Be Careful who you Marry

1920s Marriage

The path of romance is seldom smooth, but in 1920s America, it had more stumbling blocks than today. In 1919, 13.7% of the population were immigrants. Only 23% of the workforce were women. In spite of newly won voting rights, and other strides toward equality, a young woman was still expected to find a husband, settle down, have children, and manage a home. Though the University of North Carolina began admitting women and set aside housing for them, they were not accepted. Indeed, many women were uncomfortable with their newfound rights. Be Careful who you Marry
1920s flapper

If a woman decided to marry, and her groom was a foreign immigrant who had not achieved naturalized U. S. citizenship, she would lose her own citizenship as soon as she married. Prior to the end of WW1, this meant that she had to register as a foreign national, or even and enemy alien, if her husband was from one of the “enemy” countries.

In 1922, the Cable Act passed, allowing women to retain their citizenship regardless of their betrothed’s citizenship—so long as he met the requirements for potential U.S. citizenship, too.

A first date question might be – “Are you a U.S. citizen?”