Slavery, Free Blacks and Citizenship

Henry L. Chambers, Jr., University of Richmond


Part I of the essay explores citizenship and membership by discussing belonging-based citizenship and rights-based citizenship. Part II describes how American and African American citizenship were constructed prior to the passage of the Reconstruction Amendments. Part III notes a few cases to explain how the Reconstruction Amendment’s jurisprudence has developed in the wake of Dred Scott v. Sandford1 and possibly led to a tilt toward a rights-based citizenship rather than a somewhat more robust belonging-based citizenship.