the abolition of feudal
dues destroyed the economic basis of traditional relief systems. Revolutionary
governments responded from summer 1790 by removing paupers resident for
ss than one year to their settlement and alien paupcrs from the country, as
ell as by increasing internment in depots deine~rdicite, and even considering
the deportationof vagrants to Madagascar."
Irial plans for make-work programmes were dropped when it emerged that
up to 20 per cent of the population might require assistance. In 1794, the

Convention proposed to provide all deserving poor w it h p ensions, but

shortage of funds reduced 'national charity' to four to five potatoes per week
bcforc thc programme ended in 1795. After 1795, paupers had to apply to
hospitals and bwreallx de bienfaisancenow run by a mayor rather than a priest
and now financed by voluntary donations and local surcharges on food
stuffs.'" Not much changed under Napoleon. The legal definition of domicile
docs not appear to have replaced the distinction between 'locals' and
'strangers', and aliens' admission to a domicile did not guarantee a right to
rclicf administrative removal remained possible. However, the definition of
vagrancy was narrowed in the 1810 Code pelrat to individuals who lacked
funds, an occupation and a domicile."
In German states, corporations remained responsible for poor relief, though
'voluntary' contributions were sometimes called for, as in 1810 Berlin, when
around 30 pcr cent of the population were considered poor, with 10 per cent
actually on relief,"~ Paupers refused relief were still removed from, rather
than to, places, with little distinction made beaveen citizens and aliens,
little humanitarian concern and little i nternational cooperation, though
neighbouring states were increasingly informed of removals.'-'
In the tax-financed relief systems in Britain and the United States, expendi-
ture grew in linc with recognized demands. Poor relief expenses rose from 4
shillings to 9 shillings per head of the population in England and Wales between
1776 and 1802 to 1803 and from 30,000 dollars to over 100,000 dollars in total
between 1797 and 1818 in New York City. Where poor law officials accepted that
work did not necessarily provide a livelihood, poor relief could become the
cquivalcnt of a top-up wage to close the gap between earnings and living costs.
Settlement remained decisive to determine eligibility, though officials had some
discretion; in England, removals mainly affected paupers from Ireland and
Scotland. The key difference between Britain and the United States was thc
presence of aliens in the relief system. When the Court of Exchequer formally s
extended poor relief to aliens in 1803, ruling that 'the law of humanity, whic
anterior to all positive laws, obliges us to afford them relief, and to save thcln
from starving', this affected only a small number of claimants.'
In the United States, citizens and immigrants could be removed to se
ments. Except in Massachusetts, where aliens could not acquirc a scttlcmcn4
settlement laws did not distinguish between citizens and aliens. Thc power
reject European immigrants was first demonstrated in 1784, when Brltls"
convicts were turned back. But as the expense for removing immigrants wa
considerable, relief around 1 dollar per week in 1820s New York wa
cheaper. As New York State passed paupers back the way they had come un '
they reached their settlement, the state border or the port of entry, New Yo "'
'tv was liable
City ' l e for
o most immigrant paupers; around onc tlrd of p

inmates thcrc werc from overseas. In response, thc city adopted new arrangc-
mcnts, which were quickly copied by Massachusetts and South Carolina. From
1788, Ncw York required ships' captains to present lists of passcngcrs for
inspection within 24 hours of arrival, to remove any passengers likely to
become paupers within onc month or to provide a bond for relief. Loopholes,
such as setting passengers ashore in New Jersey, werc quickly closed. From
1797, bonds had to be posted before passengers were sct ashore, and from 1799
the maximum bond was fixed at 300 dollars, or about six years' relief. Ships'
captains could also pay a few dollars into what amounted to a social insurance
fund for immigrants, to which a 1 per cent tax on auctions in New York State,
levied from 1798, also contributed. Carriers' preliminary screening of migrants
for likely paupers on embarkation was followed by qualitative migration
controls by local officials at ports of entry and in parishes.'+
In all the countries under study, social rights continued to remain local rights
linked to formal settlement or less formal integration.

Civic Universalism? Citizenship in the Revolutionary Era

Throughout the revolutionary era, dramatic change existed side by side with
continuity. Decades of political turmoil brought relatively little upheaval in
the social order. By and large, the same individuals or families held impor-
tant positions and owned extensive property before, during and after thc
What changed was the justification of their role, which no longer relied on
the divine order or tradition,'~ but on election by fellow citizens. The new
republics did not assume that all residents were citizens, or that all citizens
were equal. Citizenship was a political category which presupposed autonomy,
property, rcspcctability, masculinity and immobility. Servants, minors, women
(particularly wives), bankrupts, criminals, paupers and 'unsettled' migrants
' werc either non-citizens or not admitted to political rights because of their
moral failings, lack of local connection or lack of economic independence.
Political citizenship remained an attribute exercised in and for geographical
dIstricts, in contrast to the ancien reginte practice of representing localities and
social groups, This concept of the state has been aptly described as a joint
stock corporation with p roperty as shares,'-" and political participation
weighted by property.
This social closure of political citizenship corresponded to an elitist strain of
the enlightenment project of social and governmental reform. It focused on
people who could communicate in international languages (French, English or
LatIn), argue fluently and elegantly, and base their political, scientific and reli-
gtous principles on rational thought and public deliberation'-' people likely
to be (re-)elected by constituents who endowed their representatives with
high degree of autonomy, which permitted programmes of economic, political
and social reform beyond the capabilities of consent-oriented absolutist states.
The programme of economic liberalization was enacted most thoroughly In
the new republics, but divas taken up by monarchical states impressed by French
popover. In German states, reforms emanated from 'above' in a political system
which continued to assume the existence of estates. In Britain, unsystematic
political representation went hand in hand with gradual economic reform
driven by forces from 'below' at locally variable speeds.
In France, many revolutionary reforms had been foreshadowed in blueprints
for modernization developed by enlightened theorists or ministers of the
crown. Critical, usually aristocratic and conservative observers of the
Revolution were the first to take note of this. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that
the Revolution had tended 'to increase the popover andthe rights of the public
authority' and had produced 'a power more extensive, more detailed, more
absolute than that exercised by any one of our kings'. AVhile Tocqueville and
others noted the progress the Revolution brought, they viewed the abolition of
estates, their social obligations and religious inspiration as the dismantlement
of the last barriers which had prevented enlightened despotism from becoming
despotism pure and simple.'~
Conservative cntics highlighted a contradiction in revolutionary ideology.
The break with the past was justified with the argument that the state
derived its power from the consent of 'the people'. However, 'the people'
was silently redefined as a group of 'citizens' distinguished by wealth, status
and political loyalty, though revolutionaries and reformers hoped that wealth
would become easier to acquire as limitations on economic activity w e
reduced. Even increased wealth would not, however, admit women'~ or ethnic
minorities to citizenship automatically, because arguments for their exclu-
sion from citizenship focused increasingly on factors other than prop'y
and independence.
The discussion on citizenship's ethnic limits was loosely connected to the
scientific debate about the causes and degree of difference between human
'races'. Discussion of ethnic differences between blacks and whites still focu
on the Biblical account of a single creation and the absence of sub-Saharan
regions from accounts of ancient history. Edward Gibbon was far from alone '"
suggesting that Africans seemed to lack characteristics that other peoples ha"'
This v)ew was con )r
confirmed by contrasting European experiences in Africa a"
Asia.' '
IVhen it came to accounting
ac for the difference between Africans,Asian an
Europeans, opinions
' s dive
diverged. In view of the American experience, the cl'ma
n w 0 th Ch
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A A A tn V

ERA (1815 1870s)

On D> July 1830, the French king Charles X dissolved the Cbanrbre des deputes
(House of Representatives) before its inaugural meeting. Elections on 3 July
had increased the opposition's majority in parliament's lower house; this time
around, a new franchise, censorship of the press and the presence of 12,000
troops in Paris were to prevent similar disappointment for the Conservative
government. But opposition politicians continued to meet, journalists defied
censors,and residents of Paris's eastern districts procured arms and fought
troops reluctant to engage in civil war. By the time the King gave up his cause
and abdicated in favour of his infant son on 2 August, leading politicians had
decided on a return to the 1814 Constitution with Duke Louis Philippe of
Orleans as roi citoyen citizen king.'
Though the 1830 revolution was more moderate than the Revolution
1789, its immediate impact was much wider. News of revolution in Par
contributed to the creation of a Belgian state, upheavals in Italy, Gcrmany
i and
Poland, and coincided with agitation for electoral reform in Britain. A similar
chainreaction occurred in 1848.
This was partly due to international political networks the 'Holy Allian
for reactionary monarchists, Mazzini's 'Young Europe' for liberal revolution
aries, and working-class movements for proto-socialists. Greek, Polish and
Italian indcpendencc movements and revolutionary hcrocs like Lajos
and Giuseppe Garibaldi were admired or feared throughout Europe and North
America, while European liberals and democrats looked to thc United Sta
and Switzerlandd for
for m
models of republican government. International p e
ation was driven byb fearof, or desirc for,revolution; most wars between 181
and the First World
rid War which involved the countries under study in this b
were'interventions'' by
b i international coalitions or expeditions against
though the picture changed markedly after the Franco-Prussian Wat
to 1871." 1
Domestic politics werc morc turbulent than international relations. There
were uprisings in around 1820, throughout thc 1830s, and bctwcen 1848 and
1850; military conflicts within federations erupted from 1848 to 1850, in
1864, and in 1866 in the German Confederation, and from 1861 to 1865 in the
United States. The origins of the Franco-Prussian %Var lay in part in Prussia's
German agenda, and its main result was 'Prussia's Germany',
thc second
German Empire proclaimed at Versailles in 1871. Domestic politics also put
monarchs and ministersat far greater personal risk. Defeat in war brought
honourable exile in l u x urious surroundings; defeat by revolution could
mean death. This climate of i nternational cooperation and the focus on
domestic politics formed the background to experiments with liberal concepts
of citizenship.

