• Damon W. Root, Reason Magazine, Reason.com
On March 27, 1866, President Andrew Johnson sent a message to Congress vetoing the landmark civil rights bill it had just passed. Among the provisions “which I cannot approve,” Johnson wrote, was the first section, which stated, “All persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.”
Not only would this grant of birthright citizenship make citizens out of “the entire race designated as blacks,” Johnson complained, it would also make citizens out of “the Chinese of the Pacific States, Indians subject to taxation, [and] the people called Gipsies.” He wouldn’t sign it.
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