Declaration of Intent

Between 1795 and 1952, a key step in attaining one's citizenship was the Declaration of Intent.  Through the Declaration of Intent, immigrants that could become potential candidates for citizenship made an oath to the United States of their intent to naturalize and their renunciation of their former state.

The first document below is Harry Stanford's declaration.  Stanford, then a Canadian citizen, renounced his allegiance to "The Queen of Great Britain and Ireland".  One of the rights afforded by filing a declaration was the right to acquire land through the Homestead Act.  Inversely, Montana's Alien Land Act of 1923, which is the middle image below, stated that individuals ineligible for citizenship could not own or lease land.  In 1923, this largely referred to East Asian immigrants.  The third image is a list of Swedes and Norwegians in Missoula County who had filed their declarations by 1909.