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Tracing natural born citizen

The British Colonies in North America used legislation, called “naturalization acts” to make foreigners into citizens. The Constitution of the United States vested the power of naturalization with the Congress (to set up a uniform system), but in the interim between American independence and the ratification of the Constitution (and even a bit later), the states continued to pass naturalization acts.

Let’s compare two acts from the State of Massachusetts during this interim period.

From the State of Massachusetts in 1785:

From the State of Massachusetts in 1787:

The language is almost identical; however, one uses the phrase “natural born subject” (a holdover from colonial days) and the other uses “natural born citizen.” Could there be any doubt that in this context “natural born citizen” and “natural born subject” mean the same thing. I think not.

When the Massachusetts House of Representatives used the phrase “natural born citizen” they considered it substitutable for “natural born subject” and that is almost certainly where they got the phrase.

Thanks for those who provided the images.

Update:

I have found similar substitution of “natural born citizen” for “natural born subject” in the laws of the State of New York, on grants to individuals to hold hand. First from 1789 using “natural born subject”:

Act of 1789

Compare with very similar language from 1792 using “natural born subject”:

Act of 1792

It is just so obvious to see that colonial and state lawmakers understood that the term “natural born citizen” derives from the English common law term “natural born subject.” And here, I have traced it.

I hasten to add that this article is no new discovery or clever argument on my part. Vice-Chancellor Sandford of the New York Chancery court made this argument back in 1834.

19 Responses to Tracing natural born citizen

  1. avatar
    Lupin April 29, 2010 at 5:11 am #

    This is Mario’s agenda in all its appalling horror:

    Some in the GOP now support deporting American natural-born citizens whose parents are illegal immigrants,

    Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) wants to start deporting American citizens.

    Not all American citizens, mind you. Just the natural-born American citizens that are the children of illegal immigrants.

    At a tea party rally in Ramona in San Diego County over the weekend, Hunter fielded a question about the issue.

    “Would you support deportation of natural born American citizens that are the children of illegal aliens?” a man in the audience asked.

    “I would have to, yes,” Hunter said.

    link:
    http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/04/goper-i-support-deporting-american-citizens-whose-parents-are-illegal-immigrants-video.php

    It is clear that none of the smarties who manipulate the naive and delusional birthers expect to overthrow Obama; this is their real agenda.

  2. avatar
    Lupin April 29, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    And by the way, WHERE do you deport US citizens to, you moron? France?

    [/addressing Hunter]

  3. avatar
    Ballantine April 29, 2010 at 7:55 am #

    The earliest reference I saw in New York was 1792. Of course, in 1797, the same Massachusetts legislature even called the natural born citizenship provision in the constitution, which it sought to amend, a provision applying to “natural born subjects.”

    “Chapter 67.

    RESOLVE REQUESTING THE SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS TO PROPOSE AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION PROVIDING, THAT NONE BUT NATURAL BORN SUBJECTS BE ELIGIBLE TO CERTAIN OFFICES.

    Whereas it is highly expedient, that every constitutional barrier should be opposed to the Introduction of Foreign Infiuence, into our National Councils, & that ye Constitution of ye United States should be so amended as to effect and Secure in ye best manner ye great objects for which it was designed :

    Resolved that the Senators & Representatives of this Commonwealth in the Congress of the United States, be, and they hereby are requested to use their best endeavours, that Congress propose to the Legislatures of the several States, the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States, viz. ” That (in addition to the other qualifications prescribed by said Constitution) no person shall be eligible as President or Vice President of ye United States nor shall any person be a Senator or Representative in ye Congress of ye United States except a natural born Citizen ; or unless he shall have been a Resident in the United States at ye time of ye declaration of Independence, and shall have continued either to reside within the same, or to be employed in, its service from that period to ye time of his election.”

    And whereas the Spirit of Amity, & mutual Concession which produced ye Federal Constitution, ought always to be cultivated in the proposition & adoption of any amendments to ye same:

    Resolved further, that in case the Senators and Representatives of this State in Congress shall find, that ye amendment above proposed is not perfectly conformable to the wishes & sentiments of a Constitutional majority of both branches of ye National Legislature, they are hereby empowered & requested so to modify ye same, as to meet ye sentiments of such majority — Provided however and it is ye wish & opinion of this Legislature, that any amendment which may be agreed upon, should exclude at all events from a Seat in either branch of Congress, any persons who shall not have been actually naturalized at ye time of making this amendment and have been admitted Citizens of the United States Fourteen years at least at ye time of such election.”

    http://books.google.com/books?id=FmCxAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA212&dq=Proposed+Constitution+Amendment,+Massachusetts+Legislature,+June+29,+1798&lr=&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=&as_brr=0&cd=3#v=onepage&q=natural%20born&f=false

  4. avatar
    Scott Brown April 29, 2010 at 9:01 am #

    Well, unfortunately, if these US Citizens were born to parent who were here illegally, then they are not NBC’s. I don’t think they should be deported, but I also don’t believe they should ever be able to hold the office of POTUS. Their allegiances are divided.

