Main Menu

An important article about natural born citizenship

In my early researches in preparation for creating Obama Conspiracy Theories, I came across a 2000 article by by John Yinger with the jawbreaker title of:

The Origins and Interpretation of the Presidential Eligibility Clause in the U.S. Constitution: Why Did the Founding Fathers Want the President To Be a “Natural Born Citizen” and What Does this Clause Mean for Foreign-Born Adoptees?

While foreign-born adoptees are not of interest to the Obama discussion, Dr. Yinger gives an extensive and balanced survey of the background of the “natural born citizen” clause in the Constitution. He goes into much more depth than any of the lawsuits floating around. He studied the debate records in the Constitutional Convention, he analyzes the John Jay letter, and surveys general notions of natural born citizenship.

This article is a must read for anyone seriously trying to tackle the historical record on “natural born citizen”.

,

50 Responses to An important article about natural born citizenship

  1. avatar
    Charles Bell September 19, 2009 at 10:25 pm #

    “This article is a must read for anyone seriously trying to tackle the historical record on ‘natural born citizen’.

    Absolutely!

    The term “natural born” citizen has a long history in British common law.(38) In fact, a law passed in 1677 law says that “natural born” citizens include people born overseas to British citizens. This usage was undoubtedly known to John Jay, who had children born overseas while he was serving as a diplomat.(39) It also appears to have been employed by the members of the first Congress, who included many of the people who had participated in the Constitutional Convention. To be specific, The Naturalization Act of 1790, which was passed by this Congress, declared “And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens; Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident of the United States.”(40)

    This says that though McCain was not born in the U.S. but born to two U.S. citizens stationed in a foreign land for miltary purposes, he is a natural-born citizen, but Obama, assuming he was born in the U.S., who was not born to two U.S. citizens is not.

    In summary, the delegates at the Constitutional Convention were deeply concerned about foreign influence on the national government, and in particular on the President.

    Yep! And that just might include Presidential paternal ties to a foreign government.

  2. avatar
    Greg September 19, 2009 at 10:36 pm #

    You never really got that whole “All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares” thing, did you? Natural born in English Common Law meant:

    Born in the realm

    OR

    Born of a British dad – anywhere.

  3. avatar
    Charles Bell September 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm #

    The argument goes to the intent of the framers of the Constitution in limiting the Presidency to “natural born” citizens, a term no where else used in the Constitution (and especially notably not in the 14th amendment). No one is arguing about whether Obama is a U.S. citizen but whether his father was, and that the framers’ intent was to bar any citizen whose father was not a U.S. citizen from being President.

    Your statement confirms the idea, which I accept, that Obama is, by virtue of his father’s birth, a natural-born citizen of some place other than the U.S.

  4. avatar
    Greg September 19, 2009 at 11:11 pm #

    Your statement confirms the idea, which I accept, that Obama is, by virtue of his father’s birth, a natural-born citizen of some place other than the U.S.

    Are you able to tie your own shoes, or do you have to wear Velcro because your mom got tired of doing to for you?

    For more than 700 years, the term “natural born” has meant born within the realm. According to that definition, Obama is a natural born citizen, regardless of the citizenship of his father. For about 450 years, the term “natural born” has ALSO meant born OUTSIDE the realm to a citizen.

    Your argument is that the Founders wanted to change the definition and make it mean ONLY the younger definition. And, here’s the problem with that:

    THEY DIDN’T TELL ANYONE THEY DID IT!

    You’ve got a new nation with 13 British colonies, all of which had it in their Constitution or Statutes that people born there were “natural born” subjects. You’ve got lawyers helping to write the new Constitution that have been trained in British Common Law and cited the key case explaining why birth within the realm means “natural born” and, in your theory, instead of choosing some term that hasn’t meant born in the realm for 700+ years (a British statute in 1368 confirmed that’s what it already meant!) the Founders, being morons, they use “natural born.”

    So, the Founders, having committed complete political malpractice by using a term in common usage, “natural born,” without telling anyone that they were fundamentally changing the meaning of that word, can’t have been that surprised when the legal professors – Kent, Tucker, Rawle – within a few years after they wrote the constitution were telling everyone that “natural born” still meant what it had meant since the 1300s – born in the realm, regardless of the citizenship of daddy!

  5. avatar
    Charles Bell September 19, 2009 at 11:20 pm #

    Starting a reply with an ad-hominem attack disqualifies anything else you might have to say, feeble and easy to dismiss as it is.

