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Alexander Hamilton weighs in

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton made a suggestion to the Constitutional Convention as to what he though qualifications for a president might be, and this wording appeared in an early draft of the Constitution:

No person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States unless he be now a Citizen of one of the States, or hereafter be born a Citizen of the United States.

This is what was finally adopted by the Convention, although worded somewhat differently. (Natural born citizen just means born a citizen, as the Constitution only recognizes two types of citizen natural born and naturalized.)

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28 Responses to Alexander Hamilton weighs in

  1. jvn August 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm  (Quote) #

    The problem with this quote is that the claim is being made (by Leo Donfrio) that this draft was before John Jay’s letter to Washington, and that the committee then altered Hamilton’s language to make it more restrictive by adding the words “natural born” to the qualification, contending that they thus outlined that there is a difference between a “born citizen” and a “natural born one.”

    I agree with you, but that’s the current spin…

  2. Bob August 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm  (Quote) #

    The changes to Hamilton’s language exclude the possibility of a naturalized citizen becoming president.

    It is a straw-man argument to say that citizen and natural-born citizen are synonymous; who is taking that position?

  3. sponson August 5, 2009 at 4:51 pm  (Quote) #

    I agree with Dr. C’s interpretation of Hamilton’s own intent. Even Hamilton would not have wanted Jefferson’s children if born in France, for example, to be ineligible. Slightly off topic, I highly recommend the new Kenyan Birth Certificate Generator website. It’s speedy and gets you Orly Taitz-worthy results, every time. Great for sending the URL of the results to your birther “friends.”

  4. jtx August 5, 2009 at 5:00 pm  (Quote) #


    You – like most on this site – seem to have missed the fact that no birth certificate is the real issue as so many of you try to pretend (though perhaps you are really that foolish).

    The actual issue is whether or not Obama is legally eligible to hold the office he now occupies (period). And none of us get to decide that … it will be settled in a court of law whether you like it or not.

  5. Bob August 5, 2009 at 5:07 pm  (Quote) #

    it will be settled in a court of law whether you like it or not.

    Which case? Which court?

  6. nbc August 5, 2009 at 5:39 pm  (Quote) #

    Still waiting for this mysterious court case. Kerchner is doomed, Orly’s is well… she may never get to serve the plaintiffs correctly

  7. Greg August 5, 2009 at 7:02 pm  (Quote) #

    Don’t hold your breath. It’s not going to be decided in any courtroom.

  8. Shrieking wombat August 5, 2009 at 8:58 pm  (Quote) #

    Oh dear:

    “Hi Everyone,
    Carl Swensson with the Citizens Grand Jury and Chalice with Patriots Heart Network just gave me a call from DC and said that they have just had their access to the Rayburn House Office Building restricted this morning. They have been there for the past two days delivering documents including Presentments in an effort to reach all of the Senators and Congressmen but for some reason they do not know, they are being told that they can’t continue. Carl asked me to post this needed call for help. He asked everyone to call the Congressional Hotline and get the facts about this restriction and protest it.”

  9. Sarina August 5, 2009 at 9:51 pm  (Quote) #

    I posted the case of Leticia Barwell,and McCreery, as natural born citizen and a birther told me that was a law back in 1824 that can’t be applied to Barack Obama!

  10. misha August 5, 2009 at 10:13 pm  (Quote) #

    sponson: Thank you for the link. My cat’s Kenyan birth certificate is here.

    I cannot tell everyone how happy he is to discover he is a denizen of Kenya.

  11. misha August 5, 2009 at 10:25 pm  (Quote) #

    It’s about time someone told those reptiles to crawl back under their rocks.

    F’em. (a great idea popularlized by VP Cheney)

  12. kimba August 5, 2009 at 10:37 pm  (Quote) #

    You know, I thought since 9/11, the average person couldn’t just roam the halls in the congressional office buildings anymore. That’s why the built the big shiny new visitors center that’s set back from the capitol building to funnel all the average joes through the visitors center.
    It is a disadvantage we average citizens have been put at. Lobbyists aren’t restricted. So there’s something more to this story.

  13. kimba August 5, 2009 at 10:39 pm  (Quote) #

    I believe the proper usage is
    “Go Cheney yourself.” But I could be wrong.
    ( nice BC, a nice Jewish boy, Kenyan-born, whoda thunk it.)

  14. BlackLion August 5, 2009 at 10:41 pm  (Quote) #

    Have you read those comments? These people are so desparate to believe in the Kenyan BC that they are making up laws of the Commonwealth of England….Crazy…

  15. kimba August 5, 2009 at 11:23 pm  (Quote) #

    I stopped reading Swensson’s stuff because the site is a mess and I got tired of all his “hear ye hear ye” , ‘Patriot”, “here endeth the lesson” cr@p. Old English faux officialdom and throw in some Dog whistle stuff to the white supremists. Yuck

  16. Shrieking wombat August 5, 2009 at 11:37 pm  (Quote) #

    I did post there alerting them to the fact that the assertion that UK laws somehow apply to the South Australian government is pure undistilled batshit, but of course it was wiped.

    Each Australian state has its own Births, Deaths and Marriages legislation, and doesn’t rely on hand-me-down documents from the UK.

  17. Welsh Dragon August 6, 2009 at 1:45 am  (Quote) #

    Yep! that piece of nonsense was cropping up on blogs on day yesterday.