    I don’t understand why paternal and maternal heritage is chucked out the window simply because the soil you happened to be born on was American. Would not the blood coursing through your veins be a stronger tie to your heritage and loyalty than the soil your mom happened to be on when she bore you?

    And if you actually do believe the soil is a stronger indicator of allegiance than blood – what are your views of La Raza? There is a concerted effort by Mexicans to come to the US to have their children in order to make them legal citizens with the sole intent of reclaiming what they believe is ‘their’ territory and ensuring that their race be in the majority. You think these people give a crap about being NBCs? Think again as that is NOT their agenda.

  5. avatar
    Scientist April 29, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    You don’t think? I’ll say. You have the right to not vote for those you don’t like for POTUS or any other position. But how dare you attempt to deny the rights of your fellow citizens to vote for who THEY choose?? Who the F%$# are you, you liar and hypocrite??

  6. avatar
    Black Lion April 29, 2010 at 10:42 am #

    Well since this statement is coming from the infamous Scott Brown, a proven liar, of course what she says is incorrect and un-American. This is where the GOP and this anti-immigration folks make their mistake. Whether they want to accept it or not the fact is that someone born in the US is a natural born citizen, no matter what the citizenship status of their parents. Anyone with a brain knows this. This strawman argument about loyalty is just another ridiculous argument, just like allegiance. According to the liar Scott Brown, someone that was born in the US to illegal immigrants would somehow be less loyal to the US. I guess “Scott” has never been around people in the Armed Forces. So under her theory someone that served their country but was born to illegals should somehow be prevented from being considerd a NBC or eligible to be President? Does she realize that their are illegals from other countries also? Like Ireland, Canada, Australia, and England? So should we stop anyone that looks like they come from those countries and demand ID? Should they be ineligible to be President? Like Lupin said, where would be deport these American citizens to?

  7. avatar
    Lupin April 29, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    “I don’t understand…”

    You don’t need to say more. It is quite clear that you don’t understand anything with respect to these matters.

    And you’re a liar.

  8. avatar
    JoZeppy April 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    Apparently there is much Scott Brown does not understand. In particular, what it takes to be a Natural Born Citizen.

  9. avatar
    Black Lion April 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm #

    Dealing with “Scott Brown” is like the following birther dialogue….

    Condensed Version Of Birther Dialogue With A Reasonable Person:

    RP: “OK, so to recap, you wanted Obama to release a birth certificate, but when he did, you accused it of being a forgery? Right?”

    Birther: “Right.”

    RP: “And you say that if he simply shared his long-form birth certificate with the public, that could be forged too? Right?”

    Birther: “Right.”

    RP: “So you want him to release his long-form birth certificate and to have that birth certificate reviewed by a judge, to satisfy his critics and answer the questions they’re asking? Right?”

    Birther: “Right.”

    RP: “And if the judge affirms that the birth certificate is legitimate and it says his place of birth was Hawaii, you say it might be falsified, right?”

    Birther: “Right.”

    RP: “And even if he proves he was born in Hawaii, you claim he’s still not a natural-born citizen because of his mother’s first marriage, right?”

    Birther: “Right.”

    RP: “And if he then proves that the marriage isn’t an issue, you claim he’s still not a natural-born citizen because of his father’s citizenship, right?”

    Birther: “Right.”

    RP: “And if he then proves that his father’s citizenship isn’t an issue, you claim he’s still not a natural-born citizen because of his mother’s second marriage, right?”

    http://kaystreet.wordpress.com/

    Birther: “Right.”

    RP: “And if he then proves that his mother’s second marriage isn’t an issue, you claim he’s still not a natural-born citizen because of his supposed adoption, right?”

    Birther: “Right.”

    RP: “And if he then proves that he didn’t give up his citizenship via adoption, you claim that he’s still not a natural-born citizen because of his 1981 travel to Pakistan, right?”

    Birther: “Right.”

