Patrick W. Hanifin, A Brief History of Citizenship and Voting Rights in Hawai'i (Kingdom, Republic, Territory, and State), 2001, Honolulu (Hawai'i)
C. Citizenship Rights for Immigrants to the Kingdom
In its last half century, the government of the Kingdom actively sought immigrants from around the world, to replenish a population sadly depleted by disease, to recruit persons with modern skills, and to provide labor for the growing sugar industry. As part of this effort, the Kingdoms statutes provided for easy naturalization of immigrants and offered political rights even to immigrants who did not wish to give up their citizenship in the countries from which they had come.
The Kingdoms first written law code, published in Hawaiian in 1841 and in English translation in 1842, provided for naturalization of foreigners who married Hawaiian subjects. In 1846, the Kingdoms Civil Code provided for naturalization of any alien immigrant who applied after living in Hawai`i for at least one year. The Civil Code created a Bureau of Naturalization within the Ministry of Interior.
The statute went on to provide that aliens who did not want to give up their citizenship in the country they came from could become "denizens," entitled to full legal rights of Hawaiian subjects. The status of denizen, like the rule that aliens can be naturalized, goes back to the English common law. The King of England, by exercise of his royal authority, could make an alien a "denizen" of England, having most of the rights of an English subject. In the Kingdom of Hawai`i, denizen status amounted to dual citizenship: a denizen had the rights of a subject of Hawai`i without ceasing to be a citizen of his native country. Denizens had the right to vote and hold public office. Similar provisions for naturalization and denization can be found in the subsequent Civil Codes of the Kingdom.
Using these provisions, many Americans, Europeans and Asians became naturalized subjects or denizens of the Kingdom of Hawai`i. For instance, "between 1842 and 1892, 731 Chinese persons and three Japanese persons were naturalized in Hawaii." Naturalized subjects and denizens held high public office, including cabinet posts, legislative seats, and judgeships.
D. Voting Rights in Kingdom Elections
Under the constitutions of the Hawaiian Kingdom, being a subject was neither necessary nor sufficient to be a voter. Denizens could vote if they met applicable qualifications of gender, literacy and wealth. Women could not vote, even if they were Hawaiian subjects.
Aliens voting rights in the U.S.A.
Le droit de vote des étrangers aux Etats-Unis
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