1887

oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - Race and nation. On ius sanguinis and the origins of a racist national perspective

Volume 24 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870

 

Abstract

Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, the ius soli was the default common standard to acquire citizenship in Europe. Its roots – which were ultimately developed by the Middle Ages’ glossators and commentators – were interconnected with the notion of sovereignty and had a working simplicity that avoided the generation of stateless people in various territories of the early modern European states. With the promulgation of the Code Napoléon1 this finally came to change with the introduction of the ius sanguinis as the main criterion to recognise nationality. Its imposition was against the whole of the Western legal tradition – one preserved in the Americas because of the independence processes the different colonies experienced from their earlier metropolis – the main scholarship that influenced the code and even the wishes of Napoleón. What made the codifying commission adopt such an unusual standard? We will try to establish that the emergence of the first essays on what came to be known as scientific racism – a dark science, which tends to explain national character in terms of genetic heritage – was at the very base of this development.

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/content/journal/10520/EJC-11e9409765
2018-11-01
2019-04-19

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