Political Citizenship in a Post-Revolutionary

Table 3.1: National franchise in selected countries (percentage of population) 18&>-1875

State ~
18w 1835 1850 1875
France 0.3 0.5
Britain 26 g77
-4 5 -5
Bavaria -10
-5 -5 -17
Prussia 0 0 10
German Empire
USe Ip
-10 -18 -19

I~crtveen the end of the Napoleonic KVars and the 1870s, political citizenship
expanded to something often (misleadingly) described as 'universal adult
male suffrage'. The vast majority of women (some could vote in France by
Pxy between 1830 and 1848) and minors remained excluded from thc right
vote. Hut the same applied to men who were paupers, short-term residents
and convicts. In the German Empire, the gap between thc number of males
v ottng agc and the number of potential voters remained in the order of 15
per centcvcn at the cnd of the period.'
Thc expansion ofthe franchise occurred as a resultof revolution in France
and matly of the German states, and of reform by parliamentary assemblies in
~rttain and United States states, This history is generally described as one of
'all p g ress; more recently, however, a revisionist account centred on
' 'sl' polttical history argued that it marginalized illiterates, women, and
unsettled people who had previously exerted prcssure in public election
rttuals. The number of adult mcn unablc to write down their political choice

unassisted divas indeed significant: it included 25 per cent of white army recruits
in the Ullited States in tile 1850s,90per cent of blacks in Southern United States
states in the 1890s, around 20 Per cent of French bridegrooms in the 1880s and
1890s, and 14 per cent of Prussians in 1871." Nevertheless, an expandin
franchise gave broader social groups potential political bargaining power in
electoral systems aptly described as establishing 'directed universal voting'.I~
When new constitutions were enacted in France and five southern German
states that had experienced too much upheaval between 1792 and 1815 to effect
a simple 'restoration' Prussia, by contrast, dropped plans in 1820 the aitn
was to increase political stability through elite participation without restricting
the monarchical executive's freedom of action. Elected chambers, appointed
c hambers and the monarch all had to agree on legislation for i t t o b e
approved.'~ The choice of elected representatives was limited to 50 candidates
per constituency in France, roughly O.D> per cent of the population in Hesse-
Darmstadt, 0.5 per cent (plus anybody with a vintner's licence) in Baden, and
roughly 0.75 per cent in Bavaria.
Property and, in German states, religious tests limited the number of poten-
tial voters (see Table 3.1). Electoral participation was, however, respectable: it
was around 77 per cent in France in 1815 and again after 1830, and over 85
per cent in 1819 in Baden and Bavaria. In central German states, which estab-
lished elected assemblies after 1830, political tensions resulted in boycotts. In
Marburg, for example, turnout remained well below 30 per cent in the early
The constitutions failed to anticipate, however, a structural divergence of
interests between deputies used to public recognirion in their local districts and
keen tolower taxes and monarchs' desire for expensive armies and subjects'
acclamation. In France, this provided the background for revolution, while
Germany, political crisis was postponed by pressure from Austria and Prussia~
tao non-constitutional states thar dominated the German Confederation
established in 1815.'
In Britain, where governments were closer to parliament than to the increas
ingly impotent crown, inequalities in representation came in for increilsing
criticism from popular groups and the Whig aristocracy, an exclusive network
of families committed to subjects' 'liberty' and remaining in government fro
1830,after losing
osin power in the eighteenth century. Religious discrimina ' "
towards potential voters ended with the extension of political citizenship
Protestant dissenters in 1826 and Catholics in 1829 (with around 20 >
poorer Irish voters disc
'senfranchised in compensation). A reform of the el
system was finall yapproved by a reluctant House of Lords when tha en
with the creation of new peers in 1832.'7
The 1832 Great Reform Act redistributed seats to make them conform more
closely to national wealth, ended plural votes based on the same property, and
added a uniform electoral qttalification the occupation of premises valued at
10 pounds in rent annually in towns. More decisive than the increase in the
number ofelectors,which rose by 60 per cent, was the rise in contested elec-
tions, which brought the number of votes cast to 482,000 (from at most
152,000) and increased 'party' allegiance.'"
In the United States, state franchise reform proceeded unevenly. Though the
admission of new voters was usually driven by partisan calculations, this did
not prevent conflicts of principle: the debate on the admission of free blacks to
Northernstates'franchise, forexample, usually concerned lessthan 2 per cent
of the population. By around 1850, most states had implemented a 'universal'
franchise for settled, respectable white men similar to the one residents of
France and German states had demanded in the revolutions of 1848. In 1855,
only nine of 31 states retained explicit property or tax requirements. Residence
tests, however, disappeared only in North Carolina. Twenty-three states barred
criminals, and 16 states explicitly excluded paupers or the insane. All but five
states (Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont)
excluded black voters (while New York subjected them to inflated property
requirements), and only five states allowed Native Americans who paid taxes
and had left their tribes to vote. What emerged in the United States was a
franchise increasingly open to adult, settled, respectable white men, closed to
adult, respectable blacks, and largely closed to adult, respectable Native
The European revolutions of 1848 challenged the definition of political
citizenship as propertied citizenship. In France, the February revolution
created a republic; in German states, March April and May brought liberal
ministries, representative assemblies with broader franchises,-' black-red-gold
as official German colours and a n a t ional parliamentary assembly in
' Frankfurt In Britain, the Chartist demonstration on 10 April collapsed in the
face of a c ombined show of f o rce by the government and middle-class
This alliance between the middle classes and the government foreshadowed
the courseof events in Germany and France. The middle-class entrepreneurs
and professionals who dominated parliamentary assemblies' opposition were
aken aback by the demands for economic equality that were articulated in
p pular uprisings in the summer and autumn of 1848, while rural support for
democratic radicals was limited. In France, Louis Napoleon, a nephew of
Napoleon I and one of the 10 April special constables, proved that election to
the presidency on a conservative law and order progmmme and the conversion
gp g ) T / Z E NSHIV

of the presidency to thc hereditary title of emperor were possible under

conditions of universal male suffrage.
In Germany, the failure of revolutions in the states, after both the collapse
of plans for a German federation centred on Prussia and thc military defeat of
radical democrats, led to the restoration of modified pre-1848 arrangements.
The German Confederation was resurrected in 1852 (using the national
colours adopted in 1848 and including all of Prussia). Most states now had
assemblies,most of which were elected according to pre-1848 franchises. ~
Prussia introduced a 'three class franchise', which weighted votes by wealth.
Voters >vere arranged in declining order of tax contribution (with those who
paid nothing assigned a nominal sum) and d i vided i nt o t h ree classes
contributing equal amounts. Each class selected an equal number of electors,
who in turn chose deputies. By the 1870s, 2 per cent of voters in class I, 13 per
cent of voters in class II and 85 per cent of voters in class III could have an
equal say in selecting their constituency's representative.-'
Napoleon 111's success reduced conservative politicians' fear of lower-class
J voters. In Britain, the 1867 Reform Act introduced by Benjamin Disraeli's
Conservative government enfranchised around 400,000 men by extending the
right to vote to urban residents who contributed to the poor rate.~ Likewise,
thc German Empire which emerged from international confrontations with
.r'. Denmark, Austria and France, which had in part been used as a diversion from
Prussia's internal constitutional crisis, was equipped with a national parlia-
ment elected by respectable adult male suffrage for men over 25. France's Third
Republic, which emerged from the Second Empire's military defeat, did not
modify the franchise much, except for replacing the hereditary emperor with
an elected president, and ensuring that senators were elected by local office-
holders (rather than being appointed) from 1875.~ In the United States, one of
the key outcomes of four years of civil war was the introduction of universal
respectablcadult male franchise regardless of race through new rules
the elections of the southern constitutional conventions of 1867 and the 187
XVth amcndment.' -

