I was contacted by one our readers challenging why I didn’t talk about the Naturalization Act of 1795, since I had cited the Act of 1790. The real short answer is because the Act of 1795 doesn’t have the phrase “natural born citizen in it” (nor any bit of naturalization and citizenship law since). What’s so special about 1795?
Perhaps because the 1795 Act is the transition between laws with and laws without the “natural born citizen” wording, it’s worth looking at.
Someone thought it was important. On January 9, 2009, they edited the Wikipedia page on the Naturalization Act of 1795 adding in some text that implied the “citizen” language we’ll examine later is “opposed” to the “natural born citizen” language in the 1790 act. The Wikipedia is now set back to where it was on January 8.
The 1795 Act repeals its predecessor and makes significant changes. Here are both Acts.
The Naturalization Act of 1790
An ACT to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.
BE it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any alien, being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof, on application to any Common Law Court of Record, in any one of the States wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such Court, that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law, to support the Constitution of the United States, which oath or affirmation such Court shall administer, and the Clerk of such Court shall record such application, and the proceedings thereon ; and thereupon such person,shall be considered as a citizen of the United States. And the children of such person so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States. And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States: Provided also, That no person heretofore proscribed by any State, shall be admitted a citizen as aforesaid, except by an act: of the Legislature of the State in which such person was proscribed.
The Naturalization Act of 1795
An Act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization; and to repeal the Act heretofore passed on that Subject. For carrying into complete effect the power given by the constitution, to establish an uniform rule of naturalization throughout the United States;
SECTION 1. BE it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, that any alien, being a free white person, may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States, or any of them, on the following conditions, and not otherwise. First, he shall have declared, on oath or affirmation, before the Supreme, Superior, District, or Circuit Court of some one of the states, or of the territories northwest or south of the Ohio River, or a Circuit or District Court of the United States, three years at least before his admission, that it was, bona fide, his intention to become a citizen of the United States, and to renounce forever all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whereof such alien may at that time be a citizen or subject. Secondly. He shall, at the time of his application to be admitted, declare on oath or affirmation before some one of the courts aforesaid that he has resided within the United States five years at least, and within the state or territory where such court is at the time held, one year at least; that he will support the Constitution of the United States; and that he does absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whatever and particularly by name the prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whereof he was before a citizen or subject; which proceedings shall be recorded by the clerk of the court. Thirdly. The court admitting such alien shall be satisfied that he has resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States five years. It shall further appear to their satisfaction that during that time he has behaved as a man of a good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the same. Fourthly. In case the alien applying to be admitted to citizenship shall have borne any hereditary title, or been of any of the orders of nobility, in the kingdom or state from which he came, he shall, in addition to the above requisites, make an express renunciation of his title or order of nobility in the court to which his application shall be made; which renunciation shall be recorded in the said court.
SEC. 2. Provided always, and be it further enacted, That any alien now residing within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States may be admitted to become a citizen on his declaring, on oath or affirmation, in some one of the courts aforesaid, that he has resided two years, at least, within and under the jurisdiction of the same, and one year, at least, within the state or territory where such court is at the time held; that he will support the Constitution of the United States; and that he does absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whatever, and particularly by name the prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty whereof he was before a citizen or subject. Moreover, on its appearing to the satisfaction of the court that, during the said term of two years, he has behaved as a man of good moral character, attached to the Constitution of the United States, and well-disposed to the good order and happiness of the same; and when the alien applying for admission to citizenship shall have borne any hereditary title, or been of any of the orders of nobility in the kingdom or state from which he came, on his, moreover, making in the court an express renunciation of his title or order of nobility, before he shall be entitled to such admission; all of which proceedings, required in this proviso to be performed in the court, shall be recorded by the clerk thereof.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, that the children of persons duly naturalized, dwelling within the United States, and being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization, and the children of citizens of the United States born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, shall be considered as citizens of the United States. Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend on persons whose fathers have never been resident of the United States. No person heretofore proscribed by any state, or who has been legally convicted of having joined the army of Great Britain during the late war, shall be admitted as foresaid, without the consent of the legislature of the state in which such person was proscribed.
