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Citizenship is the status of a person recognized under the custom or law as being a legal member of a sovereign state or belonging to a nation.A person may have multiple citizenships and a person who does not have citizenship of any state is said to be stateless.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".

These small-scale organic communities were generally seen as a new development in world history, in contrast to the established ancient civilizations of Egypt or Persia, or the hunter-gatherer bands elsewhere.

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.

The first form of citizenship was based on the way people lived in the ancient Greek times, in small-scale organic communities of the polis.

Citizenship was not seen as a separate activity from the private life of the individual person, in the sense that there was not a distinction between public and private life.

It was not until the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 that these immigration quota systems were drastically altered in favor of a less discriminatory system.

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