As the increasingly conservative intent of the expansion of the franche

indicated, its effects on the membership of representative assemblies and socl
power relations was modest. political assemblies continued to bc dominated by
men of 'wealth and education', and voting did not become very popular
Germany; Jonathan Sperber has called the carly decades of the German
Empire, with abstention rates of above 50 per cent in national elections, thc
'eraof the non voter'.' - This was not because lower-class candidates could no
afford to enter parliaments. Members of legislative assemblies in German sta
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Formal citizenship was not a major focus of nineteenth-century jurispru

dence, though legal treatises on the privileges of citizens and the disabilities of
aliens appeared in all the countries under review from the 1830s. Legal d efi
nitions translated into practice only partially. In continental Europe, official
correspondence had to be submitted on taxed paper, and was therefore not
available to everyone. In Britain and the United States, professional communi
cations from fee-charging solicitors were also more likely to yield the desired
result than private correspondence with officials. At grass-roots level, the
central state was often represented by untrained notables or overstretched
administrators not ahvays aware of the most recent directives.
In the United States, a more systematic interpretation of citizenship law was
bound to clash with the studied ambiguities of the revolutionary period. It was
difficult to reconcile the Constitution, the automatic acquisition of citizenship
by birth on United States territory according to common law, and the explicit
exclusion of non-whites from naturalization and citizenship rights. In general
parlance, the boundary between black and white races still overlapped with
the boundary between poor and rich or Protestants and non-Protestants, as
Irish Catholics and Spaniards continued to be described as black.3~ Intuitive
definitions of race werc usually preferred to legal clarity. Southern courts
distinguished between 'whites', 'coloureds' and 'blacks' on the basis of a
subjective assessment of skin colour, hair texture and family history. Onc of
the first laws to define 'black', dating from 1848, simply shifted this procedure
b ackwards by making one 'black' grandparent the test of 'blackness'. T h e
main problem for legal systematization was thar racial boundaries created
internal contradictions between fundamental laws.
The Constitution's 'privileges and immunities' clause allowed a transfer of
citizenship rights between states. Some northern states, notably Massachuse
had black citizens. According to southern law and practice, however, fe
blacks had no citizenship rights. This problem surfaced periodically in
congressional debates notably on the admission of Missouri as a sta '"
182136 and court cases. Following an unsuccessful slave revolt," from 18 >
South Carolina required free black mariners to bc gaolcd at their own expense
until departure; other southern states followed suit. A Supreme Court judge
ruled the practice an illegal infringement of citizens' pri
but his judgement was ignored. British diplomatic protests went unheeded
until 1854, when direct negotiations allowed black British mariners to rema'n
on board.
Federal i
al inaction was justified by a particular interpretation of the mean "g
of citizenship. The 1823 judgement had assumed that states could define th
limits of ci' ti' cnship throughout the federation. An alternative interpret

defjned the federal citizen as a person in possession of all conceivable rights. A