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, that the Act, intitled, “An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization,” passed the twenty-sixth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and ninety, be, and the same is hereby repealed.
The underlined sections preceding mark the context where “natural born citizen appears”.
Look at this section from 1790:
And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States
First the phrase “Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States” must apply specifically to children born outside the United States. Naturalization (in the preceding section) required residence and so all naturalized fathers would have been residents. So in one sentence we have “natural born citizens” and in the next referring back to it we have “citizenship”. This would imply to me that the Congress intended that “natural born citizen[ship]” means the same thing as “citizenship”.
If this is the case, then the Act of 1795 equivalent section:
, and the children of citizens of the United States born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, shall be considered as citizens of the United States. Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend on persons whose fathers have never been resident of the United States.
is different because the wording a bit tighter and recognizes the superfluous phrase “natural born” (which is understood from the fact that they are born citizens).
The alternative theory is that the First Congress thought that children of citizens born abroad should be “natural born citizens” and the Third Congress thought they should not. Why would that be?
If you read the underlined portions of both laws, it seems to me that the second version reads smoother, and perhaps that’s the reason for the rewording, not to change the meaning.
How did those citizen fathers “who have never been resident in the United States” attain citizenship?
Both your “1790” and “1795” links link to the 1795 Act.
They were born to two citizens overseas.
The purpose of this clause is to prevent the creation of a community of American citizens living in a foreign country, its generations gaining citizenship by heredity, but never living in the United States.
How do you define “resident” and how does that term differ from “citizen”? I ask because in Obama’s case, yes, his mother was clearly a citizem and his fater not. However, at the time of his birth, Obama’s father WAS a documented, legal U.S. RESIDENT here to attend college and graduate school – which he did do. He had legal US residency status at the time of Obama’s birth and neither the 1790 or 95 Acts specifiy just what a Resident ” is. And yet, our government gave him documents declaring him one, even if it was just on a temporary basis. So my take on this is because of BOTH those 2 ACTS, Obama is clearly an US citizen no matter where he was born because his mother was an American citizen and his father a legal Americal resident at the time of his birth, despite his British citizenship. So he was free to be born in Kenya as both his parents fullfilled the requirements for having a “natural born citizen” no matter where they chose to have him born.
There are two points of dispute. First most readings of US law applicable in 1961 say that US citizenship is passed from one citizen parent to their child only if the parent themselves had been a resident of the United States for 5 years after the age of 14. Stanley Ann Obama did not meet that requirement. I think this point is valid.
The other point is the claim that natural born citizenship requires two citizen parents plus birth in the United States. I do not think this point is valid.
But all this is irrelevant since Barack Obama was born in the good old USA.
The constitution grandfathered in the founding fathers. After they died only “natural-Born citizens can be POTUS!
I disagree with you on several of the above stated. The following are actual facts as I am a “Naturalized Citizen” and have experienced these Facts:
1. My Father was born in Boston 1924, was inscribed as a Citizen of Cuba (which he enjoyed dual citizenship up until he chose one at the age of majority 27 – he at that point took the Cuban Citizenship).
A) Had he chosen the USA citizenship – although he was born in US soil, he would have been considered a “Citizen” due to both his parents having a Cuban Citizenship.
B) Therefore, Obama could never be a “Natural-Born Citizen”; because International Law would automatically pronounce the Father’s Citizenship and not the Mother’s. Obama is a British National by Birth and not a “Natural Born Citizen of the USA”. If anything, he is a British National by birth since his mother was too young and does not meet the requirements.
