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James Madison on Birth and Allegiance

James Madison

James Madison

James Madison of Virginia, framer of the Constitution, member of Congress and 4th President of the United States is often called “The Father of the Constitution”. The Federalist Papers, co-authored by Madison, was influential in turning the tide of popular opinion in favor of the ratification of the Constitution.

In a speech before the House of Representatives in May of 1789, Madison said:

It is an established maxim, that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth, however, derives its force sometimes from place, and sometimes from parentage; but, in general place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States.

Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856 From Gales and Seatons’ Annals of Congress; from Their Register of Debates; and from the Official Reported Debates, by John C. Rives By United States. Congress, Thomas Hart Benton

Thanks to contributor Ballantine for the citation.

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32 Responses to James Madison on Birth and Allegiance

  1. avatar
    myson May 16, 2009 at 3:18 am #

    I dont know how much proof is necessary to establish a fact but its just getting overwhelming, if only the birther had good lawyers fighting there cases finding the truth would be so much easier for them & they can fix their gaze on another angle of opposition (however i do respect Leo Don who acknowledges that his position is not controlling law but would like it to be rather than assuming they have a real case). Interestingly this was settled immediately the 14th amendment was ratified & needs no further arguments.

  2. avatar
    SvenMagnussen May 16, 2009 at 7:11 am #

    The Judicial Branch is obsolete. In a question of juris prudence we can always look to the Legislative and Executive Branch for an answer.

    My prediction: Janet Napolatino will be name the next Supreme Court Justice. As a politician, she’s the only one who can walk the minefield put in place by the usurper and withdraw with little or no damage to her reputation.

  3. avatar
    richCares May 16, 2009 at 11:59 am #

    wow, you should write for World Net Daily.

  4. avatar
    NBC May 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    Seems that the nObama position is becoming more and more untenable given judicial and legislative history in which the mere fact of being born on US soil is sufficient to establish one to be natural born.

    All that remains are the many flawed lawsuits which attempt to establish standing etc where none exists. Or worse which fail from the moment they were filed because they were not filed under seal.
    One should not blame others for this level of incompetence.

    The Judicial branch also has been clear on this issue: Born in the US means natural born (Wong Kim Ark).

    So now we have history, legislative and judicial, all confirming the obvious.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 16, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    Truth will out.

  6. avatar
    NBC May 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm #

    But will TRUTH?
    PS: Have you noticed Orly’s latest attempt to get the Supreme Court to get involved? Must be amateur week?

  7. avatar
    Mary Brown May 16, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    Now we have someone declaring the judicial branch obsolete. Ignorance is inborn and tolerated. Stupidity is learned and is not.

  8. avatar
    kimba May 16, 2009 at 2:41 pm #

    It doesn’t matter how much evidence is presented, the hard core will never let this go. They thought they had a sure-fire way to get rid of Obama. And no one will ever convince them he’s eligible. Like the folks that think the Apollo moon walks were filmed on sound stage in Hollywood.

  9. avatar
    NBC May 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    Yes, listening to MommaE and guests, as well as others who want to remove an elected President, it is clear that this is all about Obama’s perceived policies and political leanings.
    Funny to see how desperate they are and how powerless they perceive themselves to be to change policy through elections.

  10. avatar
    Catbit May 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    How funny. Hollywood! Everyone KNOWS the moon landings were filmed on a secret backlot in Nevada!

  11. avatar
    kimba May 16, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    Hey, that was “Capricorn One”! James Brolin, OJ and Sam Waterston! ( oh, maybe that wasn’t fiction?)

  12. avatar
    Hitandrun May 16, 2009 at 4:02 pm #

    In case anyone missed it, here’s Mr Farah’s latest at WND:

    http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.printable&pageId=98212

    Enjoy!
    Hitandrun

  13. avatar
    NBC May 16, 2009 at 4:13 pm #

    Excellent example as to why people object to President Obama. Eligibility seems to me at best secondary a concern.
    After all, why would they continue to ignore that President Obama’s COLB shows him born in Honolulu?

  14. avatar
    richCares May 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm #

    sorry, don’t enjoy bull pupu!

  15. avatar
    SvenMagnussen May 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    What COLB? All I’ve seen is an electronic image of document that explicitly states any alterations to the document invalidate it. And Obama has the document identification number blocked out. I’m not surprised the worshippers aren’t concerned about then alterations.

    You have to ask yourself, why doesn’t a Constitution Law professor want to present evidence to the Supreme Court and have the Court determine the exact definition of what a Natural Born Citizen is? It could be his most notable achievement and he passes.

  16. avatar
    Kevin Bellas May 16, 2009 at 8:04 pm #

    The problem with your statement is that the COLB I got from the state of IL is identical to the one that Obama posted.

    I did asked about the long form that I last saw 30 years ago, but was told that most states were not giving that version out without a long wait, besides the one that I was just given was legal in the eyes of the law.

    By the way I used mine to gain employment with the Federal Reserve before 9/11 and after 9/11 to obtain a U.S. Passport.

    It totally makes no sense to post a fake COLB that can easily be investigated by any cub reporter and believe me any reporter would be on easy street if they broke the news that Obama’s COLB was fake.

  17. avatar
    richCares May 16, 2009 at 8:08 pm #

    “I’m not surprised the worshippers aren’t concerned about then alterations”

    nice comment, a photo copy of my drivers license is torn badly, does that make my license questionable? Does that mean my license has been altered? Where did you get your poibts from, WND? How brilliant is your deductions!

  18. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 16, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    While several law professors have taken on the issue of John McCain’s eligibility (on both sides), and none have written about Obama, I would presume that there is no issue. Indeed if you read some of the McCain papers, there are statements that are conclusive that someone like Barack Obama is eligible. Certainly all of the reading I’ve done, including this little bit from James Madison, make it abundantly clear that the natural born citizenship deniers don’t have a leg to stand on.