succession of attorney generals concluded on this basis that blacks werc not
cjtjzens; even if they could vote in their home state, they were unequal to
whjtes in other ways, for example with regard to marriage rights or fcdcral
rights. This line of thought culminated in the Supreme Court's 1857 decision
in Scott v. Saitdford, which denied blacks citizenship. "
The disavowal of black citizenship by thc federal government was onc of the
fault lines which would cause the American federation to crack; it allowed
the South's racial attitudes to affect northerners' economic rights, and
demonstrated that the United States lacked a unified legal order. In the course
of thc Civil %Var, a qualified acceptance of slavery in loyal states gave way to a
ban on slavery and racial discrimination. In 1867, constitutional conventions
selectedby near universal manhood suffrage convened in southern states.In
the medium term, emancipation failed to deliver equal citizenship rights
regardless of race, as a federal policy of reconciliation and a realignment of
the party system laid the groundwork for a return to racial discrimination. 9
N evertheless, from 1868 formal American citizenship was accorded forthc first
time to anyone (other than Native Americans) who had been born on United
States soil.
In Britain, the systematization of the law of subjecthood occurred in the
1840s, after the emancipation of religious minorities (from 1846, the only
political office closed to Jews was that of member of parliament, which
became available in 1858)~ and of slaves, the dissolution of personal union
with Hanover in 1837 and prior to the transfer of East India Company terri-
tories to the crown in 1858."' These conditions favoured continuing to do
without racial differentiation, though this also allowed ministers, senior civil
servants and members of parliament to emphasize diffcrcnces between British
subject status and American citizenship."-'
In France, the importance of equality in the revolutionary tradition was not
entirelysubmerged even under the restoration, and re-emerged with a
~~~geance in 1848. But it was limited to France itself. In French colonies,
slavery and the slave trade remained permissible until 1848, and were tolerated
thereafter." In Algeria, which France acquired in 1830, two million Muslim
mhabitants were not admitted to French citizenship. To French jurists, this
ollowcd from Algeria's continued use of Muslim law, which excluded its native
people from the community of French citizens subject to French laws. However,
native Algerians who desired to bccomc French citizens had to move to
"rance until 1865, while European immigrants could become naturalized in
gja. Moreover,Algeria's 30,000 or so native-born Jews remained subjects
jl 1870, though they were completely subject to French courts from 1851.

Native Jets in other French colonies could remain 'indigenous Israelites' with
natives' rather than French citizens' rights even after 1871.~~
Unlike the United States, Britain and France, the majority of German states
had no written rules on formal citizenship or subject status after 1815. Their
definition of formal citizenship is difficult to reconstruct, and assessments
diverge, particularly when it comes to the importance of descent." This is due
to the number of possible sources. In addition to constitutions, statements on
formal citizenship also occur in Genieirrdeordnungen (local governance acts),
and in Prussia's 1842 law on 'the acquisition and loss of the rights of a Prussian
subject'." Residence rights were defined in i nternational conventions on
deserters and agrccments between German states on t h e r e moval of
'vagabonds' which predated domestic citizenship laws in all states other than
Austria, Baden and Bavaria. The question is how these rules fit together.
Constitutions stated that 'the right of a native' was acquired by children of
male citizens or unmarried female citizens; female aliens who married male
citizens; appointment to a civil service position; and explicit or implicit natu-
ralization. As marriage or employment could not apply to children, the only
mechanism for the automatic attribution of formal citizenship at birth was
Thc hypothesis that this made descent the guiding principle of nineteenth-
century German citizenship laws is contradicted by provisions on citizenship's
loss. German states' constitutions and related laws specified that formal
citizenship was lost absolutely by women who married aliens and by men who
emigrated officially, were absent for 10 years or more, or left the country
without planning to return. German laws on formal citizenship were thus
'internally inconsistent'." By the 1850s, only six out of over 30 states attrib-
uted citizenship by 'independent' residence of between three and 15 yearsI
elsewhere in Germany, citizenship was acquired by family ties and lost by
Local corporation acts assigned a domicile (Heiniat) to every citizen. As a
rule, domicile was acquired by birth and confirmed by 'reception' in a locality
usually at majority. In the former French dcpartenients now part of Bavaria~
Hcsse-Darmstadt and Prussia, as well as in post-1842 Prussia as a whole~
the law guaranteed freedom of movement by obliging localities to admit
honourable citizens able to support themselves for one year. In other Ge n
states, localities imposed additional wealth requirements on incomers
Conventions on the extradition of deserters defined natives by their plac
irth, an
and prohibited their extradition to foreign armies. ' Conventions on th
extradition of 'vagabonds' and 'paupers', finally, specified that states had
accept people on the basis of (in declining order of importance): 1) writ
confirmation of citizenship (for example, a valid passport); 2) explicit natu-
ralization; 3) 10 years' independent residence or marriage with permission; 4)
descent from a citizen; 5) 'accidental' birth in a country; 6) factual presence. ' -

In codifying rules on residence, political rights and military duties, German

states' ministries were clearly not spelling out the implications of a single
concept of formal citizenship which prioritized descent, residence and the
place of birth. A 'principle' of descent is conspicuously absent from juridical
writing of the period and the debates in the 1848 National Assembly.
unifying concept was lacking because members of the state were not equal
citizens, but primarily members of local corporations; even in post-1842
Prussia, men with a certain income or who undertook particular occupations
had toseek burgher status in their new place of residence if they moved.
International conventions on expulsion, by contrast, focused on social
groups outside the nncien regime order of estates. Rules for deserters and
vagabonds were different because states were keen to maximize the number of
soldiers by including everyone born in the country (the
argument had attracted
Napoleon and a minority of Prussia's council of ministers to the law of the
soil), 4 and eager to reduce the number of 'vagabonds'. In contrast to the eigh-
teenth century, states now committed themselves to send 'vagabonds' home
rather than 'away', although this failed to register immediately. As late as 18,
the Prussian royal council debated whether conversion to the Jewish faith
could result in deportation.
The key problem was that the loss of citizenship by emigration created
systematic statelessness in German states, because emigrants were denational-
ized even though automatic naturalization was rare. The deportation treaties
resolved this problem within the German Confederation. According to these
treaties, loss of citizenship by emigration did not deprive citizens of German
states of a right of residence until they acquired a domicile elsewhere. Whether
the right of residence granted by the treaties was equal to formal citizenship
was not stated explicitly, except in three small territories which declared that it
the 1820s, the question was largely irrelevant. People who were not
S i i rger (full political citizens) could never acquire more than residence
~ghtsi and vagabonds were unlikely to make the Staatsbiirger grade. When the
nun>ber of politically motivated deportations rose from the 1830s, the treaties
began to affect students, businessmen, lawyers and clergymen as well, and their
ocus shifted from enumerating particular classes of undesirables to dealing
ith aliens (AIrsliinder) generally. Occasional reference to 'indirect' naturaliza-
"on by treaty through long-term residence slipped into constitutions and nego-
ttions at the German Confederation on a 'system of settlement law', an aim

achieved in 1861, when all German states acceded to the so-called Gotha treaty
first concluded in 1851, though its effects on automatic naturalization through
rcsidcncc varied from state to state.~
Differentiating between formal citizenship and protection against' dcporta
tion, as Eli Nathans has done recently, ' thus seems anachronistic. In prussia,
the state at the core of Nathans's argument, no citizenship went beyond resi-
dence rights prior to 1848, as local or provincial political participation was by
'estates', statewide political participation was a thing of t h c f u ture, and
administrative discretion in deportation, residence and passport matters made
legal niceties largely irrelevant in practice.
Jews and members of Christian denominations other than Catholicism,
Lutheranism and Calvinism faced restrictions on residence and occupation,
and could not be Staatsbiirger. In 1 848, the revolutionary constitution's
proposal to end religious discrimination was a major step in the direction of
granting full citizenship rights to Jews, but thc decisive reforms did not occur
until thc 1860s; they were completed in the North German Federation by 1869,
with practical equality still a very different matter.
The unification of German states in the North German Federation in 1866
and the German Empire in 1871 did not bring about major changes to citizen-
ship law. German states retained their distinct citizenships. The North German
Federation's 1870 framework law on citizenship merely stated that citizenship
in the Federation resulted from citizenship in one of its member states. (After
1871, 'imperial' citizenship without state citizenship was introduced for Alsace
Lorraine and German colonies.) State citizenship was acquired by descent,
through the marriage of a woman to a citizen or through naturalization in a
state. Citizenship was still lost by emigration or 10 years of residence abroad~
unless emigrants registered with a German consulate and met military servi
State citizenship continued to appear on passports and identity cards
Citizens of any German state not receiving poor relief and without a criminal
record could, howcvcr, now move to any German state and demand 'rcceptton
(At(f iialsnre) into the local citizenship after one year's rcsidcnce. The acqu's'
tion of a new state citizenship did not imply loss of the old one(s); dual and
multiple state citizcnships were possible.~
What emeremerges from this account is that no republican law of th e so'
contrasted with a monarchical law of descent, though differences in mona
chical and re u i
epublican visions of citizenship existed. The German monarcle
assigned formal citizens
al citizenshipi broadly by not distinguishing very clearly between
nationality (Staatsangeborigkeit) and settlement (Heintat); both the German
states and Britain ke keptt oformal citizenship separate from political rights. The
was no general rule that would have allowed a British subject or German
citizen of a particular age to vote in elections. In France and the United States,
formal citizenship was more closely linked to potential political rights; groups
excluded from political citizenship were also defined as something other than
formal citizens.
Changing formal citizenship after birth raised questions of international
compatibility. In Britain, the high price of naturalization initially kept the
number of applications at around 22 per year between 1801 and 1843, with the
vast majority a p proved. German b usinessmen based in
constituencies, who had become stateless by emigration, complained of the
high expense, and pointed to the naturalization of
Queen Victoria'
s husband-
to-be by parliament in 1840 as evidence that there was no need to treat much
less potentially powerful aliens as a political threat. '
After a Select Committee report favourable to facilitating naturalization,
parliament agreed in 1844. Fees were reduced to 14 to 15 shillings plus legal
expenses pocket change for middle-class households, but still prohibitive for
some labourers. Naturalization by Home Office certificate, which did not
allow beneficiaries to become members of parliament, was henceforth granted
at the discretion of the home secretary. Parliament could admit aliens to full
citizenship with all rights by private act nine were passed before 1870.
Naturalization by certificate was valid only in the United Kingdom; Britain' s
colonies set their own naturalization rules from 1847. The reduction of fees
and thereform of procedure caused the number of naturalizations to increase
to around >>0 per year ' -

By and large, home secretaries applied rules determined by Horatio

Waddington, the Permanent Under-Secretary of State in the 1850s and 1860s.
