Skip to comments.Research - Vattel & the meaning of the Constitutional term "Natural Born Citizen"
Posted on 05/12/2010 12:36:53 PM PDT by rxsid
Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 from the U.S. Constitution states:
"No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty five years, and been fourteen Years a resident within the United States."
Mr Rogers has made a similar, if not the same, argument. I have looked a little further into the book in order to see if the usage of the words "actual obedience" is the same thing as "allegiance" in this context. The language is archaic and a bit confusing to follow, but I am making every effort to understand it correctly. Here is an excerpt that I THINK clarifies it.
If you will notices it says:
"If Aliens come as Enemies in the Realm, and possess themselves of a Town or Fort, and one of them has Issue born here, this Issue is an Alien; for it is not Cælum nor Solum that makes a Subject, but the being born within the Allegiance, and under the Protection of the King. "
In this sentence, he uses the word "Allegiance", which appears to indicate a political loyalty, and not a geographical or merely an "obedience" to the Kings laws. What's more, I looked up the words "Cælum" and "Solum". They appear to mean "Sky and Soil" in this context. If this is the correct interpretation of the Latin, then the sentence basically says that It isn't the sky or the soil (i.e. location or place) that makes one a Subject, but rather by being born of people who have allegiance to the king.
I would further suggest, that at this time in History, there was only one form of Government; Monarchy. As a result, foreign visitors to England would owe Obedience to their own King, not the King of England. They would be required to obey the commands of their own King if he bade them to leave England. (Or suffer the consequences.)
Further on in the book, it discusses the ownership of property by Aliens (not permitted) and the inheritance by Aliens and their children (not permitted) and various combinations of agreements and relationships between Aliens, Denizens, and Subjects. If I follow the examples correctly, it seems that they treat an alien (or a denizen, which is just an Alien permitted to reside there) and his children very differently from the way they treat a subject.
I suppose to be fair to the Court, almost all the cases I know about are correctly decided because the lawyers were not sophisticated, experienced, or knowledgible enough to get a Constitutional issue before a Court that could hear it.
But the threashhold proposition needs to be understood that the Supreme Court is a political institution. Half the expertise of the fine lawyers who practice there is involved in an understanding of the political forces that are likely to shape a decision on any individual case.
I may sound like a broken record on the subject of Vittel. There is no doubt that the founders used the term "natural born citizen" based on a reading of Vittel they thought would restrict eligibility to serve as President to persons who had a generational attachment to citizenship of our country.
And yes, I recognize there are lots of arguments that adoption of the 14th Amendment was not intended to affect this question.
But none of that is really relevant in the present context. The bottom line is that if an Obama eligibility case ever reaches the Court on facts that do not demonstrate his birthplace outside the geographical limits of the United States, the Court is going to hold that by adoption of the 14th Amendment, we eliminated any question about the quality of citizenship of a person born in the United States.
The Court is going to hold him eligible unless the record demonstrates that he is born outside the US.
Now careful legal work is likely to be able to place the evidentiary burden on Obama to show where he was born but some of the many pleadings in these cases do not do this correctly and will muff this issue. Fortunately I now believe most of those cases are gone. But this is one of the places a real legal action needs to start--be sure we are able to get the burden on the ultimate issue on Obama.
If we do that, and he still gets a finding of fact that he was born in the US, it doesn't matter who his father was or where the father was born or where he was a citizen--the Supreme Court will find Obama eligible to serve.
I wish we could decipher the other names on that cover...Is the book available to look at in the Library?
I would suppose so, but I don't know what efforts you would have to make with the Library staff in order to see it.
Thanks. I think I just stumbled on to a bit of luck though. :)
A denizen is an alien born, but who has obtained ex donatione regis letters patent to make him an English subject: a high and incommunicable branch of the royal prerogative. A denizen is in a kind of middle state between an alien, and natural-born subject, and partakes of both of them. He may take lands by purchase or devise, which an alien may not; but cannot take by inheritance: for his parent, through whom he must claim, being an alien had no inheritable blood, and therefore could convey none to the son. And, upon a like defect of hereditary blood, the issue of a denizen, born before denization, cannot inherit to him; but his issue born after, may. A denizen is not excused from paying the alien's duty, and some other mercantile burthens. And no denizen can be of the privy council, or either house of parliament, or have any office of trust, civil or military, or be capable of any grant from the crown.
It appears to me, that the only aliens whose issue can be "natural-born citizens" are those who formally swear allegiance or "actual obedience" to the crown ... such as an alien who has applied for denizenship. The child of a "denizen" born BEFORE denization cannot inherit (i.e., is NOT a natural-born subject), but the one born AFTER denization CAN inherit and is thus a natural-born subject.
This is the same in the U.S. basically as not being a citizen at birth until AFTER the father naturalizes.
