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Town v. Town

Weighing the facts

The place was Connecticut; the year was 1886; the issue was money; the case: Town of New Hartford v. Town of Canaan, 5 A. 360 (Conn. 1886).

Lafayette Parrott was born in Massachusetts in 1836 to a resident alien father (the father later naturalized). Lafayette Parrott lived in various locations, ending up in in New Hartford, CT–where he fell on hard times. He claimed poverty and received financial support from the Town of New Hartford, but that town claimed that Mr. Parrott was really the responsibility of the Town of Canaan, and sued to recover its expenses.

Now it is not at all clear from the case description why the Town of Canaan was singled out as the “place of settlement” of Mr. Parrott, and that is not particularly relevant to our discussion here. What is relevant is that the Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors held that Lafayette Parrott was a citizen of the United States from his birth (even though he was of an alien father). Further the court said that the election of citizenship when a child with dual citizenship reaches majority, “relates back to the time of his birth”. The court provides a wonderful legal survey of the law regarding citizenship in the United States.

There is just too much here to summarize in a few words, so sit back for some extensive citations. Continue Reading →

Natural Born Citizen: Defined!

Prowling through Google Books, I found an interesting volume: JUDICIAL AND STATUTORY DEFINITIONS OF WORDS AND PHRASES COLLECTED EDITED AND COMPILED BY MEMBERS OF THE EDITORIAL STAFF OF THE NATIONAL REPORTER SYSTEM (1904).  West’s National Reporter System is private publishing concern that compiles and organizes for easy reference, state and local legal decisions. Begun in 1879, it continues to this day (a part of Westlaw). What follows is citations from legal decisions, not comments from the editors.


Independently of the constitutional provision it has always been the doctrine of this country except as applied to Africans brought here and sold as slaves and their descendants that birth within the limits and  Jurisdiction of the United States of itself creates citizenship. In the case of Lynch v Clarke (N. Y.) 1 Sandf. Ch. 583 Assistant Vice Chancellor Sandford said that he entertained no doubt that every person born within the limits and allegiance of the United States whatever the situation of his parents was a natural born citizen and added that this was the general understanding of the legal profession In re Look Tin Sing (U. S.) 21 Fed. 905, 909.

The term natural born citizen of the United States means all persons born in the allegiance of the United States. United States v Rhodes (U. S.) 27 Fed. Cas. 785, 789. The natural born subjects of a monarch comprise all persons born in the allegiance of the King United States v Rhodes (U. S.) 27 Fed. Cas. 785, 789. Continue Reading →

The Great Mother of All Natural Born Citizen Quotation Pages

Partial lists don’t carry the full impact of citations scattered here and there. This project is to collect everything accessible and to the point into one place If it takes much context or argument, a brief reference and a link is included. I promise you that the quotations will mean the same thing when you read them here than they mean if you read the larger context, and the larger context will be linked to the text. No tricks, no deception.

For additional citations, see The “Natural Born Citizenship” Clause (Updated) to whom this article is indebted for some of these citations. And for EVEN MORE citations see SCOTUS & “Natural Born Citizen” – A Compendium, Books on Google that define “Natural Born Citizen” and History of US citizenship laws.

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