The Restricted Citizen

AuthorEverett V. Stonequist
Published date01 September 1942
Date01 September 1942
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1177/000271624222300123
Subject MatterArticles
149
The
Restricted
Citizen
By
EVERETT
V.
STONEQUIST
HE
difference
between
democratic
Tconstitutional
theory
and
demo-
cratic
social
practice
in
the
treatment
of
minorities
can
be
a
large
one.
This
may
be
somewhat
disillusioning
to
the
adherent
of
democratic
philosophy,
but
it
should
not
be
surprising
to
the
real-
istic
student
of
human
affairs.
Human
beings
everywhere
behave
largely
in
terms
of
established
customs
and
tradi-
tions
modified
by
the
immediate
desires
and
pressures
of
individual
and
group
interests.
These
are
not
likely
to
be
either
very
rational
or
very
consistent.
Democratic
constitutional
theory,
on
the
other
hand,
formulates
rather
gen-
eral
and
(ideally)
universal
principles
of
conduct,
and,
even
though
it
moves
in
the
realm
of
the
&dquo;must,&dquo;
it
is
strongly
oriented
in
the
direction
of
the
&dquo;ought.&dquo;
In
the
United
States
the
conflict
be-
tween
democratic
theory
and
demo-
cratic
practice
has
been
particularly
acute
and
sometimes
disruptive.
Ours
is
a
large
country
and
a
young
nation,
a
nation
in
the
making.
We
are
an
emergent
nationality
of
many
peoples
and
races,
but,
contrary
to
the
beliefs
and
hopes
of
our
enemies,
a
very
real
and
unified
nation.
This
unity
in
large
part
centers
around
common
hopes
for
the
future rather
than
in
common
memories
of
the
past:
the
promise
rather
than
the
history
of
America.
This
is
in
contrast
to
most
of
the
older
nations
of
the
earth.
As
a
concomitant,
or
consequence,
it
means
that
our
social,
economic,
and
political
life
contains
many
practices
which
conflict
with
our
philosophy.
Thus
we
arrive
at
what
appears
to
be
a
contradiction
in
terms:
the
restricted
citizen.’
From
the
standpoint
of
demo-
cratic
constitutional
principle,
all
citi-
zens
are
legally
equal.
In
social
life,
and
sometimes
in
specific
acts
of
law,
however,
there
are
many
inequalities
and
restrictions.
Insofar
as
a
democ-
racy
remains
consistent
with
its
own
spirit
and
doctrine,
it
strives
ever
to
bring
the
stubborn
facts
of
human
in-
equality
into
harmony
with
its
prin-
ciples
of
equality
of
treatment
and
op-
portunity.
But
this
is
a
task
requiring
for
its
success
time,
patience,
and
per-
sistent
effort
in
modifying
the
basic
conditions
of
social
life;
it
does
not
occur
automatically
from
the
mere
en-
actment
of
acts
of
legislation.
ROOTS
OF
PRESENT
RESTRICTIONS
The
deeper
roots
of
present-day
re-
strictions
upon
citizens
of
minority
groups
can
be
best
understood
by
a
glance
at
our
history.
The
social
struc-
ture
of
the
United
States
is
in
consid-
erable
part
an
arrangement
patterned
by
the
process
of
migration
to
America.
The
early
immigrants
established
the
ground
pattern
of
national
life.
Later
immigrants
were
assimilated
to
this
pat-
tern
and
to
the
modifications
developed
in
the
course
of
adjustments
to
the
new
environment.
They
also
made
contri-
butions
which
still
further
modified
the
original
heritage.
The
division
between
the
&dquo;old&dquo;
im-
migrants,
who
arrived
largely
before
1890
and
who
originated
mainly
in
northwestern
Europe,
and
the
&dquo;new&dquo;
immigrants,
who
have
come
chiefly
since
1890
and
whose
homes
were
in
southern
and
eastern
Europe,
represents
a
signifi-
1
The
following
account
does
not
consider
restrictions
on
citizens
which
exist
apart
from
the
subject
of
cultural
and
racial
minorities,
such
as
those
on
sex,
marriage,
age,
residence,
voting,
and
so
forth.
Some
of
these,
such
as
the
poll
tax
and
bans
on
interracial
marriage,
restrict
both
white
and
colored
races.
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