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University of Utah Western Political Science Association

The "American Creed" and American Identity: The Limits of Liberal Citizenship in the United States Author(s): Rogers M. Smith Source: The Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Jun., 1988), pp. 225-251 Published by: University of Utah on behalf of the Western Political Science Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/448536 . Accessed: 19/11/2013 04:19
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THE "AMERICAN CREED" AND AMERICAN IDENTITY: THE LIMITS OF LIBERAL CITIZENSHIP THE UNITED STATES
ROGERS M. SMITH

IN

Yale University 1915, PresidentWoodrow Wilson told a group of newly naturalIN "to no ized citizens that had sworn

one," only allegiance they just to "a greatideal, to a greatbody of principles,to a greathope of the humanrace" (Harrington1980: 678). The view of Americancitizenship Wilson thus expressed has a distinguishedhistoric lineage, recently In American Politics: The Promise reaffirmed by Samuel P. Huntington. of Disharmony, he maintainsthat for most nations, "national identity is the product of a long process of historicalevolution involvingcommon ancestors,common experiences,common ethnicbackground,common language, common culture,and usually common religion."' But listof authorities, Huntington arguesthatthe United citingan impressive has been based on "political Americancivic identity Statesis different. ideas," on shared allegiance to the "American Creed" of liberal democracy (Huntington1981: 23). like most of his authorities, also impliesthatthisis more Huntington, or less theway it should be.2 He believes thatwheneverthe UnitedStates becomes severelydivided, the nation's liberaldemocraticideals serve to restoreunitymore inclusivelythan a focus on common ancestors,language, or religionwould permit(1981: 230-31). Many past and present criticsof liberalismagree with HuntingtonthatAmericanpolitical cultureis overwhelmingly liberal,but theydisputehis normative judgment. They contend that a public philosophy and public law which striveto restnationalpolitical identity simplyon acceptance of liberalprinciples a thin,one-sidedconceptionof thehumanpersonality. Liberalpolreflect
Received: April 1, 1987 FirstRevision Received: July31, 1987 Accepted for Publication: August 12, 1987 l The original"old nations" of Europe, such as England,France,and Spain, evolved slowly as Huntington suggests,accompanyingthe rise of centralizedmonarchicalstates. But on nationalism indicatesthatin factmostcontemporary nationalities have the literature since thelate eighteenth fostered been self-consciously century by elitesleadingrevolu(Seton-Watson1977: 6-9; Anderson tionarymovementsor buildingnew nation-states 1983: 48, 65, 70-73, 102-04; Gellner 1983: 18, 34, 49, 55-57). The presentessay may conceptions of Americanidentity properlybe seen as a studyof the partlyconflicting to promote historically thatdiverse elites have struggled throughthe laws of citizenship of the "firstnew nation." 2 notes thatfrom"Crevecoeur to Tocqueville to Bryce to Brogan to Myrdal, Huntington phenomenon" foreignas well as domestic observers have singled out this striking (1981: 24). Other advocates of this view include Kohn 1957: 8-9; Schaar 1957: 184; Gleason 1980: 58-60; Harrington1980: 678; Lane 1985: 25.

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ities like the United States therefore fail in practice to meet needs for a strong, realistic, and satisfying sense of political community and common identity (MacIntyre 1981: 202-05, 233, 236; Sandel 1982: 147-54; 1984: 90-91; Sullivan 1982: 14-15; Bellah et al. 1985: 154-55). These critics have a point, though not quite the one they conceive. While in comparative perspective the United States is a predominantly liberal society, its political system has never been as fully liberal as the critics, like Huntington, presume - in large part because American lawmakers have often decided that liberal ideals did not respond adequately to the problems of community identity their society faced. Huntington's assertion that American identity involves only adherence to the "American Creed," either as a matter of law or of social psychology, is at best a half-truth.If it were so, this conception of American nationality should be clearly embodied in the nation's laws governing citizenship. We would expect the United States to require from prospective citizens only the profession of allegiance to liberal democratic doctrines Wilson referred to, as well as, perhaps, a showing that they will not burden the community unduly. Instead, a cursory review of the nation's historic laws of citizenship indicates that many qualities Huntington holds not to be definitive of American nationality have often been requirements to become a full American citizen. Place of birth,ethnicity,gender, special skills, and willingness to subscribe to political propositions much more exacting than those of the "American Creed" - all have figured prominently in America's immigration and naturalization laws. Wilson himself, for example, supported harsh policies of "100% Americanism" and continued exclusion of Asiatics from citizenship in the latter years of World War I (Higham 1966: 210, 230; Cronon 1965: 232). Over time, the more extreme violations of liberal ideals in America's civic laws have been altered. But this movement in liberal directions has hardly been steady or unbroken. Indeed, in some periods liberalism has seemed obsolete; and its great successes since World War II have not been complete nor wholly immune to reversals. The historic pattern of recurring restrictions and exclusions raises two questions. First, why has commitment to the "American Creed" so frequently not been enough to define eligibility for full membership in the American political community? Second, how have the other, often anti-creedal requirements for citizenship been defended historically? Huntington's answer presumably would be that these legal requirements are examples of the "Ideals v. Institutions" gap. Due to the unrealizable nature of American values, he maintains, there is always a gulf between these principles and the practices of American institutions(1981: 39-42). Huntington would reject any notion that Americans might view such practices as genuinely legitimate according to non-creedal political beliefs, for he denies that clashes of "idea versus idea" ever play much role in American politics (1981: 32). This essay challenges that response by exploring how America's governors actually defended these laws of citizenship. It argues that, at least

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in the nineteenth century, the nation's policy-makers justified major deviations from a purely "ideational" basis for political membership through appeal to political "persuasions" that offered visions of civic community in America which differed importantly from a purely liberal one.3 Those perspectives, republicanism and ethnocultural Americanism, each claimed that successful polities had to be bound together by factors beyond and other than shared political ideas - including the qualities of ethnic homogeneity and common cultural backgrounds that Huntington treats as alien to American national identity. Their alternative notions of American identityand community should not be dismissed as windowdressing, used to rationalize measures demanded by "practical" needs.4 The fact that American authorities explicitly and repeatedly rejected liberal arguments and instead defined American citizenship in law through these other conceptions indicates powerfully that they granted these views significant legitimacy. Thus "idea v. idea" clashes did occur on the basic issue of how the community's membership would be constituted. The success of these nonliberal ideals also supplies evidence that, as liberalism's current critics suggest, America's liberal democratic values have in some ways been even more "impractical" than Huntington recognizes. In past times of great economic and social change, the most influential segments of the American populace have not felt they could meet their longings for a secure sense of civic identity and for protection of the existing social order by uniting around the "American Creed." Instead, they have established and sometimes later reestablished civic laws based on non-liberal ideals. While Huntington slights these alternative, more communitarian conceptions of American identity, many contemporary critics of liberalism call for their rediscovery and renewal in some form (Sullivan 1982: 180, 189; Fraser 1984: 51; Geise 1984: 42; Bellah et al. 1985: 281-83). Generally, however, these writers have not paid detailed attention to the role the ideals they invoke actually played in the nation's past political and
31 shouldstress thatmyconcernis theideas,values,and justifications employedby America's governingelites to defendAmericanpolicies, to each otherand to the public at large. My purpose is neitherto dissect great formalphilosophies - though I referto theoristscommonlyinvokedin Americanlegal and political discourse- nor to document mass opinion, althoughelite justifications undoubtedlymirrorand influencepopular attitudesto some extent.My subject may therefore perhaps best be described as elite "persuasions," as MarvinMeyersdefinedthattermin his studyof theJacksonianoutlook: a persuasion is "a matched set of attitudes,beliefs, projected actions: a halfformulated moral perspectiveinvolvingemotional commitment"(Meyers 1960: 10). Or, ifwe recognizethatthe elitesexamined here usuallycommanded largeror smaller theobject of studycan be termed"ideologies," usingthemeanpoliticalconstituencies, ing of thatword laid out by JohnHigham, followingCliffordGeertz: ideologies are "explicit systemsof generalbeliefsthatgive largebodies of people a common identity and purpose, a common programof action, and a standardforselfcriticism"(Higham 1974: 10; cf. Howe 1979: 2-3). 4 It is in fact naturalization questionable whethermeasuressuch as raciallyrestrictive poliand geographically discriminatory cies, ethnically immigration quotas, and variousforms of second-class citizenshipwere ultimately very "practical" for more than a few of those supportingthem.