casionally, individual bias could be crucial; Viscount Palmerston refused
naturalization to Catholic priests, for instance. Petitioners for naturalization
had to cite a plausible reason, have lived in England for at least three years from
854~ and had to plan to reside in the United Kingdom permanently in the
future Thesefactshad to be certified by three or four householders other than
he apphcant's solicitors. The petition could be quite formulaic: 'greater facility
m carryingon one's business' as reason, and 'merchant' as occupation appears
ha>'< been the safest bet. Police enquiries were only undertaken if some-
ung- the occupation 'magician', for instance- raised a red flag. The require-
"t of permanent future residence excluded people who planned to move to
th"c olonIes and most political refugees. More than six months unauthorized

sence cancelled naturalizations granted between 1854 and 1870.

Naturalized subjects remained distinct from natural-born subjects, because,
Home Secretary Palmerston put it in 1854, 'by Law o
f Nations it is no

competent for any Person to divest himself of the allegiance under which he
was born'.~ Naturalization was never valid in the country of birth, and even
natural-born British subjects who acquired their status by descent were only
British subjects outside their country of birth." Between 1850 and 1854, no
British passports were issued to naturalized subjects; from 1854, passports
were again issued, though with much shorter validity than to natural-borg
subjects, as naturalizations conferred after 1854 lapsed after six months spent
abroad. British passports always stated whether their bearers were British or
naturalized British subjects.+
In German states, naturalization offered complete equality, but required
admission to a locality and to the state. Admission to a locality required certi-
fied proof of personal details, past good conduct, and sufficient wealth to
remain off poor relief in the foreseeable future between 200 Gulden in a rural
village and 5,000 Gulden (up to 25 times the annual income of a master
artisan) in Frankfurt am Main. Payments to communal funds and fees could
amount to another 130 Gulden. No prior residence was required, though, like
citizenship acquired at birth, citizenship acquired by naturalization was lost
automatically on emigration. Grants of citizenship were discretionary, and
records of applications declined were routinely destroyed. All that can be said,
therefore, is that approved applications usually conformed to requirements.
Administrative correspondence strongly suggests that members of religious
minorities, particularly Jews and pacifist Christian denominations, had to bc
remarkably wealthy to obtain naturalization."
No German state counted 'implicit' naturalizations through residence, and
practice with regard to naturalization by marriage or appointment as a civil
servant was uneven. At a minimum, Prussia naturalized over 3,500 people per
year around mid-century, and Bavaria a thousand, with 80 to 90 per cen f
those naturalized coming from other German states. These naturalizations
ceased after German unification, but th e number of n a t uralizations in
Germany continued to remain well ahead of France or Britain, with around
2,300 per year in the German Empire in the 1870s. '
In restoration France, naturalization continued to bc granted by thc head o
state on the basis of reports from the locality, departentcnt and justice mis'ry~
after a 10-year residence period following admission to domicile at ot after
majority. The p'rocedure cost 205 francs, which was about one third of a
worker's annual income. Up to 1848, it was sought mainly by veterans born m
areas of the Napoleonic Empire no longer part of France, whose pension claims
depended on citizenship. Most other cases originated in two departetn<<
where only citizenship granted access to communal property. Between 1814
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V 0 2 0 B- 9 o V m 0-
A n 0 M Q Cl o 0
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o- ~ 0-. 0 2 n A A rr
A Pt C o
M A 0 4
0 0 Oo n A o'
A 2- n
A n oo A
C 0 D 0
0 0 (/I o A Q 0 0
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n 2 0
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cn A
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A t n ~ P FJ 0 A Dl n A A
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-U 9 O O
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o C A ~ n

O n n' 0 n 0
cn p 0 OO n 0 A ~.~ 9 0 A
Pt cn
A 2 n 0
o 0 Oo Oo A
A cn 0
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n C 0U 0
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Oo 0 A A
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(D A n O cn C) A A
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Texas (1876). In parts of thc United States, declarant alien status thus brougl,t
with it most of thc privileges of citizenship.'-
Naturalized citizens svere usually dual citizens. France, Britain and the
United States did not provide for (complete) dcnationalization, even though
the United States pushed for dcnationalization abroad from 1849. The German
states assumed that emigration led to the loss of citizenship rights, but not
necessarily of citizens' duties.73
There divas a growing divide between legal theory and practice. In German
states, emigrants were obliged to apply for release from subject status. Initially,
the point had been to discourage propertied subjects from leaving, and to force
people to meet responsibilities (such as tax payment, providing for destitute
relatives, scholarship repayment) before departure. Increasingly, the focus
shifted to ensuring emigrants' future welfare. But emigration checks were
costly and easy to avoid. Local officials generally issued passports for 'travel'
to America, and border controls in states with shipping interests focused on
cash. Many German emigrants left illegally and possibly as deserters. In
France, thc 1811 requircmcnt to seek permission from the head of state before
naturalization abroad remained on the statute books. Permission cost 675
francs, and was hardly ever acquired; the quasi-totality of French citizens
naturalized abroad thus committed an offence.'~
That matters came to a head over military service in thc United States
was nevertheless surprising. Military service in the country of immigration
was rarely relevant to naturalized citizens. Nineteenth-century conscription was
limited to part of an age cohort generally selected at 21. At this age, natural-
ization was impossible in France and highly unlikely elsewhere. Britain and the
antebellutn United States relied on volunteer armies coupled with l ocal
militias. After briefly experimenting with a volunteer army, France opted f
selective conscription from 1817, selecting up to 20 pcr cent of young me at
21 for active and reserve service lasting up to nine years. Those selected could
supply a replacement before 1855 and purchase exemption afterwards (f
2,500 francs). In all German states, noblemen and burghers of major ws
were effectively exempt from compulsory military service. Placemen could be
supplied in southern Germany, but not in Prussia, where high school graduas
able to purchase their own equipment could serve an abbreviated tour of du y
of one year.7~
The prosecution of returning emigrants for desertion in German states le
to American protests in which American diplomats began to argue that na "
ralization severed ties to the native state. "With the Civil War, military sv'
ccame an issue in America itself. When conscription was introduced
Union and the Confederation in 1862, natural-born citizens, naturalI
O 'a O M
C n M G O O C1 n

A n O
0 A 0 O
U pt
0 N c cn A o N
0 0 cn O v n M
~ QQ A C n
A 0
n 0 M I C/ I Vl cn cn
C7l A
C Vl tt Q N Ul 0 0

M U 0 0
o Pt
O A 'U 0 0
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0 CI 1
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rr n A
n A
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2 C
Pn 0 music

'0 cn Pt
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v cn A D
B. 2 QQ

o ccn

A M n A
o n H A
U I 0 D 0 D
5 A Ch I
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n M cn 0 A A
A A n cn o Cn n o
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tH G A cn ft 0 I
0 ~m
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o 0 m 0 A n
0 Pn 0 A
n Q1 A
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cn C QQ 0 CX1 Q
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0 g U
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p n A O o A
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c n cn cn
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n n 0
rr c A C A 0 n n
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g p A 0mp A
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n M D A I 0 A U Ch C 0
0 n c A Cn n A
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0 n
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nt t Cll C D
Cll n n 0
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0 IN cn D A A Cn A O C 0 A
0 O c n D- A
cn 0 Q V
0 0 C G- O m
0 n
G 5p r7)
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tt n
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cn G A tt G A G G PT I Ch A O

epositcd with thc authoritics wherever hc worked. Crossing frontiers meant

visa rcquircmcnts and intensive controls in the first village across the bord (r
1nd by thc first geudarutcrie patrol. To mov from place to place meant
waiting in crowded police stations for processing by brusque officials,lvhosc
powers included inflicting spontaneous corporal punishment or humiliation by
carrying out public skin examinations.82

Starklc was a suspicious traveller. As Swiss cantons tolerated journeymen's

associations, many German states placed Switzerland, like France and Britain,
off limits to workers at intervals from the 1830s." Starklc managed to cross
most frontiers theorctically closed to him, often with initial permission, but
divas always caught and punished with expulsion orders and fines later.
In the late 1850s, a British journeyman goldsmith, William Duthic, travelled
along similar routes.@ His cxpcricncc of bureaucracy divas entirely different. He
cntercd police stations by thc front door, and officials attended to his needs
promptly and courteously. This was not because Duthic was particularly
wealthy, nor because his native country divas particularly well regarded after
all, Britain was whcrc German agitators too radical for Switzerland went.
The differcncc was that Duthie's papers identified him as a travcllcr, not a
Viewed from across tlie Channel, this appeared rather odd. Thc standard
British travel guide described Continental passport control bureaucracy as
'most disagrceablc and most repugnant to E n glish feelings'.' I n 1 8 52~
Palmerston assured thc House of Commons that the British government would
resist Continental governments' demands that British passports include a
sigualcntcnt 'those picturesque descriptions which some foreign passpos
contain, being a definition of thc particular features which the individual
who bears thc passport may boast of'. The British lverc 'fond enough of sitting
for our portraits in England, but it is to painters wc like to sit, and not to
In 1858, thc vicomte dc Basterot cmbarkcd on a t ou r o f t h c l vcstcrn
hemisphere. Like many other European travellers, hc found crossing thc United
States' border a peculiar experience, because thc customs inspectors' clea'
disrespect for rank made them appear 'rcnrnrknblemcnt g rossiers'. In Ep c ~
customs agents favoured with a tip were not expected to examine a gentleman
baggage; in thc United States, however, things appeared different.
Travel controls in France and the German states divcrgcd from those
Britain and the United States after 1815. Qn thc European Continent tl'e
movement of persons remained rcgimcntcd, but inside Britain and thc Unld
States, it was no longer subject to official control for the upper cl1ssc '

Interaction with th e agents of t h c t ravel control bureaucracy dcpcndcd

primarily on social rank, not formal citizenship."'
yVhcn peace returned in 1815, only the United States did not require thc
registration of alien visitors, though written authorization for travel from
private persons or officials was rcquircd for blacks in southern states. Control
systems had two drawbacks: expense and inronvcnicncc. Passport regulations
were criticized by political elites, and criticism could only bc countered by
rcfcrcnce to pervasive uncertainty and subversive activity."
In Britain, fear of foreign subversion receded in thc 1820s, and cost control
by parliament was particularly intense. Alien Office accounts showed that the
system cost almost 3,000 pounds per deportation between 1816 and 18H. In
1826, parliament cnactcd an Alien Registration Act which obliged aliens to
register, but cndcd exclusion or deportation. Thc next year, thc Swiss consul
complained that Alien Office representatives were annoying travcllcrs for no
reason. In 1836, the Alien Office was closed and its records destroyed. 'iVith a
brief interruption between 1848 and 1850, thc British government relinquished
thc popover to control thc entry or movemcnt of aliens for the remainder of thc
nineteenth century.
