Moreover, the problem “of” my non-citizenship would have been an insoluble one so long as I was simply “the other man” in the all-seeing eyes of the law. The assumption of my citizenship, however, which was significantly reflected in the laws and attitudes of this country, changed the situation and created the need for another distinction. It is difficult to appreciate fully the consequences of the assumption of my citizenship for a man of my origins who is either a foreigner or a non-citizen of this country. It could not prove a constant source of benefit, for no matter how much I or any other American obtained from the country, no corresponding blessing could be said to come from the country to me. The assumption of my citizenship, therefore, if it truly implied the prerogative of interstate commerce, comes to be a charge of reciprocal enrichment. But it is possible to imagine other reasons, perhaps less philosophic, for assuming that whoever was associated with the country was invested with certain rights or bound to certain obligations. For example, the prestige of the Country in the legal sense might have been entitled to be considered as one of the causes for the assumption of the citizenship of one of its members. In a simpler case, any citizen, whether he was of the blood people of empire or not, might well have been held to have a part in the citizenry. Perhaps, in the nineteenth century, the assumption of citizenship was an incident of the assumption of the protectorate or even of the imperialism; it could not be, of course, the assumption of the absolute sovereignty.
The assumption of the citizenship of which I have spoken, therefore, is a different proposition from that which is stated of it in Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. That section speaks of the citizenship of the United States, but I think the word “citizen” is generally used to signify the status of citizenship rather than to designate the persons who enjoy that status. d2c66b5586