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One historian explained: The person was defined and represented through his actions upon things; in the course of time, the term property came to mean, first, the defining characteristic of a human or other being; second, the relation which a person had with a thing; and third, the thing defined as the possession of some person.

A citizen came to be understood as a person "free to act by law, free to ask and expect the law's protection, a citizen of such and such a legal community, of such and such a legal standing in that community".

The modern idea of citizenship still respects the idea of political participation, but it is usually done through "elaborate systems of political representation at a distance" such as representative democracy.

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The obligations of citizenship were deeply connected into one's everyday life in the polis.

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.

Sandford case at the Supreme Court of the United States, commissioned by a "group of Negro citizens" and presented to the Missouri Historical Society, St. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923), would later clarify the meaning of the phrase "free white persons," ruling that Japanese, Indian, and other non-European people were not "white persons", and were therefore ineligible for citizenship under U. However, even well into the 1960s some state laws prevented Native Americans from exercising their full rights as citizens, such as the right to vote.

Louis, in 1888 The Naturalization Act of 1790, the first law in U. history to establish rules for citizenship and naturalization, barred citizenship to all people who were not of European descent, stating that "any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof." Under early U. laws, African Americans were not eligible for citizenship. In 1962, New Mexico became the last state to enfranchise Native Americans.

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.

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.

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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