The Journal of American History
Jeannine Marie DeLombard
What Blood Won’t Tell
In 1790, absent any explicit federal definition of citizenship, Congress restricted eligibility for naturalization to “any alien, being a free white person.” In 1952 the racial requirement was revoked. During the intervening 160 years, race and citizenship became mutually constitutive categories in American culture, as Ariela J. Gross demonstrates in her delightfully readable legal history of racial identity in the United States.