JUNE 2, 1924

INDIAN CITIZENSHIP ACT SIGNED INTO LAW BY PRESIDENT CALVIN COOLIDGE

The Indian Citizenship Act (1924 Act) granted full birthright citizenship for all American Indians.  Under the Constitution’s Article I, “Indians not taxed” were not counted in the voting population of states (slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person).  Before the Civil War, Indian citizenship was often limited to those with one-half or less Indian blood.  While the Constitution’s 14th Amendment (1868) made all persons born or naturalized in the United States citizens, court interpretations of the amendment excluded most Indians.  The Dawes Act (1887) gave citizenship to Indians who accepted individual land grants under the provisions of statutes and treaties.  In 1888, most Indian women married to U.S. citizens were conferred with citizenship, and in 1919 Native American veterans of World War I were offered citizenship.  The 1924 Act conferred citizenship on all American Indians.  However, full protection of voting rights was not cured until passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Sources:  NCC Staff, "On this day in 1924: All Indians made United States citizens," National Constitution Center, 6/2/2019.  Retrieved 7/2/2019,  https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/on-this-day-in-1924-all-indians-made-united-states-citizens/ “The Indian Citizenship Act,” History, 2/9/2010.  retrieved 7/2/2019, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-indian-citizenship-act
Photo:  National Photo Company Collection, 2/18/1925.  President Calvin Coolidge posed with Natives, possibly from the Plateau area in the Northwestern United States, near the south lawn of the White House.  Library of Congress.  Public domain.  No known U.S. copyright restrictions.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.

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