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legal debates. This failing is a crucial one, for the actions that America's governors have justified via these non-liberal ideals have frequently been disturbing. Community has often been pursued only through harsh exclusions and inequalities. These historic shortcomings of older liberal and non-liberal conceptions of American identity have contemporary relevance. They suggest that if the United States strives today to rest American citizenship solely on adherence to liberal principles, as many liberal theorists and policy analysts still advocate (Ackerman 1980: 11, 88; Beitz 1983: 596; Nickel 1983: 31-43; Lane 1985: 25), it may fail to respond to desires and, indeed, moral claims for community solidarity that have always been potent in American politics. Yet if America departs from liberal principles and instead takes its bearings from its more communitarian traditions, it risks encouraging impulses that have led to some of the nation's ugliest abuses. Thus Americans face a demanding task. If they are to move beyond the multiple conceptions of their citizenship that still compete in American political thought, they must seek a view that is more responsive than traditional liberal ones to the felt needs and anxieties of the existing citizenry,especially in times of change. But they must do so without sacrificing their greatest professed commitments, to liberty and justice for all. This essay supports these points firstby sketching how these three conceptions were manifested in nineteenth-centuryAmerican public law; and then by analyzing in more detail two representative and historically significantexamples of how Americans defended restrictive membership laws in that era. Because the language of Supreme Court decisions is strong evidence of the justificationsregarded as publicly authoritative by, at least, America's governing elites, the essay considers how the judiciary upheld denying eligibility for full public privileges to female citizens, and denying eligibility for membership at all to Chinese immigrants. Repeatedly, the Court justified restrictivemeasures - against explicit challenges from liberal precepts - by appealing to ideas drawn from republican and ethnocultural definitions of American citizenship. For brevity, I will illustrate this claim chiefly with two landmark cases: Bradwell v. Illinois (1872), as illuminated by the preceding Slaughter-House Cases, and Chae Chan Ping v. U.S. (the Chinese Exclusion Case, 1889). First, however, the historic traditions of discourse employed in these cases must be described. THREE CONCEPTIONSOF AMERICAN IDENTITY While an oversimplification, it is useful to organize the debates over American citizenship laws from the founding until at least the Progressive Era largely in terms of three related but distinct notions of American identity, drawn from the intertwined but analytically distinguishable persuasions or ideologies I have mentioned: liberalism, republicanism, and ethnocultural Americanism (which, at its extreme, is nativism). To be sure, these three civic conceptions have almost always appeared in combina-

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tions, they have many historicalvariants,and other notions have also been present at times.5The language of major constitutionaldecisions provides evidence, however, that these three views of Americanidentityare ascertainablein the legal and political argumentsof American decision-makers.By extracting fromsuch discourse an "ideal type" of each position and then consideringthe role these ideals have played in core nodefendingspecificmeasures,we can illuminatethe contrasting tions of Americanidentitythat the nation's traditionspresent us. That taskmaybe of more significance forcontemporary political analysisand normativeargumentthan rehearsalof the past in full,untamed detail. First,then, some definitions. Liberalism is properlyidentified Liberalism withthe emancipating aspirationsof and itsconcerns foruniversalhuman rights, the Enlightenment religious toleration,the promotion of commerce and the sciences, and rejection of the theocraticand martialmedieval ethos. It found expression in the political agenda of the lower gentryand middle classes in England and America,who foughtfromthe seventeenthcenturyon against restrictivemedieval economic and politicalprerogatives and againstrepressive classic and intellectual orthodoxies. Its exposition remainsthe religious moderate Whig theorizingofJohnLocke, ifwe consider his writings as a whole, and ifwe recognize him as a publicistshaping literateopinion as well as a philosophic system-builder. The distinctive featureof thismoderate liberalpersuasion is its insistence thatthe state mustpermitprivateas well as public pursuitsof individual happiness,and musttherefore be limitedto enforcing personal externalgoods thought and promoting to benefit all. Viewingmen rights as naturally "free,equal and independent,"Locke saystheycreategovernments via social compacts only "for the mutualpreservation of their Lives, Libertiesand Estates" (Locke 1965: secs. 95, 123: 374, 395). In from thecourse of their movementtowardRevolution, Americans shifted assertionsof theirlegal rightsas Englishmento reliance on these Lockand naturalrights(Bailyn 1967: ean notions of consensual government 184-94). The culminationof thisprocess, the Declaration of Independence, holds that all men are created equal and that governmentsare createdto secure inalienablerights to life,liberty, and thepursuitof happiness. These liberalideals have one inestimablevalue: theycan be emfor every human being, black ployed to claim basic rightsuniversally,
5

The "AmericanCreed" Huntington describes,forexample, has elementsof all threetraditions. As Huntington states,he stillfollows Hartzin seeing its liberal elementsas aland fundamental 1981: 16, 29, 33). I would argueinstead wayspredominant (Huntington is trueofAmerican whatever variouscombinations of "liberal that, politicsmorebroadly, republicanism"dominatedAmericancitizenshiplaws up to the 1870s. Then a "republican nativist"mix became more prominent, as shown by the cases discussed here. As notedin theconclusion,thepredominance ofrepublican nativism onlyincreasedthrough the 1920s and surviveduntilthe 1950s, when contemporary liberalideas gainedgreater sway.

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or white, female or male, alien or citizen (though Locke himself did not always do so). Enlightenmentliberalism's "natural" rightswere fairlyminimal: they did not include rights to any specific political membership, much less enfranchisement. They were nonetheless more than trivial, for they were and are often violated. From the standpoint of maintaining a viable political community, however, the liberal focus on protecting the human rights of each individual - against governments, against other persons, and against nonvoluntaristic social groups - has major disadvantages. The very feature that is most attractive in liberal ideology, its stress on equal concern and respect for the rights of every human being, is logically in tension with a vivid belief in the importance of one's inherited communal memberships, including one's citizenship. The basic thrust of liberal ideas needs to be qualified or modified if they are not to be dismissive of the (often competing) claims to "natural" authority made by ethnocultural groups, gender and economic classes, smaller political communities, and the nation-state itself. Liberalism's language of rightscan suggest that the calls to duty made by many associations are potential threats to personal liberty, including summons to national citizenship. Obviously, participation in and advancement of community interestsmight instead be thought central to liberty. Early liberal writers like Locke typically said little about such issues. As Nathan Tarcov points out, Locke's politics did include a notion of the common good, but one that is "very individualist," very close simply to the notion of protection for individual rightsto life, liberty, and property, insofar as they can be sustained without endangering the society that protects all rights in the long term (Tarcov 1983: 131, 134). Locke also routinely assumed that most people would "contract" politically into communities characterized by a common language and by common familial, geographic, and national origins (Seliger 1969: 20-21, 27; Wood 1983: 5-7, 81-82, 94-96, 137-40). But while in the Epistle Dedicatory to his Thoughts Concerning Education Locke endorsed a duty for all men to love and serve their country, he devoted no systematic attention to that theme - perhaps expecting such patriotism "to grow out of men's private attachments" (Tarcov 1983: 137). Thus early liberal thought just did not address claims about the potency of human desires (or perhaps needs) for a sense of a meaningful collective political life, or for affirmation of the worth of persons' distinctive communal origins. It apparently presumed that love of one's own, combined with a sense of the obligations acquired via one's tacit consent to the hypothetical social contract, would foster a sense of pride and duty toward the citizen's polity. No explicit public support or legitimation of such patriotic sentiments seemed required. Republicanism. Just as colonial Americans came to stress liberal human rights over English legal rights, they also came to reject monarchy in favor of popular republics (Bailyn 1967: 35-36; Wood 1969: 15-17; Banning 1978:

