Main Menu

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.

Every person born within the United States its territories or districts whether the parents are citizens or aliens is a natural born citizen within the sense of the Constitution and entitled to all the rights and privileges pertaining to that capacity Town of New Hartford v Town of Canaan 5 Atl, 360, 364, 54 Conn. 39 (citing Rawle Const. U. S. p. 86). See also Lynch v Clarke (N. Y.) 1 Sandf.  Ch. 584,  2 Kent,  Comm. (9th Ed.); McKay v Campbell (U. S.) 16 Fed. Cas. 157; Field Int. Code 132, Morse Citizenship § 203.

Judicial and statutory definitions of words and phrases By West Publishing Company

, , , , , , , , , , ,

27 Responses to Natural Born Citizen: Defined!

  1. Jez March 31, 2009 at 9:27 pm  (Quote) #

    Very nice find Doc. Very nice indeed.

  2. anon March 31, 2009 at 11:50 pm  (Quote) #

    That is a definition for “natural born citizen”.

    Article II, Section 1 of The United States Constitution specifies that the President must be a “natural born Citizen”.

    Quite clearly two different things.

  3. NBC April 1, 2009 at 12:08 am  (Quote) #

    Ah, the capital C changes everything….


  4. Cee Cee April 1, 2009 at 12:42 am  (Quote) #

    Can you explain to me how they are two different things besides the C being capitalized?

  5. Beckwith April 1, 2009 at 4:16 am  (Quote) #

    A dictionary definition will never be a sunstitute for caselaw — especially one written by and for “journalists.”

    Nice try!

  6. myson April 1, 2009 at 4:44 am  (Quote) #

    Please gives us the case law that contradicts this find ??
    Its about time these statements are backed up with the caselaw or legislation that says what you claim.
    This whole site is about case law & legislation that Doc finds (he’s a very good researcher)you dont have to like it but you’re free to contradict openly here but you MUST back up your view otherwise all you’re saying is BS & emotions.
    I’m sorry if i sound a bit testy but we’ve been on this for several months the Obots have been producing case law & legislation that backs up there position, the other side does nothing just gimmicks or relying on dicta.

  7. brygenon April 1, 2009 at 4:57 am  (Quote) #

    Beckwith for some reason wrote:

    “A dictionary definition will never be a sunstitute for caselaw”

    That’s why the reference cites the definition to case law.

    What did you think “United States v. Rhodes (U. S.) 27 Fed. Cas. 785, 789” meant? Did you read “Town of New Hartford v. Town of Canaan, 5 Atl. 160, 364, 54 Conn. 39” to be something other than a legal citation?

  8. brygenon April 1, 2009 at 5:02 am  (Quote) #

    Before anyone bothers to refute ‘anon’ by laboriously counting the many words that are capitalized in the Constitution in contexts where we today would would set the primary letter in its lower-case, consider the possibility that anon might not have meant that comment as seriously as some seem to have taken it.

  9. Dr. Conspiracy April 1, 2009 at 6:18 am  (Quote) #

    You’re joking, right? April Fool?

    1. The Constitution capitalizes lots of nouns without special meaning.
    2. The text of the cited case Lynch v. Clarke makes specific reference to Article II of the Constitution.

  10. Dr. Conspiracy April 1, 2009 at 6:23 am  (Quote) #

    1) The “dictionary” definition presented is a compendium of case law.
    2) WestLaw is an information compiler and publisher, not journalists.
    3) WestLaw publishes for lawyers and paralegals, not for journalists.

    Certainly the temptation is here to heap on ridicule, but I am content to be right.

  11. Dr. Conspiracy April 1, 2009 at 6:30 am  (Quote) #

    Well at least we can take comfort from this capitalization issue because based on it, we can completely disregard the lower case ruminations of Emmerich de Vattel!

    Muahahahahaha! 😉

  12. Dr. Conspiracy April 1, 2009 at 7:00 am  (Quote) #

    By the way, I have been reading “Town of New Hartford v. Town of Canaan, 5 Atl. 160, 364, 54 Conn” and it is very interesting and very applicable. Naturally Tes has this already covered over at What’s Your Evidence?

  13. anon April 1, 2009 at 7:17 am  (Quote) #

    “April Fool?”

    Darn it, I should have thought of that and waited 10 minutes to post.

  14. Chris April 1, 2009 at 11:08 am  (Quote) #

    So, then….this settles it, no?

  15. Zuzu April 1, 2009 at 1:24 pm  (Quote) #

    As Dr. C. pointed out, the publication is NOT a dictionary, but a compendium of caselaw.

    The language is directly taken from the cases cited. You could have found that out by looking up the cases cited.