In France and the German states, where political tensions ran higher, state-
issucd travel documents remained mandatory and theoretically placed trav-
ellers at the mercy of thc police in their choice of route, mode of transport
and place of lodging. Passports were valid for one trip or a maximum of one
year, and their back page recorded daily interactions between thc document
and offici als.Thc passport system was designed to prevent the 'vagrancy' of an
underworld of peddlers, showmen and vagabonds, to tax upper-class travel,
and to prcvcntthe influx of paupers through excessive demands for 'travel
money' at international borders. The prescription of routes could direct trav-
ellers away from particular towns or countries which were considered too
Ii "eral. Finally, passports provided some identification at a distance. '
Thc passport system succeeded only partially. Peddling and showmanship
wc tolerated by local officials and went out of fashion only when raihvay
networks and postal services intcgratcd remote areas into national markets.
Thc 'criminal underworld' quickly took to reprinting, manipulating or altering
passpts, and there'was some dispute among experts as to whether paper-
"as d o cumentation systems were of greater benefit to the police or to
The possibilities for directing travel remained limited. The relationship
behvcen thc number of officials and travellers ensured that controls were
ursory, and that the aims of facilitating 'useful' and preventing 'suspicious'

travel proved incompatible with one another, as the distinction was hard to
make. While the passport system appears to have succeeded in curbing fhe
inflow of louver-class travellers to capitals surrounded by a single or double rIng
of checkpoints, it did not prevent travel by well-known opposition figures.9>
This was because passports transcribed a plausible identification made by
the applicant, a local official or notable onto an officially certified document.
Personal descriptions in prose were sufficiently general to apply to several
individuals. The drastic punishments provided for repeated transgression of
borders which ranged up to imprisonment for life were hardly ever
imposed; a single instance of illegal border crossing brought no more than a
reprimand, brief imprisonment or a beating, depending on what officials felt
like on a particular day.
The focus of passport documents remained the text of recommendation.
The coat of arms at the top or bottom of the page became slightly more promi-
nent, partly in an attempt to make reprints more difficult, while the personal
description linking the passport to its bearer remained consigned to the
margins. Yet, passports were no longer intended to be read. Travel accounts'
assertions that police officers were illiterate were probably exaggerated, but
police officers were unlikely to be multilingual. From 1851, when Britain
became the last country to stop issuing international passports in French, the
text on passports was always in the language of the country of issue, though
consular visas could provide translations. Passports fulfilled their function
adequately if their format conveyed what sort of traveller officials were dealing
with: a labourer like Starkle, or a respectable personage like Duthie. ' In Fran
and German states, passports were issued by officials who respected the rules
of social deference by adding physical descriptions only for lower- or middle-
ranking travellers. Similarly, upper-class travellers were officially exempted
from visa requirements in Prussia.
In Britain and the United States, where passports were not mandatory, they
remained closer to personal recommendations. In th e U n ited Kingdom~
Foreign Office passports were issued by the Foreign Secretary in his own na
(for example, Palmerston or Castlereagh) without an expiry date, but at hig"
prices: at two pounds, seven shillings and six pence, Foreign Office passp '"
cost more than a first-class ticket from Britain to A ntwerp in the I +
Moreover,they were granted only to acquaintances of the Foreign Secretary
to customers of a London bank. In the United States, the State Departme"
issued passports only to 'respectable' whites. In these circumstances, a go "
ment monopoly on passports was unthinkable. In the United States, therefo
individual states issued passports to both black and white citizens, Scot ' '
towns also issued passports to their residents, and the 23 French consula

and diplomatic representations of Belgium, the Netherlands and Prussia

undertook the bulk of passport business for British travellers."
The way in which holders of non-governmental passports were treated
confirms that the look of a passport determined the extent of its usefulness.
Scottish municipal passports, with wax seals, for example, were more highly
regarded than plain paper Foreign Office passports. How passports looked
depended in large part on what their bearers spent on them, because docu-
ments could be mounted and bound in order to ensure a more deferential
This passport system declined from the 1860s, when the demise of an acute
revolutionary threat on the European Continent coincided with tighter train
timetables and a growing regard for mobility. Colour-coded identification
cards for rapid scanning were issued to respectable frequent travellers in
German states from the 1850s, but did not catch on internationally. From the
1860s, though, governments abolished first visa requirements, then frontier
controls and domestic checkpoints throughout western and central Europe. '
As passports lost part of their significance as travel permits, they became
more closely tied to formal citizenship. France stopped issuing passports to
Britons in 1858, forcing the Foreign Office to establish a network of passport
offices issuing documents priced at 2 shillings on the basis of a recommenda-
tion from a local banker, clergyman, Justice of the Peace or physician.~9

An International Market in Free Labour

In 1831, in the middle of the post-revolutionary economic crisis, the French

government informed neighbouring states that border guards had been
ins'tructed to turn back workers without contracts.'+ Similar notices were
published in government gazettes from time to time throughout the nineteenth
century' ' Protection of citizens against foreign competition was at best a side-
effect of such notices. Employers remained free to use alien workers, provided
they hIred them in advance. Indeed, governments viewed dismantling barriers
labour migration as one way of replacing economic stagnation with econ-
omic growth, government deficits with surpluses, and 'pauperism' with a
middle class of independent producers.
The creation of a free market in land open to all ranks of citizens and aliens
as completed with permission for aliens to purchase land in Britain in 1870,
and by 1848 most ties between land and political power had been dissolved in
German states though manorial jurisdiction remained in place until 1927 in
Prussia, and aliens who purchased manorial estates had to nominate a citizen
for these duties."-'

Thc remaining traces of thc guild economy gradually disappeared;

United States and Britain by mid-century at the latest. Prussia introd d
freedom of rcsidcncc in 1843, and in most German states, frecdpm pf pccu
tion arrived with the Prussian takeover in 1867 or 1870. However, even P fu
restricted the right to train apprentices to members of Innutrgen, wh
cffcctively guilds placed under state supervision.'~ Finally, economic rclatipn
ships ivcrc transformed from authority and subservience to private !aw
contracts through the abolition of slavery in the countries studied between
1834 and 1865 and the reform of labour laws.'
This transition to a capitalist economy was accompanied by dramatic
economic change. The introduction of steam power in transport, increased
trade in manufactured goods and non-perishable foodstuffs, and the social and
economic relations between a new 'proletariat', a rising 'bourgeoisie' and a
supposedly declining aristocracy shaped the fictional and scholarly literature
of the period, including, most notably, Benjamin Disraeli's Sibyl (1845),
Charles Dickens's Tale of Two Cities (1859) and Karl Marx's Das Kapital
(1867). Urban growth brought new environmental problems and the need to
create a new infrastructure, particularly for water supply and waste removal.'
Nevertheless, city life and factory work remained atypical by the 1870s. The
'economy of manufacture', which relied on small businesses or farms and a
high proportion of self-employment or casual labour remained thc norm In
France in 1866, there were on average three employees per employer. Outside
Britain, most of the economically active population worldwide worked in agrI
culture: 51 per cent in relatively industrialized Germany and France (figuresr
1871 and 1876 respectively), compared to only 25 per cent in England i 87
Most people still lived in villages or small towns: 36 per cent of the inhabitants
of Germany in 1871 lived in 'cities' of over 2,000 inhabitants, and only 12 P
cent in cities of over 20,000 inhabitants, while in France, 67 pcr cent of thc
population lived in villages in 1876. In Britain, thc majority of thc populatton
lived in large cities of over 10,000 inhabitants by 1871 '~ The concept of se!f
employ cd heads o ho u seholds presiding over workshops with employees who
s of
could reasonabl) ho e ffor economic indcpcndencc was not just an ideo!pgIca
projection of European!ib I'
an!iberalism. It remained a plausible view of cconomIc
reality. Official intervee ntion in this world of small-scale economi r n
occurred onlyy to take char e of ethnic or religious groups scen as unsuttab
for'i ndepcndcnt' economic cx'
mic existence and to regulate occupations wtth c
links to politics.
In 1834, the British government
overnmen began a 'great experiment' by rep
' economic
sslavery in plantation
nomies with free labour. In terms of outpu
emancipation in thc Caribbean was
ean was not a success. Former slaves and plant~ ' "

owners saw only limited benefit in dependent wage labour, but preferred
economic independence or submission.'
The experience of emancipation in the Caribbean had important reper-
cussions for the postbellum United States. Slave emancipation in the United
States was partly an unintended outcome of military conflict in a society
inured to institutionalized racial inequality. Unlike their Caribbean counter-
parts, southern plantation owners faced an undecided government keen on a
swift return to agricultural productivity. This caused white tutelage and the
plantation economy to remain in place along with a pass system targeting
mainly black freedom of movement, regulations barring blacks from skilled
occupations, and measures against 'idle' blacks who moved into cities.
Economic control soon came close to creating a black 'slavery of debt'."
German states restricted the economic activity of Jews, who were obliged
to settle and work in particular locations and occupations. As the society of
orders transformed itself into the society of citizens, ghettoization was increas-
ingly criticized by liberals and government officials as an infringement of
citizens' rights and an obstacle to administrative standardization. If standard-
ization was the goal, then emancipation required use of t h e G erman
language and settled occupations in crafts, agriculture or the professions.
Public assimilation and private religious practice offered significant educational
and economic opportunities as reward for integration into an enlightened
public sphere influenced by the values of state bureaucracies.'"
State control tended to increase in regulating access to the professions and
state administration. The appointment of non-citizens to positions of public
trust and authority, which had been common in the German states and pre-
volutionaryFrance, became exceptional. Preference for native-born subjects
mained in place in Britain and, to a lesser extent, in the United States, and
as confirmed by the introduction of new exams designed to provide citizens
with a fair opportunity to compete for attractive jobs.
In Britain and the United States, the main function of universities was to
provide general education and professional training for lecturers, clergymen
and physicians. Legal competence was mainly certified by members of the bar
an individual jurisdicrion. Bar exams were open to both aliens and citizens,
pvided they were prepared to swear an oath of loyalty, although aliens could
not hope for judicial appointments. This model of professionalization through
dacto monopolies for private organizations was typical of the British and
erican experience. It left the decision on the admission of non-citizens
a gely to professional organizations. In Britian, physicians outside public
hospitals or asylums required no formal qualification prior to 1858; aliens
could sit British examinations. In most United States states, non-citizens were

only barred from skilled occupations with the increase in anti-immigrant sentI
ment in thc 1880s. University teaching posts were restricted to Anglicans at
Oxford and Cambridge before 1871, but open to subjects and aliens alike.
Posts at schools >vere also open to aliens, unless the school operated unde
royal charter, When the British government introduced competitive examina
