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1789 document on citizenship

David Ramsay

David Ramsay

Mario Apuzzo has filed a document from 1789 by a South Carolina physician and member of the Continental Congress, David Ramsay, with his appeal in Kerchner v. Obama. Ramsay’s most important contribution is generally seen as his role as a historian of South Carolina and of the American Revolution. Almost certainly  Apuzzo filed the document for its publicity value since the appeals court will never consider it (it’s not relevant to the appeal).

The dissertation, Manner of Acquiring the Character and Privileges of a Citizen of the United States, was not a work of history but a political broadside written by Ramsay as part of a campaign to prevent the seating of his congressional opponent William Smith, whom Ramsay considered ineligible. Ramsay’s petition to Congress to unseat Smith was rejected 36-1, and even though he lost Ramsay kept beating his dead horse.

William Smith was born in Carolina before the Revolutionary War. He was orphaned age 11 and was studying abroad in Geneva when he came of age during the revolt against Britain.

While not central to the understanding of the Dissertation, one must have at least an awareness of the issue of slavery. Ramsay establishes this early on when he says: “Negroes are inhabitants but not citizens.” He wrote elsewhere: “…those who have grown up in the habits of slavery are incapable of enjoying the blessings of freedom.”

The immediate context is a political campaign for Congress. The Dissertation is a political pamphlet written to influence the congressional decision whether or not to seat Ramsay’s political opponent Smith.  Ramsay is keen to deny the citizenship rights based on parentage to anyone whose parent was not a citizen of the United States or of someone who lived in the American colonies but died before they declared their intentions to side with the British or the Americans during the war. He says “citizenship is the inheritance of the children of those who have taken part in the late revolution; but this is confined exclusively to the children of those who were themselves citizens.” [Emphasis added.] Apuzzo would have us this apply this statement broadly, rather than just to those who are claiming citizenship by inheritance. However, the section title of this area of the dissertation is “birth or inheritance.” In the narrative, Ramsay only talks about citizenship by inheritance, repeating that word twice more covering the entire section. He left the topic of citizenship by birth tacit, although it did talk about this in another publication (see below).

The one sentence that I found that is most friendly to Apuzzo’s thesis is this: “The citizenship of no man could be previous to the Declaration of Independence, and, as a natural right belongs to none but those who have been born of citizens since the 4th of July, 1776″. [Emphasis added.] Ramsay may have used “natural right” as equivalent to inheritance, and his intention may or may not be related to the usage in the Constitution’s “natural born citizen” clause. However, there is no support for the de Vattel definition of “indegenes” because nowhere does Ramsay say that a citizen by natural right has to be born in the country. In all fairness, Ramsay may be seen to say that a person born in Kenya to one US citizen parent is eligible to be president of the US if he were educated in the United States and chose to live as an American at age 21.

One would certainly want to investigate the Smith / Ramsay controversy further and in particular the Congressional debate over the seating of Smith.

It is further interesting that contemporary newspaper coverage (Charleston City Gazette, November 22) to the challenge pointed out that it was not private citizens, nor the courts, who would decide the eligibility question, but Congress who according to the Constitution judged the qualifications of its own members (just as it determines the eligibility of US Presidents.) However, that same newspaper editorial (it appears by Ramsay) said (Mario, you owe me one): “the circumstance of birth in the country by no means make a citizen.” However, the statement did not mean to imply that parentage was the requisite addition, but rather “some positive act”. Ramsay seemed to consider citizenship something to be affirmed when someone becomes of age.

In his own defense (you can’t make this up!) William Smith quotes Emerich de Vattel:

The Doctor [Ramsay] says the circumstances of birth do not make a citizen–This I also deny. Vattel says: “The country of the father is that of the children and these become citizens by their tacit consent.” I was born a Carolinian [before the Declaration], and I defy the Doctor to say at what moment I was disenfranchised. The revolution which took place in America made me a citizen, though then resident at Geneva…. There was never a moment when I was a citizen of any other country.

