Skip to comments.Founder and Historian David Ramsay Defines a Natural Born Citizen in 1789
Posted on 04/02/2010 2:13:33 PM PDT by rxsid
"Friday, April 2, 2010
Founder and Historian David Ramsay Defines a Natural Born Citizen in 1789
In defining an Article II natural born Citizen, it is important to find any authority from the Founding period who may inform us how the Founders and Framers themselves defined the clause. Who else but a highly respected historian from the Founding period itself would be highly persuasive in telling us how the Founders and Framers defined a natural born Citizen. Such an important person is David Ramsay, who in 1789 wrote, A Dissertation on the Manners of Acquiring the Character and Privileges of a Citizen (1789), a very important and influential essay on defining a natural born Citizen.
David Ramsay (April 2, 1749 to May 8, 1815) was an American physician, patriot, and historian from South Carolina and a delegate from that state to the Continental Congress in 1782-1783 and 1785-1786. He was the Acting President of the United States in Congress Assembled. He was one of the American Revolutions first major historians. A contemporary of Washington, Ramsay writes with the knowledge and insights one acquires only by being personally involved in the events of the Founding period. In 1785 he published History of the Revolution of South Carolina (two volumes), in 1789 History of the American Revolution (two volumes), in 1807 a Life of Washington, and in 1809 a History of South Carolina (two volumes). Ramsay was a major intellectual figure in the early republic, known and respected in America and abroad for his medical and historical writings, especially for The History of the American Revolution (1789) Arthur H. Shaffer, Between Two Worlds: David Ramsay and the Politics of Slavery, J.S.Hist., Vol. L, No. 2 (May 1984). During the progress of the Revolution, Doctor Ramsay collected materials for its history, and his great impartiality, his fine memory, and his acquaintance with many of the actors in the contest, eminently qualified him for the task . http://www.famousamericans.net/davidramsay/. In 1965 Professor Page Smith of the University of California at Los Angeles published an extensive study of Ramsay's History of the American Revolution in which he stressed the advantage that Ramsay had because of being involved in the events of which he wrote and the wisdom he exercised in taking advantage of this opportunity. The generosity of mind and spirit which marks his pages, his critical sense, his balanced judgment and compassion,'' Professor Smith concluded, are gifts that were uniquely his own and that clearly entitle him to an honorable position in the front rank of American historians.
In his 1789 article, Ramsay first explained who the original citizens were and then defined the natural born citizens as the children born in the country to citizen parents. He said concerning the children born after the declaration of independence, [c]itizenship is the inheritance of the children of those who have taken part in the late revolution; but this is confined exclusively to the children of those who were themselves citizens . Id. at 6. He added that citizenship by inheritance belongs to none but the children of those Americans, who, having survived the declaration of independence, acquired that adventitious character in their own right, and transmitted it to their offspring . Id. at 7. He continued that citizenship as a natural right, belongs to none but those who have been born of citizens since the 4th of July, 1776 . Id. at 6.
Here we have direct and convincing evidence of how a very influential Founder defined a natural born citizen. Given his position of influence and especially given that he was a highly respected historian, Ramsay would have had the contacts with other influential Founders and Framers and would have known how they too defined natural born Citizen. Ramsay, being of the Founding generation and being intimately involved in the events of the time would have know how the Founders and Framers defined a natural born Citizen and he told us that definition was one where the child was born in the country of citizen parents. He giving us this definition, it is clear that Ramsay did not follow the English common law but rather natural law, the law of nations, and Emer de Vattel, who also defined a natural-born citizen the same as did Ramsay in his highly acclaimed and influential, The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature, Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns, Section 212 (1758 French) (1759 English). We can reasonably assume that the other Founders and Framers would have defined a natural born Citizen the same way the Ramsay did, for being a meticulous historian he would have gotten his definition from the general consensus that existed at the time.
