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Titles such as burgher, grand burgher (German Großbürger) and bourgeoisie denoted political affiliation and identity in relation to a particular locality, as well as membership in a mercantile or trading class; thus, individuals of respectable means and socioeconomic status were interchangeable with citizens.
During this era, members of the nobility had a range of privileges above commoners (see aristocracy), though political upheavals and reforms, beginning most prominently with the French Revolution, abolished privileges and created an egalitarian concept of citizenship.
In 1857, these laws were upheld in the US Supreme Court case Dred Scott v. Constitution, ratified on July 9, 1868, stated that "all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside." Despite the gains made by African Americans after the Civil War, Native Americans, Asians, and others not considered "free white persons" were still denied the ability to become citizens. It was not until the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 that the racial and gender restrictions for naturalization were explicitly abolished.
Sandford, which ruled that "a free negro of the African race, whose ancestors were brought to this country and sold as slaves, is not a 'citizen' within the meaning of the Constitution of the United States," and that "the special rights and immunities guarantied to citizens do not apply to them." It was not until the abolition of slavery following the American Civil War that African Americans were granted citizenship rights. The 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act explicitly denied naturalization rights to all people of Chinese origin, while subsequent acts passed by the US Congress, such as laws in 1906, 1917, and 1924, would include clauses that denied immigration and naturalization rights to people based on broadly defined racial categories. However, the act still contained restrictions regarding who was eligible for US citizenship, and retained a national quota system which limited the number of visas given to immigrants based on their national origin, to be fixed "at a rate of one-sixth of one percent of each nationality's population in the United States in 1920".
In the Roman Empire, citizenship expanded from small-scale communities to the entire empire.
Romans realized that granting citizenship to people from all over the empire legitimized Roman rule over conquered areas.
And they also arranged their political institutions so as to remain free men.Also, citizens of the polis saw obligations to the community as an opportunity to be virtuous, it was a source of honour and respect.In Athens, citizens were both ruler and ruled, important political and judicial offices were rotated and all citizens had the right to speak and vote in the political assembly.Usually citizenship based on the place of birth is automatic, but in other cases an application may be required.Many thinkers point to the concept of citizenship beginning in the early city-states of ancient Greece, although others see it as primarily a modern phenomenon dating back only a few hundred years and, for mankind, that the concept of citizenship arose with the first laws.