Immigration Law Questions? Ask an Immigration Lawyer.
Under the Naturalization Act of April 14, 1802, an alien immigrant had to wait 5 years before being "naturalized" as a U.S. Citizen.
And, under the Steerage Act of March 2, 1819, passenger lists or manifests of all arriving vessels to the U.S. had to be delivered to the local Collector of Customs, copies transmitted to the Secretary of State, and the information reported to Congress.
Was this law in place in the years 1830 or 1831 when my great great gandfather arrived in Akron, Ohio? Or was it superceeded by newer laws. Did one have to apply for citizenship after five years or was in sort of automatic. How could one prove that they had become a U S citizen? Was there a certificate or piece of paper that one was given to prove that they were citizens? Was something of this sort required in order to vote?
Malachi J. Flanagan, M.D.
Again, what sort of proof was required for my great great grandfather to vote in Ohio after he became a citizen in about 1836. Was it sort of a voter's card, or was he issued some sort of proof on citizenship?
The reason I am asking is that for a while in the 1830's up through the 1850's, the Know Nothing Party attempted all immigrants, particularly those from Ireland, not to permit them to vote until they had been in the country for fifteen years.
Malachi J. Flanagan, M. D.
Voting rights were provided on a state by state basis at the time you are discussing. The original colony states permitted land-owning immigrants to vote. After the war of 1812, new states only permitted citizens to vote. Ohio entered the Union in 1803, so it probably followed the lead of the original 13 colonies. But, I don't have any further info in this area. You are asking a very narrow question, and I'd have to run off to a research library to find the anwer.
I done my best.
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