• ‘Sign’ing the Nation’s Contract: Constructing the Walls of American Citizenship

      Drzewiecki, Margaret (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2017-08)
      This paper investigates the way language constructs and reinforces national identity. In other words, I am examining how the role of the “citizen” is defined within the confines of language. Using a primarily sociolinguistic lens, my thesis analyzes the language used in political speeches and legal documents (including U.S. legislation; judicial opinions of Associate Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson; and speeches of former Lieutenant Governor of New York Stanley N. Lundine). In doing so, I explain how the American “citizen” has been constructed through language utilized in various formats and contexts. Overall, my thesis is a reflection on what it has meant and currently means to be “American” alongside an examination of how citizenship status is attained.