    RP: “And if he then proves that he didn’t give up his citizenship via passport, and even when you run out of citizenship arguments completely, you then claim his election is illegitimate because his legal surname is Soetoro, right?”

    Birther: “Right.”

    RP: “So you want to know why Obama won’t take the simple measure of releasing his birth certificate, when you already have at least eight consecutive fall-back arguments you’ll make if he does so, whereby you’ll continue to insist that he’s ineligible for the Presidency even after he proves that he was born in Hawaii?”

    Birther: “Right.”

    RP: “Y’know, if I were Obama, I think I’d save my ten dollars too.”

  10. avatar
    Greg April 29, 2010 at 2:41 pm #

    I don’t understand why paternal and maternal heritage is chucked out the window simply because the soil you happened to be born on was American. Would not the blood coursing through your veins be a stronger tie to your heritage and loyalty than the soil your mom happened to be on when she bore you?

    If two twins are born in the U.S. to two U.S. citizen parents, and one is raised in North Korea by communist parents and lives there until he is 35, then comes back to the U.S. and lives here until he is 49, he has the exact same allegiance and loyalty as his twin?

    If a third child is born in the U.S. to a citizen father and non-citizen mother, and lives here for 49 years, the twin raised in North Korea has a greater loyalty to the U.S.?

    What about the citizen mother and non-citizen father?

    Where in the blood is the loyalty found? The red or white blood cells? The hemoglobin? Somewhere else?

    Personally, I’m for chucking the NBC clause. Open eligibility up for anyone who has lived here for 14 years as a citizen.

    Loyalty is not hereditary. Aldrich Ames was born in Wisconsin to two citizen parents. His “loyalty” led to the death of at least 10 U.S. sources and compromised more than 100 intelligence operations. Bob Hope, by contrast, was born in England to English parents.

    I know who I think better exemplifies the values of America.

  11. avatar
    SFJeff April 29, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    Scott:
    “Well, unfortunately, if these US Citizens were born to parent who were here illegally, then they are not NBC’s”

    That is your opinion, which of course you are entitled to. But that is clearly not the commonly understood status of such children. You either need the Supreme Court to reverse themselves or a Constitutional amendment.

    And I am not necessarily against this- I can see the argument about whether children of illegal aliens should be citizens- and I think a debate on this issue in context of total immigration reform would be healthy. But the current law is very, very clear. The children of illegal aliens born in the United States are citizens, and there are only two kinds of citizens- born and naturalized.

    “I don’t understand why paternal and maternal heritage is chucked out the window simply because the soil you happened to be born on was American.”

    Because thats the interpretation of the 14th Amendment?

    “Would not the blood coursing through your veins be a stronger tie to your heritage and loyalty than the soil your mom happened to be on when she bore you?”

    Hmmmm I think that was the argument that was used for the internment of Japanese Americans. But I ask you this- wouldn’t a stronger loyalty be to where you were raised than either where you were born or who your parents were? In my opinion, a child raised in the United States, exposed and educated to our law and cultures is much more likely to have loyalty to the United States than someone whose parents were U.S. Citizens, whose child was born in the United States, and then went off to raise the child in say Cuba. But then again- what about children of U.S. military who are raised in foreign countries? I think the whole concept of deciding what ones loyalties are from birth is pretty questionable, but thats what we have- birth or naturalization. And it seems to be working pretty darn well.

    “what are your views of La Raza?”

    Which La Raza do you mean? There are several- there was a La Raza organization when I was in college, just as there was a German American organization.

    “There is a concerted effort by Mexicans to come to the US to have their children in order to make them legal citizens with the sole intent of reclaiming what they believe is their’ territory”

    Prove that one to me. From what I have seen this is promoted by a few radical individuals, and saying that this is a concerted effort is like saying Americans are making a concerted call for the President’s birth certificate. Both are radical fringe groups.

  12. avatar
    SFJeff April 29, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Thank you Black Lion.

  13. avatar
    G April 29, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    And what state were you born in again, o’ female “Scott Brown”. As you have no credibility here as a proven coward and liar, you should be unworthy of response to your questions.

    However, I will point out that the you are correct in when you say “I don’t understand”, because it has been OBVIOUS that you don’t. Hence why you probably make up stories and lie, because you don’t understand the difference between your personal views and the reality of the law.

    Whether you like it or not and whether you agree with it or not, being born on US soil provides NBC status as a US Citizen. That is how the law works.

