Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Maria R. Casas

Second Committee Member

Joanne Goodwin

Third Committee Member

David Tanenhaus

Fourth Committee Member

Anita T. Revilla

Number of Pages



This dissertation investigates how the laws of marital naturalization/expatriation, namely the Citizenship Act of 1855, the Expatriation Act of 1907, and the Cable Act of 1922 and its amendments throughout the 1930s, impacted the lives of women who married foreigners, especially in the American West, and demonstrates how women directly and indirectly challenged the practice of marital naturalization/expatriation. Those laws demanded women who married foreigners take the nationality of their husbands depending on the race of women and their husbands, making married women’s citizenship dependent on that of their husbands. Particularly under the Expatriation Act of 1907, all American women who married foreigners lost their U.S. citizenship by the mere fact of marriage. This, in particular, negatively affected women in the West, where international and/or interracial marriage was not uncommon and U.S. citizenship was closely tied not only to suffrage but also to land ownership and employment. By examining various issues women faced as a consequence of losing U.S. citizenship, this dissertation reveals what it meant for American women to lose formal U.S. citizenship, even if it was only second-class citizenship, and how gender, race, class, and the nationality of married couples complicated the idea of U.S. citizenship.


20th Century; American West; Homestead; Japanese immigrants; Marriage; Women


Gender and Sexuality | Law | United States History | Women's Studies

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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