Perhaps  Obama denialists are channeling an early American letter writer who said: “Let Mr. Smith show, to the satisfaction of the public that he was a citizen, previous to his return here, and his work is done — he will not lose a single vote.”

And check out this anti-Smith letter to the Charleston paper by the anonymous Epaminondas:

…For that he [Smith] is a citizen now we may well admit, altho it may be denied by that principle of the British constitution, which says, “that the natural born subject of one prince cannot by swearing allegiance to another prince put off or discharge him from that natural allegiance, and that it cannot be deserted without the concurrent act of that prince to whom it was first due.” But now being an independent nation we make no appeals to the British constitution, but to the general law of nations [lower case] which should decide this point, should his allegiance ever be claimed by the Crown of Great Britain,…

[Doc recovers from coughing fit. Steady Doc. Breathe slowly; keep reading]

…what then do these laws say? They say, “that the first founders or states, and all those who afterwards became members thereof, are supposed to have stipulated, that their children and descendants should at their first coming into the world have the right or enjoying those advantages which are common to all the members or the state; provided nevertheless, that those descendants, when they attain to the use or reason, be on their part willing to submit to the government and to acknowledge the authority or the sovereign: but the stipulation of the parents cannot in its own nature have the force or subjecting the children against their will to an authority to which they would not themselves choose to submit. Hence the authority or the sovereign over the children or the members of the state, and the right on the other hand which these children have to the protection or the sovereign and to the advantages of the government, are founded on mutual consent. Nor if the children or members or the state upon attaining to the years of discretion are willing to live in the place or their parentage, or in their native country, they are by this very act supposed to submit themselves to the power that governs the state.” From this account or the matter, I think, two corollaries may be drawn: 1st. That no person does or can by birth become the absolute subject or any state; there is indeed an obligation on the sovereign or that state where he is born, to admit him as a subject, should such be his election, when he arrives at the age of discretion, but no obligation on his part so to elect. 2d. That a voluntary residence in the country where one is born, after he arrives to
years of discretion: (and a fortiori to years or maturity) completes his part of the contract, and establishes his civil connection with that state. This cannot be destroyed but by some overt act of a higher and stronger nature, either on the part of the sovereign, or on his own part. In the one case it may be a withdrawing or common protection, or a banishment or his person: in the other case a voluntary removal from that state, and the swearing of allegiance to and settling of himself in another. when either of these take place the connection is dissolved. If the first of these inferences be not true, then it remains that the honorable gentleman now offering as a candidate inherited an unqualified allegiance to the Crown of England from his father who died a British Subject.

This argument basically concludes that Smith, whose father always was a British subject, could not claim citizenship in the United States until he set foot in the United States after his age of majority and affirmed his citizenship. And that this affirmation was not 7 years before his election to Congress, but 5.

Ramsay was shot at Charleston, SC,  on May 6, 1815 by a lunatic and died 2 days later. Smith served 2 years in Congress.

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29 Responses to 1789 document on citizenship

  1. avatar
    Whatever4 April 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    Ramsay was killed at Charleston, SC, on May 8, 1815 by a lunatic.

    And ironically, is being resurrected by another lunatic.

  2. avatar
    Mary Brown April 2, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    Is this what he wants considered? Is this the best he can produce? Poor man.

  3. avatar
    Rickey April 2, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    It figures that losing attorney Mario would cite a losing petitioner.

    Perhaps Mario is planning to open a Constitutional law practice in which he will argue cases by citing only dissenting opinions.

  4. avatar
    Mike April 2, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    Mario isn’t known for choosing winning strategies.

  5. avatar
    Benji Franklin April 2, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    Dear Rickey,

    Mario’s citations from dissenting opinions and losing petitioners would be embarrassingly beneath a competent attorney, but they are easily understood as the only “bullets” of a cowardly Presidential “assassin”. He’s Lee Harvey Oswald without the rifle or the courage.