  19. avatar
    NBC May 16, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    What COLB? All I’ve seen is an electronic image of document that explicitly states any alterations to the document invalidate it. And Obama has the document identification number blocked out. I’m not surprised the worshippers aren’t concerned about then alterations.

    Other pictures exist which show the same document with no data blocked out. Of course, the blocking out of data on a scan hardly invalidates the original document.

    You have to ask yourself, why doesn’t a Constitution Law professor want to present evidence to the Supreme Court and have the Court determine the exact definition of what a Natural Born Citizen is? It could be his most notable achievement and he passes.

    Why would he go through the trouble when the facts speak for themselves?
    Grasping at straws once again I notice. Must be frustrating to be on the opposite side of the facts eh?

  20. avatar
    Gordon May 16, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    I too am from Illinois, and have used the same Colb as Obama to join the Army and get a passport. I haven’t seen my long form since I was 17 years old and can’t get another one.

  21. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 16, 2009 at 10:33 pm #

    That’s pretty mild stuff for WorldNetDaily:

    It might take 20 years to get to the bottom of this mystery. But, eventually, the American people will find out whether he is indeed a “natural born citizen,” as required by the Constitution.

    I wonder if that is true. First for some, the true conspiracy theorists, there is no getting to the bottom of the mystery. The evidence will be denied that any court that ruled would be declared “wusses”. Everyone in official capacities is rapt with fear. Just a few months Conservative politicians were the only game in town, they were powerful and confident; just a glance from President Obama, so the nObamas say, was enough to turn them in to cringing sycophants. The nObamas have thrown their own leadership under the bus. They judge everything, whether it be a person’s character or the evidence, solely on how it fits their theory.

    Second, any determination of natural born citizen by the Supreme Court is not retroactive; it wouldn’t make Obama retroactively ineligible. What the court would do is not to make a “discovery” but write a decision, making new common law (not that the Supreme Court would conceivably say someone like Obama was ineligible).

    It may be the case that the Hawaiian long form birth certificate for Obama is published (whatever that means). But anyone who would be convinced by the evidence went home last June (2008).

    So I must disagree with Mr. Farah. As far as the doubters are concerned, the question will never be settled, not in 20 years, not in 200 years. For the rest of us, there was never any mystery in the first place.

  22. avatar
    Gordon May 16, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

    Any entity that is not holding for the birthers claims is now corrupt. This is the hallmark of conspiracy theorist, which this whole thing must evolve to, otherwise how does one explain the madness.

  23. avatar
    dunstvangeet May 18, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    The difference is that McCain, if elected, would be a first: Someone born outside a state, or territory that later became a state.

    Judging from precedents (people who have served as President and Vice President), we can learn the following:

    1. Anybody born inside a U.S. State is elidgable to be President.

    2. Anybody born inside a U.S. Territory that later became a state is eligible to be President. This can be confirmed by looking at the Life of Charles Curtis, who was born inside the territory of Kansas, about a year before it became a state.

    3. Anybody born inside the District of Columbia is eligible to be President. This can be confirmed by looking at Al Gore, who was born inside the District of Columbia.

    4. Any further restrictions on “Natural-Born Citizen” other than birthplace has no meaning. For instance, Birthers try to state that he’d be ineligible because of dual citizenship should take a look at the case of Chester A. Arthur, who’s father was actually a Canadian Citizen when he was born in Vermont, and not a U.S. Citizen.

    Any further information cannot be given by my analysis. Out of the 76 Presidents and Vice Presidents, those were the only two who were born outside the traditional definition of state.

    At the very least, Natural-Born Citizen means anybody born within a U.S. State, which Obama has shown to fit under.

  24. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 18, 2009 at 6:06 am #

    Detail correction: Arthur’s father was Irish.

  25. avatar
    MegaMan June 3, 2009 at 12:16 pm #

    Makes you wonder who is really President and his real motivations? What else is he hiding?

  26. avatar
    NBC June 3, 2009 at 12:33 pm #

    Makes you wonder who is really President and his real motivations? What else is he hiding?

    Ah the smell of unfounded paranoia in the morning… Love it…

  27. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 3, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    What are you hiding? You’ve been very selective about what you’ve disclosed. Where is YOUR birth certificate? Do you work for the Russians?

  28. avatar
    Hitandrun June 3, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    No need to worry. The Ministry of Truth is hard at work:

    http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=99933

    Hitandrun

  29. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy June 3, 2009 at 2:30 pm #

    Looks like they are dealing with off-topic comments for benefit of those who want to actually discuss the topic. Birthers were abusing the site by putting president eligibility nonsense in a topic dedicated to “promote efficiency and effectiveness by making government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative?” The word “troll” comes to mind.

  30. avatar
    NBC June 3, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    Just a clean up of trolls

  31. avatar
    fred jones July 19, 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    In general, yes. But in the specific case of natural-born citizenship; no. Birthright citizenship is different than natural-born citizenship. Vattel, who Madison relied on heavily throughout his life, made this distinction. A nation-state has a right to grant jus soli citizenship, as did Virginia and Britain at the time at the time the Constitution was adopted. But jus soli citizenship is not the same as natural-born citizenship. It is a form of naturalization at birth. You can fairly say that Madison favored birthright citizenship as a rule, and that is true; but it is beside the point of natural-born citizenship.

    Hope this helps.

  32. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 19, 2009 at 10:39 pm #

    I’m sorry, where exactly does Madison make this distinction between “Birthright citizenship” and “natural-born citizenship”? I read your comment a couple of times, and I don’t see would would seen to be an essential citation to support your claim.