Ramsays article and explication are further evidence of the influence that Vattel had on the Founders in how they defined the new national citizenship. This article by Ramsay is one of the most important pieces of evidence recently found (provided to us by an anonymous source) which provides direct evidence on how the Founders and Framers defined a natural born Citizen and that there is little doubt that they defined one as a child born in the country to citizen parents. Given this time-honored definition, which has been confirmed by subsequent United States Supreme Court and some lower court cases such as The Venus, 12 U.S. (8 Cranch) 253, 289 (1814) (Marshall, C.J., concurring and dissenting for other reasons, cites Vattel and provides his definition of natural born citizens); Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857) (Justice Daniels concurring took out of Vattels definition the reference to fathers and father and replaced it with parents and person, respectively); Shanks v. Dupont, 28 U.S. 242, 245 (1830) (same definition without citing Vattel); Slaughter-House Cases, 83 U.S. 36, 21 L.Ed. 394, 16 Wall. 36 (1872) (in explaining the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment clause, subject to the jurisdiction thereof, said that the clause was intended to exclude from its operation children of ministers, consuls, and citizens or subjects of foreign States born within the United States; Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U.S. 94 (1884) (the children of subjects of any foreign government born within the domain of that government, or the children born within the United States, of ambassadors or other public ministers of foreign nations are not citizens under the Fourteenth Amendment because they are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States); Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162, 167-68 (1875) (same definition without citing Vattel); Ex parte Reynolds, 1879, 5 Dill., 394, 402 (same definition and cites Vattel); United States v. Ward, 42 F.320 (C.C.S.D.Cal. 1890) (same definition and cites Vattel); U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 (1898) (quoted from the same definition of natural born Citizen as did Minor v. Happersett); Rep. John Bingham (in the House on March 9, 1866, in commenting on the Civil Rights Act of 1866 which was the precursor to the Fourteenth Amendment: "[I] find no fault with the introductory clause, which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen. . . . John A. Bingham, (R-Ohio) US Congressman, March 9, 1866 Cong. Globe, 39th, 1st Sess., 1291 (1866), Sec. 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes (1866)).
"Founder and Historian David Ramsay Defines a Natural Born Citizen in 1789"
Looks good. The After-Birthers will have their panties in a wad. ;-) Bump for later read.
Again proving the Constitution, its meaning, its wording , and its definitions were clearly a result of being referenced to Vattels Laws of Nations. So what does the Laws of Nations say about a Natural Born Citizen?
Vattel in Bk 1 Sec 212, states the following.
§ 212. Citizens and natives.
The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. The society is supposed to desire this, in consequence of what it owes to its own preservation; and it is presumed, as matter of course, that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of becoming members of it. The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children; and these become true citizens merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see whether, on their coming to the years of discretion, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they were born. I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.
Read more off my Blog
On April 10, 2008, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced a resolution expressing the sense of the U.S. Senate that presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was a ‘natural born Citizen,’ as specified in the Constitution and eligible to run for president. Sen. McCaskill knew Obama was not a U.S. Citizen, thats why she introduced this bill — dressing it up to look like it was in Sen. John McCain’s cause.
It was during the bill’s hearing that Sen. Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, made the following statement:
“Because he was born to American citizens, there is no doubt in my mind that Senator McCain is a natural born citizen,” said Leahy. “I expect that this will be a unanimous resolution of the Senate.”
At a Judiciary Committee hearing on April 3, Leahy asked Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, himself a former Federal judge, if he had doubts that McCain was eligible to serve as President.
“My assumption and my understanding is that if you are born of American parents, you are naturally a natural-born American citizen,” Chertoff replied.
“That is mine, too,” said Leahy.
What’s interesting here is that Sen. Leahy, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary, confirms that a “natural born” citizen is the child of American citizen parents.
Parents — that’s two. That’s BOTH parents.
Every time the words, “citizen” and “parent,” are used by Sen. Leahy and Sec. Chertoff, the plural case, “citizens” and “parents,” is used. The plural case is the operative case.
It is Sen. Leahy’s opinion — his own recorded words, in a formal Senate Resolution and on his U. S. Senate website — that Barack Obama is not a “natural born” citizen, and therefore not eligible to serve as Commander-in-Chief, regardless of his birthplace.
Obama had one American parent —singular — his mother. His father was a citizen of Kenya, and a subject of Great Britain.
Obama, himself, “at birth,” was a citizen of Kenya, and a subject of Great Britain — he says so on his own campaign website. This fact introduces the concept of “divided loyalties,” — the reason the founders created the eligibility requirement in the first place — a fact that further underlines Obama’s ineligibility.
The source of this information is Sen. Leahy’s own website. The webpage contains a statement about the resolution; the resolution, itself; the Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.); and an excerpt of Sec. Chertoff’s testimony.
The plural word “parents” is used four times. When used to identify the parents, the word “citizens” is used five times. That’s nine times that Sen. Leahy, on his own website describes the eligibility requirement. There is NO PLACE in any of these four documents where the singular case of “parent” or “citizen” is used.
The real purpose of this bill was to change article II, section 1, clause 5 of the Constitution of the United States with reference to the requirements of being a “natural born citizen” by the Democratic Party leadership — paving the way for an Obama run.
Both Leahy and Chertoff avoid addressing the “in the US mainland” (jus solis) element of the eligibility requirement and focus solely on parentage (Jus sanguinis) in making their arguments and by doing so bring focus to the fundamental reason Obama is not qualified. He had one American parent and one foreign parent. Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen — no matter where he was born.
