The concept of citizenship in the United States

A citizen is a person who is entitled to enjoy all the legal rights granted by a country or a state; a citizen is obliged to obey the laws of his country as a sign of loyalty (Heater, 7). This research paper will analyze the concept of citizenship in US and discuss the subject of American character in US today.


In US citizenship is obtained by birth and blood relationship. A person born in US obtains nationality even if the parents are non-citizens while a child born of a US citizen obtains automatic citizenship even if he is born in a foreign country (Bray, 13). The 14th amendment of the US constitution states that, an individual must obtain both country and state citizenship (Bray, 86).

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The government of US offers foreigners an opportunity to become US citizens through naturalization process. However, such individuals must be above 18 years, have stayed in US for long, be fluent in English, and be familiar with the American laws (Bray, 88). A candidate who meets these standards must pledge to be loyal to laws of US before one is declared a legal citizen. Today, a US citizen can lose his nationality especially if the citizenship has been acquired through naturalization process (Bray, 113). This usually happens when an individual goes back to his mother country and stays there for long. Due to increasing number of illegal migrants coming to US every year, there is a proposal to improve laws on citizenship (Bray, 97); this is a measure to curb illegal migration. It has been observed that children of illegal migrants have legal documents while their parents do not have such documents and this has made it hard for the US government to deal with the problem of immigrants since the existing policies do not allow separating children from their parents (Bray, 126). US has inhabitants from different parts of the world comprising people of different race, beliefs, religion and culture (Takaki, 37).

As shown by Takaki in his book “A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America,” the American history portrays a multicultural society full of inequalities and injustices. However, according to the America creed, the American character has been defined as a society full justice, liberty, equality, and of human respect (Bray, 117). But, according to Takaki this is not the case.

By studying the history of America, it is evident that the journey to build a stable society in US has not been easy. In fact, there has been a lot of struggle to eliminate racism, inequalities and social injustices among other issues. In US today traces of these elements still exist although they are not pronounced in the society. For instance, since the beginning of 21st century there have been raising issues with the Americans feeling that people with Hispanic origins are taking over their jobs. This has brought change in the way people interact (Bray, 176).


The American society has evolved tremendously. There has been considerable transformation from a state of slavery to liberty even though inequalities caused by economic imbalances are still evident in US (Bray, 16). However, as stated in the American creed, the American character is possible. In fact, today’s American society accommodates people with different cultures irrespective of their origin.

Works Cited

Bray, Ilona. Becoming a U.S. Citizen: A guide to the Law, Exam &Interview.

California: Nolo, 2010. Print. Heater, Benjamin. A brief history of citizenship. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004. Print.

Takaki, Ronald. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America. New York City: Hachette book Group, 1993. Print.


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