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people, who appreciate the possibilities of absorption into our citizenship of so many persons without experience in self-government as understood and applied in the United States. The proper instruction of these strangers as a preparation for the high duties of citizenship, and also to insure the preservation of Anglo-Saxon free institutions, justifies the activity manifested at the present time by various patriotic societies and individuals in devising plans for training new citizens. Such instruction has very wisely been made one of the objects of the Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, composed of some sixty thousand patriotic women. Other similar societies are also giving their attention to this subject, and we may soon expect to see a general movement throughout the country for the instruction of newcomers, not only in the general principles of our institutions, but also in the various forms of state and municipal government, with the different methods of local administration.
It must be remembered that, by the process of naturalization, the stranger becomes a voter in the city, town, or village where he lives, and entitled to participate in municipal affairs as well as in state or national affairs. This book is intended only for the larger national field. Whether it will be found available for use in schools must be determined by experience, but it is believed that persons interested in the instruction of foreigners and others in the principles of our government will be able to use the book by a series of questions or otherwise, which may be supplemented by special instruction applicable to the particular state or municipality. The book is not a treatise, but it is hoped that it may be found useful as a compendium or handbook, and that the reader will be able to obtain from it a general view of our national government and of its relations to the states and to the people.
The statutes relating to naturalization have been included so that the foreigner may conveniently obtain a knowledge of the principles on which American citizenship is granted, and the procedure by which he may become a member of the American nation. It is also hoped that judges who have jurisdiction to admit foreigners to citizenship will find this compilation of the naturalization and expatriation laws, with the great fundamental documents, a convenience in this department of judicial administration.
The preparation of this book gives occasion for the observation that there is now no uniform national suffrage. The 14th Amendment has given us national citizenship, but suffrage is still a matter of state policy. In some states an alien is permitted to vote after he has made a declaration of his intention to become a citizen. This gives him, even before citizenship, the same right of suffrage that in other states is permitted to citizens only, which produces an inequality in the right of suffrage, and makes it possible for many persons who are not citizens to vote for President and Vice-President, for members of Congress, and for members of state legislatures by whom United States senators are chosen, and in this manner persons who are not yet citizens participate directly in national affairs. A state should, as a matter of internal policy, have the power to determine the qualifications of voters on questions of local interest, but it seems perfectly obvious that on national questions there should be one uniform rule of suffrage, based on citizenship only. This situation can be brought about only by an amendment to the Federal Constitution, or else by an amendment of the Constitutions of those states in which
alien suffrage is now permitted. Early conditions in these states apparently justified the offer of liberal terms of suffrage, and immigrants settling there became citizens for all practical purposes several years before they could be naturalized. Perhaps improved modern conditions, the growth of population, and commercial advantages would justify those states in changing the existing policy on the question of suffrage, and adopting the rule which prevails in the majority of the states, by which the right of suffrage is based on citizenship. It may
be worth while for those who are taking up the matter of the instruction of foreigners to consider the propriety of advocating the adoption of a uniform rule of national suffrage. The rule, if adopted, should probably apply only to future cases, without affecting the right of suffrage already conferred on aliens by existing state Constitutions.
C. Z. L. ALBANY, N. Y. OCTOBER 1, 1907.