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25-62, 72-73). For many seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuryrevolutionaries in England and America, whose pseudonyms evoked Roman republican heros such as Cato, Cicero, and Publius, republicanism represented not only a form of government but a special type of civic life. J. G. A. Pocock's much-debated but influential lineage for Atlantic republicanism connects it backwards to Machiavelli and Aristotle and ahead to Rousseau and America's Jeffersonianand Jacksonian traditions (Pocock 1975). Many recent American critics of liberalism have identified such "civic republicanism" as an alternative, communitarian American tradition they wish to restore. In contrast to Locke's focus on liberty as freedom from state interferencewith individual private pursuits, the distinctive element common to the diverse strains of republican thought is an emphasis on achieving institutions and practices that make collective self-governance in pursuit of a common good possible for the community as a whole. As Lance Banning acknowledges, some scholars after Pocock exaggerated the "republican" as opposed to the "liberal" elements in American revolutionary thought. For many, republicanism was but an extension of liberal commitments to personal freedom. Even so, republican notions are capable, at least, of supporting quite non-liberal conceptions of citizenship and civic life (Pocock 1975: 4, 49-80, esp. 75; Sullivan 1982: 155-56; Appleby 1978: 937; Epstein 1984: 85-86, 107-08, 119-21; Banning 1986: 12-13). Two aspects of republican thought on how free popular government could be sustained had special importance for America's citizenship laws: the insistence that a successful republic had to be characterized by considerable social homogeneity, and the related claim that a viable republic must have a relatively small body of citizens, bound to other peoples, if at all, via a loose confederation or imperial domination. The demand for homogeneity could be used to defend numerous ethnocentric impulses, including citizenship laws that discriminated on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origins. The second requirement helped generate and maintain America's commitment to federalism, to state and local autonomy - a commitment often used to justify national acquiescence in local inequalities. No analysis of ancient republican institutions influenced the founders more than Montesquieu's, and the dangers of the republican emphasis on homogeneity are made evident by this moderate and tolerant writer. Montesquieu argued that citizens in classical republics had to be raised "like a single family" - with a pervasive civic education in patriotism reinforced by frequent public rites and ceremonies, censorship of dissenting ideas, preservation of a single religion if possible, limits on divisive and privatizing economic pursuits, and strictrestraintson the addition of aliens to the citizenry (Montesquieu 1949: I. 37, I. 69, I. 96, II. 38, II. 52). Such homogeneity was thought to be necessary if citizens were to have the strong sense of fraternity needed to engender the civic virtue that Montesquieu saw as essential to a healthy classical republic. Only if citizens identified with their fellows on every level, social, cultural,

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religious,ethnic,and economic as well as political, was thiswillingness likely to be found reliablythroughoutthe community. The requirement of civic homogeneityalso was usually held to imply thatthe numberof citizensin a republicmustbe small. Iffullrepublican membershipwere extended to great numbersin a large territory, economic differences, sectionaland ethnicvariations,and the inevitably sheer mass of the citizenrywould shatterthe requisite sense of social This need forrepublicsto remainsmall,however,clearlycould solidarity. be hazardous in a hostile world. Thus virtuallyall republican theorists accepted thata small republic could rule large numbersof non-citizens as slaves, as Sparta did (Pocock 1975: 491-92). Some, like Machiavelli, an imperialpolicy throughwhich martialrepublics could urged further rule conquered rivalsas subjectpeoples, not as fellow citizens. Less bellicose writerslike Montesquieuand Vattelpointed instead to the formation of defensiveconfederationswith other republican regimes. Their worksadvocatingsuch arrangements were textbooksforAmericanreflections on federalism (Montesquieu 1949: I. 126-28; Vattel 1787: 18; Rossiter,ed. 1961: 73-76; Wood 1969: 355). The post-Revolutionary Articlesof Confederationlargelyembodied and the extentto which the Conthissort of republicanconfederalism, stitutiondeparted fromit was controversialfromthe outset of the nawhen he insisted tion. ThomasJefferson expresseda common sentiment as thatthe statesmustmaintaintheirsovereignrights of self-governance "the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies" (efferson 1975: 293, emphasis added). National intrusion into a state's selfdefinition raisedthespectreof an imperial to govgovernment attempting ern diverse communitiessimultaneously, identically,and so necessarily despotically.Thus, even afterthe greatincrease in national power during this century,the republicanslogan of states' rightshas consistently retained rhetoricalpower. thatrhetoric has been used to shielddeplorablelocal abuses, Although in the nineteenth at least, republicanismalso offereda view of century, civic membershipthatconveyed a more concrete sense of shared virtuous endeavor and of social solidarity thandid liberalideas (Meyers1960: 17-24, 32-33; Bellah et al. 1985: 38-41). The cause of republicanism thereby provided a more obvious promiseof meaningful, morallyworthwhile, and closely knitpolitical communitiesin America.The themesof and civic virtuethatwere almostentirely absentfromLocke's patriotism liberalism were made centralin the republicanconception of citizenship and community. Such patriotic sentiments have always resonatedpowerfullyin the psyches of many Americans. Ethnocultural Americanism It is more controversial to argue that "Americanism" - the identification of Americannationalitywith a particularethnoculturalidentity - grew in the nineteenthcenturyinto a full-fledged civic "ideology" that sometimesrivaled the other two; but recent scholarship supports

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that conclusion.6 From the revolutionary era on, many American leaders deliberately promoted the popular notion that Americans had a distinctive character, born of their freedom-loving Anglo-Saxon ancestors and heightened by the favorable conditions of the new world. This character made them the last hope to preserve human freedom once the English had become corrupt - and it also set them above blacks and truly Native Americans, and later Mexicans, Chinese, Filipinos, and others who were labeled unfit for self-government.7 In the Jacksonian years, the scientific racialism of the "American school of ethnography" and the cultural nationalism of the European romantics gave these ideas intellectual credibility.They were subsequently reinforced by the racialist anthropology, history, and Social Darwinist sociology and political science influential in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Publicists, professors and politicians worked these ideas into a general "political ideology" of "American racial AngloSaxonism," to which they gave differenttwists as their purposes dictated. Despite those variations, by the late Jacksonian era a core set of ideas defining ethnocultural Americanism was well established in American scholarship and political rhetoric, which would repeatedly come to the fore in suitable political circumstances. As Reginald Horsman observes, it had become "unusual by the late 1840s to profess a belief in innate human equality and to challenge the idea that a superior race was about to shape the fates of other races for the future good of the world. To assert this meant challenging not only popular opinion, but also the opin6 Some readershave

thatthe ethnocultural view is more an emotional protestedspecifically disposition,a complex of primordial loyaltiesand fears,thana "persuasion" like liberalismand republicanism. Perhaps;but I suspectthe protestindicatesonly how, in postWorld War II Americanacademia, arguments forethnocultural are considsuperiority ered outside the range of serious discourse. Carefulhistoriansof ideas show thatthis has not alwaysapplied.JohnHigham'sclassic,Strangers boundary contemporary simply in theLand, documentedthe political and academic advocacy of a "complex" of "nativist" or "Americanist"ideas thathe described as a "philosophy," as "ideological," and thathe saw as alteringin intensity, but not much in content,over time. Higham viewed these ideas as a minorstrainin Americanpolitical culture untilthe late nineteenthcentury.More recentworks by George Fredrickson, Daniel Walker Howe, and Reginald Horsman show instead thatscientificracialistand romanticnationalistnotions had been quite fullyabsorbed into mainsteamAmericanpolitical discourse by the 1840s. Arguments forsuch criteria were not made covertly, or in passion, or chiefly by the uneducated. They were defendedopenly, coolly, seriously,and at some length by the leading statesmenand intellectualsdiscussed in the text,who connected them withbroaderworld-viewswithinwhich such criteria seemed to make sense. And prior to World War II doctrinesof white and European ethnocultural were not superiority butpolitically in muchof western and legallyauthoritative onlyintellectually respectable Europe as well as the United States. 7 The "ethnocultural Americanist" also be describedas an "organic comperspectivemight munitarian"outlook thatstressesthe "natural" or "morallyconstitutive"ties and the actual existentialinterconnectedness of those who live togetherin a common political I use the terms"Americanism"or even "nativism," however, and culturalterritory. because theyinvoke the major political movementsin Americanhistorythathave exviews to defend theirpreferred plicitlyrelied on organic communitarian citizenship policies.

