Attorneys General on Citizenship
nolu chanMay 2, 20127 Op Atty Gen 232-33, (27 May 1855), CushingWe, the independent nations of Christendom, are associated together ina sort of commonwealth of states. To the ties of a common civilization between us are added those of numerous treaties, and of commondeference to certain doctrines and rules of right and justice, which notonly guide us in peace, but even govern and control us in the veryextremities of war.
We begin with the postulate that eachgovernment has exclusive jurisdiction within its own territoriallimits, and a community of jurisdiction on the high seas.
each nation is to make for itself such political andsocial constitutions as it pleases, without any other nation havingauthority to intermeddle in the matter. Included in thisconsequence, is the right of every nation to enact such merelymunicipal laws as it may please, in the exercise of its own sovereignwill
, which laws are coextensive in operation with its territorial power and sovereignty. Without this, there can be no such thing as theindependence of states.12 Op Atty Gen 325-26(26 Nov 1867), Stanbery
A question as to status or citizenship, if it arose in the United States,would be determined by our own law
; or if it arose upon the high seas,or anywhere out of the jurisdiction or operation of British law, then itwould be a question either under our own law or by public law, as mighthappen, according to the circumstances under which the right wasasserted or denied.9 Op Atty Gen 373-74(18 Jul 1859), Black In reply to your letter of the 7th,
I have to say that a free white personborn in this country, of foreign parents, is a citizen of the UnitedStates.
(Lynch vs. Clarke et al., 1. Sandford Ch. R., p. 583). I expresseda similar opinion in my letter to you of September 8, 1858.