Wednesday, July 29, 2020

What Governments Say to Women

Here is another excerpt from Alice Duer's Miller's book, Are Women People?

You may be confused as to the meaning of this poem.  Those of you who saw our lecture, By The Chimney No More might remember we talked about this during the program. 

The Expatriation Act of 1907 determined that if a woman married a man from another country, she immediately lost her United States citizenship.  If she wanted to become a U.S. citizen again, her husband would first have to be naturalized and only then could she reapply to become a citizen again.

if a U.S. male citizen married a woman from another country, his wife was immediately granted citizenship.

So when the United States entered World War I in 1917, guess what?  If you were married to a German (the enemy) you had to register as an enemy alien.  

Well yes it is stupid law.  But it wasn't really corrected until the 1940s.  You may think this wasn't that common.  But in fact Beth was talking to her 90 year old Mom about this law last year and her Mom said, "Oh I know all about that."  It turns out that Beth's grandmother was born and raised in Brooklyn but when she married a British immigrant, she lost her citizenship.  Beth even found her citizenship certificate after Grandma was naturalized!

Suffragists of course objected to the law.  One of my favorite rebuttals was in 1919 and you can read it here.

Have a safe and happy day!

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