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ion of mostAmericanintellectuals"(Higham 1966: 9-11, 38-39, 133-34, 153-57; Bailyn 1966: 66-67; Tuveson 1968: 101-22, 136-53; Fredrickson 1971: 61, 68-102, 125-27; Howe 1979: 38-42, 86-87, 201-02; Horsman 1984: 3-24, 139-86, 250, 298-303). While the theoreticalelaborationscame later,fromthe outset of the nation manyAmericanschieflyidentified membershipin theirpolitical not with freedomforpersonal liberalcallings or republican community self-governance per se, but with a whole arrayof particularculturalorigins and customs - with northernEuropean, if not English,ancestry; withChristianity, and itsmessagefor Protestantism, especiallydissenting the world; with the white race; with patriarchalfamilialleadershipand femaledomesticity;and with all the economic and social arrangements thatcame to be seen as the true,traditional"Americanway of life." Already in the second Federalist paper JohnJaydescribed Americansas a providentially guided "band of brethren," "descended fromthe same the same religion,atancestors,speakingthe same language,professing tached to the same principlesof government, verysimilarin theirmanners and customs" - an account by a wealthyAnglo-SaxonProtestant thatignoredtheconsiderableethnic,regional,religiousand genderdiversityAmericansdisplayed (Rossitered. 1961: 38; Higham 1975: 31; Kelley 1979: 31-80; Wiebe 1984: 68-69). to counteranti-Federalist contentionsthatthe formaJaywas trying tion of a single republicamong the extensive,diverse colonies was imfreedom(Storing 1981: 18-73). Thus from possible without sacrificing the outset even advocates of a large commercial nation feltcompelled to concede to republicanism that free institutionsrequired social homogeneity.They were therefore willingto equate Americanidentity with the country'spredominant, but stillparticular, Anglo-Saxon,Protnorthern For theethnocentricist, thisethnoculestant, Europeanheritage. tural traditionis at the heart of what it means to be an American; and so not only dissidentpolitical beliefsbut also unconventional cultural and social pursuits can properly be castigated as "un-American activities" Schaar 1957: 85-99, 131-50; Wiebe 1967: 56-63). (Higham 1966; In the earlyyearsof the Republic,however, most respectableAmerican intellectuals endorsed the Enlightenment doctrinesof human moral induced racial differences, equality,with environmentally expressed in PrincetonPresidentSamuel S. Smith'sEssay on the Causes of the Varietyof Complexion and Figure in theHuman Species. In practice, those views were not sharedby manyAmericans who stroveto dominateblacks and Native Americans.But only in the turbulent lateJacksonianperiod, markedby new immigration, Indian removal,westward expansion, the Mexican War, and further polarizationover slavery,did Americanelites elaborateovertly racialist doctrines(Wood 1969: 120; Fredrickson 1971: 71-72; Horsman 1981: 98-103). Democratswere particularly attracted to the scientific Jacksonian support of racial inequalitiesprovided by the Americanschool of ethnografromPhiladelphiaphysicianSamuel G. Morton's Crania phy, stemming Americana and popularized by pseudo-scientists like the phrenologist

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Dr. Charles Caldwell and the self-proclaimed "niggerologist," Dr. Josiah Nott. As disseminated by widely read Jacksonian periodicals such as the Democratic Review, these racialist theories supported what George Fredrickson calls the Democratic "public ideology" of "Herrenvolk egalitarianism," justifying democracy for whites and theirdominance over non-whites. Subsequently, expansionists like Sam Houston and Polk's militant Secretary of State, Robert J. Walker, narrowed this racialist ideology to include only Anglo-Saxon whites in order to justify aggression against Mexicans (Fredrickson 1971: 61-68, 71-77, 92-93, 102; Howe 1979: 140; Horsman 1981: 108-10, 130-49, 208-09, 213-26, 235). Whigs, too, altered the Enlightenment liberal doctrines they inherited, but they relied on the ideas of German and English romantic historians and novelists to describe group differences in terms of a more cultural organicism. They defined American identity by appeal to histories that glorified the rise of "Anglo-American Protestantism," a formula that made specific ethnic as well as religious featuresconstitutive of "Americanism." Whigs traced the nation's birth far more to the Pilgrim founding than to the Revolution, and they identified its ultimate meaning more with the "redeemer nation" than with a Lockean regime of property rights (though they firmly endorsed such rights). Unsurprisingly, the Whigs found the romantic conceptions of unique, historically rooted national identities in the writings of the German-American scholar Francis Lieber and English authors such as Thomas Carlyle and Sir Walter Scott to be eminently congenial. Their appeal was augmented by the willingness of many German and English romantics to link Tacitus' portrait of freedomloving ancient Germanic tribes with the mythical old Anglo-Saxon constitution of liberty, both parts of a world history that demonstrated the innate propensity for freedom of the Teutonically derived Anglo-Saxon race. That history was easily combined with Protestant beliefs in the special mission of America to be modern history's leading exemplar of religious and civil liberty. For some Whigs, like Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln, this romantic "Protestant Americanist" nationalism was compatible with extensive assimilation of ethnocultural outsiders. Others, more pessimistic, supported nativist movements to shut the doors to strangers. Both groups, however, believed with most Jacksonians that the ethnocultural hegemony of Anglo-Saxon whites should be preserved (Tuveson 1968: 165-75; Fredrickson 1971: 2, 97-101, 125; Howe 1979: 38-39, 69-70, 81-83, 140-41, 202, 227-37, 295-96; Horsman 1981: 38-40, 65, 81-83, 158-86, 227-45; Wiebe 1984: 321-22, 346-47). In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Morton's ethnographic insistence on the separate origins of the races was shattered by Darwinian evolutionary theory. Older-stock Americans, however, felt theatened anew by immigrants from Southern Europe and China and the disruptive effectsof industrialization, urbanization, and economic integration. They found intellectual spokesmen in various disciplines who mixed romantic beliefs in the cultural superiority of Anglo-Saxons with Darwinian notions of group survival in the struggle for existence, all in the service of ethnocentric citizenship "reforms." Nathaniel Shaler, head of

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Harvard's Lawrence ScientificSchool; M.I.T. economist Francis A. Walker; Columbia's influential Hegelian political scientist, John W. Burgess; and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge used such arguments to propose immigration restrictions. The Rev. Josiah Strong had already provided an immensely popular case for such measures in his 1885 work, Our Country. Later, the patrician Madison Grant would draw on the racial anthropology of De Gobineau and William Ripley to make another influential appeal in his 1916 philippic, The Passing of the Great Race. Nativist progressive intellectuals like the sociologist Edward A. Ross and the economist John R. Commons also endorsed restrictive policies, sounding a theme already popular in the 1840s - that the egalitarianism of the Declaration of Independence was scientifically obsolete (Arieli 1964: 254-55; Higham 1966: 39, 117, 133-44, 153-57; Nagel 1971: 248, 320-31).8 These theoretical defenses of ethnocultural Americanism have lost intellectual credibility today, in part because of the cruel policies they often abetted. Yet ethnocentricists have at times defended liberality as a national tradition and even a public duty. And they have often voiced genuine feelings of affection, belonging and loyalty that are a source of comfort, security, and pride for many. Indeed, the much-remarked popularity of the chant "U!S!A!" among young people, both during the 1984 Summer Olympics and President Reagan's 1984 campaign, indicates that expressions of patriotism retain great appeal for Americans of all ages. This appeal surely reflects in part widespread human desires to esteem and affirmour particular communal origins. The common endorsement by ethnocultural Americanists of religious beliefs that God has "shed His grace" on America also helps this civic conception provide a profoundly meaningful sense of personal and communal identity for many of those eligible to share it.9
8

