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Questions and Answers for Prospective American Citizens (1907)


Becoming An American Citizen (1907)

The following questions and answers are given with the purpose of enabling the person seeking to become an American citizen to familiarize him or herself with American history and the fundamental facts of American institutions, so that he or she may be prepared to readily answer such questions as the judge may ask.

They are the questions which the judge is most likely to ask, and therefore should be carefully studied. Other questions may be asked; hence the person applying for citizenship should carefully read all the documents contained in this work.

Q. What form of government is that of the United States?
A. It is a Republic.
Q. What do you understand by a Republic?
A. A Republic is a government in which all authority is derived from the people.
Q By whom was the government of the United States established?
A. By the people of thirteen colonies of Great Britain, including, with the exception of Florida, all the present territory of the United States on the Atlantic coast.
Q. When did these colonies sever their relations with Great Britain?
A. On July 4, 1776, when they adopted the Declaration of Independence.
Q. What is the Declaration of Independence?
A. The Declaration of Independence is a document in which the original colonies renounced their allegiance to Great Britain, and set forth their reasons therefore.
Q. Have you read the Declaration of Independence?
A. I have.
Q. By whom was it signed?
A. By representatives of each of the thirteen colonies joining the act of separation from Great Britain.
Q. Where was the Declaration signed and first proclaimed to the world?
A. At Philadelphia.
Q. Name other important documents connected with the creation of the government of the United States?
A. The Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the United States.
Q. When were the Articles of Confederation adopted, and by whom?
A. By Congress on July 9, 1778.
Q. By whom were the Articles of Confederation signed?
A. By the representatives in Congress of each of the original colonies.
Q. Have you read the Articles of Confederation?
A. I have.
Q. Have you read the Constitution of the United States?
A. I have.
Q. When was the Constitution of the United States adopted?
A. On September 17, 1787.
Q. By whom was the Constitution prepared and proposed to the States for adoption?
A. By a convention composed of delegates from each of the thirteen original States.
Q. What Is the Constitution of the United States?
A. It is the fundamental law by which the nation is governed.
Q. What now constitutes the United States?
A. It is a federation of 48 States.
Q. In whom is the supreme authority of the nation vested?
A. It is vested In the legislative body, which makes the laws; the executive body, which enforces the laws; and the judicial department, which interprets the laws enacted by Congress.
Q. Where is the principal seat of government of the United States?
A. In Washington, D. C.
Q. Where and by whom are the laws of the United States made?
A. By Congress, in Washington, D. C.
Q. Of what does Congress consist?
A. Of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Q. What is the difference between the Senate and the House of Representatives?
A. The Senate is composed of two Senators elected from each State; the House of Representatives is composed of a varying number of representatives, elected fram each State, the number being in proportion to population. California sends eleven representatives.
Q. Are the Senators and members of the House of Representatives elected for the same terms?
A. No. The Senators are elected for a term of six years; the members of the House of Representatives are elected for only two years.
Q. Who is the presiding officer of the Senate?
A. The Vice-President of the United States.
Q. Who is the presiding officer of the House of Representatives?
A. The Speaker
Q. How is the Vice-President elected?
A. The Vice-President is elected in the same way and at the same time as the President; but in the event of failure to elect by the electoral college, the determination as to whom shall be Vice-President is vested in the Senate.
Q. By whom is the Speaker of the House of Representatives elected?
A. The Speaker of the House of Representatives is elected by the members of the said House from among its membership.
Q. Does the Vice-President as presiding officer of the Senate have the right to vote on measures being acted on by the Senate?
A. He has no right to vote, except in case of a timoe in case he has the deciding-vote.
Q. What is the process of enacting a law?
A. A bill may be proposed in either house for any purpose except the raising of revenues, which can be originally proposed in the House alone. When a bill has been adopted by the house in which it arose, it shall be transmitted to the other house. If it is adopted by the second house also, it is immediately engrossed and sent to the President for approval or rejection.
Q. Can the President prevent a bill enacted by Congress from becoming a law?
A. Yes; he can veto it, in which case it can only become a law upon the vote of two-thirds of both houses in its favor.
Q. In case the President does not approve of a bill, what shall he at once do in regard to it?
A. He shall within ten days return it, with his objections, to that house in which it shall have been originated, who shall enter the objections on their journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, twothirds of that house shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that house, it shall become a law. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the "Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
Q. Who is the chief executive officer of the United States?
A. The President.
Q. For how long is the President elected?
A. For four years.
Q. Who elects the President of the United States?
A. The people, through the electors.
Q. Who elects the electors?
A. The people.
Q. What are the duties and powers of the President?