    And by the way, the “National Reporter System” describes the system by which the publisher reports cases (there are regional reporters as well)…not a system “written by and for journalists.” You could have looked that up as well

  16. Bob Weber April 1, 2009 at 1:26 pm  (Quote) #

    But in the German translation of de Vattel (German being another language of Switzerland), ALL of the nouns would be capitalized, as is the German convention! [;^)

  17. brygenon April 1, 2009 at 1:56 pm  (Quote) #

    ROFL! “Settles it”. You guys and your April Fools posts. Like it wasn’t settled already, but now it is.

    They’ve been to and they’re still demanding he show his birth certificate. They got his draft registration directly from the Selective Service, and they still say he forged it. The Chief Justice of the United States swore him in, and they still claim his presidency is unconstitutional.

    Settling a conspiracy theory… too funny.

  18. Sally Hill April 1, 2009 at 6:29 pm  (Quote) #

    Nice find! Finally, some new reading on the subject.

    So, let’s see. I’m taking my x-Landlord to court over his not returning my deposit. So, all I have to do now is show him some caselaw stating my case and it’s all settled and a done deal?

    I sure wish it did work that way!

  19. brygenon April 1, 2009 at 7:50 pm  (Quote) #

    Better yet, Sally, it’s the answer to the one thing you questioned. On March 13 you wrote, “The only thing I question is the LEGAL definition of NBC.”

    If you were hoping for help with your landlord/tenant dispute, you may be in the wrong place.

  20. Jim Buzzell April 30, 2009 at 1:31 pm  (Quote) #

    Since this is a determination of those courts, it is the veiw of those courts.

    The constitution cannot be changed to reflect the thinking of any single person or persons. As we know it takes an affirmative vote of 3/4 of the states to approve ratification if brought to them, and then by ammedment. It has not, to my knowledge!

  21. Dr. Conspiracy April 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm  (Quote) #

    And it was the case in the states before the ratification of the Constitution, and has been ever since, that those born in the country are natural born citizens.

  22. millie123 June 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm  (Quote) #

    I just started paying attention to this mess and find your site very informative. Don’t know if you’re willing to post a link to or not. That blurb is just a hoot, and, as a woman myself, the issues brought up deserve discussion. Of course, there may not be precedent to discuss such earth-shattering views. It is sexist in the extreme to try to ignore the egg-bestowing natural born right that she had as a mother at the time of Obama’s birth.

  23. Dr. Conspiracy June 8, 2009 at 12:59 pm  (Quote) #

    Thanks. That presents a different perspective!

  24. kimba June 8, 2009 at 2:11 pm  (Quote) #

    This is one bit of birther logic that really bugs me. This is 2009, not 1789. There is a distasteful, misogynistic flavor in the writings about citizenship that dismiss Obama’s mother. Stanley Ann Dunham IS a natural born citizen and conveyed that status on her son. How anyone could think differently in 2009 boggles my mind, let alone to believe that a court would agree with that kind of medieval foolishness. But they dismiss his mother on many levels: she was a “pregnant teen”, she was unmarried when she got pregnant, with a black man, she admitted needing public assistance. Sickening.

  25. Joyce June 8, 2009 at 2:13 pm  (Quote) #

    “It is sexist in the extreme to try to ignore the egg-bestowing natural born right that she had as a mother at the time of Obama’s birth.”

    Beyond the citizenship egg and the sperm there is the US citizen womb that provided the first environment for pre-birth Obama. Certainly that counts for something.

    I find it ironic that while women is some countries are fighting today for the right to pass citizenship on to their children, birther women are working hard to give up that right.

  26. Dr. Conspiracy June 8, 2009 at 3:28 pm  (Quote) #

    I think President Madison was right when he said that allegiance can come from parentage or from place of birth. There are many variations, a child who never knew his parents, or a child born somewhere and raised in another country. Madison said that place of birth was the most certain, and how it is decided in the United States.

    What the birthers miss in their appeals to anti-immigrant sentiment is the essential wisdom of the Constitution in making the ultimate decision through elections. The voters today can take into account anything and everything in deciding who will be president (within the slim constitutional qualifications).

    The nObama movement believes (although they rarely say it) that the voters were stupid to elect Obama and some of them believe that it was certain racial groups that contribute most to that stupidity. What they fail to reckon with is the fact that the majority of all demographics (except white guys with no college education, and the elderly) went for Obama.

  27. Dan September 4, 2009 at 12:29 pm  (Quote) #

    Please add the years to the citations. This will give people an idea of how long ago the issue has been addressed. And it is traditional to cite the year.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.