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Abstract

Non-citizen service members have yet to be welcomed as political members of society with the autonomy and liberty to participate as formal citizens upon enlisting for military service and, in some instances, even after fulfilling service requirements. This claim should come as no surprise to critics that argue immigrants should, in fact, be pre-political until they've met and satisfied the requirements for incorporation. However, non-citizen service members are not traditional immigrants in the sense that they are surrendering their life to the host country and performing the obligations of citizens while lacking any say in who gets to send them to war, how and when they will be incorporated, and ultimately who will represent and defend their interest. Thus, the practice of enlisting and recruiting non-citizens in the military without immediate recognition as political members in the U.S. challenges and abandons the principles and ideals, like civic virtue and participatory citizenship, inherent in the Citizen-Soldier tradition that have been central in forming and maintaining republics. This dissertation is characterized by the following questions: What prompted the U.S. to abandon the Citizen-Soldier tradition at the turn of the 20th century? What types of communities would be affected by such a change and how did they respond? More importantly, what can be done to reconcile the inherent principle in the Citizen-Soldier tradition that serving in the military constructed part of the basis for citizenship? Utilizing an observable implications approach, I analyzed archival documents from nine archival sites across the U.S. and Mexico. The archives are broken up into three different groups: Congressional, Organizational, and Mexican archives. I ultimately conclude that the decline in access to citizenship-for-service can be attributed to particular restrictionist racial ideologies members of Congress were committed. Moreover, Mexican American civic organizations committed to a politics of respectability I identify as "brown respectability" failed to support Mexican non-citizen service members in their pursuit at improving their legal status after completing their military service. Thus, the transformation of citizenship-for-service to service-for-citizenship can be attributed to both institutional and community level factors.

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