Proclamation Concerning Aliens

May 8, 1863

By the President of the United States of America:

A Proclamation.

Whereas the Congress of the United States, at its last Session, enacted a law, entitled “An Act for enrolling and calling out the National Forces and for other purposes,” which was approved on the 3d. day of March, last: and whereas it is recited in the said act that there now exist in the United States an insurrection and rebellion against the authority thereof, and it is, under the constitution of the United States, the duty of the Government to suppress insurrection and rebellion, to guaranty to each state a republican form of Government, and to preserve the public tranquillity; and whereas, for these high purposes, a military force is indispensable, to raise and support which all persons ought willingly to contribute; and whereas no service can be more praiseworthy and honorable than that which is rendered for the maintenance of the Constitution and Union, and the consequent preservation of free government: and whereas, for the reasons thus recited, it was enacted by the said statute that all able bodied male citizens of the United States, and persons of foreign birth who shall have declared on oath their intention to become citizens under and in pursuance of the laws thereof, between the ages of twenty and forty-five years, (with certain exceptions not necessary to be here mentioned,) are declared to constitute the national forces, and shall be liable to perform military duty in the service of the United States when called out by the President for that purpose:

And whereas it is claimed by and in behalf of persons of foreign birth, within the ages specified in said act, who have heretofore declared on oath their intentions to become citizens under, and in pursuance of, the laws of the United States, and who have not exercised the right of suffrage or any other political franchise under the laws of the United States, or of any of the States thereof, that they are not absolutely concluded by their aforesaid declaration of intention from renouncing their purpose to become citizens, and that, on the contrary, such persons, under treaties or the law of nations, retain a right to renounce that purpose, and to forego the privileges of citizenship and residence within the United States, under the obligations imposed by the aforesaid Act of Congress:—

Now, therefore, to avoid all misapprehensions concerning the liability of persons concerned to perform the service required by such enactment, and to give it full effect, I do hereby order and proclaim that no plea of alienage will be received or allowed to exempt from the obligations imposed by the aforesaid Act of Congress, any person of foreign birth who shall have declared on oath his intention to become a citizen of the United States under the laws thereof, and who shall be found within the United States at any time during the continuance of the present insurrection and rebellion, at or after the expiration of the period of sixty-five days from the date of this proclamation; nor shall any such plea of alienage be allowed in favor of any such person who has so, as aforesaid, declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and shall have exercised, at any time, the right of suffrage, or any other political franchise, within the United States under the laws thereof, or under the laws of any of the several States.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

[L.S.]

Done at the city of Washington, this eighth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh. ABRAHAM LINCOLN

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

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