    They have no idea what the Commonwealth is, no idea how decolonisation occured, no idea of the difference between statute and common law, well they’ve just no idea period!

    A little aside – what Americans tend to call ‘England’ is really a Union of England,Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland. Birth registration is not even uniform across these.There’s seperate laws for Scotland and Northern Island.

  18. Shrieking wombat August 6, 2009 at 2:39 am  (Quote) #

    Yes, but now they’re instant experts on British colonial policy. It’s sheer unhinged lunacy.

  19. Expelliarmus August 6, 2009 at 2:41 am  (Quote) #

    I wonder what law requires all births throughout the British Empire to be recorded on page 5733 of book 44B by some guy named Lavender. (?)

  20. Shrieking wombat August 6, 2009 at 3:06 am  (Quote) #

    The one they just made up.

  21. Nullifidian August 6, 2009 at 4:34 am  (Quote) #

    Ah, who cares? Alexander Hamilton was just an illegal immigrant from the island of Nevis. He’s not a real American like Orly Taitz.

  22. Lupin August 6, 2009 at 5:53 am  (Quote) #

    I can photoshop, er, I mean FIND (yeah that’s the ticket) a card proving that Hamilton, like Scarlett O’Taitz, was a member of KGB.

  23. Lupin August 6, 2009 at 5:57 am  (Quote) #

    Very likely in a court of law staffed by apes in the future.

    And when they find against you, you’ll be pounding the sand screaming “YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT!! DAMN YOU! G*D DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!!”

  24. Dr. Conspiracy August 6, 2009 at 7:59 am  (Quote) #

    Debra says: “He [Obama] has no intentions of helping blacks out there on welfare, it is only a front to get their vote. ”

    And says this after castigating NBC for “reading her mind”. It appears that she has no problem claiming that she reads the President’s secret intentions. The double standard cries out for criticism.

  25. misha August 6, 2009 at 10:23 am  (Quote) #

    “He’s not a real American like Orly Taitz.”

    Or Barack Obama. (bada-bing)

  26. misha August 6, 2009 at 10:26 am  (Quote) #

    I know full well the Magna Carta still governs all transactions in the UK and America. (irony alert)

  27. misha August 6, 2009 at 10:30 am  (Quote) #

    Remember the old adage: 100 chimpanzees with 100 typewriters, will eventually produce “War And Peace.” (bada-bing)

  28. Vince Treacy August 6, 2009 at 5:08 pm  (Quote) #

    This was discussed at Turley when “Alex Hamilton chimed in. The exchanges are at Aug. 1, 9:06 PM and Aug. 3 at 9:38 PM.

    As usual, Leo’s theories do not hold water. Hamilton’s formulation excluded only naturalized citizens, and only from Presidency and VP, keeping the exception very narrow.

    Alex still has not gotten back to the source of “We [Alexander Hamilton and the framers] had no intention of permitting the children of aliens to hold the highest office.” I must reluctantly conclude that he is not the real Alexander Hamilton, but just someone posting anonymously.

    According to Professor John Yinger, Hamilton warned implicitly, early in the Convention before the natural born citizen clause was introduced, against any provision that created second-class citizens. Hamilton pointed out the “advantage of encouraging foreigners” to come to the United States, and said: “Persons in Europe of moderate fortune will be fond of coming here when they will be on a level with the first citizens.” Madison agreed with Hamilton. “He wished to invite foreigners of merit & republican principles among us.”

    It appears that Hamilton, an immigrant himself, was not in favor of restrictions on immigrants, and would have favored a broad reading of “natural born,” not a narrow one that excluded children born in the U.S. to alien immigrants.

    This is made clear by looking at his entire suggested draft: The full clause was: “No person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States unless he be now a citizen of one of the States, or hereafter be born a citizen of the United States”

    Note the words that are not there. He did not say “born to citizens” or “citizen parents” or “citizen” father. He did not say born in the United States. He said “born a citizen of the United States.”

    The words exclude a narrow category of naturalize citizens from the Presidency and Vice Presidency. At the time, just about everyone born in the United States was born a citizen, except for the child of the British Ambassador. Just about everyone born in Britain became a British subject, except for the child of the American Ambassador.

    The evidence shows that Hamilton favored the immigration of aliens to the United States.

    Source and context:

    QUOTE The first draft of the Constitution that contained the Electoral College also was also the one that first contained the clause restricting presidential eligibility to natural born citizens.(3) This joint appearance of the Electoral College and the denial of presidential eligibility for naturalized citizens is somewhat ironic. After all, the switch to the Electoral College lowered the need for explicit presidential qualifications because it minimized the line of potential foreign influence running to the President through the Legislature. However, the long debate about eligibility requirements for legislators apparently left the Founders uncomfortable with prospect of eliminating all eligibility requirements in the process of presidential selection. As a result, they added the natural born citizen requirement even though it was no longer needed.

    This addition may have been controversial. In fact, two of the most influential Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, argued against it, at least implicitly, earlier in the Convention by warning against any provision that created second-class citizens. Hamilton pointed out the “advantage of encouraging foreigners” to come to the United States. Then he said: “Persons in Europe of moderate fortune will be fond of coming here when they will be on a level with the first citizens.” Madison agreed with Hamilton. “He wished to invite foreigners of merit & republican principles among us.” UNQUOTE, footnotes omitted.

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