These repudiationsof the Declaration were quite explicit. FormerGovernorJamesHammond of South Carolina wrote in the 1840s that the "much lauded but nowhere acthat 'all men are born equal,'" was "ridiculously credited dogma of Mr. Jefferson, lie." absurd." A decade later, SenatorJohnPettitof Indiana called it "a self-evident with an attackon the Declaration's JohnR. Commons began his book on immigration (Horsman 1981: 125, 275; Higham 1966: 117). While otherswho articegalitarianism fromFrancis Lieber and Millard Fillmore to John ulated ethnoculturalAmericanism, W. Burgessand Woodrow Wilson, would never have gone so far,it remainstruethat forinegalitartheir"moderate"versionsof theseviews createda climateof respectability ian civic notions (Curti 1955: 126-27; Higham 1966: 138-40; Howe 1979: 249). 9 All threepersuasionsdiscussed here have historically been intertwined with the various strainsof Protestantism which have shaped Americanpolitical thoughtso extensively thatsome scholars thinkit appropriateto speak of an American"civil religion." The liberal concern forhuman rights has always been closely tied politicallyand intellecand the "Commonwealth" republican tradition tuallyto Christianhumanitarianism, in America carried forththe legacy of Calvinist Geneva, especially in New England. But it is not unfairto point out thatin the context of citizenshiplaws, Protestantism is most closely linkedto ethnocultural Americanism. The insistencethatAmericannationalidentity shouldbe legallytied to Protestantism was a central motive and citizenship of the definitively ethnocentricNative Americanor Know-Nothingparty. This militantProtestantism has also reappeared in laternativistmovements,such as thesecond Ku Klux Klan (Higham 1966: 4, 6-7, 288-93; Gleason 1980: 68-75).

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As unmixed "ideal types," these three conceptions of American identityare obviously in tension (Nagel 1971: 134, 151-52). For a pure liberal, the republican and ethnocultural conceptions are too repressive of human variety, liberty, and privacy. For a pure republican, the liberal conception licenses selfish egoism, while Americanists are patriotic enough, but may not emphasize political service enough. The ethnocultural Americanist believes that only his conception really captures who he is in the truest, most primordial sense. While he may cherish liberal ideals and republican institutions because they are American, he will not allow them to shield "un-American" tendencies that endanger the communal order he takes as definitive of his very identity. Yet when we look to American law for evidence of their relative influence, we find that none of these civic conceptions has ever won exclusive sway. Initially during the Revolution, liberal, republican and incipient ethnocentric notions were all harmonized by the widespread belief that the cause of liberty required throwing off English monarchy and establishing an American republic dedicated to securing inalienable In the post-revolutionary period, tensions between liberal human rights.10 and republican ideals, especially, did become evident. Historians increasingly portray the process by which the Constitution was adopted as a struggle between the more liberal Federalists and the more republican anti-Federalists. Although each group was both liberal and republican, the Federalists stressed Lockean concerns, for they were dissatisfied with the insecurity of property rights under the state constitutions and with the lack of national power to promote commerce and provide for the common defense. The anti-Federalistsinstead sounded republican themes. They were wary of a remote new central government ruling a vast territory with the aid of powerful financial interests and expanded national militarycapacities (Wood 1969: 519-64; Appleby 1978: 937; Storing 1981: 3-47). The general view is that on the national level the Federalists' liberal emphases won preeminence: the Constitution created a new national government that stressed private rights and commercial development more than democratic participation or agrarian civic virtue (Wood 1969: 562-64; 1977: 52; Storing 1981: 71-76; Nedelsky 1982: 340-60; Schambra 1982: 37-42; Epstein 1984: 163, 214n32). Liberal commitments were thus largely allied in law with national citizenship, with an insistence on the primacy of membership in the nation (Beer 1966: 70-82; Schambra 1982: 42-43). But the republican legacy of notions on the importance of small sovereign states and a close-knit citizenry gave priority to state citizenship, and republicanism, too, remained influential in legal definitions of American citizenship. Indeed, the Constitution left unsettled the key question of who could make such definitions. The new federal government had the power to regulate immigration and naturalization
10To be sure, therewere Lockean Loyalistswho thoughtthe social contracthad not been abrogated and that they still owed loyaltyto the king, and English "nativists" who feltmost bound to theirmothercountry(Bailyn 1967: 149-50, 174-75).

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into United States citizenship, but it was not clear whether this authority precluded state action. And most meaningful privileges were held to be dependent on state citizenship, which the states could still largely structure as they wished (Kettner 1978: 224, 264-65, 340-41). In the wake of a revolution fought under the liberal banner of the rights of man, and with pressing needs for growth, it is not surprising that the nation made legal access to citizenship via immigration and naturalization comparatively easy for the firstninety years of its history. In accordance with George Washington's vision of America as an "Asylum" for the "oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions" (Rischin 1976: 43, 44), the national government set no significant restrictions on immigration until the 1880s, apart from banning the slave trade (Higham 1975: 33). That liberal policy was tinged by republican and ethnocentric reservations, but these had limited impact in comparison with later years. Thomas Jeffersonoriginally feared that extensive immigration of the European masses, raised under feudal institutions, would make the American public "a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass," incapable of self-government. He later decided that the young republic needed new population to fill the Western agrarian lands and preserve rustic yeoman virtues, but he always urged the prompt "amalgamation" of newcomers into the preexisting society (Kohn 1957: 130; Jefferson1975: 124-25). In this period, Americans much more ethnocentric than Jeffersonwere still confident that their institutions could assimilate outsiders, inculcating the Anglo-Saxon qualities required to meet the responsibilities of personal liberty and republican self-government (Higham 1966: 9-11, 20-23; 1975: 31-33; Horsman 1981: 300). Hence ethnocultural Americanists could accept liberal immigration policies. Even so, republican and nativist concerns did produce both political and ethnic restrictions on legal eligibility for citizenship. Two groups, the unreconstructed feudal elite of Europe and the "barbaric" nonEuropean masses, were expressly excluded. Under federal law, from 1790 to 1870 only whites could be naturalized (Ueda 1980: 732, 741, 746). JeffersonianRepublicans, fearfulof aristocracy, added to the naturalization act of 1795 a provision requiring the abandonment of hereditary titles (Kettner 1978: 235-46). Applicants also had to spend a period in residence, the length of which was varied periodically in response to antialien agitations, in order to assure that immersion in American republicanism preceded the main (liberal) requirement of naturalization swearing allegiance to the principles of the Constitution. As shown below, this early alliance between republican and ethnocentric conceptions of citizenship, in opposition to liberal policies, proved a potent and enduring feature of American political life. In the post-revolutionary era, some states were so eager for manpower that they granted resident aliens most privileges available to citizens, even the franchise (Kettner 1978: 238; Rosberg 1977: 1093-1102). But as ethnocentric views gained political and intellectual support, most states either denied citizenship entirely to blacks and Native Americans, or consigned them even more plainly to second-class status (Kettner 1978:

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287-333). As Linda Kerber has detailed, women were assigned the role of "republican mothers." This was allegedly a status of equal moral worth, but it confined women to the domestic sphere, devoid of the franchise, where they were to contribute to public life only by fosteringgood morals in their children (Kerber 1980: 10-12, 284-85).1 Even as Jacksonians and Whigs were elaborating Anglo-Saxon racialist views, anti-slavery movements emerged prior to the Civil War that gave new vigor to the inherited liberal emphasis on human rights in American political and legal discourse, in ways that affected the status of women as well as blacks. These movements not only argued explicitly that the universalistic liberal ideals of the Declaration of Independence applied to all human beings regardless of race. They also brought to political consciousness and activity a generation of feminist leaders, who began as abolitionists and became the matriarchs of the American campaign for women's rights. The thought of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone and others gave some voice to the claim that women could not fulfill the role of "republican motherhood" adequately without more power to influence public policy. But in the antebellum years they relied chiefly on the liberal language of human moral equality (Dubois 1978: 22-23, 32-47, 42; Harris 1978: 78-81, 85; Leach 1980: 8, 23, 146; Degler 1980: 303-06). The clearest example is the famous Declaration of Sentiments of the 1848 Seneca Falls' Convention, patterned afterthe Lockean phrases ofJefferson'soriginal Declaration (Flexner 1975: 74-75). Once the equality of men and women was asserted, moreover, republican notions of citizenship made equal rights to participate politically and hold office seem essential (Eisenstein 1981: 163). The anti-slavery movements that stimulated egalitarian claims by and for women also were a major ideological source for the new Republican party that attained predominance in the national government from the Civil War through most of the late nineteenth century. As Eric Foner has detailed, the Republicans' ideology, descended chiefly from American Protestant and Whig traditions, rested on a Lockean belief in the importance of free labor as the source of all productive value and as the best proof of good moral character. Far more than the Whigs, Republicans insisted accordingly that, while the races might not be fully equal in all respects, every human being had a natural right to pursue his trade and reap the fruitsof his labor. Hence slavery was the height of injustice (Foner 1970: 9-23, 237, 290-300; 1980: 105; Howe 1979: 291, 302).
" States did pass MarriedWomen's PropertyActs as the nineteenthcenturyprogressed, of women to own propertyindependently, but those measincreasingthe legal rights ures were probablynot motivatedby any heightenedbelief in female equality. They are oftenseen as usefulmeans to facilitate property exchanges in a period when westward migration made family to insurethatdepenseparationscommon, and as efforts dent women retainedproperty bestowed on themby fathers or otherprotectivemale relatives(Dubois 1978: 40; Leach 1980: 178; Taub and Schneider 1982: 119).