    Benji Franklin

  6. avatar
    Texlaw April 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    Please note that Apuzzo gives no reason in his “letter brief” for filing this offal late. Typically, one might do this with new case law, but a competent attorney would file it as a supplemental brief, asking for leave to file it. Apuzzo did neither.

    Of course, this all is meant to confuse the birfers. The Third Circuit knows there is but one issue on appeal: standing. Apuzzo once again fails to address it.

    What a loser.

  7. avatar
    Ballantine April 3, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    The same paper had a pro-Smith editorial a few days later:

    “Observations upon that clause – A Natural Born citizen here clearly means a person born in the American colonies, while they were under the British government.” City Gazette, South Carolina, November 24, 1788.

  8. avatar
    nBC April 3, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    Mario may still not comprehend that the issue is not eligibility but rather the lack of standing of his client.

    Sigh… And the same issue will be in front of the Supreme Court when they deny cert. The eligibility issue will not be discussed by any of these appeal’s courts

  9. avatar
    DickWhitman April 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    This argument basically concludes that Smith, whose father always was a British subject, could not claim citizenship in the United States until he set foot in the United States after his age of majority and affirmed his citizenship. And that this affirmation was not 7 years before his election to Congress, but 5.

    And affirmation must be made before a sworn Federal officer representing the Executive Branch. As the Commander in Chief, loyalty is of most concern by the President of the United States; as opposed to the Legislative or Judicial Branch.

  10. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 4, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Dick/Sven: And affirmation must be made before a sworn Federal officer representing the Executive Branch.

    No Sven. Under the Judicial Naturalization Ceremonies Amendments of Pub.L. 102-232, effective January 11, 1992, federal courts may conduct the oath-taking ceremonies.

    http://www.uscourts.gov/ttb/2008-05/article01.cfm

  11. avatar
    bearclaw April 7, 2010 at 6:23 pm #

    The debates of the early Congresses were written down, and are available online through the Library of Congress. Thus, we know that James Madison voted against Ramsay and for Smith, and that in doing so, he noted that in the United States, “allegiance” by birth is determined by place of birth rather than by parentage. In other words, he rejects the “de Vattel” formulation. The debate on Ramsay vs. Smith is at pages 412 to 425:

    http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llac&fileName=001/llac001.db&recNum=51

  12. avatar
    E. Glenn Harcsar April 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm #

    Thank you for the link.

    As I read the pages you suggest I note that the issue here concerns the Constitutional Requirements for Smith to be seated as a Congressman.

    Can Smith’s “seven years a citizen” be counted from birth to age twelve, before he was sent abroad for an education, returning only years later after the beginning, and end of the Revolutionary War? ( and some years additional in fact.)

    When Madison argues in favor of Smith to be seated in Congress stating that citizenship depends sometimes by birthplace and sometimes by parentage (with a primacy on birthplace), I don’t hear the rejection of de Vattel’s formulation for a Natural Born Citizen. I hear him tying up loose ends for a Congressman within the framework.

    Now had Madison stated in this record that “Natural born citizenship depends sometimes on…” WOW. That would make the issue of standing unnecessary.

    This find ( as good and as scholarly as it gets) doesn’t tie up the loose ends surrounding Mr Obama’s birthplace and parentage.

    It’s not about citizenship; it’s about natural born citizenship. And the very fact that this extra threshold was placed as a requirement on the presidency reinforces the primacy of birthplace and parentage as a test of loyalty and proof of allegiance.