2. When our Family took Polical Asylumn in 1964, my Father was granted Permanent Resicent Status upon entry; and my Mother, myself and 3 sister and brother were granted Parolee Status. We had to wait 5 years prior to applying for Permanent Resident Status. Now, when my Father became a US Citizen in 1969, I asked to be ajoined to his citizenship application and was not permitted because my mother would not allow it. I had to wait to the age of 18 prior to presenting my application for Naturalization. I was granted my application and became a “Naturalized Citizen” on 2/28/1978. At which time I had to Renounce all alligence to the Country that I was born. Took the Oath of Alligence to this Country and swore to uphold the Constitution of the united States of America.
3. I have 5 children, of which only ONE can be classified as a “Natural Born Citizen” – Why? They were all born in the USA, and their mother (Me) was in fact a “Naturalized Citizen” – Because their Father was only a Permanent Resident. The Youngest one is the only one of the 5 that is considered a “Natural Born Citizen” – because when he was born, we were BOTH “Naturalized Citizens”. The rest of my children, are Citizens by birth; but could never run for the Oval Office.
Anyone born on US Soil is a Citizen, but NOT A Natural Born Citizen of the United States of America. Anyone born outside the USA, is a Citizen if one of the Parents is a Citizen. But they ARE NOT “Natural Born Citizens, UNLESS THEY ARE BORN ON USA TERRITORY – MEANING A MILITARY BASE, EMBASSY, OR TERRITORY and BOTH PARENTS ARE CITIZENS OF THE USA.
MAJOR DIFFERENCES HERE – THESE ARE FACTS AS PER OUR CONSITITUTION, INA, AND INTERNATIONAL LAWS.
Please advise if Obama’s Father was:
a) Had a Student Visa, and or
b) Was a Temporary Reseident, (which I doubt)
C) Permanent Resident – Which I highly doubt
See the years referenced in my case – It took 5 years prior to applying for Permanent Residency and then an additional 5 to become elligible for Naturalization.
NOW – ANOTHER POINT:
Since Cuba does recognize “Dual Citizenship”, I could have inscribed all of my children as “Cubans” and given them the choice at the age of 21. I did not do this; but how this would have been accomplished is by the SAME TYPE OF “CERTIFICATION OF LIFE BIRTH” ISSUED BY THE STATE OF HAWAII.
THEREFORE – THERE IS NO WAY ON THIS GOD’S GREEN EARTH THAT OBAMA IS A USA NATURAL CITIZEN.
Now, let’s say that he was in fact born in Hawaii – Where is the “Birth Cerfiticate” – I don’t want to se a “Certification of Life Birth”.
Then, if he was adopted by his stepfather; HE RENOUNCED HIS US CITIZENSHIP – THIS MAKES THE MAN AN ILLEGAL ALLIEN. CERNTAINLY NOT PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL OR NEARLY QUALIFIED FOR THE OFFICE.
As all Sheriff, Military Personnel, Members of Congress and Judges I too took the Oath of Aligence to Defend the Constitution of The United States of America. So “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” – I will defend My Country and What Our founding Father’s Based the Constitution on – not what some Socialist Programmer wants us to become.
It’s time The Soverign United States of America SMELL THE COFFEE and Return to our Founding Father’s Fundamental Ideals – which are not in the Air – They Are Written, They are Fact – “The Constitution of the United States of America!”
I have already lost one country, I will not loose this one. This is my Home, this is my adopted Country which I love, admire, uphold and will not betray. I ask all that read this comment to take a stand for what We The People stand for.
May Our Lord Guide Us and Protect Us All from the Evil One. Thank You Lord for you have granted us our Prayer.
There are only two kinds of US ctizens: natural born citizens and naturalized citizens. Since your childeren were never naturalized, they must be and are natural born citizens. Your father too WAS a natural born citizen, but gave up his US citizenship (and NBC status) when he was 27 and became a naturalized citizen later – Obama was too young to give up his citizenship in Indonesia (and too old to be adopted by the way) And you ‘re not helping McCain with your US territory thing, because a military base contrary to what a lot of people think, is NOT US territory. Of course, Mc Cain IS an NBC, but there are other reasons for that.
