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Smith, James M'Cune. 'Citizenship' in 'The Anglo-African Magazine 1:5 (May 1859)' . New York, N.Y. : T. Hamilton, 1859. [format: newspaper], [genre: article; history]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=angloafrican1.html


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any such party existed; and superseded, to a considerable extent, the previous efforts to limit the power of rulers. That (it might seem) was a resource against rulers whose interests were habitually opposed to those of the people. What was now wanted was, that the rulers should be identified with the people; that their interest and will should be the interest and will of the nation. The nation did not need to be protected against its own will. Their power was but the nation's own power, concentrated, and in a form convenient for exercise. This mode of thought, or rather perhaps of feeling, was common among the last generation of European liberalism. Those who admit any limit to what a government may do, except in the case of such governments as they think ought not to exist, stand out as brilliant exceptions among the political thinkers of the Continent.’ (Introduction, pp. 9 — 11.)

To return to the meaning of the word Citizen under Roman law; the citizen of Rome, at first the actual dweller in that city, was subsequently the individual member of that state, residing in Italy, and finally in the provinces; certain rights were always reserved to the actual dwellers in Rome, but the term citizen with its essential rights was applied even to foreign towns, MUNICIPIA.

The Roman Citizen had two classes of rights, the private rights IUS QUIRITIUM, and the public rights IUS CIVITATIS. As none of these rights could be exercised by any but Roman citizens, the possession of all or any of them constituted citizenship on the part of the individual holding them. And once a Roman Citizen, the individual could not by any process be deprived of citizenship, [3]against his own will. If the rights of a citizen were taken from any one either by way of punishment or for any other cause, some fiction always took place. Thus, when citizens were banished, they did not expel them by force, but their goods were confiscated, and themselves were forbidden the use of fire and water, (iis igne et aqua interdictum est) which obliged them to repair to some foreign place.

The JUS QUIRITUM or private rights of Roman citizens, were 1. Jus Libertatis, the right to liberty; 2. Jus Gentilitatis et Familiae, the right of family; 3. Jus Connubii, the right of marriage; 4. Jus Patrium, the right of a father; 5. Jus Dominii Legitimi, the right of legal property; 6. Jus Testamenti et Haereditatis, the right of making a will and of succeeding to an inheritance; 7. Jus Tutelae, the right of tutelage or wardship.

Let us take a glance at these private rights of Rome citizens, and make a comparison of them with the rights enjoyed by the blacks of the United States.

1st. JUS LIBERTATIS, the ‘right of liberty.’ This included ‘liberty from the power of masters, (dominorum) from the severity of magistrates, the cruelty of creditors, and the insolence of more powerful citizens.’

The free blacks, in all the free states, and in the slave states (except where prohibited by statute law) have ever enjoying this right, and their mode of redress, when wronged, in regard to it, are the same as that guaranteed to other citizens.

2nd. JUS GENTILITATIS ET FAMILIAE; ‘the right of family’ is especially proscribed in Art. 1, Sec. IX, clause 7, of the Constitution of the United States.

3rd. JUS CONNUBII; ‘the right of marriage.’ No Roman citizen was permitted to marry a slave, barbarian, or a foreigner, unless by permission of the people. [4]‘CONNUBIUM’ est matrimonium inter cives; inter servos autem, aut inter civem et peregrinae conditionis homium — non est Conubium, sed CONTUBERNIUM. [5] By the laws of the Decemviri intermarriages between the Patricians and the Plebians were prohibited, just as in Massachusetts, intermarriages between whites and blacks were prohibited, but this restriction did not, in Rome, destroy the citizenship of the plebeian, neither could it in Massachusetts, as Judge Taney affirms destroy the citizenship of the negro. This restriction was soon abolished in Rome, [6]as has been done in Massachusetts.

4th. JUS PATRIUM; ‘the right of a father.’ Children, under Roman law, were the absolute slaves of their parents, (citizens) who possessed even the power of putting them to death. And the form of setting children free from this rule was very similar to that of emancipating a slave. The father signified,
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Smith, James M'Cune. 'Citizenship' in 'The Anglo-African Magazine 1:5 (May 1859)' . New York, N.Y. : T. Hamilton, 1859. [format: newspaper], [genre: article; history]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=angloafrican1.html
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