Open Borders in the Nineteenth Century: Constructing the National, the Citizen and the Foreigner in South America
36 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2017
Date Written: September 15, 2017
This working paper describes and explains the historical origins of the division between the national and the foreigner in South America. In the early nineteenth century, all the previously Spanish possessions in South America as well as Brazil achieved independence. With this new freedom, countries turned their attention to asserting their statehood through the delineation of three constitutive elements: government, territory and population. The new governments had to define who were going to be considered as nationals, citizens and foreigners, and the rights that pertained to each of these categories. These countries were all concerned with attracting new settlers and very early on introduced constitutional provisions on open borders and equal treatment for foreigners. White, male Europeans were the principal addresses of open borders provisions in an effort to entice them to settle in territories presented as empty to the exclusion of indigenous groups, bring new industries, and contribute to the whitening of mixed race populations. Whilst weak statehood came with independence, forming nations was a much longer process and States used migration and citizenship policies as tools to define nationhood.
Keywords: citizenship, migration, South America, naturalisation, nation
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