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Looking
at the Constitution itself, we find that it was ordained and
established by "the people of the United States" (Preamble, 1
Stat., 10), and then, going further back, we find that these were
the people of the several States that had before dissolved the
political bands which connected them with Great Britain and
assumed a separate and equal station among the powers of the
earth (Dec. of Ind., 1 Stat., 1), and that had by articles of
confederation and perpetual union, in which they took the name of
"the United States of America," entered into a firm league of
friendship with each other for their common defense, the security
of their liberties and their mutual and general welfare, binding
themselves to assist each other against all force offered to or
attack made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion,
sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever (Art. Confed.,
sec. 3, 1 Stat. 4).

Whoever then was one of the people of either of these States when
the Constitution of the United States was adopted, became _ipso
facto_ a citizen--a member of the nation created by its adoption.
He was one of the persons associating together to form the
nation, and was, consequently, one of its original citizens. As
to this there has never been a doubt. Disputes have arisen as to
whether or not certain persons or certain classes of persons were
part of the people at the time, but never as to their citizenship
if they were.

Additions might always be made to the citizenship of the United
States in two ways--first by birth and second by naturalization.
This is apparent from the Constitution itself, for it provides
(Art. 2, Sec. 1) that "no person except a natural born citizen,
or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of
the Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President,"
and (Art. 1, Sec. 8) that Congress shall have power "to establish
a uniform rule of naturalization." Thus, new citizens may be born
or they may be created by naturalization.

The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born
citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At
common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the
Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all
children born in a country of parents who were its citizens
became themselves upon their birth citizens also. These were
natives, or natural-born citizens as distinguished from aliens or
foreigners. Some authorities go further and include as citizens
children born within the jurisdiction, without reference to the
citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been
doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case
it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient for
everything we have now to consider, that all children born of
citizen parents within the jurisdiction are themselves citizens.
The words "all children" are certainly as comprehensive when used
in this connection as "all persons," and if females are included
in the last, they must be in the first. That they are included in
the last is not denied. In fact, the whole argument of the
plaintiffs proceeds upon that idea.

Under the power to adopt a uniform system of naturalization,
Congress as early as 1790 provided "that any alien, being a free
white person," might be admitted as a citizen of the United
States, and that the children of such persons so naturalized,
dwelling within the United States, being under twenty-one years
of age at the time of such naturalization, should also be
considered citizens of the United States, and that the children
of citizens of the United States that might be born beyond the
sea, or out of the limits of the United States, should be
considered as natural-born citizens (1 Stat. 103). These
provisions thus enacted have, in substance, been retained in all
the naturalization laws adopted since. In 1855, however, the last
provision was somewhat extended, and all persons theretofore born
or thereafter to be born out of the limits of the jurisdiction of
the United States, whose fathers were, or should be at the time
of their birth, citizens of the United States, were declared to
be citizens also (10 Stat. 604).

As early as 1804 it was enacted by Congress that when any alien,
who had declared his intention to become a citizen in the manner
provided by law, died before he was actually naturalized, his
widow and children should be considered as citizens of the United
States, and entitled to all rights and privileges as such upon
taking the necessary oath (2 Stat., 293); and in 1855 it was
further provided that any woman who might lawfully be naturalized
under the existing laws, married, or who should be married to a
citizen of the United States, should be deemed and taken to be a
citizen (10 Stat., 604). From this it is apparent, that, from the
commencement of the legislation upon this subject, alien women
and alien minors could be made citizens by naturalization; and we
think it will not be contended that this would have been done if
it had not been supposed that native women and native minors were
already citizens by birth.

But if more is necessary to show that women have always been
considered as citizens the same as men, abundant proof is to be
found in the legislative and judicial history of the country.
Thus, by the Constitution, the judicial power of the United
States is made to extend to controversies between citizens of
different States. Under this it has been uniformly held, that the
citizenship necessary to give the courts of the United States
jurisdiction of a cause must be affirmatively shown on the
record. Its existence as a fact may be put in issue and tried. If
found not to exist, the case must be dismissed. Notwithstanding
this, the records of the courts are full of cases in which the
jurisdiction depends upon the citizenship of women, and not one
can be found, we think, in which objection was made on that
account. Certainly none can be found in which it has been held
that women could not sue or be sued in the courts of the United
States. Again, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution,
in many of the States (and in some probably now) aliens could not
inherit or transmit inheritance. There are a multitude of cases
to be found in which the question has been presented whether a
woman was or was not an alien, and as such capable or incapable
of inheritance, but in no one has it been insisted that she was
not a citizen because she was a woman. On the contrary, her right
to citizenship has been in all cases assumed. The only question
has been whether, in the particular ease under consideration, she
had availed herself of the right.

In the legislative department of the Government similar proof
will be found. Thus, in the pre-emption laws (5 Stat., 455, sec.
10), a widow, "being a citizen of the United States," is allowed
to make settlement on the public lands and purchase upon the
terms specified, and women, "being citizens of the United
States," are permitted to avail themselves of the benefit of the
homestead law (12 Stat., 392).

Other proof of like character might be found, but certainly more
can not be necessary to establish the fact that sex has never
been made one of the elements of citizenship in the United
States. In this respect men have never had an advantage over
women. The same laws precisely apply to both. The XIV. Amendment
did not affect the citizenship of women any more than it did of
men. In this particular, therefore, the rights of Mrs. Minor do
not depend upon the Amendment. She has always been a citizen
from her birth, and entitled to all the privileges and immunities
of citizenship. The Amendment prohibited the State, of which she
is a citizen, from abridging any of her privileges and immunities
as a citizen of the United States, but it did not confer
citizenship on her; that she had before its adoption.

If the right of suffrage is one of the necessary privileges of a
citizen of the United States, then the Constitution and laws of
Missouri confining it to men are in violation of the Constitution
of the United States as amended, and consequently void. The
direct question is, therefore, presented whether all citizens are
necessarily voters (p. 170, Wallace).

The Constitution does not define the privileges and immunities of
citizens. For that definition we must look elsewhere. In this
case we need not determine what they are, but only whether
suffrage is necessarily one of them.

It certainly is nowhere made so in express terms. The United
States has no voters in the States of its own creation. The
elective officers of the United States are all elected directly
or indirectly by State voters. The members of the House of
Representatives are to be chosen by the people of the States, and
the electors in each State must have the qualifications requisite
for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature
(art. 1, sec. 2, Const.) Senators are to be chosen by the
Legislatures of the States, and, necessarily, the members of the
Legislature required to make the choice are elected by the voters
of the State (art. 1, sec. 3). Each State must appoint, in such
manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, the electors to
elect the President and Vice-President (art. 2, sec. 2).



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