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IN AMERICAN LAW Definition & Legal Meaning

Definition & Citations:

One who, under the constitution and laws of the United States, or of a particular state, and by virtue of birth or naturalization within the jurisdiction, is a member of the political community, owing allegiance and being entitled to the enjoyment of full civil rights. U. S. v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 512, 23 L. Ed. 5S8; White v. Clements, 39 Ga. 259; Amy v. Smith, 1 Litt. (Ky.) 331; State v. County Court, 90 Mo. 593, 2 S. W. 7S8; Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 1G2, 22 L. Ed. 027; U. S. v. Morris (D. C.) 125 Fed. 325. The tenn “citizen” has come to us derived from antiquity. It appears to have been used in the Roman government to designate a person who had the freedom of the city, and the right to exercise all political and civil privileges of the government. There was also, at Rome, a partial citizenship, including civil, but not political, rights. Complete citizenship embraced both. Thomasson v. State, 15 Ind. 451. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. Amend. XIV, Const. U. S. There is in our political system a government of each of the several states, and a government of the United States. Each is distinct from the others, and has citizens of its own. who owe it allegiance, and whose rights, within its jurisdiction, it must protect. The same person may be at the same time a citizen of the United States and a citizen of a state; but his rights of citizenship under one of these governments will be different from those he has under the other. The government of the United States, although it is, within the scope of its powers, supreme and beyond the states, can neither grant nor secure to its citizens rights or privileges which are not expressly or by implication placed under its jurisdiction. All that cannot be so granted or secured are left to the exclusive protection of the states. U. S. v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 23 L. Ed. 588. “Citizen” and “inhabitant” are not synonymous. One may be a citizen of a state without being an inhabitant, or an inhabitant without being a citizen. Quinby v. Duncan, 4 Har. (Del!) 383. “Citizen” is sometimes used as synonymous with “resident;” as in a statute authorizing funds to be distributed among the religious societies of a township, proportionably to the number of their members who are citizens of the township. State v. Trustees, 11 Ohio, 24. In English law. An inhabitant of a city. 1 Rolle, 138. The representative of a city, in parliament. 1 Bl. Comm. 174. It will be perceived that In the English usage, the CITIZENSHIP 203 CIVIL DAMAGE ACTS word adheres closely to Its original meaning, as shown by its derivation, (ciuis, a free inhabitant of a city.) When it is designed to designate an inhabitant of the country, or one amenable to the laws of the nation, “subject” is the word there employed.


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