citizenship was limited, often tied to property ownership and societal status. Slaves were not considered citizens and were denied basic rights. Indigenous populations were also marginalized.
The Declaration of Independence declared that "all men are created equal," but this did not immediately apply to all. The Constitution (1787) established the foundation for citizenship but excluded Native Americans, slaves, and women.
limited citizenship to "free white persons" and excluded Native Americans, indentured servants, slaves, and Asians.
Dred Scott Decision
The Supreme Court ruled that enslaved and free Black people were not and could not become citizens.
Post Civil War era
The 14th Amendment granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the U.S. including former slaves.
15th Amendment granted voting rights regardless of race.
Chinese Exclusion Act
Restricted immigration and naturalization of Chinese immigrants.
Indian Citizenship Act
Granted citizenship to all Native Americans born in the U.S.
Hernandez v. Texas
Supreme Court ruled that Mexican Americans and other racial groups have equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
Civil Rights Act
Prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Immigration and Nationality Act
Abolished national-origin quotas, opening immigration to Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Voting Rights Act
Eliminated barriers to voting for African Americans
Provided temporary relief to certain undocumented immigrants who arrived as children.