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The Relation of the Citizen Domiciled in a Foreign Country to His Home Government

  • Everett P. Wheeler


When the thirteen colonies became a nation and formed the Constitution of the United States of America, their population was chiefly on the Atlantic seaboard. Their ships sailed to every port of the civilized world. They were alive to the importance of foreign commerce. The wars of the Napoleonic epoch and the controversies to which they gave rise, led the American people to feel that it was for their interest, not only to abstain from entangling alliances with the powers of continental Europe, but to limit their activities as far as possible to their own territory. The acquisition of Louisiana from the French in 1803 gave to the United States a fertile and almost boundless domain and afforded an opening for national growth, which of itself tended to withdraw the thought and enterprise of our people from foreign business. Undoubtedly our foreign commerce did increase down to the time of the Civil War, but it did not keep pace with the development of ^he country or with the growth of interstate commerce. Since the Civil War, however, the current has turned. The wealth of the United States has enormously increased. Its capital is found invested in foreign countries, and it has acquired territorial possessions not only in the Atlantic, but in the Pacific, which have changed entirely the attitude of the American people. It must inevitably be the case that in the future the number of American citizens who go to foreign countries and take up a residence there will far exceed that of any other period of our history. A few of these no doubt will become citizens of the countries to which they go, but experience shows that the great majority both of English and American citizens who reside in foreign countries still retain their citizenship. The relation borne by the home government to these citizens domiciled abroad is, therefore, a matter of great and increasing importance.



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1 Minor: Conflict of Law, 9; Green v. Van Buskirk, 5 Wall. 307, 312.

2 Reported sub nom. Liverpool and G. W. Steam Co. v. Phenix Ins. Co., 129 U. S. 397.

3 Hall, : International Law, 5th ed., 49 ; 1 Oppenheim: Inter. Law, 195; Wharton: Criminal Law, secs. 271, 278, 279; Rex v. Sawyer, 2 Carr. & K. 100, decided by the twelve judges on questions reserved; Commonwealth v. Smith, 11 Allen 243; State v. Grady, 54 Conn. 118.

4 Act of Jan. 30, 1799, 1 Stat. 613; re-enacted sec. 5335, Rev. Stat.; sec. 5, U. S. Penal Code, March 4, 1909.

5 Act of May 10, 1800, 2 Stat. at L. 70; re-enacted see. 5556, Comp. Stat.

6 Act of April 20, 1808, 3 Stat. at L. 450, sec. 4.

7 U. S. v. Gordon, 5 Blatchfleld 18; Slavers (Kate), 2 Wallace 350.

8 Santos v. Illidge, 8 C. B. (N. S.) 861.

9 The Carib Prince, 170 U. S. 655; The Sylvia, 171 U. S. 463; The Chattahoochee, 173 U. S. 540.

10 Talbot v. Janson, 3 Dallas 133.

11 American Journal of International Law, 2:29-43.

12 9 Wheaton 1, 193.

13 U. S. v. Holliday, 3 Wallace 407, 417.

14 American Journal Int. Law, 1:278.

15 U. S. Constitution, art. 1, sec. 10.

16 1 Kent Comm. 76; The Emanuel, 1 C. Rob. 296, 302; Pothier, “Traité du droit de propriété,” p. 94 (ed. 1776): “Le domicile ne lui fait pas perdre la qualité de sujet du Roi qu’il a acquise par sa naissance, et ne lui dispense pas des Lois du Royaume, qui ne permettront pas aux sujets du Roi, de servir en temps de guerre, aucune Puissance étrangère, sans une expresse permission du Roi.” Code Pénal pour la France, etc., sec. 78, is similar to the law of 1799, before quoted.

17 United States Treaties and Conventions, Ed. 1889, pp. 899-902.

18 Ibid, 1008.

19 1 International Law, 183.

20 Dispatch to Minister to Mexico, July 20, 1885, 2 Wharton Dig. 645; see treatment of cases Turkish outrages, ibid, 637, 638, 646, 647. See also Secretary Seward to Minister to Brazil, December 7, 1867, ibid, 615; Secretary Evarts to Minister to Argentine Republic, September 4, 1879, ibid, 625; Secretary Gallatin to Mr. Price, Feb. 11, 1824, 2 Gallatin Writings, 278.

21 Ibid, 617, dispatch to Sir Edward Thornton, Sept. 4, 1873.

22 Foreign Relations of U. S. 1894, p. 1167.

23 John Fiske: Critical Period of American History, p. 761.

24 Latané: Diplomatic Relations United States and Spanish America, 132; Foster: Century of American Diplomacy, 343.

25 Jefferson’s works, edition of 1854, vol. XI, p. 93.

26 Jefferson’s works, Ford’s ed., vol. IV, p. 25.

27 Frost’s “Book of the Navy,” p. 97.

28 A full account of this expedition is given in Pres. Jefferson’s message, Jan. 13, 1806, Jefferson’s works, vol. VIII, p. 54.

29 Maclay’s, History of the Navy,” vol. 1, p. 302 .

30 Cooper’s, Naval History of the United States,” vol. II, pp. 79, 80.

31 Frost’s “Book of the Navy,” p. 110.

32 Jefferson’s works, edition of 1854, vol. IV, p. 574.

33 Foreign Relations United States, 1894, App. 1, p. 303.

34 Dispatch, April 15, 1842; Webster’s, Works (Ed. 1851), vol. VI, p. 437 .

35 U. S. Stat., First Session 54th Cong., concurrent resolutions, pp. 3, 4.

36 Act July 27, 1868, c. 249, 15 U. S. Stat. 224.

37 Right of expatriation, 9 Opinions Atty.-General 360; Foreign domiciled citizenship, (1873), 14 ibid, 295.

38 Vattel’s “Law of Nations,” book II, chap. XVIII.

39 Wheaton’s “International Law,” part IV, chap. I, sec. 3, pp. 609, 610, second edition by Lawrence.

40 U. S. Treaties and Conventions, pp. 824-826.

41 12 U. S. Statutes 72; U. S. Rev. Stat. 4125.

42 In the case of Ross v. McIntyre, (140 U. S. 585) the Supreme Court of the U. S. states the position which our consuls in Turkey occupy under these laws and treaties, and gives with great clearness the reason for the law upon that subject.

The Relation of the Citizen Domiciled in a Foreign Country to His Home Government

  • Everett P. Wheeler


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