Every argument you are using has been dealt with and thoroughly debunked here. It may also be a good idea to stop using the name of Lord vainly to repeat lies.
Nora Lumas: International Law would automatically pronounce the Father’s Citizenship and not the Mother’s.
Precisely what “international law” is that, who ratified it, and where can I go look up what it says?
I must ask why, if you cannot answer any of those questions, you made the remark you made??
There is no such thing as “international law” that overrides or dictates the law of any sovereign nation.
There are only international treaties or agreements.
Your reasoning is circular. The law of the United States on citizenship was “international law.” Back then we called in the law of nations which was based on natural law. That was U.S. law. Hence, do not go in circles.
I guess the Constitution changed. The last time I read it, I saw that it clearly stated that there is a “citizen,” a natural born Citizen, and a “naturalized” citizen.
There is NO evidence that US law on citizenship was international law, especially since the US would never allow international law dictate its immigration and naturalization policies. In fact, jus soli makes far more sense from a logical and reasoned perspective since this would allow anyone born on US soil to become a US citizen, rather than be linked to their father’s birth. In fact, the US in those days was very willing to grant citizenship to anyone, within periods of years. Furthermore, it makes sense that when the Founders wrote the Constitution and they left out the meaning of natural born, that they had in mind the meaning of the word as commonly understood, and that was British common law which had shaped the laws of the colonies. If they intended to use the more obscure Vattel definition then they could easily have clarified the use of jus sanguini, or born to one or more US parents. Under either definition however, Obama clearly would be a citizen and natural born anyway. But I take you to task for claiming that US law was based on Law of Nations, in an area where such law has no place.
History, legislative actions all point to this. Otherwise, why did they feel in the first congress, necessary to actually pass a jus sanguini law to declare children born abroad to a US parent to be US natural born citizens. That just does not make sense unless they believed that the law of the land did not apply.
Logic and reason my dear Mario.
Yes citizens are the natural born and naturalized citizens. It’s combined class.
That’s like saying that there are three classes natural numbers: Odd, Even and “Odd and Even combined”
Mario Apuzzo: The law of the United States on citizenship was “international law.” Back then we called in the law of nations which was based on natural law. That was U.S. law.
What utter and complete crap. You as much evidence for that as that there was a US travel to Pakistan in 1981. To borrow a phrase from Orly Taitz: “absolute zero.”
Mario Apuzzo: The last time I read [the Constitution], I saw that it clearly stated that there is a “citizen,” a natural born Citizen, and a “naturalized” citizen.
The last time I read the Constitution, I didn’t see that there was anything that suggested other than citizens = (natural born citizens + naturalized citizens).
Are you suggesting that the Supreme Court read the Constitution again. Feh!
Do you really believe that the Founding Fathers, after working so hard to make what they did, were going to conceive of the United States of America with the common law in mind? Are you kidding me? No, you are quite wrong. They had a much greater design and it surely was much greater than the English common law.
Are you going to tell the U.S. Supreme Court that you know better than the Framers of the Constitution?
That’s what the facts show, your appeal to incredulity is not really making much headway in presenting a coherent argument now is it?
As Dr C pointed out, your argument lacks in much evidence.
And even if they had a greater design, this does not mean that common law did not play an important role. Which is why the courts have consistently ruled that common law is relevant when interpreting the terms that remain undefined in the Constitution.
Again, you may try less rhetoric and more evidence, logic or reason.
Just a suggestion of course, I do not unnecessarily want to trouble you with the hard work of real research.
Are you seriously suggesting that your interpretation of the Founding fathers is of more relevance than the decisions by the Supreme Court.
You are a lawyer, are you not? I am sure that you thus understand how law works and how the laws are interpreted within the meaning of the Constitution.
These wise judges, long ago, were in a much better position to analyze the meaning of the word natural born and came to the unsurprising conclusion that it was all based on English Common Law.
Which is why Congress was forced to pass an explicit law making foreign born children of a US father, a natural born citizen since the Constitution failed, being based on jus soli.
