Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Let Your Voice Be Heard This Election Day

Today is Election Day. Every U. S. citizen has the right to vote. I have done my duty and hope everyone has a moment to express his or her wishes for our great country’s future leadership. At times I hear stories of apathy and how someone thinks their vote won’t count. When I hear that I think back to my ancestors. As I continue to focus on The Dooley Family Tree, I think of our Irish immigrant, William Dooley.

Citizenship is not required. Naturalization, a voluntary act, is a two-step process that took a minimum of five years. During William’s lifetime, First Papers (Declaration of Intent) could be submitted after living in the U.S. for a period of two years. After an additional three years, a person could petition of naturalization. Once granted, a certificate of citizenship was issued.

 William submitted his naturalization papers in March of 1856.  I doubt his certificate of citizenship arrived for the 1856 Presidential Elections.  If it had, William would have been able to vote in a three-way election between James Buchanan, John Fremont and Millard Fillmore.

I do believe that William Dooley was able to vote in the 1860 Presidential Election.
William would have voted for one of the four following candidates: Abraham Lincoln, John Breckinridge, John Bell and Stephen Douglas. I wonder which candidate received the vote of a poor, Irish Catholic citizen.

Ellen Dooley would not have voted, as women had not yet received the right to vote.
Women’s right to vote would not happen in Ellen’s lifetime. Women would have to wait for the 19th Amendment; which was ratified on 18 August 1920.

It is interesting to note that once William Dooley became a citizen Ellen also became a citizen. At that time, women’s citizenship mirrored their husband’s citizenship. So, should an American-born woman fall in love and marry an immigrant, non-citizen, she would loose her citizenship and become an alien. Interesting, isn’t it?

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