  13. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 10, 2010 at 10:24 pm #

    E. Glenn Harcsar: It’s not about citizenship; it’s about natural born citizenship….

    I wouldn’t say that this debate in Congress clinches the argument, but it does diminish the value of Ramsay’s pamphlet, which Attorney Apuzzo was relying on to prove the opposite. Not even de Vattel requires two citizen parents for his “indegenes” (whether you translated it indigenous or “natural born citizen”)” nor does any authority contemporary with the Constitution. The Ramsay / Smith dispute arose because South Carolina did not define citizenship in its Constitution. However, it did enshrine British Common law in its 1776 document, that most certainly and most clearly does say that natural born citizens are determined by place of birth, not parentage. To clinch the argument, I would cite United States v. Wong (as did the Appeals court in Ankeny v. Daniels among others.)

  14. avatar
    SFJeff April 10, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    “This find ( as good and as scholarly as it gets) doesn’t tie up the loose ends surrounding Mr Obama’s birthplace and parentage.”

    What loose ends?

  15. avatar
    Rickey April 10, 2010 at 10:29 pm #

    E. Glenn Harcsar says:

    When Madison argues in favor of Smith to be seated in Congress stating that citizenship depends sometimes by birthplace and sometimes by parentage (with a primacy on birthplace)

    Madison is much more definitive than you would have us believe. To reach your conclusion, you have to take what Madison says completely out of context. Here is what he actually says:

    It is an established maxim, that birth is a criterion of allegiance. Birth, however, derives 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; it will, therefore, be unnecessary to investigate any other.

    Did you read that part? Madison says that place of birth is the most important criterion and that place of birth is what applies in the United States. If someone is born in the United States, it is unnecessary to investigate any other criterion for citizenship. It is not mere “primacy;” it completely eliminates the need to look at anything else. Madison could hardly be more clear on that point.

  16. avatar
    Dick Whitman April 11, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    Dick/Sven: And affirmation must be made before a sworn Federal officer representing the Executive Branch.No Sven. Under the Judicial Naturalization Ceremonies Amendments of Pub.L. 102-232, effective January 11, 1992, federal courts may conduct the oath-taking ceremonies.http://www.uscourts.gov/ttb/2008-05/article01.cfm

    From your link …

    The federal courts and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) share authority to naturalize new citizens. Under the Immigration Act of 1990, aliens file their applications for citizenship with the USCIS, and upon approval of citizenship, may have the oath of citizenship administered by either the USCIS or in a federal court. Under the Judicial Naturalization Ceremonies Amendments of Pub.L. 102-232, effective January 11, 1992, federal courts electing to conduct oath-taking ceremonies have exclusive authority to administer the oath of allegiance for a period of 45 days.

    At best, BHO II rescinded his renunciation of US Citizenship in 1971-72.

    His SS-5, Application for Social Security Number, will clearly indicate whether he was filing as a US Citizen or a legal alien in 1976 without reveling any personal information regarding his BC.

  17. avatar
    BlackLion April 11, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    But since he did not renounce his US citizenship, that issue is a moot point. Not once have you ever proved that this occured. Even orly and the other birthers know that going down the path that somehow a 6-10 year old renounced his US citizenship is a stupid theory. And no matter how many times you push it, it won’t change the facts. As a US citizen born in the US, he would not need to file as an alien. So when he finally needed a SS# when he went to college, all he needed to do is bring his BC to the SS office and he would be issued his number. Simple quite really. But you would rather us believe that somehow he renounced as a child, so fantasy corporation found him a SS#, and he lost his US citizenship. Even people who are mentally challenged would have a difficult time believeing that load of crap.

  18. avatar
    E. Glenn Harcsar April 11, 2010 at 12:15 pm #

    Hi, thank you for reading and responding to my thoughts. I have some additional thoughts for each who has responded, but in the end a general question that blocks out my fundamental position.

    Rickey: Yes, I did read all of “that part”
    ( I thought the word “primacy” nicely and fairly paraphrased Madison.) I’ll add that I agree with Madison: in the case of Ramsey /Smith, place of birth eliminates the need to look for anything else. Smith meets the criteria to represent his state in Congress. I’m taking it as your position that Madison would equally have had him serve as President.