A. He can veto the law passed by Congress. He can, with the consent the Senate, make treaties with other nations, with the consent of the Senate of the United States and his Cabinet and some other officers of the Unted States. He has the power of granting reprieves and, pardons for offenses committed agamst the United States. He is the chief of the-army and navy. May convene Congress whenever necessary.
Q. Can every citizen of the United States be a President?
A. No. He must be a native born citizen or naturalized citizen and must have resided in this country for fourteen years.
Q, If the President dies, or resigns, or is removed by impeachment, who takes his place?
A. The Vice-President of the United States.
Q. If both the President and the Vice-President die or resign, who takes their places?
A. The United States Secretary of State and in succession of the Cabinet members.
Q. For how long are the United States Supreme Court Judges appointed?
A. For life, and can he be removed only by impeachment.
Q. How can the Constitution be amended?
A. Amendment to the Constitution must be proposed by a two-thirds majority of the members of Congress and passed by three-quarters of the States.
Q. How does the united states get the money needed to carry on its affairs?
A. By taxation.
Q. Who levies the taxes?
A. Congress.
Q. What is the difference between a native born citizen and a naturalized citizen?
A. A native born citizen is one born in the United States; and a naturalized citizen is one that is born in a foreign country.
Q. Can you name two great political parties of today?
A. Republican and Democratic.
Q. Does the Constitution say that we must have different political parties?
A. No.
Q. Under what laws are you applying to be a citizen?
A. Naturalization act.
Q. How many States did we originally have?
A. Thirteen.
Q. Name two or three?
A. Massachusetts, New York and Virginia.
Q. How often do we have election?
A. There is Presidential election every four years; and an election for Representatives in Congress every two years.
Q. Who is the commander in chief of the United States Army and Navy?
A. The President of the United States.
Q. Does each State have the same number of Congressmen?
A. No. The number is fixed in proportion to population.
Q. What is meant by a law of the United States?
A. A United States law is one created and passed by the Congress at Washington.
Q. How do we determine how to vote?
A. We vote for the candidate who is in our opinion best fitted to occupy the office he seeks to be elected to.
Q. Do we vote for the same candidate every year?
A. No.
Q. Can women vote?
A. In several States; they can vote in California and nearly all Pacific Coast States.
Q. How old does a citizen have to be in order to be able to vote?
A. Twenty-one years.
Q. Who makes the laws of this State?
A. The Legislature, at Sacramento.
Q. Of how many parts is the State Legislature composed?
A. Of two-the Assembly and the Senate.
Q. For how long is an ss moiynran-eleeted?
A. For two years.
Q. For how long is a Senator elected?
A. For four years.
Q. Who is the head of the State?
A. The Governor.
Q. How and for how long is the Governor elected?
A. He is elected by the people at the generals State elections every four years.
Q. What are the powers of the Governor?
A. (a) He has the power to approve or veto bills made by the State Legislature.
(b) Convenes the Legislature on extraordinary occasions. (c) Communicates by a message with the Legislature at every session as to the condition of the State and recommends such matters as he thinks necessary.
(d) Grants reprieves or pardons or commutes the sentence of those convicted of crime by the State.
(e) Appoints, with the advice and consent of the State Senate, certain commissions of the State.
Q. What is the duty of the Governor?
A. He must see that all the laws are properly executed.
Q. Which is the highest court of the State of California?
A. The Supreme Court.
Q. How many Judges are in the Supreme Court?
A. One Chief Justice and five Associate Justices.
Q. By whom are they elected and for how long?
A. They are elected by the voters of the entire State for twelve years.
Q. Who presides over the State Senate?
A. The Lieutenant-Governor.
Q. If the Governor dies, who takes his place?
A. The Lieutenant-Governor.
Q. Who makes the laws of this city?
A. The Board of Supervisors.
Q. For how long is a Supervisor elected?
A. For four years.
Q. Who is the Chief Magistrate of this city?
A. The Mayor.
Q. For how long is the Mayor elected?
A. For four years.
Q. What are the powers and duties of the Mayor?
A. (a) He enforces the laws.
(b) Appoints the members of the several commissions, as Fire, Police, Health, School, Public Works, Civil Service, and Election Commission, in the city government.
(c) May remove any commissioner holding office by the appointment of the Mayor.
(d) He has the power to approve or veto bills.
Q. What is the duty of a United States citizen?
A. He must obey the laws and defend the country in time of war.
Q. Name some officers that are appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate.
A. First-The Justices of the Supreme Court, Circuit Court, District Court, Court of Claims.
Second-His Cabinet, which are the heads of the executive departments. They are nine in number, etc.
Q. Name some commissions that are appointed by the Governor:
A. Railroad Commission, Labor Commissioner, State Highway Commission.
Qualification for voting in California:
A citizen can vote who shall be a citizen and shall have resided in the State one year, in the county six months, in the election precinct thirty days.
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The GG Archives is the work and passion of two people, Paul Gjenvick, a professional archivist, and Evelyne Gjenvick, a curator. Paul earned a Masters of Archival Studies - a terminal degree from Clayton State University in Georgia, where he studied under renowned archivist Richard Pearce-Moses. Our research into the RMS Laconia and SS Bergensfjord, the ships that brought two members of the Gjønvik family from Norway to the United States in the early 20th century, has helped us design our site for other genealogists. The extent of original materials at the GG Archives can be very beneficial when researching your family's migration from Europe.