Naturalization Act of 1870

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Naturalization Act of 1870
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act to amend the Naturalization Laws and to punish Crimes against the same, and for other Purposes.
Enacted by the 41st United States Congress
Statutes at Large 16 Stat. 254-256
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 2201 by Rep. Noah Davis (R-NY) on June 13, 1870
  • Passed the Senate on July 4, 1870 (33 - 8[1])
  • Passed the House on July 11, 1870 (132 - 53[2])
  • Signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on July 14, 1870

The Naturalization Act of 1870 (16 Stat. 254) was a United States federal law that created a system of controls for the naturalization process and penalties for fraudulent practices. It is also noted for extending the naturalization process to "aliens of African nativity and to persons of African descent." Other non-whites were not included in this act and remained excluded from naturalization, per the Naturalization Act of 1790.

The Naturalization bill was introduced by Republican Representative Noah Davis from New York in the House of Representatives as bill H.R. 2201 and Republican Senator Roscoe Conkling from New York co-sponsored the bill in the Senate. The act of 1870 was passed by the 41st United States Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on July 14, 1870. Although the act was enacted in the United States Congress during the Reconstruction Era, it is often not noted among the group of major legislative bills passed and enacted during that time period.[3]

Rules within the Act[edit]

Section Two: If any person applying for citizenship is knowingly impersonating any other person other than himself or appearing in the name of a dead person or in a fictitious name or if any person shall falsely make, forge or counterfeit an oath, or confirmation of the naturalization of aliens, or shall sell, dispose of other than to the person to whom it is originally issued to, shall be liable to punishment in the same manner and to the same extent as the guilty party of such felon. Such person shall therefore be tried and convicted.[4]

Section Three: If such person were to knowingly use the falsified certificate in court without any appearance or hearing in court without lawful authority; if any person falsely represent himself to be a citizen of the United States of America without truly being a citizen shall be seen guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be sentenced to pay a fine or shall be imprisoned for no more than two years. [5]


  1. ^ "Congressional Globe, 41 Congress 2 session, 5441". The Library of Congress. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Congressional Globe, 41 Congress 2 session, 5177". The Library of Congress. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  3. ^ Wang (1997), pp. 69.
  4. ^ "Naturalization Act of 1870". Wikisource. Retrieved 24 September 2015. 
  5. ^ "Naturalization Act of 1870". Wikisource. 


  • Wang, Xi (1997). "Black Suffrage, Chinese Suffrage, and the Politics of Making the Naturalization Act of 1870," The Trial of Democracy: Black Suffrage and Northern Republicans, 1860-1910. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. pp. 68–78. ISBN 978-0-8203-1837-0.  Provides a brief overview of the importance of the Naturalization Act of 1870 among Congressmen during the era of Reconstruction. It also traces the legislative history of bill H.R. 2201 in Congress during 1870.