What the Blackstone passage doesn't make clear is that a "denizen" BEFORE denization is just an alien, therefore the child of such a person cannot inherit and is therefore NOT a natural-born subject. Once the alien becomes a denizen with actual obedience and allegiance to the crown, THEN the child may inherit and is thus a natural-born subject. This seems to be missed when the interpreters of common law say they children of aliens are natural-born subjects ... this is only for the children of aliens born in the country AFTER the denization of the father.
citizenship is allegiance the derives from personal commitment that has no forced value placed upon it, one is free to accept it or refuse it and the only way a child can legally be a citizen at birth is for the citizen parents, who are under the law of citizenship, to consent for the child who is not old enough to speak for them self.
therefore, anyone who tries to define natural born citizenship via a forced allegiance that is derived out of forced obedience fails to make his case. There is nothing natural about forced allegiance aka anchor babies as all babies born to aliens under English common law is a natural born subject because the crone says so, this is called jus corona...law of the ruler.
jus commune is law of nature(law of blood of the father) that has been since the beginning of time ... a child born to a stranger is a stranger, a child born to a member of the tribe is a member of that tribe at birth. While all may live in the land and are subject to the laws of the land, not all are who are born in the land are “of” the land
That is a very good point, and that is also what I seemed to be reading in Bacon's book cited above. The fact that such people are treated differently in Inheritance law demonstrates pretty conclusively that the English Common law did not really regard them as the same.
While poking around a bit more, I found this interesting 1915 essay by F. T. Piggott explaining why he believes English Common law is such a mess regarding British Subject status. He echoes a concern mentioned by Patlin above. (That of forceable Patriation.) Not that any of us needs something more to read! :)
And this is a point I try to get through to people. "Jus Soli" is incompatible with a free people. It is FORCED patriation, and it's use serves the interest of a Monarch who makes people his servants, but it does not serve the interests of a Free Republic.
There is an interesting link to an 1915 essay by a F. T. Piggott in the previous message. It's long, but it covers some of the territory we have discussed here.
It was my pleasure.
Yeah, I saw that. No doubt some Obot supporters in the woodwork like termites. Same thing in the Media, which is even worse.
See subsequent discussion in this thread with Patlin and edge919.
Yeah, I saw that. I think Instapundit even picked it up!
Well FRiend, whatever you did, keep it up! I just wish my blog postings were that good. For that matter, I wish my local newspaper was that good.
All the best,
This is one of the great Constitutional issues of our time. All the locker room lawyers here on Free Republic think the Supreme Court answer is clear as are the facts--why do we suppose it is so difficult to get to a resolution?
See remainder of David's comment at # 402.
England was part of German Saxony before the split which was a result of the Norman conquest. So one has to go back before the conquest and look to see what the Constitution of the country was at that time. It very mush was like that which we have today, the government being made up of the heads of each household which was we call the “legislature” & this “legislature” elected a “king” from among the heads. The “king” was merely a title, it held no power. The only duty of the “king” was to lead the army in battle, PERIOD! The natural increase in citizenship, yes they used “citizen” in the society was by blood only. However, there was immigration just as the founders adopted that required an oath of allegiance to the adopted society only by the head of the household, the legal representative for each household.
Our founders were well studied in this rich history of how England was formed. We all need to take a lesson from them and set Vattel aside for the moment as his works have clouded people from reaching their potential where history is concerned.
Thanks, I got lucky. Sorry I forgot to add your name to the initial message, but I was hoping the ones I pinged would get the message out to everyone else. :)
It is fascinating to read the reference, which makes perfect sense in the context of natural-born citizenship. My angle is that I find it unimaginable that Founders meant, by natural born citizen, the spawn of foreign/enemy nationals. Its absurd to think that was their idea. They were not, iow, codifying the King of Englands right to sire future POTUSs. Those who argue otherwise are beyond the realm of my comprehension. I think like a patriot, and no patriot I know wants a half-foreigner to lord it over us. The odds of half-foreigners hating the US and/or lacking allegiance to it are much greater than for natural born citizens.
As I have pointed out repetitively, prior to 1922 (cable act) and 1934 (Women's citizenship act) it was not even possible to have a split nationality child. In most of this countries history, the nationality of the child followed the father. Upon marriage, a woman became the same nationality as her husband, so any children were automatically of the same nationality as whatever the father was. We are dealing with a circumstance of which the founders had likely never conceived.
Thanks. I hope we can find a lot more before this is over.
Another link in the chain of evidence.
The MSM and the politicians never ventured to question that dog and pony show Obama staged when he posted his new forged long-form COLB and then distracted attention from it with the bin Ladin raid.
Do not ever doubt that this man is solely motivated by what he sees as in HIS best interest. I find the nearly simultaneous occurrence of the two events to be rather excessively coincidental.