tions for civil service posts in 1855, it barred naturalized citizens from
competing; when the United States federal govcrnmcnt followed in 1883,
however, it did not.nz
On the European continent, universities were state-sponsored institutions
whose main function was to train civil servants. In German states, where
universities retained a greater degree of autonomy than France's 'national
schools', civil service examinations (Staatsevnnien) continue to be conducted
by state-run exam boards. In German states, aliens were ineligible for state
cxams; certificates of achievement were not validated even by subsequent natu-
ralization. The same rule applied in France, even though foreign physicians
could receive exceptional permission to practise." The impact of such restric-
tions was limited by the fact that higher learning remained extremely exclusive.
At most, 0.5 per cent of a male age cohort studied at university."~
The power of local officials to turn back newcomers for economic reasons
did not disappear. In most German states, newcomers had to find employmcnt
within three days, and aliens >vere unable to challenge removals from any
country." Therequirement to procure 'papers' in German states and France
imposed costs on migrants who crosse'd borders, as did the entry fees, which
were sometimes required prior to the 1850s or 1860s, with the obligation
purchase an overpriced official fire bucket in some Westphalian cities in thc
1840s a particularly curious example."
Fees were significant as international migration was price sensitive A e
1815, assisted or coerced emigration became less important in European coun
tries. Thc British government provided some funds for emigration and
continued to deport convicts to Australia until 1868. Australia or United States
states beckoned with easy access to political participation, while landlords
shipped tenants overseas during the Irish famine, German localities ga'c
paupers onc-way tickets abroad, and British, French, Swiss and Belgian
governments subsidized political refugees' dcparturc. But i n q u antitati
terms, the vastt majority
ma'or' of European emigrants financed their joncys '"
' on f d
viduallyor relied on funds provided by families, relatives or friends A
or prepaid
p emi ' rati
g ation appeared on other routes and included Ind " "
service for Indian work rkers in other parts of the British EmpI~~ or
' to the United States.u7
Iabour migration


The extent of economic migrat'

igration andd reactions to it varied th
t d to curtail it systemat'c II I
a ica y. n t hh
e United States, immi
m m igrants generally avoided the South an
' s. n , 36 per cent of Wisconsin's
were foreign-born residents, while 50 per cent of r esidents in
uis were oreign-born by around 1860. XVhi}
II l o e,da ,s fu t ure citizens who fuelled economic
immigrants who remained in e t
in eastern cities hhalf the o ulatio
, was oreign- orn in 1855- were seen as de endant l
who were a burden on local r
oca resources. ."s The
h key problem a eared
elsewhere. Immigrants from rom Chin in a n o t only seemed particularl alien '
context of racist discourse th
ourse, t ey were also I willin' to wor wor
rreatene working k conditionss in t e
in the %Vest. However, fewer than
, 00 Chinese 'coolies' arrived before 1877.n
In Britain ,th

the number of aliens increased f

se rom . percentof the
0.25 o ula-
e popula-
tion to 0.44 per cent between 1841 an and 1871 in E
1 in Enn gland
a and AVales, with most
i n o n o n s service economy. Ministers and members of a r l '
ession t at immigrants did rather well, thou h the-a
re ugees were a i erent category. . nBritish
' concerns focused
's labour
on Irish mi r
a our migration, so that restrictions of o t e ntiall 0
iscussed wit' hout regard to formal citizenshi S IP..'-'
In France the proportion
r of aliens amon the po p
t e irst year for which fi ures are available) and 2.6 per cent

ost came from Belgium um (43 per cent of aliens in 1881), Ital ta y(94 per
cent) and Germany (8 per cent). '
). Ali e ns were most} o
}y found in industrial centres
o t e o r e rs, and tended to work as nskilled un " or semi-skilled workers
s menia workers during Haussmann's s 1860
6 0s remodelling of Paris. French
ers concernsfocused on aliens' eff ect
e ect onon wages
wa es and their role as str e-
s. n , anti-alien riots drove thousa usands of non-French workers out
e country. '- ' The effect of alien imm migration on conscription added to
sions 'p
sions ecause departeIIIent I recruitment numbers were calcu}ated accor ding
to the number 'd
er of r esidents. As aliens i ve re notconscripted, Frenchmen in
ricts wit I large
b numbers o immigrants
ers of ' bore a higher burden. It was alleged
t iat employers pre erred aliens, who were not liable to be drafted a
1 d
c ii
r e n o a iens were accused of seeking to maximize
' thiIS
ad ping t ieir nationality indeterminate until they drew a bad
r In the conscri tion }otter y; if they drew an exemption, they could
emain' French citizens. Concern about the effects of immigration also
rom newspaper accounts, which doubted that the number of aliens

in Paris declined in 1848, and accused the government of trying to pass 150 000
aliensoff as 15,000 in thc census.'~
In German states, thc proportion of aliens (most of whom were citizen' of
other German states) was mainly influenced by state size and the distance from
t he nearest border. Almost half o f t h c p opulation of t h c c i t y-state f
Frankfurt, for example, did not hold Frankfurt citizenship in the second half
of thc nineteenth century; by contrast, the proportion of aliens in Hesse
Darmstadt rose from 1.2 per cent in 1834 to 3.8 per cent in 1864 (the last year
of independence). In thc 1871 census, the proportion of non-Germans in thc
German Empire was 0.6 per cent.
Aliens in German states clustered in the Iow-wage occupations open to non-
members of guilds. Of servants, artisans and labourers, 5 to 8 per cent were
aliensin 1830s and 1840s Hesse-Darmstadt, 15 per cent in 1840s Munich, and
over 20 per cent in some factory towns. Bureaucrats assumed that aliens in
casual employment had a significant impact on the labour market and could
be expelled in order to reduce unemployment in times of economic crisis.'~
German workers were less certain about anti-alien measures. Given the
minute size of many German states, accentuated by numerous en- and exclaves,
and the traditional requirement that journeymen spend a few years on the
road, labourers, journeymen and servants had experienced alien status at
first hand and were usually hostile to migration restrictions; in 1848 the
representatives of German workers gathered in Frankfurt demanded the
abolition of passport laws.L'~
In spite of some restrictions, non-citizens had access to large sectors
labour markets on almost equal terms. Economic citizenship was not linked
formal citizenship except for positions involving political authority
requiring higher education tested in national examinations. The main problem
of people who moved abroad was not their admission to employment or self
employment, but their position if employment ceased or t heir business

Poor Relief versus Markets

In 1845, aa fu
fungal disease, the potato blight, destroyed about one third of "
potato crop in Ireland. Thc next year, three quarters of plants failc
o dc "'
t er thh at,I'little was planted because seed potatoes had been
and,the yearafter
by a famished population. Normal harvests resumed only from
potato blight affected ed all c ountries which relied on potatoes as staple
poorer inhabitants, particularly Belgium and Scotland. But Ireland
y p enc e a demographic catastrophe. Roughly '13 p
'a nt 'IO n
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improved ivhcn hospitals received compensation for their expropfIatcd prop

crty in 1824. The result of limited funds was a focus on repression; in the
German states, with the exception of Prussia, marriage restrictions placed on
poorer mcn and women to curb population growth were one way of attacking
p au p c f1
In France, public works programmes werc still occasionally used. The best-
known instance of the return of the atelier de clsaritc model of relief were the
'national ivorkshops' created in 1848 in Paris, to which unemployed labourers
could apply with a certificate of residence from their landlord certified by the
local police station. But the dramatic rise in the number of applicants quickly
ended the experiment.Henceforth, public works as a means of relieving
poverty became typical only for smaller French towns.'~
In all the states under study, applying for public poor relief after the 1820s
was a last resort. It was accompanied by semi-public rituals of humiliation,
social ostracism and an end to political rights (except in post-1852 France) as
favell as to freedom of movement, and might also mean internmcnt in a prison-
like environment. Given the cxtcnt of poverty, however, some people had no
alternative. From the 1820s to thc 1860s,75 to 80 per cent of Parisian dead were
buried as paupcrs, while three quarters of households were tax exempt due to
povertybetween 1830 and 1911. Anybody living in precarious circumstances
divas likely to request aid regardless of conditions, in order to survive periods
without income.'~
Detcrrcnce worked. Only 3 pcr cent of the population of Nassau received
relief from public funds in 1820, 2 per cent in 1820s rural New York, and less
than 1 per cent in 1840s Philadelphia. In all these cases, up to 90 per cent of
recipients were 'dcscrving', that is, either young, sick or aged.' The gap
between the prevalence of poverty and the limited amount of public relief was
closed by private charity and provision against risk through individual or
collective insurance.
Civil servants and, by the late ninctcenth century, United States veterans
iverc protected against the risks of illness, old age and infirmity through
pension systems. Recognized refugees from Poland, Italy or Spain rcccivcd
state aid, like soldiers temporarily off active duty, in France and, very brie"y~ '"
Britain (where this applied to Polish refugees only).' ' For other social groups~
private foundations or personal help from employers, landlords, patrons or the
informal credit system typical of working-class districts were an alternativo
public poor relief. One of thc groups often targeted was that of aliens n>
ternatiie to begging for aid was to procure insurance against specific
risks. Government attitudes to insurance funds friendly societies, nttrtuattte ~

or Unterstiitznngskassen in the nineteenth century were ambivalent, private

provision against risk was a welcome sign of working-class prudencc, but
large associations were risky, particularly if they accumulated sufficient funds
to finance strikes. Governments therefore typically placed friendly societies
under some form of supervision and limited their size or aims: insurance
against illness and old age was generally encouraged, but insurance against
uncmploymcnt could be restricted or prohibited altogether.' '
Mutual assistance and commercial insurance were beset by a number of
problems. Pensions were unlikely to materialize; few people paid in contribu-
tions without interruption as was required, and few friendly societies survived
for 30 years or more. It was therefore entirely rational that, of the 4,000,000
mcmbcrs of friendly societies in 1870s Britain, a majority of workers paid
premiums to cover burial costs (death being certain), some opted for insurance
against sickness, while few purchased insurance against old age. In order to
encourage investment in private old age pensions, the French and British
governmentssold annuities guaranteed by the state from 1850 and 1864 respcc-
tivcly. In both cases, the offer was hardly taken up because conditions were too
unattractive compared to what poor relief and private charity provided for
Company insurance plans pioneered by raihvays and mines as a way of
improving worker discipline and reducing employee turnover werc another
alternative method of insurance, but covered only 3.7 pcr cent of factory
workers in France in 1882.'
Short-term assistance to travellers excepted, public poor relief remained
payable only at a place of senlement, Heintat or dorm'cile. Insurance schemes
could exclude outsiders, though there is little evidence that they did so unless
outsiders presented particular risks.' L eaving one's domicile thus meant the
loss of the public social safety net, while establishing a domicile at one's new
Place of residence helped avoid periods of incarceration while one's settlement
was identified. All localities had an interest in establishing incomers' settle-
mcnt on arrival, and therefore created a system of documentation distinct from
passports: scttlcment certificates were valid for longer, and were issued only by
the place of domicile.
I G tt d in F r a nce, there was initially little distinc
aliens and 'foreigners' outside their domicile. For bh g
public relief was likely to result in an individual's remo po
locality I o I h d not lived in since childhood. XVhil
many more citizens than aliens only citizens (o'
could adapt th i d o micile to their place of residence,
the century p o e sed especially when, I871 '"

the French rule that an official residence of one year amounted to a change of