  6. avatar
    Greg September 19, 2009 at 11:33 pm #

    I suggest you request a refund from whoever taught you logic.

  7. avatar
    Charles Bell September 19, 2009 at 11:48 pm #

    Greg: I suggest you request a refund from whoever taught you logic.

    I should request a refund of taxes that have gone into your government-funded education whereby you have learned that ad hominem argument is logic.

  8. avatar
    Greg September 19, 2009 at 11:52 pm #

    Ad hominem: Your arguments are faulty because you’re stupid.

    Insult: You’re stupid.

    Don’t believe me? look it up:

    Person A makes claim X
    There is something objectionable about Person A
    Therefore claim X is false

    I insulted you because of your stupid argument. I didn’t argue that your argument was wrong because you are stupid!

    There’s a difference. Just like there’s a difference between saying:

    “People who meet condition X are Natural born citizens”

    AND

    “ONLY people who meet condition X are Natural Born Citizens.”

  9. avatar
    Charles Bell September 19, 2009 at 11:58 pm #

    Greg: Ad hominem: Your arguments are faulty because you’re stupid. Insult: You’re stupid.

    Yes, that is the essence of what you said.

  10. avatar
    Greg September 20, 2009 at 12:01 am #

    I said the latter, not the former.

  11. avatar
    Charles Bell September 20, 2009 at 12:31 am #

    Greg: I said the latter, not the former.

    A distinction without a difference.

  12. avatar
    Greg September 20, 2009 at 12:43 am #

    That’s why you should get a refund from your logic teacher.

    Let me do this slowly. Here’s a sample argument:

    Premise A. You’re an idiot
    Premise B. All boys eat cheese
    Premise C. John is a boy
    Conclusion: John eats cheese.

    Here’s a different argument:

    Premise A: All boys eat cheese
    Premise B: John is a boy
    Premise C: John’s an idiot
    Conclusion: John won’t eat cheese because he’s an idiot

    The first is an insult, the second is an ad hominem argument. It argues that because of the character of the person, an argument cannot be true.

    You, on the other hand, seem to believe that if someone insults you, nothing they say can be true (“Starting a reply with an ad-hominem attack disqualifies anything else you might have to say”). Let’s test:

    A. You’re terminally stupid
    B. 2+2 = 4.

    What do you think? Did A make B untrue? Did it disqualify it?

    I think, maybe, A is unrelated to B. That if I don’t make the insult into a required premise of my argument, then it has no impact on the truth value of what I say.

    In other words, if you want a friendly ear to listen to your birther arguments, which I’ve destroyed logically and completely, in these posts and elsewhere, buy a dog!

  13. avatar
    Charles Bell September 20, 2009 at 7:36 am #

    Greg: Let me do this slowly . . .

    Can’t help yourself, can you? Whether you wish to call it ad-hominem or hurling insults, it has the same meaning: you lose. None of you Obama supporters have a real case for your side, only insults.

  14. avatar
    Greg September 20, 2009 at 8:02 am #

    If I insult you, does that mean that the Founders DID write down somewhere that they wanted to change the meaning of natural born from the one the English-speaking world had been using since 1368?

    If I insult you, does that mean you can now find that source?

    If I insult you, does that create a citable source showing a founder speaking of someone who could be born here, become a citizen, and NOT be eligible for the Presidency?

    If I insult you, does that mean Wong Kim Ark was never decided? Or that it didn’t approvingly cite US v. Rhodes and Lynch v. Clarke saying people born here are natural born citizens?

    Does insulting you fill in the various and sundry holes in your side’s theory?

    If I continue to insult you, will your side’s court record improve? Currently you’re 0-38.

    Newton and Bernoulli insulted each other all the time. Does that mean you’ll float away – that gravity doesn’t work?

  15. avatar
    myson September 20, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    Grey [sic, Dr. C] wrote,

    Born in the realm

    OR

    Born of a British dad – anywhere.”

    So CB tell us how that disqualifies Obama ? Esp as he was born in the USA ?

  16. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 20, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    Charles Bell: Starting a reply with an ad-hominem attack disqualifies anything else you might have to say.

    I have a masters degree in mathematics and two formal classes in logic. I never ran across this rule. One might lose respect for someone who uses ad hominen argument, but it does not in and of itself invalidate the argument, so long as the rest is sound and doesn’t rely on the ad hominem for the conclusion.