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To an extent thatremainsin dispute, these Republican views came to be expressed in the post-CivilWar Thirteenth, Fourteenth,and FifteenthAmendments, which,in essence, abolished involuntary servitude, the privilegesand immunitiesof prohibitedthe states frominfringing UnitedStatescitizensor denyingthemlegal due process or equal protecon the franchise.Those liberal tion, or fromsettingracial restrictions amendmentsserved as the legal basis forpost-warchallenges to various ethnocentric and republicaninequalitiesembodied in Americancitizenlaws.'2 ship and immigration
THE SUPREME COURT AND AMERICAN IDENTITY

The attackson behalfof women were broughtfirst and most significantlyin Bradwell v. theState, 16 Wall. 183 (1872), but thatcase must be seen againstthe backdrop of the case that immediatelypreceded it. The epochal decision in the Slaughter-HouseCases, 16 Wall. 36 (1873) provided the firstmajor judicial constructionof the post-war amendments.The two cases are clearlyparallel. In each, the complaintsagainst thestates'actionscenteredon a stateeffort to restrain themostfundamenin Republicanpartyideologyand, arguably, tal right in theclassicalliberal tradition: theaforementioned to laborproductively, to pursueone's right vocation and reap itsrewards.In Slaughter-House, New Orleansbutchers challenged a state slaughterhouse monopoly that forced them to work forthe monopoly or give up theirtrade. They claimed thissituationimservitude,in violation of the Thirposed on thema formof involuntary teenthAmendment,and violated theirprivilegesand immunities,due process, and equal protection rights,in violation of the Fourteenth. FormerSupremeCourtJustice JohnCampbell's briefforthe butchersargued thatthe state's rights, republicanview of citizenshipput forthby John C. Calhoun and others had been decisively repudiated by these amendments (52). Now, national citizenship was primary,and state powers were limited.National citizenship,moreover,was based on the liberalcommitment to securingthe inalienablerights of life,liberty, and all for members of the American property political community, against thestatesifneed be. Those rights of a sacredkind," included,as "property the "rightto labor . . . and to the product of one's faculties" (53, 56). the SupremeCourtrejectedall theseclaims, By a narrow5-4 majority, in ways of paramount importancefor futureinterpretations of all the clauses in question.Significant hereis thattheCourt'sreasoning ultimately and state's rights, and a belief appealed to the importanceof federalism
12 To

be sure,the amendments did not go as faras manyfeminists wished: the most expansive of thepost-waramendments, the Fourteenth, outragedthe leaders of the women's movementby includingno explicitprotectionforwomen and instead referring three timesto the suffrage grantedto "male" citizens.These references provided some basis for assuming the amendmentdid not affectwomen's domestic role (Flexner 1975: 155-56, 223; Dubois 1978: 135-37, 163-202; Degler 1980: 315-20, 347-50). Its lanbroad, however, to support assaults on numerousstate disguage seemed sufficiently criminations.

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that the centralized despotism long feared by American republican thought would be inevitable if the federal government could protect a wide range of individual rightsagainst state regulation. Justice Samuel F. Miller maintained that state citizenship still embraced "nearly every civil right for the establishment and protection of which organized government is instituted" (71); and with mounting fervency, he insisted that the nation could not have meant to "fetter and degrade the State governments" by subordinating them so greatly to national power as Campbell had suggested (78). Why a national institution dominated by appointees of the party that passed these liberalizing and nationalizing amendments should have professed such allegiance to republican state's rights constitutionalism is hard to explain. But Miller's language surely suggests that, faced with the seemingly radical Reconstruction Congress, Miller's majority found the traditional republican scenario of a tyrannical central government plausible enough to resuscitate their commitments to older Jacksonian notions of "dual federalism" (Bickel 1975: 45-46). Justices Stephen A. Field and Joseph P. Bradley dissented in the case, each arguing, in a fashion that foreshadowed the laissez-faire liberal jurisprudence of the later Lochner era, that certain economic libertieswere basic to citizenship in any free government. These liberties were supposed to be protected against the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, especially by the due process clause. Each stressed that the amendment had made national citizenship clearly fundamental, and that United States citizenship transformedthe natural and inalienable rightsof free men into rights of citizens - including the "sacred" right to pursue "unmolested a lawful employment in a lawful manner" (95, 96, 105, 112). That liberal rightwas, indeed, in Field's view "the distinguishingprivilege" of United States citizenship. He saw it as a natural right, citing Adam Smith, and he assimilated both republican and ethnocultural conceptions of citizenship to this liberal view. A government could not truly be republican, or free "in the American sense of the term," Field insisted, without that crucial vocational liberty (110-11, emphasis added). Bradley concurred, arguing that "citizenship means something" in America because of the nation's belief in sacred liberties and its inherited "traditionary rights." Rights to engage in their preferred vocations were constitutionally guaranteed to Americans, even without any express provision, by "their very citizenship . . . if they did not possess them before" (119). The dissenters' liberal stress on inalienable economic rights secured by national citizenship against the states was a quite plausible reading of the spirit of the amendments. Hence, the fact that state's rights republicanism narrowly prevailed says much about how intimidating the other justices found any dramatic departure from now-traditional American republican notions of what constituted free political communities. The next case handed down by the Court indicated, moreover, that the division in the Slaughter-House Cases actually exaggerated the power of liberal views. Bradwell v. the State involved Myra Bradwell's appeal of the Illinois Supreme Court's refusal to admit her to the state bar, even though, apart from her sex, she was clearly qualified. Bradwell's attor-

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ney, Matthew Hale Carpenter (who had represented the monopoly in the Slaughter-House Cases) here followed Campbell's line and centered his argument on a liberal conception of U.S. citizenship. He invoked the liberal individual rightsof the Declaration of Independence, understood to be "privileges and immunities" and due process rightsprotected against the states by the Fourteenth Amendment. Central to them was the right to labor in one's chosen vocation without invidious restrictions or discriminations. Quoting Cummings v. Missouri, 4 Wall. 321, Carpenter argued that the "theory upon which our political institutions rests is, that all men have certain inalienable rights - that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and that in the pursuit of happiness all avocations, all honors, all positions, are alike open to every one, and that in the protection of these rights all are equal before the law" (134). He then contended that the legal profession was such an avocation, that women were both persons and citizens within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, and that the amendment "opens to every citizen of the United States, male or female, black or white, married or single, the honorable professions as well as the servile employments of life" (137). By resting his brief on the liberal right to labor, and analogizing the discrimination against women to the racial discrimination that the amendment was undeniably meant to combat, Carpenter appeared to have made the strongest possible case. He also faced no opposing counsel. But as in the Slaughter-House Cases, most of the justices were not willing to give up the antebellum commitments to republican state sovereignty in which they had been schooled. Justice Miller, again writing for the Court, provided another straightforwardstatement of state's rights like the one he had just rendered in the New Orleans case. The right to practice law, like most rightsand privileges (including the franchise) was essentially a privilege of state citizenship, not United States citizenship.13 Therefore the states had the power to bestow it or withhold it as they chose (139). The case was more difficultfor Justice Bradley, who had found the liberal claim of vocational rights compelling against just such republican state's rights arguments in the preceding decision. He responded with a notorious concurring opinion that relied not on republicanism but on arguments in the ethnocultural Americanist mold. Bradley appealed to the order of "nature," God's "divine ordinance," and Anglo-American traditions in law and life, all of which he thought proved that man was naturally destined to be "woman's protector and defender," and that she
'3

Two years later,in Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. 162 (1875), ChiefJusticeWaite sustained a state denial of the suffrage to women essentiallyon the ground thatthiswas a non-fundamental rightthatthe state could regulateas it wished. To reach thatconclusion, however, he had to adopt a "liberal" reading of "republicanism," insisting thatpolitical participation was not essentialto citizenshipin a republicangovernment fromcitizenship,along with ethnocentric reason(175). This severingof the franchise of second-classcitizenship, such as thecolonial ing,was laterused to supportotherforms statusof Puerto Ricans [Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244 (1901) at 282-83].