    SF Jeff: I’m wary of being baited as a “birther.” So I’ll keep this neat. Mr Obama claims his father is the Kenyan Barrack Obama Sr, a British subject at the time of his birth in 1961. This claim of his makes it impossible to meet the criteria of President. (more on this in the final question.)

    Dr. C. Ultimately, I’m more impressed with CMR Kerchner’s claim on standing to gain discovery and oral arguement than Appuzzo’s piling of briefs. You are right to state the term natural born Citizen has been put before us by the founders to define. I think you and I would just keep hitting this back and forth. So let me just get to the nut of it.

    In your view, why did the founders determine that the president must simply not just be a Citizen, as in the case of a Rep or Senator, but a natural born Citizen?

    In my view, it flows in the same line that a Representative have acquired a certain age, length of residency and number of years as citizen; that a Senator reach a greater number of years in all categories; and that the President be required the greatest. Each demands a greater criterion of allegiance to hold a greater position of power.

    By my extension of reason “natural born Citizenship” must mean something other than Citizen. In my view it is an intentfully created category that imposes place and parentage as a restrictive criterion of allegiance.

  19. avatar
    G April 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Dear E. Glenn,

    While I understand the path of your reasoning as you try to personally interpret the intent of the founders, it simply doesn’t have backing in how the law has worked and has been applied, particularly here in 21st Century America.

    Yes, by definition you are a “birther”, whether you recoil from that term or not.

    You’ve clearly stated your position, which is one of the standard “birther” positions (and I appreciate you being direct and to the point): “Mr Obama claims his father is the Kenyan Barrack Obama Sr, a British subject at the time of his birth in 1961. This claim of his makes it impossible to meet the criteria of President.”

    It simply comes down to this – nothing in our citizenship laws, particularly law in place during Obama’s entire lifetime, supports this “two citizen parent” theory.

    No actual people who deal with these issues support this theory – either at any level in government, administration, or any ACTUAL Constitutional Law experts (lawyers or academics).

    Obama’s background, particularly in terms of his father was well known, even long before he ran.

    He published 2 books about his life, was involved in one of the longest and most well documented presidential campaigns in history, fighting intense campaign opponents at both the primary and general election level. He was elected by a substantial margin and clear majority – both popular vote and the all important electoral college. He was sworn in cleanly and without any dissent by those involved in the process.

    Not a single person with the knowledge, responsibility or authority in such matters had any issue or objection at any step of the way. He has been serving as POTUS for over a year and a half now.

    That should clue you in that there is no “two citizen parent” requirement. Only “birthers” can’t see the obvious in front of their face and try desperately to look for excuses to pretend that reality is other than it is.

  20. avatar
    Dick Whitman April 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    As a legal alien his AFDC payments would be higher. And, since the SSA was amended in 1975 to require a SSN for AFDC beneficiaries, then he has motive to file for a SSN as a legal alien.

    Also, you’ve failed to adequately explain how BHO II has a Connecticut SSN prefix when he never lived in Connecticut. I don’t know who his resettlement sponsor was, but if they were located in Connecticut in 1975, then that would certainly explain BHO’s II Connecticut SSN prefix.

  21. avatar
    G April 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    Dick, you are just a broken clock with your alien / adoption BS.

    You have been peddling this same tired old crap for months and months now and despite repeated requests, have FAILED to come up with any single scrap or shred of evidence to indicate that Obama has ever lost his US citizenship, which he obtained at BIRTH.

    Either put up or shut up. All of your crazy fantasy theories are meaningless without such evidence.

  22. avatar
    Whatever4 April 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    E. Glenn Harcsar says:
    In your view, why did the founders determine that the president must simply not just be a Citizen, as in the case of a Rep or Senator, but a natural born Citizen? In my view, it flows in the same line that a Representative have acquired a certain age, length of residency and number of years as citizen; that a Senator reach a greater number of years in all categories; and that the President be required the greatest. Each demands a greater criterion of allegiance to hold a greater position of power.By my extension of reason “natural born Citizenship” must mean something other than Citizen. In my view it is an intentfully created category that imposes place and parentage as a restrictive criterion of allegiance.