  17. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 20, 2009 at 8:36 am #

    Charles Bell: And that [Convention delegates concern about foreign influence] just might include Presidential paternal ties to a foreign government.

    One has but to consider exactly who made up the population of the new United Stated to see that the remark is out of touch with reality.

  18. avatar
    Charles Bell September 20, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    The most you have been able to come up with is that you cannot rise up to the level of ad hominem argumentation.

    Your mother is a thieving, lying lesbian. The President resides at the Whitehouse.

    How you wish to defend yourself is to say that you cannot connect the various portions of your statements into a coherent argument by use of a “therefore”.

    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/adhomine.html

    Abusive: An Abusive Ad Hominem occurs when an attack on the character or other irrelevant personal qualities of the opposition—such as appearance—is offered as evidence against her position. Such attacks are often effective distractions (“red herrings”), because the opponent feels it necessary to defend herself, thus being distracted from the topic of the debate.

  19. avatar
    Charles Bell September 20, 2009 at 11:19 am #

    myson: Grey [sic, Dr. C] wrote,”Born in the realmORBorn of a British dad – anywhere.”So CB tell us how that disqualifies Obama ? Esp as he was born in the USA ?

    I pointed out that by Greg’s [sic, Dr. C] own words he says that by virtue of Obama, Sr.’s foreign nationality, Obama, Jr. is a natural-born citizen of a foreign country. If Obama, Jr. was born in Hawaii then only statutorily is he a citizen, but not natural-born, of the U.S. by virtue of his mother’s nationality and his place of birth.

  20. avatar
    Charles Bell September 20, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Charles Bell: And that [Convention delegates concern about foreign influence] just might include Presidential paternal ties to a foreign government.One has but to consider exactly who made up the population of the new United Stated to see that the remark is out of touch with reality.

    They excluded themselves from the restraint of Article II, section 1, paragraph 5 natural-born qualification by the “citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution” phrase, or, has been pointed out, included by the very defintion of natural born their children who mave have been born overseas (as in John Jay’s situation). The exception phrase proves there was a distinction to be made between “natural born citizen” (the Founders could have only been natural-born British citizens) and “citizen”.

  21. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 20, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    Charles Bell: If Obama, Jr. was born in Hawaii then only statutorily is he a citizen

    Right. Barack Obama is a citizen by the laws of the United States, the common Law of the United States and the Constitution of the United States.

    He might not be a citizen of the United States according to Swiss philosophy.

    And what do you mean “If Obama, Jr. was born in Hawaii”? Surely you aren’t suggesting that anyone in their right mind thinks otherwise are you?

    Finally, it is a logical fallacy to try to make someone’s words say what they obviously didn’t intend. A person is the best interpreter of their own words and intentions. “Gotcha” is not a valid argument form.

  22. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 20, 2009 at 11:34 am #

    Charles Bell: The most you have been able to come up with is that you cannot rise up to the level of ad hominem argumentation.

    When one’s opponent doesn’t respond to logic and evidence, at least one can vent their frustration through name calling.

  23. avatar
    ballantine September 20, 2009 at 12:38 pm #

    It is the general view that they were not excluding themselves, but those born oversees. See:

    ” It is not too much to say, that no one, but a native citizen, ought ordinarily to be intrusted with an office so vital to the safety and liberties of the people. But an exception was, from a deep sense of gratitude, made in favor of those distinguished men, who, though not natives, had, with such exalted patriotism, and such personal sacrifices, united their lives and fortunes with ours during the Revolution….” Joseph Story, A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, pg. 273 (1865)

    “The idea then arose that no number of years could properly prepare a foreigner for the office of president ; but as men of other lands had spilled their blood in the cause of the United States, and had assisted at every stage of the formation of their institutions, the committee of states who were charged with all unfinished business proposed, on the fourth of September, that ” no person except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the tune of the adoption of this constitution, should be eligible to the office of president.” George Bancroft, History of the formation of the Constitution of the United States of America pg 346 (1884)

    “The necessity of citizenship by birth, precludes this, by rendering it impossible for any foreigner ever to be a candidate. The exception as to those who were citizens at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, was justly due to those men who had united themselves with the fate of the new nation, and rendered eminent services in achieving its independence ; and is, necessarily, of limited continuance.” James Bayard, A brief exposition of the Constitution of the United States, pg. 96 (1833)

