Who Belongs? American Citizenship. When the Founding Fathers declared independence from the British Empire, they were in essence saying we do not want to belong to you anymore. They sought to create a new country and a new government to oversee the 2.5 million people living in the 13 colonies. But half of those people were enslaved. Were they given citizenship in this new country? So who really belonged in this new country? Even nowadays we ask ourselves, who truly counts in the United States and who gets counted? We examine the very essence of how citizenship in American came to be back when the constitution was signed in 1787, who was eligible and who was excluded from its membership? What special privileges and protections did citizenship provide were as contentious and contested then as they are today. With the expertise of Your Kitchen Cabinet Members, Eric Foner, Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University, Kathy Masaoka, Co chair, Nikkei for Civil Rights & Redress, & Karen Ishizuka, Ph.D., Writer, Chief Curator, Japanese American National Museum.