    The next step from 9 years as being a citizen is logically all years as being a citizen, i.e., from birth. Never having been an alien in the country. Parentage in addition to birth whould seem a large enough a leap from mere citizen to be discussed in the convention. But parentage is never mentioned, only birth.

  23. avatar
    Benji Franklin April 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    Dear E. Glenn Harcsar,

    Madison’s calling it a “Maxim” that in the U.S. allegiance derives from place of birth, means that that principle applies universally to any calculation of status that relies on “allegiance” as its critical component. This means Madison’s qualification applies not just to the calculation of ordinary U.S. citizenship, but also to the Obama-challenging definitions of “Natural Born Citizen”, including yours, which claim that citizen parents are required specifically so that U.S. “allegiance” will be transferred to the child from the parents. Birthers instantly leap from that Madison ignoring theme to claiming that “adding” their notion of “jus sanguinis” (parent) allegiance to the formulae for “Natural Born Citizenship”, is not just a harmless “improvement” of the definition, – it’s suddenly an absolute requirement! They make this leap by asserting that if Obama had a non-citizen parent, he would possess a COMPETING FOREIGN ALLEGIANCE that would contaminate his “Natural Born Citizenship”. Madison’s statement puts all this to rest. And Black’s current Law Dictionary STILL states “Allegiance” in the U.S. continues to derive from one’s native country, the place of their birth.

    Benji Franklin

  24. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 11, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    G: Not a single person with the knowledge, responsibility or authority in such matters had any issue or objection at any step of the way.

    Contrast this to John McCain, who was not born in the United States. His candidacy was the subject of a Senate resolution, and several scholarly articles in a law journal. That’s what a real controversy looks like, and that is what one would have seen had there been any competent objection to Obama’s qualification.

  25. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 11, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

    E. Glenn Harcsar:

    In your view, why did the founders determine that the president must simply not just be a Citizen, as in the case of a Rep or Senator, but a natural born Citizen?

    In my view, it flows in the same line that a Representative have acquired a certain age, length of residency and number of years as citizen; that a Senator reach a greater number of years in all categories; and that the President be required the greatest. Each demands a greater criterion of allegiance to hold a greater position of power.

    By my extension of reason “natural born Citizenship” must mean something other than Citizen. In my view it is an intentfully created category that imposes place and parentage as a restrictive criterion of allegiance.

    First, the question is not left entirely to speculation. There are notes from the debates of the constitutional convention, and founder Charles Pinckney later said that the clause was to insure “attachment to the country.” We also know the historical context of rumors that the country was going to import some foreign royal as president. It’s all rather clear that the founders didn’t want a foreigner as president, nor did then want to get entangled in European politics.

    In the present debate, those of the anti-Obama faction emphasize parentage as a source of foreign influence. However, James Madison, for one, emphasizes place of birth over parentage. It’s also very important to understand that the original United States was begging for immigrants, not trying to keep them out as today. For example, all it took in South Carolina to be a citizen was a year’s residence and an oath.

    The preceding was said to suggest that the historical context is not what folks like Apuzzo try to paint, and to suggest that our founders were not extremists and zealots when it came to purity of allegiance. What matters is the fact that they Constitution uses the phrase “natural born citizen” and that is a technical/legal term whose definition (according to the United States Supreme Court) is defined in the British Common Law.

    So let me turn your question around. You ask “why did the founders determine that the president must simply not just be a Citizen, as in the case of a Rep or Senator, but a natural born Citizen?” I would ask, “if the founders wanted both birth in the country and citizen parents as a qualification for president, then why did they not just say so instead of using a legal term that meant something else?”