    “Why was this exception then made ? From gratitude to those distinguished foreigners who had taken part with us during the Revolution.” John Seely Hart, A Brief Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, pg. 71 (1860)

    “Or A Citizen Of The United States At the Time of the Adoption Of This Constitution-.”—The declaration of independence of 1776, invested all those persons with the privilege ‘ of citizenship who resided in the country at the time, and who adhered to the interests of the colonies. There can be few of the class of the foreign born, such as Alexander Hamilton, who are now surviving, who are eligible to the presidency. Considering the ages of all such, no person of foreign, birth can now ever be President of the United States under this Constitution. (See Story’s Const. § 1479; Journals of Convention, 267, 325, 361.) George Washington Paschal, THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES DEFINED AND CAREFULLY ANNOTATED pg. 168 (1868)

    “The exception in favor of such persons of foreign birth as were citizens of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, is now practically extinct. The distinguished patriots who had so faithfully served their adopted country during the revolutionary struggle, and out of respect and gratitude to whom this exception was introduced into the Constitution, have all passed away. No one, therefore, but a natural born citizen can now be elected to the office of President.” Henry Flanders, An Exposition of the Constitution of the United States pg. 170, 1885

    “The exception to the “natural born” qualification was the Convention’s way of paying an extraordinary compliment to Alexander Hamilton and James Wilson, two distinguished members of the Convention who were foreign born. Of course, any other foreign- born citizen having the other qualifications would have been eligible, but the clause was drawn in favor of the two statesmen here mentioned.” Edward Waterman Townsend, Our Constitution: Why and how it was Made – who Made It, and what it is pg 186 (1906)

  24. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 20, 2009 at 1:07 pm #

    You know, if I had made some remark like Mr. Bell’s and was literally drowned with counterexamples such as yours, I would really look to myself and ask how I could have been so certain–and so wrong. I would question the foundations of my position. We can only hope that Mr. Bell will undergo some self reassessment.

  25. avatar
    Charles Bell September 20, 2009 at 4:26 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: You know, if I had made some remark like Mr. Bell’s and was literally drowned with counterexamples such as yours, I would really look to myself and ask how I could have been so certain–and so wrong. I would question the foundations of my position. We can only hope that Mr. Bell will undergo some self reassessment.

    You cannot even see that those “counter examples” were confirmations of what I said. The only difference in being the suggested purpose of the exception clause to specifically include certain people like Hamilton who were born overseas (though still in a British colony) rather than as a general exception to all American colonists who could not logically have been born U.S. citizens before the Revolution.

    BTW. Why the deletion of all my prior messages including the first reply that has the most relevance to this “important document” ? — which, again, is a document that supports the position that Obama is not a natural born citizen rather than as you say, the reverse.

  26. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 20, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    Charles Bell: Why the deletion of all my prior messages including the first reply that has the most relevance to this “important document” ? — which, again, is a document that supports the position that Obama is not a natural born citizen rather than as you say, the reverse.

    There are 16 messages by you on the board. Nothing has been deleted.

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 20, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    Charles Bell: You cannot even see that those “counter examples” were confirmations of what I said.

    That is an assertion, not an argument. I realize your position is hopeless, but you could at least try.

  28. avatar
    nbc September 20, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    But Dr C, can’t you see that any reasonable observer would be able to interpret the counter examples only as supporting Charles Bell’s case… The alternative is just unthinkable. So your suggestion that Mr Bell requires an actual argument seems to be pushing reality a bit too harshly.

  29. avatar
    Charles Bell September 20, 2009 at 5:26 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Charles Bell: Why the deletion of all my prior messages including the first reply that has the most relevance to this “important document” ? — which, again, is a document that supports the position that Obama is not a natural born citizen rather than as you say, the reverse.There are 16 messages by you on the board. Nothing has been deleted.

    I meant specifically in this thread on “An Important Document” I count two before this one, and the first one quotes you from a message that is no longer here.

  30. avatar
    Charles Bell September 20, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Charles Bell: You cannot even see that those “counter examples” were confirmations of what I said.That is an assertion, not an argument. I realize your position is hopeless, but you could at least try.

    Well, short of an actual statement from that poster as to his intent, we both have to guess the intent. But quite literally, how can have even George Washington himself have been eligible when he was not born a citizen of the U.S.A., natural-born or otherwise? It was only a logical exception to include everybody then living, irrespective of any alleged motivations to include valiant foreigners in the fight for the Revolution — which, quite frankly, sounds like nonsense to me. Moveover, the letter of John Jay to George Washington said nothing of that.

