Here’s a natural born thought experiment. Consider two hypothetical persons, both born on January 1, 1799 in Charleston, South Carolina.
Ezekiel Crowe was born a slave and the son of slaves. Both he and his Charleston-born parents were owned by John Rutledge, a Framer of the Constitution of the United States. Young Crowe was raised listening to anecdotes about the great Mr. Rutledge. Mr. Crowe was freed from slavery by the proclamation of Abraham Lincoln in 1863 when he was 64 years old. He served in the reconstruction legislature in South Carolina, and received a law degree from the University of South Carolina.
Otto Shicklegruber was born the son of German immigrants who arrived from Germany in 1793 and had become naturalized US Citizens. Otto’s father died of yellow fever before Otto was born and his mother died in childbirth. Because both of his parents were dead, the newborn Shicklegruber was sent back to Germany to live with grandparents. In 1857 he returned to the United States and established residence in a German speaking community in Wisconsin (Shicklegruber did not speak any English), where he lived as a loan shark.
- Which of the two were natural born citizens of the United States on April 15, 1856? (Before the Dred Scott decision)
- Which of the two were natural born citizens of the United States on April 15, 1862? (After Dred Scott, but before the Emancipation Proclamation))
- Which of the two were natural born citizens of the United States on April 15, 1865? (After the Emancipation Proclamation, but before the 14th Amendment
- Which of the two were natural born citizens of the United States on April 15, 1870? (After the 14th Amendment)
- Which of the two were eligible to run against President Grant in 1872? (after Shicklegruber had lived in the US for 14 years)