But the birth issue is still unresolved. As before, the left will keep putting it to bed or sweeping it under the rug or insulting anyone who brings it up, but its not going to go away.
Nor should it. We need to keep harping on it, and spreading the word. If we educate enough of the public as to what is correct, eventually people will "get it."
No telling for sure, but several of the early stories about the bin Ladin raid said that they had discovered where he was about six months earlier, but that Obama delayed doing anything about it.
Obama always delays such matters, but the likeliest explanation is that he was planning to use it to increase his popularity before the next election. His poll numbers did pop for a few weeks after it took place--people are pretty dumb about these things, and the media went all out.
But it looks to me as if he may have been working with Trump--who has donated only to Democrats and RINOs in the past, and has made some of his money by working with the government--so that he would have a plausible reason for suddenly releasing his fake long-form COLB after two or three years of unexplained delay, and then used the planned bin Ladin raid as a way to immediately take attention away from the birth issue again. Wasn't it kind of strange the way the leftist media gave so many opportunities for Trump to spread his message? Of course he's a master PR guy with media connections, but the leftie talk shows strangely helped, perhaps on covert directions from their political masters.
Please feel free to ping me any time! There’s some really fascinating stuff coming to light, it seems to me. I’ve always thought it would hit the fan eventually. The lower BO’s poll #s go, the more we’ll learn about his mysterious past.
As for NBC, there is no mystery there. The Founders didn’t envision half-foreigners to be NBCs, and anybody who says otherwise is just not thinking clearly, period.
Thanks for all your great work. I don’t have the time to post right now that I wish I did, but I try to follow the overall discussions. You’re on fire as usual; it’s great to see your work get posted. I look forward to more in the future.
"Finally, with M. de Vattel, I account a State a moral person, having an interest and will of its own; and I think that State a monster whose prime mover has an interest and will in direct opposition to its prosperity and security. This position has been so clearly demonstrated in the pamphlet first mentioned in this essay, that I shall only add, if there are any arguments in favour of returning to a state of dependance on Great Britain, that is, on the present Administration of Great Britain, I could wish they were timely offered, that they may be soberly considered before the cunning proposals of the Cabinet set all the timid, lazy, and irresolute members of the community into a clamour for peace at any rate. CANDIDUS"
All Europe must allow, that while America was in the greatest good humour with her old mother, a scheme was laid to keep up a large standing army in her capital towns, and to tax her at pleasure for the support of it. They see that, from time to time, the most fraudulent and violent measures have been taken to support their entirely unprecedented claim, till at last, drained of their national troops, they have applied for assistance to other nations. By the law of nations we were discharged from our allegiance the moment the army was posted among us without our consent, or a single farthing taken from us in like manner; either of these being fundamental subversions of the Constitution. "It remains entirely with ourselves to have ample justice done to us. We have nothing to do but declare off, and appeal to the droit des gens. A very respectable power has given as unequivocal proofs as can be wished of her disposition to right us.
"Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground. It presented us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased. We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature, and found them engraved on our hearts. Yet we did not avail ourselves of all the advantages of our position. We had never been permitted to exercise self-government. When forced to assume it, we were novices in its science. Its principles and forms had entered little into our former education."
II. Be it enacted, by the general assembly of Maryland, That the marquis de la Fayette, and his heirs male for ever, shall be, and they and each of them are hereby deemed, adjudged, and taken to be, natural born citizens of this state, and shall henceforth be entitled to all the immunities, rights and privileges, of natural born citizens thereof, they and every of them conforming to the constitution and laws of this state, in the enjoyment and exercise of such immunities, rights and privileges.
What makes this significant is that it represents a complete acknowledgement by the Entire Legislature of Maryland that Citizenship shall descend through the male line, i.e. "Fathers." No mention is made of "place" whatsoever. This act Precedes the ratification of the US Constitution by the Maryland Assembly, and it is a reasonable to believe that they fully understood and agreed with the concept of citizenship through descent of Fathers 3 1/2 years later when they ratified the Constitution.
You might be interested in some stuff I just put into this thread. :)
Thanks for posting..a few freepers know this subject...it’s good to know you are digging and on on our side.
We appreciate your kind and natural wisdom.
Thanks for the ping. It looks like fascinating and valuable research. I plan to be back to read it more thoroughly as soon as time permits.
It is my pleasure. Let me also say how much I appreciate the work that you and others have done. It is a shame that the ability to weigh and reason has fallen out of fashion in our nation. We have become addicted to the drugs of seemingly free money and mind atrophying entertainment.