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was fated for the "domestic sphere." Neither "recent modifications" in her civil status, such as new property rights laws, nor the fact that some women never married could alter this "general constitution of things," which Bradley took to be definitive of the American Constitution (141). Bradley's opinion is a classic example of the influential "domestic sphere" doctrine, defended by the attachments to "nature" and the "American way" that characterize ethnocultural Americanism. This doctrine has played a vital role in defending gender inequalities historically, and so Bradley's opinion has received much attention in recent scholarship. But it was only a concurrence: it prevailed only by reestablishing the alliance between ethnocentric outlooks and the republican concern for state's rights. The republican argument was perhaps preferable to the majority because, in this as in other contexts, it permitted them to defer to the states. Thus they could sidestep, instead of directly denying, the liberal claims of fundamental human rights that the Declaration of Independence and the Republican party ideology of the amendments clearly supported. Their stance left Bradley, who was already committed to the primacy of economic liberties over state's rights, alone in his overt reliance on ethnocultural reasoning; but his ethnocentric assumptions were hardly unique. All the justices found it easy to reach the same result without even hearing opposing counsel. That fact suggests they all found it difficult to conceive that the nation's profession of liberal egalitarian ideals really meant that it was improper to shape civic rights so as to reinforce the existing social order. The opinions of both Miller and Bradley reveal tacit beliefs that women do not really have to be regarded as equal citizens, that being American means accepting certain traditional, unequal gender roles and relations as legitimate. These beliefs were so fundamental to the justices' notions of American citizenship that they readily overrode the obvious implications of liberal principles and the language of the Fourteenth Amendment. That ethnocentric pattern of reasoning was repeated nearly twenty years later in the leading case considering America's initial restrictions on immigration, the Chinese Exclusion Case of 1889. The Chinese, first drawn to California during the Gold Rush, had been arrivingin large numbers since the Civil War to work the new western railroads and ranches, even though they were statutorilyineligible for naturalization. Their presence aroused resentments due to job competition and xenophobia, feelings articulated in anti-immigrant tracts like Strong's Our Country (Higham 1966: 39). In this climate, and under pressure from western legislators, the U.S. Congress gradually began placing restrictions on Chinese immigration, leading up to the 1888 law considered in Chae Chan Ping. The law prevented formerlyresident Chinese laborers who had departed from the United States from returning - even those who possessed certificatesauthorized under an 1882 law as guarantees of readmission (598). The ex post facto voiding of these certificateswas held by the lower courts to prevent Chae Chan Ping from reentering the country.

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Once again, the appellant's lawyer relied on characteristically liberal economic arguments before the Supreme Court. Attorney Carter's most heavily stressed contentions were that the earlier law authorizing the certificatesrepresented a contract with then-residentChinese laborers, which the nation could not morally violate, and that the law had created vested property and liberty rightsthat should be honored (586). "States, as well as individuals, are moral agents, and the common rules of morality and good faith are as binding upon them as upon individuals" (588). Those "common rules" embodied the liberal commitment to vested rights, and they could not be violated by any legitimate exercise of legislative power Justice Field of California, a forceful champion of vocational and contractual liberties in his Slaughter-House dissent and throughout his career, nevertheless wrote for the Court in rejecting these claims and upholding the retroactive exclusion. Like Bradley, Field turned chiefly to ethnocentric Americanism to justifythis departure from his usual economic liberalism, but the reinforcement for his nativism provided by republican concerns about a qualified, homogeneous citizenry was clear enough. Drawing on his own experience of Sino-American tensions in the West, he argued that Californians and the Congress reasonably believed that the "difference of race," especially, made the Chinese presence an enormous problem. Unlike those of previous immigrants, this difference could not be overcome, Field thought. Despite generous treatment, the Chinese had "remained strangers in the land, residing apart by themselves, and adhering to the customs and usages of their own country," making it seem "impossible for them to assimilate" and producing fears that they would one day "overrun" the West (595). The threat was not only to the material interests of native American laborers. The Chinese were also seen as endangering "public morals," indeed as constituting a potential "Oriental invasion" that would be "a menace to our civilization." Although Field did not dwell on the point, his language echoed the republican assertion often made since Jefferson, that racial and cultural differences rendered aliens unfit to participate in selfgovernment. Their admission to citizenship would imperil the maintenance of the nation's free institutions, as well as its special culture (Franklin 1906: 38, 71, 210, 298). Since both free republican government and America's civilization were at stake, the United States' very "right of self-preservation" was involved, according to Field. The preservation of America's national life constituted a "public trust" that its governing representatives could not make "the subject of barter or contract" (608-9). The nation's sovereign authority to determine who would be admitted to it therefore could not be limited by any of its prior acts. The threat of "vast hordes" of "foreigners of a differentrace ... who will not assimilate with us" and who jeopardized American "peace and security" more than outweighed any concerns about the injustice of altering past legislative "contracts" or guarantees (601).

(588).

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These cases and the many similar legislative and judicial statements of the period indicate that the great upheavals wrought by the Civil War agitations, and later by the post-war era's increased immigration and economic transformations,provoked deep concern among many Americans about the survival of the forms of collective life that were vital to their values and interests (Wiebe 1967: 11-75). Most of these transformations stemmed from liberal policies that opposed slavery, favored immigration, and encouraged enterprise while protecting property rights. The laws challenged in these cases show that American governors often responded to the results of those measures with state and national citizenship policies that were quite obviously illiberal, inconsistent with the ideals of liberty and equality professed in what Huntington terms the nation's "Creed." If the Supreme Court is any guide, many Americans had little difficultyin dismissing claims made in terms of those liberal democratic principles - not because they accepted the inevitabilityof an "Idea versus Institution" gap, but because they could invoke republican and ethnocultural conceptions of American civic identity that were also authoritative and more protective of the communal status quo. And while republicanism may have been a more palatable defense for the policies thus adanxieties of vanced, those policies display the exclusionary ethnocentricism far more than participatory republican ideals. CONCLUSION: THE UNRESOLVED DILEMMAS OF AMERICAN IDENTITY The enforcement of these communitarian conceptions, however beneficial to America's traditional social order, thus meant sustaining gender and ethnic discriminations in America's citizenship laws. Those policies did not change quickly or easily, and indeed they have never been completely effaced. All the conceptions of civic identity discussed here remain discernible in American public law, though their formulations, and the prevailing mix, have greatly altered over time, with ethnocentric elements sharply attenuated. Women obtained the vote by means of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, but its passage is commonly held to have been based on arguments about the need to extend women's special role into the public sphere, not on egalitarian views (Flexner 1975: 305; Degler 1980: 309). Accordingly, the liberal feminists' next step, the Equal Rights Amendment, received little support in the 1920s, and restrictions on women's occupational opportunities went largely unchallenged in law until the 1970s (O'Neill 1969: 276-94; Degler 1980: 360-61, 402-3, 437). Similarly, the nation erected severe ethnically restrictive quotas on the national origins of immigrants in the 1920s, which lasted until 1965; and all bans on naturalizing Asiatics were not lifted until 1946 (Higham 1975: 64; Ueda 1980: 746). Those modern reforms reflected the increased acceptance, among policy-makers at least, of a furtherideal of American identity, which may be termed "democratic cultural pluralism" (Gordon 1964: 14, 57; Higham 1975: 59-60, 220; Gleason 1980: 119-21; Keely 1982: 29-31). This ideal carries on the cosmopolitanism, tolerance, and respect for human lib-