I love how the Obama supporters accuse us of making things up. In looking over the above arguments, boy do I see a lot of made up stuff. Who is trying to insert something into the Constitution that is not there? You is reading out of the Constituion words that are clearly there? Who is saying that words that are written differently mean the same thing? Not me but you.
It must be somewhat discouraging that Dr C can outsmart a DWI lawyer.
However, so far you have failed to support your claim and ignore the facts Dr C has provided.
Who is trying to insert something into the Constitution that is not there? Well, is that not a timely moment of self reflection. Yes Mario, Vattel is not part of the Constitution when it comes to the definition of natural born.
Which is why the first congress added foreign born children to a US father as natural born, since the Constitution did not cover them.
After reading your gibberish, I think you need a good DWI lawyer.
A good DWI lawyer. Does that mean that you are excluded? Bummer indeed.
PS: Thanks for verifying my argument. You’re such a sweetie Mario.
nbc: It must be somewhat discouraging that Dr C can outsmart a DWI lawyer.
It’s not a matter of outsmarting. Apuzzo has neither the law or the facts on his side. This argument is like shooting fish in a barrel. I get no sense of accomplishment from it.
There are drivers: Drunk drivers and non-drunk drivers. So, there are three classes of drivers, right? Drivers, drunk drivers and non-drunk drivers.
Mario, here’s a clue. In 233 years, there have been no cases that imagine someone born here who became a citizen because they were born here but couldn’t become President.
Are you going to tell the U.S Supreme Court that you know better than the Framers of the Constitution and 233 years of jurisprudence?
I did not think you had it in you but I’m getting to like you more.
You state: “It’s not a matter of outsmarting [Apuzzo]. Apuzzo has neither the law or [sic] the facts on his side. This argument is like shooting fish in a barrel.’ I get no sense of accomplishment from it.”
You oversimplify the problem. Please advise:
1. What are you using as a shooting instrument? A sling shot? bow and arrow? Laser- guided automatic weapon?
2. What is the color of the fish? Do they camouflage themselves?
3. How many fish are in the barrel? one? millions?
4. What is the size of the fish? microscopic? huge?
5. How fast are the fish swimming?
6. How is the shooter’s vision? If he wears glasses, does he have them when shooting?
7. Is there any water in the barrel so the fish are swimming or are they all just lying there piled up on each other without any or much movement?
8. How big is the barrel? The size would, of course, impact on how many fish are in there and how fast the fish can swim.
9. How much water is in the barrel? This would impact how many fish are in the barrel and how fast they can swim.
10. Is the barrel itself stationary or is it moving? If it is moving, a fast and what is the nature of its movement? Predictable or unpredictable?
11. At what angle is the barrel placed? Can the shooter get a clear, direct shot or will the shooter be shooting at an angle?
12. Will the shooter be shooting directly into the water or will he be shooting into the sides of the barrel? If shooting into the sides, is the barrel clear or opaque? If opaque, the shooter would be shooting into the barrel with the hopes of hitting the fish.
13. What are the lighting conditions? Are we shooting in the dark or in the light?
14. Will the shooter really try to shoot at and hit the fish or has someone offered the shooter something of greater value to be received if the shooter misses the fish?
15. Can the shooter freely shoot at the fish or is the shooter told that if the shooter hits any of them the shoot will suffer some serious consequences?
16. Is the shooter allowed to shoot at all the fish or is the shooter prohibited from shooting some of them because they are of a certain color?
17. Will the shooter be giving credit if the shooter hits and kills a fish or will the shooter not be given such credit because the shooter also shoots bears when he is not shooting fish?
18. Assuming that the fish must be dead to get any points, have we agreed on what a dead fish is? Does it count for anything if the shooter only shoots the fish and it does not die but it is almost dead? How long does the shooter have to wait before the fish dies? Are we going to count the fish to be dead even if it is not dead simply because we like the shooter? Who will pronounce the fish dead? What proof will we require to make sure the fish is dead? Are we just going to take the shooter’s word for it or are we going to want to see some acceptable evidence that the fish is dead? What if the fish dies because of other unrelated causes, does the shooter get any credit for the dead fish any way?
