Following the character assassination of Chester A. Arthur, I wonder now if the Secret Service should not be alerted of potential attacks on dead Vice Presidents. Given the fly-speck analysis of the term “natural born citizen,” who is next?
Recall that the latest fad on natural born citizenship (not to be confused with the Constitution) requires the President be born in one of the United States and that both parents be United States citizens (“meat and two” in diner lingo). We have the embarrassment to this position of Chester A. Arthur whose father was a British citizen when Arthur was born.
But wait! Since 1804 and the adoption of the twelfth amendment, the Vice President must meet the same qualifications as the President. What about our Vice Presidents since 1804?
Vice Presidents are often little-known individuals with scant online biographical information. One Vice President offers us an interesting preview of what may be to come and that is Charles Curtis.
Curtis once described himself as “one-eighth Indian and 100% Republican”. He was born January 25, 1860 in North Topeka Kansas on the Kaw reservation. Does that strike you as odd? Kansas didn’t become a state until 1861. Curtis was not born in the United States! Oh dear. How about those two United States citizen parents? The Supreme Court in 1884 in the case of Elk v. Wilkins said that not only were Indians not citizens, but could not become citizens even if they renounced their tribal allegiance. American Indians were not made citizens generally until 1924 unless made citizens by treaty earlier. Indeed, it was Curtis himself when in the Senate who helped pass the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 that made Indians citizens.
I think this is just the tip of the iceberg starting perhaps with the first Vice President after 1804, John C. Calhoun. Was Calhoun’s immigrant father a citizen? That is a very difficult question since the South Carolina Constitution had no definition of who its citizens were at the time. I think Calhoun will come out OK in the end, but there’s a long list of “unknowns” to look at who might not.
For all of your conspiracy theorists, why did FreeRepublic.com pull the thread on their web site about the natural born citizenship of vice presidents? Hmmm?