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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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2837. EXPATRIATION, A natural right.—
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2837. EXPATRIATION, A natural right.—

I hold the right of expatriation to be
inherent in every man by the laws of nature,
and incapable of being rightfully taken from
him even by the united will of every other person
in the nation. If the laws have provided
no particular mode by which the right of expatriation
may be exercised, the individual
may do it by any effectual and unequivocal
act or declaration. The laws of Virginia
have provided a mode; Mr. Cooper is said
to have exercised his right solemnly and
exactly according to that mode, and to have
departed from the commonwealth; whereupon
the law declares that “he shall henceforth
be deemed no citizen”. Returning afterwards
he returns an alien, and must proceed
to make himself a citizen if he desires
it, as every other alien does. At present, he
can hold no lands, receive nor transmit any
inheritance, nor enjoy any other right peculiar
to a citizen. The General Government
has nothing to do with this question. Congress
may, by the Constitution, “establish
an uniform rule of naturalization”, that is,
by what rule an alien may become a citizen;
but they cannot take from a citizen his natural
right of divesting himself of the character
of a citizen by expatriation.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 458.
(W. June. 1806)