19. Who will judge the shooter’s activity of shooting at the fish? Do we have judges that will simply count up how many fish the shooter shot or will the judges invoke a rule providing that the fish kill should be disqualified because (well the judges really will not tell us why)?
So as you see, Dr. Conspiracy, things are not as easy as they appear at first blush.
I welcome other questions that may be raised by our fish shoot.
Mario Apuzzo, Esq.
Other than your own interpretation of what the Constitution says, which is of no more weight than how I may read and interprete the Constitution, can you point out to me any legal scholar of any gravitas that supports your ‘two citizen parent theory’?
Can you point out any court decisions that definetively support your position? Because I hear you keep making your argument but you are just arguing your position without showing any weight of support.
I will make the comparison again- at this point you remind me of the people who argue that the Income Tax is unconstitutional, and tell people just not to pay it. The Courts have never bought that interpretation- no matter how loudly the proponents have screamed that the courts are interpreting the Constitution wrong- and the courts have not, and will not agree with you. I just hope nobody ends going to jail because they refuse orders based upon your theories.
There’s an old saying that I think applies to Mario…
“When you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. When you have the law on your side, argue the law. When you have neither, bang the table.”
All he’s doing right now is banging the table. Though, he did provide me a good laugh.
He doesn’t even have a table.
What’s the sound a fist hitting an imaginary table?
We do not need a table. It’s all metaphysical.
I like Mario best when he is being humorous. His humor makes sense.
It was funny, but I hope Apuzzo didn’t write that just for our benefit. Comments here are so ephemeral.
The decline of Super Mario; from video game to failed Presidency scuttler!
When you complained that Dr. Conspiracy was oversimplifying the problem when he described debunking your case as being “like shooting fish in a barrel”, you modeled the common sense diluting perspective that your arguments typically rely on to swimmingly sink. Apuzzo doth protest to (sic) much, too much; only the guilty are frightened into over-arguing with a teasingly tendered classic simile as though it were a damningly accurate metaphor. I submit that you do so because you have repeatedly been soundly drubbed by Doctor ‘C’ on the facts AND the law; he has really made you smart for trying to “dumb down” both.
Leave it to a weak (sic) ending, would-be President-toppling lawyer to think he is also entitled to over-inflate longstanding English literary devices, including the standard interpretation of “like shooting fish in a barrel” into meaningless point-obscuring drivel. The dreary far-fetched questions you have tortuously conjured up are irrelevant .
However, the surety with which Doc has blown away all of your fishy Natural Born Citizenship arguments evokes imagery suggesting the following possible answer to your first “clarifying” question , “What is Doc using as a shooting instrument?”
Answer: The barrel itself, Mario – a vertically placed, dry, fifty-foot long Iowa Class Battleship 16 inch naval rifle (cannon), containing only the tongue-tied, legal MINNOW MUM Mario! Doc can’t miss; when he blows UP your attempts to rewrite History, he has you OVER yet another barrel!
You are the hapless waiter to a public table set by Orly Taitz, both members in a bizarre troupe of fame-seeking attorney/clowns to whom the letter of the Law turns out to be only a self aggrandizing exclamation point.
The eligibility vetting theories your case’s latest amendment propounds strangely avoid mentioning that no state has ever been able to define criteria for checking for NBC compliance, because that’s the catastrophic Achille’s Heel of your due diligence challenges. You have avoided explaining that circumstance here 4 times now, Mario. Why? 🙂
Doc, Greg, Ballantine and Bob have all debunked your claims with startling ease on this forum. Hopefully their efforts will shame you into withdrawing from the further embarrassment that awaits your specious claim of expertise in parsing terms of art. Try this one: “A stitch in time……..is worth a pound of cure………in the bush!”