2 Replies Latest reply on May 30, 2019 1:52 PM by Jonas Persson

    DoJ Files from Wilson's Presidency


      I am researching the history of non-citizen voting in the U.S. and came across a reference to Woodrow Wilson's attempts to stop alien voting by executive order. I believe the order was never issued as a DoJ analysis found it to be unconstitutional. John Higham gives the following reference in a footnote in Strangers in the Land: "see Justice File 72-100-4." Does anyone know how to locate the actual file -- either on- or offline?

        • Re: DoJ Files from Wilson's Presidency
          Jason Atkinson Ranger

          Dear Mr. Persson,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located a series titled Class 72 (Elections and Political Activity) Litigation Case Files and Enclosures, 1919 - 1980 in the General Records of the Department of Justice (Record Group 60) that includes File No. 72-100-4 (Box 33). This file contains a number of documents regarding Department of Justice replies to inquiries on the topic of voting by and representation of aliens, spanning the years 1918 through 1936. The documents within the file that are directly relevant to your inquiry are as follows: There is a letter dated May 22, 1922 from a private citizen proposing that President Wilson issue an executive order preventing voting by alien enemies in those states which allowed voting by aliens who had declared their intention to become citizens of the United States. There is a letter from President Woodrow Wilson to Attorney General Thomas W. Gregory dated June 1, 1918 requesting a legal opinion on the proposal. There is a memorandum to the Attorney General dated June 10, 1918 offering legal analysis of the proposal.  Finally, there is a carbon copy of a letter from Attorney General Gregory to President WIlson dated June 8, 1918 providing a response to the president’s inquiry.

          These records are in the custody of the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2). While portions of this record series are restricted, the contents of box 33 are available to the public without any access restrictions.  You or your representative may view this material in the research room at The National Archives at College ParkTo order copies of the documents or to ask further questions about them, please contact RDT2 via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.

          There may be additional records about his topic in the Woodrow Wilson Papers in the custody of the Library of Congress.


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