Citizenship in a State

September 16, 2015

The laws of different countries vary much with regard to the right of citizenship.

In most of the Swiss republics, the right of citizenship only belongs to those born of a citizen.

In Rome, a family might be peregrina for four or five generations.

At Athens, no man was a citizen unless both father and mother were Athenians. The Athenians were particularly sparing in giving the right of citizenship, because it entitled them to very great privileges. Even kings were denied it. Neighbouring kings were only granted the freedom from import taxes. They did this to Amyntas, father of Philip, king of Macedon. Aliens paid higher duties than natives, so it was a big privilege to have these removed.

After the defeat of the Persians=

  • their military had 25,000 men,
  • their country was well cultivated,
  • many cities in Asia paid them tribute.

Because of this, the people were entitled to=

  • attend the court of justice
  • have their children educated at the public expense
  • have certain distributions of money among them, with many other emoluments.

If the number of citizens increased, these privileges would not be so valuable. Therefore they were very jealous of it.

In England, whoever comes into a parish must promise not to be burdensome to it.

In all little republics, citizenship is very important because=

  • there are a few freemen
  • few can participate in elections

But in a large city such as Rome, it was a very small compliment. Accordingly, they made whole provinces citizens at once.

In Britain, one born within the kingdom is under the protection of the laws. He can=

  • buy lands, and
  • can be elected to any office if he is of the established religion.

In big states, the place of birth makes a citizen. In small ones, the basis is the citizenship of the parents.

Similarly, the incapacity of being a citizen is different in different countries. By the old laws of Rome and of barbarous nations, the goods of anyone who came within their territories were confiscated. That person became a slave to the first person who happened upon him. By a law of Pomponius, if he came from a nation at peace with Rome, he was treated as the law prescribed.

In barbarous countries, they only have one word to signify a stranger and an enemy.

The Romans considered all nations as their enemies, and all foreigners as spies.

The Litchfield man-of-war was shipwrecked on the dominions of the Emperor of Morocco. The crew were made slaves because we had no league with him. Our sovereign even complied with their custom to ransom them. When they found the advantage of foreign trade, they naturally allowed those merchant sailors to be safe. They would allow him an action if he were injured.

This is the state of aliens in most European countries at present. In Britain, an alien cannot=

  • buy nor inherit land property, nor
  • maintain a real action.

He cannot make a will because=

  • it is the greatest extension of property, and
  • it is founded on piety and affection to the dead.

An alien does not deserve such piety and affection. By a particular statute, an alien merchant, but not a tradesman, may have a lease of a house. This arises from a whimsical principle that it would discourage our own tradesmen to allow foreigners to settle among them. This is the state of aliens in most countries.

In Britain, there are two ways of obtaining citizenship=

  1. By letters of denization, which is a part of the king’s prerogative.
  2. By a bill of naturalization, which is an act of parliament.

An alien is allowed to buy lands and to transmit them to posterity if subjects of Great Britain.

But he cannot inherit, because as the king is heir of aliens he may transfer his own right, but cannot take away the right of the person who ought to succeed.

A denizen alien may inherit an estate bequeathed to him.

But to be capable of inheriting in all respects, an act of naturalization is necessary, by which he has a right to all the privileges of a freeborn subject.

When king William came to the throne, naturalized aliens were made peers. Many Dutch families came over with him, so it was natural to suppose that he would favour them with every privilege.

The English were offended at this partiality. They made an act declaring that there should be no future act of parliament that would give them such emoluments. As in most countries, they are [not] allowed the right of transmitting lands, it was [un]necessary that they should have an action for it.

Aliens are not allowed to make a will in England and Germany.

  • In Saxony, a very equitable law allowed no privileges to aliens if there was none given to their own citizens.
  • In Rome, it was the right of citizens only to make a will.

Aliens are either=

  1. Aliens amis - aliens who live in the country are protected by the laws

They owe allegiance to the king and can be prosecuted for treason. Whatever makes a freeborn subject guilty of treason makes an alien ami guilty of it.

  1. Aliens ennemie

If aliens ennemie wage war on the king, or injure him, they cannot be prosecuted for high treason, because=

  • he is not their lawful sovereign, and
  • they owe no allegiance to him.

If the laws of nations do not protect them, they must be dealt with by martial law. An alien ennemie is also guilty of treason if he comes from a country at war with us and gives information to his own sovereign.