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erty of the older liberal tradition, and so it can properly be termed a modern version of the liberal ideal. It is novel, however, in its rejection of Lockean liberalism's absolutist natural law elements in favor of modern philosophic pragmatism and cultural relativism. And one of its chief theoretical architects, philosopher Horace Kallen, argued that cultural pluralism better recognizes human sociality, our constitutive attachments to distinctive ethnic, religious, and cultural groups. It therefore envisions America as a "democracy of nationalities, cooperating voluntarily and autonomously through common institutions in the enterprise of selfrealization through the perfection of men according to their kind" (Kallen 1924: 124). Since all groups and individuals should be guaranteed equal opportunities to pursue their own destinies, the nation's legacy of legal racial, ethnic and gender discriminations is unacceptable according to the cultural pluralist ideal. At the same time, there must be no effortto transform equality into uniformity, to insist that all fit into a standard "Americanized" mold. The ideal of democratic cultural pluralism finally came to predominate in American public law in the 1950s and especially the 1960s, finding expression in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the liberalizing 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, in new programs to provide educational curricula more attuned to the nation's diverse cultural heritage, in bilingual ballots and governmental publications, and in affirmativeaction measures (Gordon 1981: 179-81; Keely 1982: 30-31). Cultural pluralism also became the ideal underlying treatments of community and citizenship in mainstream liberal theory during the 1960s and 1970s (Rawls 1971: 442, 450, 523-29; Ackerman 1980: 82-83, 194-96, 347, 375). But the Great Society policies based on democratic pluralist ideals have long been under various assaults. Desegregation via busing and affirmative action programs have produced mounting acrimony. The Equal Rights Amendment provoked fears of radical change sufficiently strong to defeat it. The return to more open immigration since 1965 has led to a new influx of Asian and, especially, Spanish-speaking immigrants,heavily concentrated in a few regions, provoking new disputes over bilingualism, immigration and refugee policies, welfare, health care, and amnesty for illegal aliens, education for their children, and other related issues (Keely 1982: 28-65; Glazer 1985: 3-13). Nor has the increased reliance on democratic cultural pluralism in liberal theory proven more successful. Numerous analysts have argued that the cultural pluralist ideal has yet to be given a theoretical formulation that can enable it to serve the role Huntington assigns to the American Creed: it does not provide a public philosophy that can define and sustain a meaningful sense of national community, and civic identity, without suppressing legitimate variety (Higham 1975: 230, 246; Beer 1978: 44; Gleason 1980: 142-43; Keely 1982: 32-33; Smith 1987: 20-35). These commentators generally endorse John Higham's view that in face of the continuing dilemma between the extremes of excessive assimilation and a pluralism that verges on atomism, "our greater problem" now

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is not learning to appreciate "diversity" but "rediscovering what values can bind together" our "kaleidoscopic culture" (Higham 1975: 246). But the democratic cultural pluralist ideal, with its stress on tolerance of diverse communal groups, tends to deprecate the importance or even the existence of a common national identity (Kallen 1924: 59, 64; Gleason 1980: 140-41; Beer 1984: 362, 381). Although its proponents obviously wish to sustain some bounds to what can be claimed in the name of subgroup autonomy, theoristsof cultural pluralism have so farleftthose limits vague and inadequately defended. Hence the questions raised by the nation's historic experience of its still-competing conceptions of citizenship remain pertinent. Can the United States respond effectively to anxieties about the adequacy of American political community and civic identity if its membership is understood, in theory and law, to rest only on the cosmopolitan ideal of shared commitment to liberal democratic principles? Huntington's belief, again, is that contemporary conflicts will ultimately only reinforce the role he thinks American "creedal" ideals have traditionally played in defining a unifying national identity (1981: 230-31). His optimism becomes hard to sustain once we recognize the considerable degree to which American identity has never in fact rested on allegiance or even full adherence to liberal democratic values. The nation's frequent rejections of liberal conceptions of citizenship, particularly in times of stress, must cause us to doubt whether traditional liberalism can provide a sense of civic identitythat will prove politically feasible or morally satisfying.Similarly, the contemporary liberal policies favored by modern democratic cultural pluralism arguably compel citizens in practice either to seek community in various parochial subgroups, sometimes heightening ethnocultural rivalries, or to turn to non-liberal, more communal conceptions of American national identity. Perhaps the historic failings of American liberalism make such a turn advisable. But it is at least equally improbable that the nation will be led to more commendable and workable citizenship policies if it simply embraces the main historic alternatives, admittedly more communitarian, that can be found in American political thought. Despite republicanism's attractions for contemporary theorists, any honest assessment of it as an actual American communal tradition must recognize that in legal and political debate it has usually and quite naturally served to assist the repressive side of American ethnocentricism. The resulting longstanding history of invidious discriminations demonstrates that in the United States attention must always be paid to the threats these ideals pose to liberal values. Where, then, does all this leave us? I have argued elsewhere that we should reformulate the nation's dedication to liberty into a positive, substantive goal of human empowerment (Smith 1985: 220-24; 1987). Freedom should not be understood to mean simply a lack of hindrance in doing what we will. It means valuing and exercising our capacities for reflective self-direction and choosing ways of life that preserve and enhance those capacities for all. If we therefore conceive of a liberal polity

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not as a neutral umpire for subjectively valued pursuits, but as a shared endeavor to create institutions and policies that will increase all citizens' personal and collective capacities for deliberative self-governance, we may better support feelings of meaningful community membership. There can be no better founded source of pride in one's polity than the belief that it aims above all at furtheringthe capacities for conscientious autonomy that give persons moral dignity. Hence liberalism's tendency to degenerate into narrow self-seeking might be attenuated by adopting a commitment to liberty in this sense. Moreover, the very substance of that goal should predispose us to honor the disparate but responsible choices of others. Hence the repressive potential of communitarian positions might also be combatted. I cannot pursue this case here. But I would insist at a minimum that, whatever directions we believe the nation's civic evolution should take, we must recognize that it is likely to develop within the boundaries defined by these traditional liberal, republican, ethnocultural, and pluralist notions, with all their limitations. Hence we must study the lessons experience provides about their characteristic tendencies, strengths and weaknesses if we wish to achieve a more viable and morally acceptable conception of American civic identitythan the nation has realized thus far. REFERENCES B. A. 1980. SocialJusticein theLiberal State.New Haven: Yale UniverAckerman, sity Press. B. 1983. Imagined Communities: on theOriginand Spread Anderson, Reflections of Nationalism. London: Verso Editions. of American J. 1978. "The Social Origins Appleby, Revolutionary Ideology."Journal of American History 64: 935-58. Arieli,Y. 1964. Individualism and Nationalism in American Ideology. CamPress. bridge,MA: Harvard University Bailyn,B. 1967. TheIdeological Originsof theAmericanRevolution.Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press. Persuasion: Evolution of a Party Ideology. Banning,L. 1978. TheJeffersonian Ithaca: Cornell University Press. . 1986. "Jeffersonian Ideology Revisited:Liberaland Classical Ideas in the New AmericanRepublic." William and Mary Quarterly 63: 3-34. Beitz,C. R. 1983. "CosmopolitanIdeals and NationalSentiment." Journal of Philosophy 30: 591-600. Beer, S. H. 1966. "Liberalism and the National Idea." The Public Interest#5: 70-82. . 1978. "In Search of a New Public Philosophy." In AnthonyKing, ed., TheNew American Political System. D.C.: AmericanEnterprise Washington, Institute. . 1984. "Libertyand Union: Walt Whitman'sIdea of the Nation." Political Theory 12: 361-86. Bellah, R. N., R. Madsen, W. M. Sullian,A. Swidler, S. M. Tipton. 1985. Habits of CaliforniaPress. of the Heart. Berkeley:University

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