  31. avatar
    ballantine September 20, 2009 at 7:51 pm #

    “Well, short of an actual statement from that poster as to his intent, we both have to guess the intent.”

    The point is I disagree that the founders excluded themselves and, while there is not overwelming authority, most legal authority that have addressed it agree. Even if they did, not sure how that helps the birther definitions. The debates from the convention make clear the founders born in America thought themselves natives and pointed out a few of them were not and would be excluded by a native-birth exception. Clearly, native and natural born were use interchangably in the early republic so it is reasonable that the founders thought so as well. In addition, the term “natural born citizen” was used in America even before the convention by Continental Congress and the states and they were clearly not refering to only person born after 1776. The states all adopted the common law after 1776 and under the common law only the natural born had the right to inherit or hold land. Therefor, the states from time to time during this period gave aliens the rights of the natural born. Thus, it appears that there were natural born citizens of the states prior to the constitution and these could only be native born americans in a world where native and natural born were conflated.

  32. avatar
    Charles Bell September 20, 2009 at 8:14 pm #

    ballantine: “Well, short of an actual statement from that poster as to his intent, we both have to guess the intent.” The point is I disagree that the founders excluded themselves and, while there is not overwelming authority, most legal authority that have addressed it agree . . .

    Well, if you suppose that the founders saw no reason to exclude Washington, and absolutely everyone else, from disqualification, then you have a weird point of view. Your citations of historians a century later seem to concoct some additional reason for the exception clause fairly untenably inasmuch as there were quite a few Prussians, including Baron von Steuben himself, that the English-Americans would have felt uncomfortable to have as President, especially as the first President. In any case this is somewhat beside the point as we have well passed the first generation of Americans only to which the exemption ever applied.

  33. avatar
    Greg September 20, 2009 at 10:02 pm #

    Charles Bell:
    BTW.Why the deletion of all my prior messages including the first reply that has the most relevance to this “important document” ? — which, again, is a document that supports the position that Obama is not a natural born citizen rather than as you say, the reverse.

    Did you try clicking the “Older Comments” link?

  34. avatar
    ballantine September 20, 2009 at 10:12 pm #

    I have cited multiple authorities including Justice Story, perhaps the most famous scholar of the early republic. Who have you cited? I forgot, birthers don’t cite authority they just make baseless assertions.

  35. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 21, 2009 at 12:06 am #

    OMG1, surely he’s not that dim!

    1 Object Management Group

  36. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny September 21, 2009 at 4:19 am #

    The alternative is just unthinkable. The unthinkable alternative of course being that US Grant, Chester Arthur, Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, Eisenhower and Obama were/are natural born citizens of the United States and never usurped the presidency. Good grief, what is next? Suggesting that Wong Kim Ark could have been US President too? Outrageous the thought, some China man as US president! Oh, wait a minute, was that not suggested in the DISSENT to Wong Kim Ark to prove that it was outrageous?

  37. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny September 21, 2009 at 5:29 am #

    You deliberately misinterpreted Greg’s phrase ” born of a British dad” on the wrong level. And forgot everything that prededed it. If you think levels of thinking are not important, just think of the phrase “Everything ever said by someone from Crete is a LIE.” – only remember that it was said by someone from Crete.

    To everybody: let us try to get this into perspective, which means getting naissancist logic onto the meta level (warning: this approach is not for dummies, and no Mr Bell, though you are not Alexander Graham, I am not prima facie excluding you):

    A = born in the USA
    B = both parents were US citizens
    X = natural-born citizen of the USA

    “Mc Cain IS most definitely a natural-born citizen” ->
    (-A)*B = X

    “Obama CANNOT be a natural-born citizen” ->
    A*(-B) = -X

    For both formulas to be logically connected, both X and -X must equal -(A*B). In other words, the value of X is zero. But if “natural-born citizen” has zero value, what have we been discussing since August 2008, and why cannot birfers leave Chester Arthur rest in peace?

    So, there is no logical way that the assertion “born abroad of two citizen parents means you are NBC” could logically imply the assertion “born in the USA of one citizen parent means you are NOT NBC”. To assert that there is a connection is a logical fallacy of the same order as “All apples consist of at least 90% water, therefore anything that is not an apple has less than 90% water”. Like the Pacific Ocean, for instance.