"Timothy Cunningham's Law Dictionary (1771) was the only law dictionary that James Madison ordered for the Continental Congress. It was one of the most popular comprehensive English dictionaries of the late eighteenth century, and was found in many personal libraries, including those of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. It was contemporaneously used by various American Supreme Courts for clarification of legal terms. (Berry, pp.347-8). Under the "Aliens" section of his Law Dictionary, Cunningham defined "natural-born subject" as one who is born within the king's realm, of parents who are under the king's "actual obedience":
All those are natural born subjects, whose parents, at the time of their birth, were under the actual obedience of our king, and whose place of birth was within his dominions. (Cunningham, p.95, in section entitled "Aliens")
Note: Justice Scalia cited Timothy Cunninghams New and Complete Law Dictionary (1771) in the recent Washington, DC, v. Heller case.
The exact same definition of "natural-born subject" is found in Matthew Bacon's A New Abridgment of the Law, Volume 1, published in 1736. (Bacon, Matthew, p.77).
When the U.S. Constitution was being written, Giles Jacob's New Law Dictionary (1782) was "the most widely used English Law dictionary" (Berry, pp.350-1). Jacob defined "subject born" (an actual natural-born subject) as anyone born within the king's realm, of parents who are under the king's "actual obedience":
There are two incidents regularly that are necessary to make a subject born: first, that his parents, at the time of his birth, be under the actual obedience of the king; Secondly, that the place of his birth be within the king's dominions. (Jacob, p.40)
On a related note, both are listed under "Common Law" in the Tarlton Law Library.
1700's natural born Citizen (or subject) = born in country to 2 citizen (subject) parents.
Thank you for your research!
“Now careful legal work is likely to be able to place the evidentiary burden on Obama to show where he was born but some of the many pleadings in these cases do not do this correctly and will muff this issue.”
So go find someone who can establish standing in the courts and bring his/her case to the courts. You don’t get any discovery that might lead to evidence until you have standing. None of the courts allowed discovery in any case involving Obama’s eligibility. There’s been no discovery “to place the evidentiary burden on Obama,” and nothing to muff.
I’ve thought that Marco Rubio might be a good candidate. He could force the courts to decide his own eligibility since his parents were not (apparently) citizens at the time of his birth, albeit in the US. He could argue that he’s being considered to run as a VP candidate, and given succession, he would have to know before accepting the position if he were constitutionally eligible.
Such a suit, were it to proceed and to obtain a SCOTUS Opinion, wouldn’t at this point unseat Obama, but it would resolve the Framers’ intent.
Unfortunately, the SCOTUS and all the federal courts are, in fact, political institutions. The justices/judges read the newspapers. They read polls. There was no way in hell they were going to take any case involving Obama during his first two years in the White House when most of the challenges were proceeding, unsuccessfully, in the courts.
Exactly, if Obama Sr. was his father then he became a Kenyan citizen,British at the time and later Kenyan. Later still Indonesian.There is no case for him to have been eligible to run for potus.Whomever vetted him should be tried for treason.
Good work! This very much reinforces the idea that the English law on citizenship was not simply so cut and dried as being "born there" as many would have us believe. I suspect it is Blackstone that has caused the most problem in this regard. The whole issue begs the question: If the only requirement is being "born there" then why mention parents in the definition?
Would you happen to have images of the original documents? I think the point is more strongly reinforced when people can see the actual print, and the cover page of the book it came from.
You might also find this bit of text interesting.
*Otis died suddenly in May 1783 at the age of 58 when, as he stood in the doorway of a friend's house, he was struck by lightning. He is reported to have said to his sister, Mercy Otis Warren, "My dear sister, I hope, when God Almighty in his righteous providence shall take me out of time into eternity that it will be by a flash of lightning".
Regarding images, I agree (have a look at my profile...or this thread for example). Time to conduct additional (or extensive) research is at a premium for me these day, lately. When I get the chance, I'll dig around for supportive information.
Keep up the good work!
Pages 115-116 of this book. Link
I'm glad you mentioned Lynch v. Clarke (A state case, not a Federal case.) The logic of the court was that since New York did not have a statute defining citizenship, the court had decided to use the English Common law definition. The New York Legislature immediately rebuked the court by passing a citizenship definition statute that effectively overturned the ruling in Lynch v. Clarke for any subsequent cases.
As I keep telling you, It is the DUTY of the PEOPLE to REBUKE the COURT when the court is wrong.
Thanks. Take a look at the footnote. It pretty much says the book was thoroughly used by the congress and specifically in the Constitutional Convention.
I recall reading that the Dumas Copies had specific notes in the margins. I believe Franklin made some notes in one of the copies as well. Wouldn’t it be awesome if one of the copies used by the Constitutional Convention had notes indicating that was the specific source for the Natural Born citizen clause?
The Common Law Common-placâd (1733)
"And one born out of the King's Allegiance, coming and residing in England, his children born here are not aliens but Denizens."
From "The Volokh Conspiracy."
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