domicile. For aliens, however, the threat of removal Persisted, even thoug}
from the 1860s international conventions guaranteed short-term relief for sick
t fave}1crs.
In Britain, subjects could be removed to their domicile, but aliens could not.
Official reports found that aliens hardly used poor relief facilities. Able-bodied
single or married men in skilled occupations from distant localities lvere
usually not removed by poor law guardians either, because temporary relief
was less costly than recruiting skilled workers after a slump. By 1846, a new
settlemcnt in England could be acquired by five years' residence. This was
reduced to three years in 1861 and one year in 1865. For migrants who crossed
thc borders between England, Scotland and Ireland, it r emained at five
In thc United States, aliens accounted for a considerable proportion of
those maintained at the public expense, particularly in the major ports: up to
26 per cent of almshouse inmates were aliens in early nineteenth-century
Manhattan, as were around one third of pensioners in mid nineteenth-century
Philadelphia, for example.' Settlement legislation did not become obsolete,
'but east-coast northern states focused on controlling poor relief expenditure
by refusing entry to alien paupcrs or likely paupers, and by collecting contri-
butions to thc cost of relief from immigrants. Southern states attracted fclver
immigrants from abroad, and exempted white paupers from the harsher side
of poor relief as part of the 'wages of whiteness'. In 1859, in response to a
British enquiry about the removal of alien poor, Georgia and North Caroli
claimed to have neither poor laws nor paupcrs.'~
Northern states, as well as Virginia, Louisiana and Texas, continued to
require bonds or commutation payments from immigrants or their carriers~
and sometimes ordered removals, particularly to Ireland and England Bond >
payments or the obligation to remove paupers within a year of arrival werc
initially imposed on shipowners and raihvay lines regardless of whether thc
immigrants were United States citizens or aliens, and whether they aI" "
from other states or foreign countries. In 1849, the Supreme Court ruled tl'a
the Massachusetts fee of 2 dollars per head for all alien cntrics was an lllcga
interference with the federal regulation of international trade, but this merely
restricted those liable to pay commutation charges to those immigrants lvh
w ere deemed at particular risk of poverty. Thc general tax of 1 dollar pcn" y
in New York was renamed, and higher bonds were demanded of higher ' "
immigrants. Until such payments disappeared in 1872 in Massachusetts an
1876in Ncw York k, tthe
e 'financial burden on immigrants was significant' In 1
Massachusetts for cx example, the average commutation payment of 20 do}la

was just one dollar below the average ticket price for a transatlantic stccragc
passage oftwenty-one dollars.'"'
Social citizenship was still an alien concept to the ninctcenth century, given
thc stigmatization that public relief brought, particularly for 'undeserving'
applIcants. As a basic social safety net, it remained tied to localities, although
thc importance of formal citizenship increased as it became more difficult to
acquire social rights in a locality abroad, while adapting settlcmcnt to thc place
of rcsidcnce within a country became easier. In Britain and the United States,
aliens continued to acquire claims to social support upon arrival subject to
payment of a fee in the United States.
Rclicf remained a significant local dimension in the definition of boundaries
between insidersand outsiders.The same was true of rank: the higher indi-
viduals' status in society, thc lower the probability that they would come to rely
on relief designated as public.

Citizenship, Race and Rank in the Liberal Era

What justifies calling the period between the end of the Napoleonic Wars
and the 1880s a 'liberal era'? In party-political terms, many governments
were anything but liberal. With regard to migration policy, the argument that
the absence of systematic frontier controls made the nineteenth century a time
of unrestricted migration'"-' appears overstated,given the documentary
requirements and charges detailed above. What did set the period between
1815 and the late 1870s apart from what came before and after was the
emphasis on individual characteristics and local decision-making. A liberal
creed concerning the structure of society gained ground in the political and
economic organization of t h e states under study. It was based on two
premisscs: free markets with freedom of contract between individuals, and the
participation of respectable (male) heads of propertied households in locally-
based political decision-making. The liberal approach to citizenship rights
assumed that i n dividuals could meet these conditions of w ealth and
respectability of their own volition.
LIberal autonomy was not absolute. It did not apply inside the family, where
hc head of the household alone gave voice to political opinions, determined
natIonality and controlled or owned property.'' Likewise, the liberal era had
dIstInct limitations when it came to minority rights. The liberal view of society
as a collection of autonomous households whose potential could be liberated
by granting formal legal equality was never uncontested. In many ways, slavery
p oded a key to the conservative counter-argument to the liberal creed.
"'bals assumed that humans chose whether to be poor or successful,

educated or illiterate, respectable or criminal, and responded to economic

incentives in ways which lcd to a global increase in wealth. Conservatives
argued that diffcrenccs of talent, wealth and physique were innate, because the
sinful world was based on inequality. The only way to prevent the world from
sliding into oppression and chaos was to ensure that pcoplc of higher ranks
cared for and disciplined inferiors. This was the case southern slaveowners
made when they contrasted the prison of the 'liberal' English poorhouse with
'care'forsick and aged slaves on plantations.'~
In its assertion that property brought responsibility, the conservative critique
of the liberal worldview linked up with proto-socialist analyses of social
inequality. Both recognized that formal equality without economic equality
meant little. But while socialists pushed for a more equitable distribution of
wealth, conservatives favoured state intervention to maintain 'order' and social
justice. Effective factory legislation setting maximum working hours and
minimum ages for minors and women or mandating factory schools originated
with conscrvativc politicians or conservative states, and ivere applied first to
people whose autonomy was limited even in the svorld-view of the liberal
creed: women and children. The apparent paradox is that the importance of
race was most pronounced in the more liberal states (the United States and
France) and least pronounced in the more conservative polities (Britain and the
German states ) where religion remained the key criterion for diffcrcntiating
between cultural insiders and outsiders.
The 'short' nineteenth century continued the eighteenth-century debate
on the origins of humanity and the consequences of ethnic difference. There
was a dearth of new scientific evidence. Climate theory was discredited by
the passage of time: Native Americans, African-Americans and European
Americans were not becoming more similar. But the most convincing altna-
tive to the climate theory, polygcnesis, which assumed that races had been
created as separate species, was impossible to prove without blatant manipu
lation of facts or without giving up Linne's definition of species, which stated
that offspring produced by the cross-breeding of two different species was
infertile. (A more complex version of the argument was thc theory that mIxed
race children were not infertile, but had a lower life-expectancy.) Even thoug '
American census-takers began to gather information on the topic from I8" >
conclusive proof was lacking, because the data proved unreliable even wItln
their peculiar terms of reference."5
Given the lack of biological evidence, racial theories continued to be bas
on the reported past actions and attributes of peoples detailed in historIca
accounts. To conservatives, it was no surprise to find that history provided a
record of conflictict, unrest and upheaval. .Liberals, by contrast, had to

explanations for the degree of opposition to in their view, ideal political

systems like the French July monarchy, the post-revolutionary United States or
the British Empire. Onc possible reading was an interpretation of domestic
struggles as long-term contests between different peoples. France's popular
classes were seen by some as the descendants of ancient Gauls, temporarily
triumphant in t h e French Revolution, while the descendants of ancient
Germans or Franks had come to the fore again after 1815. Thc interpretation
of history as a struggle between ethnic groups was not confined to, bur was
particularly popular in, French historiography. Even though it did not with-
stand a critical reading of the evidence, it influenced Karl Marx, who translated
the narrative structure into a struggle between classes rather than peoples."
Racializing social inequality could result in a dercrminist view of social
status rooted in biology. This idea appeared in social studies such as Henry
Mayhew's London Labour and tive London Poor, which argued that biological
differencesbetween roundheads and longheads determined thc division of
London's poor into settled labourers and mobile paupers.'"" Similar diagnoses
of the biological basis of individual behaviour justified the discrimination
shown towards blacks in southern United States states after Reconstruction or
the toleration of slavery in indigenous populations in French colonies."' The
link beoveen biology and observable social characteristics such as wealth,
political power and migratory behaviour could, however, also be reversed.
Wealthy blacks or successful Celts had to be considered white or Anglo-Saxon,
making it impossible to tie a legal definition of race solely to biological
Race was thus likely to cancel itself out of both sides of an explanatory
equation. While many scholars and writers believed that race was behind
differences in political opinions or economic habits, they observed individuals'
political opinions or economic status. This was the evidence on which conclu-
sions about individuals' Celtic or Germanic ancestors, for example, were
based As long as no biological theory of race emerged that suggested that race
could be observed directly, for instance by classifying skull shapes in ways
which ensured that the level of variation between 'races' was smaller than that
bween individuals, there was no way of surmounting this methodological
nally, even theoreticians who believed in race as an historical force rooted
' biology and expressed in anatomical data saw little prospect of converting
eIr supposed insights into practical policy. Scotland's1871 census might well
ontain references to the damaging effect of 'inferior' Irish immigrants on
natIve population but this did not convince Westminster politicians to
tr'ct the rights of British subjects to freedom of movement in excess of
cn th

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In March 1885, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck ordered the head officials of
Prussia's four eastern provinces to deport Russian subjects without residence
, permits, and to begin consultations with local authorities on terminating the
residence of Russian subjects with permits. In July 1885, the order was
extended to Austrians. Bismarck's aim was to curtail the immigration of Poles
from the Russian and Austrian territories which bordered on Prussia as
labourers, craftsmen, artisans or students. His orders were put into effect with
considerable zeal. By 1887, around 30,000 Polish aliens including around
10,000 Jews had been removed from Prussia.
The measure was part of Bismarck's more general plan to create a German
Empire in which German was the sole language, and Protestantism the main
religion, at a t i m e when migration and demographics were making the
Chancellor's native Prussia increasingly Polish and Catholic. Between 1870 and
1880, the proportion of residents classed as Poles by government enumerators
had grown from 3 4 per cent to 8 per cent in the Mariemverder district, and
from 1.9 per cent to 10.9 per cent in Posen.'
Although anti-Polis)i sentiments were widely shared in German political
circles, Bismarck's deportation order was controversial. Catholics, Social
Democrats and left-wing liberals opposed arbirrary state action against
Catholics and workers. Conservatives were concerned about the deportations'
. impact on rural wage levels. The Prussian measure was sharply criticized in the
p"ess and parliaments of Austria, France, Britain and Switzerland, As other
German states refused to follow suit, poles living in prussian border towns like
"rankfurt could move to neighbouring Hesse-Darmstadt Offenbach.z
Though no European country except Britain doubted that governments
could remove aliens at will in the later nineteenth century,3 the right was
'" oked primarily against aliens who broke laws or cost money. Prussia's 1885