  26. avatar
    Rickey April 11, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    E. Glenn Harcsar says:

    I thought the word “primacy” nicely and fairly paraphrased Madison.

    “Primacy” suggests that there are secondary considerations. Madison says that if a person is born in the United States, there are no secondary considerations.

    I’m taking it as your position that Madison would equally have had him serve as President.

    He was born in Carolina, so he was eligible to be president.

    By my extension of reason “natural born Citizenship” must mean something other than Citizen.

    A natural born citizen is a citizen at birth. All other citizens are naturalized citizens. Citizens of the latter category are not eligible to be president.

  27. avatar
    Greg April 12, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    By my extension of reason “natural born Citizenship” must mean something other than Citizen. In my view it is an intentfully created category that imposes place and parentage as a restrictive criterion of allegiance.

    This view is undercut by the fact that it was NOT created out of whole cloth.

    Natural Born was a phrase that had meaning to the founders. That phrase was defined by Lord Coke in the British case, Calvin’s Case. It was defined as birth within the ligeance of the sovereign. In addition to defining natural born the case talks about what happened to the Scottish people when King James VI became James I of England. They became English, with the full rights of Englishmen.

    The Founders loved this case. They used it before independence to argue that colonists in the Americas, like the Scottish, were full Englishmen, entitled to representation. Ever heard the phrase “taxation without representation?” Derived from Calvin’s Case.

    Madison loved this case. On page 421 of the debates mentioned above, he adopts the reasoning of Calvin’s Case when he talks about the dual allegiance – that to the society and a lesser allegiance to the unique sovereign of that society.

    [blockquote]This distinction [between the two allegiances] will be illustrated by the doctrine established by the laws of Great Britain, which were the laws of this country before the revolution.[/blockquote]

    Parental citizenship is of this second, lesser form of allegiance – allegiance to the particular sovereign. Madison talks about what happened when we had our revolution and created the new nation.

    [blockquote]What was the situation of the people of America, when the dissolution of their allegiance took place by the declaration of independence? I conceive that every person who owed this primary allegiance to the particular community in which he was born, retained his right of birth, as a member of a new community; that he was consequently absolved from the secondary allegiance he had owed to the British sovereign.[/blockquote]

    We owe a primary allegiance to the community in which we are born, and only a secondary allegiance to the political sovereign.

    Natural born is defined in Calvin’s Case as born within the nation, regardless of parentage. Its reasoning is the dual allegiances. Madison explicitly adopts the dual allegiances to explain why our citizens are not British.

    So, natural born citizen was not defined anew in a vacuum. It was defined against this backdrop – founders who knew and loved Calvin’s Case for its logical and rhetorical power to support their revolution. Founders who knew of the term natural born subject from the 400 year history of the term, including in colonial statutes, charters, and later Constitutions.

    Despite this common knowledge of natural born subject, you’d have us believe the Founders created a new term, natural born citizen, which was to mean something completely and entirely different. And yet, they didn’t see the need to tell anyone? They didn’t think it worthwhile to write down that they were changing the meaning?

    In short, there is simply no evidence of an intention to change the meaning! What we have is one writer (an influential writer on a different topic) who, equivocally, defined the term differently. Plus, we have your intense desire that it be so defined.

    We have an objective way to measure just how out-there your argument is. The Constitution was adopted in September, 1787. When the early nation dealt with inheritances, citizenship was an important question. Despite this, it wasn’t until 1844 that anyone seriously suggested that citizenship was due to the parents’ citizenship – Lynch v. Clarke. No one was disinherited in the 57 years since the founding of the nation because their parents were aliens.

    By contrast, the standard definition of natural born was repeated in 1803 in Tucker’s version of Blackstone (applied to the US Constitution), in 1829 in Rawle’s, View of the American Constitution, in 1826 in Kent’s Commentaries on American Law, in 1834 in Justice Story’s Conflict of Laws.