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You Are Not American: Citizenship Stripping from Dred Scott to the Dreamers

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Citizenship is invaluable, yet our status as citizens is always at risk--even for those born on US soil. Over the last two centuries, the US government has revoked citizenship to cast out its unwanted, suppress dissent, and deny civil rights to all considered un-American--whether due to their race, ethnicity, marriage partner, or beliefs. Drawing on the narratives of those Citizenship is invaluable, yet our status as citizens is always at risk--even for those born on US soil. Over the last two centuries, the US government has revoked citizenship to cast out its unwanted, suppress dissent, and deny civil rights to all considered un-American--whether due to their race, ethnicity, marriage partner, or beliefs. Drawing on the narratives of those who have struggled to be treated as full members of We the People, law professor Amanda Frost exposes a hidden history of discrimination and xenophobia that continues to this day. The Supreme Court's rejection of Black citizenship in Dred Scott was among the first and most notorious examples of citizenship stripping, but the phenomenon did not end there. Women who married noncitizens, persecuted racial groups, labor leaders, and political activists were all denied their citizenship, and sometimes deported, by a government that wanted to redefine the meaning of American. Today, US citizens living near the southern border are regularly denied passports, thousands are detained and deported by mistake, and the Trump administration is investigating the citizenship of 700,000 naturalized citizens. Even elected leaders such as Barack Obama and Kamala Harris are not immune from false claims that they are not citizens eligible to hold office. You Are Not American grapples with what it means to be American and the issues surrounding membership, identity, belonging, and exclusion that still occupy and divide the nation in the twenty-first century.


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Citizenship is invaluable, yet our status as citizens is always at risk--even for those born on US soil. Over the last two centuries, the US government has revoked citizenship to cast out its unwanted, suppress dissent, and deny civil rights to all considered un-American--whether due to their race, ethnicity, marriage partner, or beliefs. Drawing on the narratives of those Citizenship is invaluable, yet our status as citizens is always at risk--even for those born on US soil. Over the last two centuries, the US government has revoked citizenship to cast out its unwanted, suppress dissent, and deny civil rights to all considered un-American--whether due to their race, ethnicity, marriage partner, or beliefs. Drawing on the narratives of those who have struggled to be treated as full members of We the People, law professor Amanda Frost exposes a hidden history of discrimination and xenophobia that continues to this day. The Supreme Court's rejection of Black citizenship in Dred Scott was among the first and most notorious examples of citizenship stripping, but the phenomenon did not end there. Women who married noncitizens, persecuted racial groups, labor leaders, and political activists were all denied their citizenship, and sometimes deported, by a government that wanted to redefine the meaning of American. Today, US citizens living near the southern border are regularly denied passports, thousands are detained and deported by mistake, and the Trump administration is investigating the citizenship of 700,000 naturalized citizens. Even elected leaders such as Barack Obama and Kamala Harris are not immune from false claims that they are not citizens eligible to hold office. You Are Not American grapples with what it means to be American and the issues surrounding membership, identity, belonging, and exclusion that still occupy and divide the nation in the twenty-first century.

46 review for You Are Not American: Citizenship Stripping from Dred Scott to the Dreamers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bruce

    Having finished this book on the same day 45's 1776 Commission released its report on American History Education (there were no historians on the commission) it further engrained the idea that we really haven't been teaching American History and Civics. There is a dark side folks. Since Europeans first landed on North America's shores "American" society has been dominated by racism, misogyny, and bigotry. Minorities were considered (and some "Americans" still consider them) second class citizens Having finished this book on the same day 45's 1776 Commission released its report on American History Education (there were no historians on the commission) it further engrained the idea that we really haven't been teaching American History and Civics. There is a dark side folks. Since Europeans first landed on North America's shores "American" society has been dominated by racism, misogyny, and bigotry. Minorities were considered (and some "Americans" still consider them) second class citizens. White women were not (and still are not) considered equal to men. This book does a fine job in pointing out the differences in the treatment of minorities and women and white males. Among the things I was not taught in school (oh so many years ago) was Dred Scott was married and had two children. The case actually was brought by his wife. Another issue not taught was the idea of coverture caused women who had been US citizens all their lives to lose their US citizenship if they married foreign males, but American males could take foreign wives and their wife would automatically become an American Citizen. Members of other minority groups had their citizenship taken away, the Chinese in the early 1900s, the Japanese during WW II. People who exercised their right to protest and exercised their first amendment rights were denaturalized because the white male dominated political system didn't like what they said. Perhaps the group most discriminated against are Mexicans. Many were American citizens because the border changed in mid- 1800s. In the 1930s, 1950s, and in the current century they have been rounded up and there citizen ship questioned. I learned a lot from this book and recommend it especially to those who haven't had an honest history and civics education.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anna Craig

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    Paul

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    LV Lady

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    Jack Young

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    Deborah Gerhart

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    Jill

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    Fleet Sparrow

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    Kelly

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    Elizabeth

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