    On the other hand, taking X to be zero has some “merits”. Naissancism is a lot of hot air and naissanceurs’ grasp of legal logic does tend towards that number X. Although it could also be argued that it actually tends towards negative infinity.

  38. avatar
    Greg September 21, 2009 at 8:27 am #

    I pointed out that by Greg’s own words he says that by virtue of Obama, Sr.’s foreign nationality, Obama, Jr. is a natural-born citizen of a foreign country.

    And this is where I called you stupid. Because you misunderstood, or more likely, deliberately misrepresented my words. I was talking about US Law. There is no way that US Law can make someone a natural-born citizen of another country.

    Our law says you are a natural born citizen IF you are either:

    A. Born here – regardless of parents’ citizenship;

    OR

    B. Born abroad to citizen parents.

    By US Law, Obama is a natural born citizen, of the United States. If other countries consider him a natural born citizen can only be determined by looking at their laws. But, it doesn’t matter, because at no point in deciding whether someone is a natural born citizen of the United States does our law look at the decisions of other nations!

  39. avatar
    Charles Bell September 22, 2009 at 8:01 pm #

    Paul Pieniezny: Good grief, what is next? Suggesting that Wong Kim Ark could have been US President too?

    The Wong decision reinstated English common law and obliterated any sensible understanding of the 14th Amendment. It makes one wonder why any Englishman bothered showing up at the American Revolution.

  40. avatar
    Charles Bell September 22, 2009 at 8:09 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: OMG1, surely he’s not that dim!1 Object Management Group

    In keeping with your logic of insult before substantive statement one slithers backwards unimpeded. There is nothing obvious in seeing last posts first.

    Do I get an A for logic?

  41. avatar
    Greg September 22, 2009 at 8:11 pm #

    It didn’t reinstate English Common Law, since we’d been operating under that principle since before the Revolution, at least as far as white people were concerned.

    Other than Dred Scott and Elk, can you find a single case that found someone born here who didn’t become a citizen?

    Oh, and I love how you guys simultaneously claim that Wong didn’t give Presidential eligibility to Wong, but also want it overturned.

  42. avatar
    nBc September 22, 2009 at 8:12 pm #

    Why is it then that those who passed the 14th appear to confirm Wong Kim Ark’s findings? WKA did not reinstate English Common Law, that’s a fallacy, it looked at ECL to understand how the term ‘natural born’ should be interpreted.

    Geez…

  43. avatar
    Bob September 22, 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    It makes one wonder why any Englishman bothered showing up at the American Revolution.

    I recall the American Revolution was about something more substantial than the meaning of the phrase “natural born.”

  44. avatar
    Greg September 22, 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    obliterated any sensible understanding of the 14th Amendment.

    Let’s go to the tape, shall we? Senator Trumbull was the go to guy on the meaning of the 14th Amendment. When they had a question about how it would affect Indians, they turned to him. In the 42nd Congress, he said this about the mighty 14th:

    By the terms of the Constitution he must have been a citizen of the United States for nine years before he could take a seat here, and seven years before he could take a seat in the other House ; and, in order to be President of the United States, a person must be a native-born citizen. It is the common law of this country, and of all countries, and it was unnecessary to incorporate it in the Constitution, that a person is a citizen of the country in which he is born….I read from Paschal’s Annotated Constitution, note 274: “All persons born in the allegiance of the king are natural born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country as well as of England. There are two exceptions, and only two, to the universality of its application. The children of ambassadors are, in theory, born in the allegiance of the powers the ambassadors represent, and slaves, in legal contemplation, are property, and not persons.” Sen. Trumbull, Cong. Globe. 1st Session, 42nd Congress, pt. 1, pg. 575 (1872)

  45. avatar
    Greg September 22, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    And, when debating the 14th Amendment, Trumbull and Cowan got into it:

    Mr. TRUMBULL. I should like to inquire of my friend from Pennsylvania, if the children of Chinese now born in this country are not citizens?

    Mr. COWAN. I think not.

    Mr. TRUMBULL. I understand that under the naturalization laws the children who are born here of parents who have not been naturalized are citizens. That is the law, as I understand it, at the present time. Is not the child born in this country of German parents a citizen? I am afraid we have got very few citizens in some of the counties of good old Pennsylvania if the children born of German parents are not citizens.

    Mr. COWAN. The honorable Senator assumes that which is not fact. The children of German parents are citizens; but Germans are not Chinese; Germans are not Australians, nor Hottentots, nor anything of the kind. That is the fallacy of his argument.