    I do not care for many of the beliefs/actions of the LaRaza organization that you referring to either. I have a big problem with illegal aliens too. However, my problems are based in wanting the law to be followed and fixed to address the issue properly – NOT against a person’s race or country of origin.

    Much of the existing problems will illegals are due to big companies wanting to exploit workers without having to follow laws that exist to protect the rights, health and wages of people. That is very wrong too.

    I am all for urgently fixing the paths to legalization and enforcing borders, laws and workplaces so that eventually, people working and living in this country are all here legally and all adhering to the same rules and protections.

    I don’t care if they look different than me, worship different than me or have customs different than me.

    I *do* want them to work on learning our language and assimilating into our culture. That doesn’t mean that they have to give up what they have, just learn our ways, rules and language. I’m all in support of them legally pursuing the American dream and obtaining American citizenship. That is what the Great American Melting Pot is always been about and should be.

    Look, I understand your frustration with those people who seem to intentionally come over here illegally while pregnant just to create an “anchor baby”. Personally, to discourage the practice, I would support a properly worded amendment restricting US citizenship in such specific situations only. However, the current law of the land is clear – such “anchor babies” are US NBC if born on our soil. Therefore, that law needs to be respected and followed whether you agree with it or not. The only way to change that would be through a Constitutional Amendment.

    This whole “allegiances divided” stuff is for the most part, just crap you tell yourself to reinforce your own fears and prejudices.

  14. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 30, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    I have updated this article with an example of similar pairs of legislation from New York where “natural born citizen” is substituted for “natural born subject” just 3 years apart.

  15. avatar
    DraggingCanoe April 30, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    Senator Leahy said..a natural born citizen is born from two US citizens. (2008)

  16. avatar
    G April 30, 2010 at 4:34 pm #

    Sorry, you FAIL. You are trying to imply a “MUST” for 2-parent citizenship that simply doesn’t exist.

    This little bit of birther information is a long dead horse that you are trying to re-beat.

    I’ll even quote a pro-birther website that tries to pimp this story, but as you do, draws conclusions that aren’t there:

    http://www.therightsideoflife.com/2009/06/14/eligibility-update-sen-leahy-on-obama-colb-anniversary-obama-an-illegal-alien-berg-promises-appeal-billboard-update/

    Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the U.S. Senate that presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was a natural born Citizen,’ as specified in the Constitution and eligible to run for President.

    “Because he was born to American citizens, there is no doubt in my mind that Senator McCain is a natural born citizen,” said Leahy. “I expect that this will be a unanimous resolution of the Senate.”

    At a Judiciary Committee hearing on April 3, Leahy asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, himself a former Federal judge, if he had doubts that McCain was eligible to serve as President.

    “My assumption and my understanding is that if you are born of American parents, you are naturally a natural-born American citizen,” Chertoff replied.

    “That is mine, too,” said Leahy.

    Here is where you stupid birthers fail at simple logic. Leahy & Chertoff were simply saying that if you are born of American parents then you are NBC.

    NOBODY stated that you MUST have 2 citizen parents to meet this requirement. But obviously if both of your parents are, you meet this requirement. *DUH*

    BIG DIFFERENCE. So sorry, you FAIL.

  17. avatar
    Scientist April 30, 2010 at 4:36 pm #

    Senator Leahy said..a natural born citizen is born from two US citizens. (2008)

    So, he must have objected to Obama’s election, right? Oh, what’s that, he didn’t? Well perhaps you don’t know what you’re talking about, eh???

  18. avatar
    SFJeff April 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Not only Senator Leahy but also Secretary Michael Chertoff said it.

    Now riddle me this…is Senator Leahy speaking of American’s born in the United States to non-citizen Parents or is he speaking of American’s born abroad of two parents?

    Riddle me this further- Is Senator Leahy saying that the only way to be a natural born citizen is by having two citizen parents, or is he merely saying that if you have two citizen parents you are a natural born regardless of where you are born?

  19. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 30, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    DraggingCanoe (R): Senator Leahy said..a natural born citizen is born from two US citizens. (2008)

    While DraggingCanoe (R) doesn’t explain what it means, I assume we are to understand the assertion of the fallacy of denying the antecedent.

    Example:

    Major Premise: All birthers are insane
    Minor Premise: Charles Manson was not a birther
    Fallacious Conclusion: Manson was not insane

    Application:

    Major Premise: All persons born of two US citizens are natural born citizens.
    Minor Premise: Barack Obama was not born of two US citizens
    Fallacious Conclusion: Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen