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Constitutional Law

Legal History

2011

Southern Methodist University

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Extraordinary Mrs. Shipley: How The United States Controlled International Travel Before The Age Of Terrorism, Jeffrey Kahn Jan 2011

The Extraordinary Mrs. Shipley: How The United States Controlled International Travel Before The Age Of Terrorism, Jeffrey Kahn

Faculty Scholarship

Terrorist watchlists used to restrict travel into and out of the United States owe their conceptual origins to Mrs. Ruth B. Shipley, the Chief of the State Department’s Passport Division from 1928 to 1955. Mrs. Shipley was one of the most powerful people in the federal government for almost thirty years, but she is virtually unknown today. She had the unreviewable discretion to determine who could leave the United States, for how long, and under what conditions.

This article examines how Mrs. Shipley exercised her power through a detailed study of original documents obtained from the National Archives. It ...