Popular during times of war, loyalty oaths and their variants have been imposed upon immigrants as conditions of admission and eventual citizenship, as well as requirements for certain types of public employment.
As formal expressions of allegiance to a given country or government, loyalty oaths have a long history in North America. For example,
Immigrants to the United States have also frequently been targets of loyalty oaths and tests. This is due in part to popular fears of divided country loyalties, combined with the perception, particularly during the early twentieth century, that immigrants were responsible for bringing dangerous political ideologies, such as anarchism and socialism, into the United States. The very first
It was only after the assassination of President
Loyalty oaths also played an important role during the internment of
Since the passage of the
Hyman, Harold. To Try Men’s Souls: Loyalty Tests in American History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1958. Levinson, Sanford. “Constituting Communities Through Words That Bind: Reflections on Loyalty Oaths.” Michigan Law Review 84, no. 7 (1986): 1440-1470. Preston, William S. Aliens and Dissenters: Federal Suppression of Radicals, 1903-1933. 2d ed. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1994.
Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798
Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917-1918
Immigration Act of 1903
Japanese American internment
Naturalization Act of 1790
World War I
World War II