    Mr. TRUMBULL. If the Senator from Pennsylvania will show me in the law any distinction made between the children of German parents and the children of Asiatic parents, I might be able to appreciate the point whch he makes; but the law makes no such distinction; and the child of an Asiatic is just as much a citizen as the child of a European.

  46. avatar
    Greg September 22, 2009 at 10:55 pm #

    And, here’s Senator Morrill of Maine talking about the Civil Rights Bill:

    Sir, he has forgotten the grand principle both of nature and nations, both of law and polities, that birth, gives citizenship of itself. This is the fundamental principle running through all modern polities both in this country and in Europe. Every-where, where the principles of law have been recognized at all, birth by its inherent energy and force gives citizenship. Therefore the founders of this Government made no provision—of course they made none—for the naturalization of natural-born citizens. The Constitution speaks of’ natural-born,’ and speaks of them as citizens in contradistinction from those who are alien to us. Therefore, sir, this amendment, although it is a grand enunciation, although it is a lofty and sublime declaration, has no force or efficiency as an enactment. I hail it and accept it simply as a declaration.

  47. avatar
    Charles Bell September 23, 2009 at 8:17 am #

    Bob: It makes one wonder why any Englishman bothered showing up at the American Revolution.I recall the American Revolution was about something more substantial than the meaning of the phrase “natural born.”

    It meant establishing new American law over English law, one of which was establishing the impossibility of dual citizenship through birth (jus soli but not jus sanguinis) possible under English common law and distinguishing those who would at reaching their majorty have to declare sole allegiance to the U.S.A. (native, but father of alien allegiance) and those who would never have to (natural born). Obama had to allow his Kenyan citizenship to lapse in 1984 when he was 23 in order to affirm sole U.S. citizenship, and he could not even be bothered to actively participate in the process but let Kenyan law do it for him two years after he reached majority. Obama had the option of being American, Kenyan or Indonesian whereas a natural born U.S. citizen cannot unless he renounces his U.S. citizenship.

  48. avatar
    Charles Bell September 23, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    Greg: And, here’s Senator Morrill of Maine talking about the Civil Rights Bill:Sir, he has forgotten the grand principle both of nature and nations, both of law and polities, that birth, gives citizenship of itself. This is the fundamental principle running through all modern polities both in this country and in Europe. Every-where, where the principles of law have been recognized at all, birth by its inherent energy and force gives citizenship. Therefore the founders of this Government made no provision—of course they made none—for the naturalization of natural-born citizens. The Constitution speaks of’ natural-born,’ and speaks of them as citizens in contradistinction from those who are alien to us. Therefore, sir, this amendment, although it is a grand enunciation, although it is a lofty and sublime declaration, has no force or efficiency as an enactment. I hail it and accept it simply as a declaration.

    This statement does not preclude the neccessity of a natural-born also having to be born of citizens, but rather forbids loyality oaths as a condition for citizenship for natural borns and excludes the possibilty of natural-borns being born abroad . . . and would that exclude the diplomatic corps and military overseas? Might be a problem for McCain in the unlikely even he ever ran for President again.

  49. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 23, 2009 at 8:33 am #

    Charles Bell: It meant establishing new American law over English law, one of which was establishing the impossibility of dual citizenship through birth (jus soli but not jus sanguinis) possible under English common law

    Your essential error here is to presume that there is any American law that contradicts the English law (which you have not produced). Others have shown here half a dozen US Presidents who had the option of being citizens of other countries. You are refuted.

  50. avatar
    Greg September 23, 2009 at 8:50 am #

    Nope:

    …that birth, gives citizenship of itself….

    …birth by its inherent energy and force gives citizenship…..

    Anyway, Morrill continues:

    The honorable Senator from Kentucky, when he criticises the methods of naturalization, and rules out, for want of power, four million people, forgets this general process of nations and of nature by which every man, by his birth, is entitled to citizenship, and that upon the general principle that he owes allegiance to the country of his birth, and that country owes him protection. That is the foundation, as I understand it, of all citizenship, and these are the essential elements of citizenship: allegiance on the one side, and protection on the other.

    That’s not Vattel he’s quoting, that’s Lord Coke from Calvin’s Case! Birth within the realm creates the allegiance required to be a natural born citizen. That’s ALL that’s required.

    Period. Full stop.

    There are only a few exceptions – children of a foreign king, ambassadors and invading armies.