Obama is a co-signer of this resolution. So, I guess he too agrees that one needs two American parents to be eligible for POTUS — except he doesn’t care — after all, he’s the Obamamessiah. Rules don’t apply to him.
Yes, both parents.
Very interesting. Bump to read later. Thanks!
Who, or "what" constituted a natural born citizen was well known to the framers. Jay would not have made such a suggestion to others (Washington & the rest of those in attendance at the Constitutional Convention) unless there was a clear understanding of what that term meant. The definition comes from a source that not only were the framers familiar with, but the founders (many who were both) as well.
NBC in the Constitutional drafts:
June 18th, 1787 - Alexander Hamilton suggests that the requirement be added, as: "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." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_born_citizen_of_the_United_States
July 25, 1787 (~5 weeks later) - John Jay writes a letter to General Washington (president of the Constitutional Convention): "Permit me to hint, whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Commander in Chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen." [the word born is underlined in Jay's letter which signifies the importance of allegiance from birth.] http://rs6.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field%28DOCID+@lit%28fr00379%29%29:
September 2nd, 1787 George Washington pens a letter to John Jay. The last line reads: "I thank you for the hints contained in your letter"
September 4th, 1787 (~6 weeks after Jay's letter and just 2 days after Washington wrote back to Jay) - The "Natural Born Citizen" requirement is now found in their drafts. Madison's notes of the Convention
The proposal passed unanimously without debate.
Original French version of Vattel's Law of Nations:
Emer de Vattel, Le droit des gens, ou Principes de la loi naturelle, vol. 1 (of 2) 
From Chapter XIX, 212 (page 248 of 592):
Title in French: "Des citoyens et naturels"
To English: "Citizens and natural"
French text (about citizens): "Les citoyens sont les membres de la societe civile : lies a cette societe par certains devoirs et soumis a son autorite, ils participent avec egalite a ses avantages."
To English: "The citizens are the members of the civil society: dregs has this company by certain duties and subjected has its authority, they take part with equality has its advantages."
French text (about "natural" born citizens): "Les naturels, ou indigenes, sont ceux qui sont nes dans le pays, de parens citoyens"
To English, gives this: "the natural, or indigenous, are those born in the country, parents who are citizens"
The same defintion was referenced in the dicta of many early SCOTUS cases as well...some examples:
"THE VENUS, 12 U.S. (8 Cranch) 253, 289 (1814) (Marshall, C.J. concurring) (cites Vattels definition of Natural Born Citizen)
SHANKS V. DUPONT, 28 U.S. 242, 245 (1830) (same definition without citing Vattel)
MINOR V. HAPPERSETT, 88 U.S.162,167-168 ( 1875) (same definition without citing Vattel)
EX PARTE REYNOLDS, 1879, 5 Dill., 394, 402 (same definition and cites Vattel)
UNITED STATES V WARD, 42 F.320 (C.C.S.D. Cal. 1890) (same definition and cites Vattel.)"
A detailed, historical, entomology of the term "Natural Born Citizen" can be found here: http://www.greschak.com/essays/natborn/index.htm
PNSN:”Mommy and Daddy must BOTH be born in the USA in order for Baby to be considered a natural born citizen of the USA.”
ODH:In your opinion, your crazy, crazy opinion, as no court has ever held such a statement to be true, nor is there a definition of “natural born citizen” found in the US Constitution.
ODH:As for your explicit definition, there’s not a law school in the country, nor a state bar exam that adopts your definition.
If my opion is so crazy as you claim, read some more crazy stuff.
In his 1789 article, Ramsay first explained who the original citizens were and then defined the natural born citizens as the children born in the country to citizen parents.
Hmm. I assume the hirelings are having a conference call/skype or maybe they’re in next door cubicles. Feverishly discssing and getting calls from Rahm about how to deal with this.
The word “dregs” is a mistranslation—there is a French word spelled like that which means “dregs,” but here it is the past participle of the verb “lier” (meaning “bound” or “connected” and spelled with an accent over the “e”).
Two Presidents before Obama, not counting those who were citizens at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, had a parent who was not born in the US—Chester Arthur (whose father was born in Northern Ireland) and Woodrow Wilson (whose mother was born in Carlisle, England). I don’t know if Arthur’s father or Wilson’s mother were formally naturalized. Wilson’s mother lived in the US from the age of 4. Arthur’s father lived in Quebec before coming to the US, and some people claimed that Chester Arthur was actually born across the border in Canada rather than in northern Vermont.
Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Biden and others would argue we have a living Constitution, the meaning of which is interpreted by the courts based on the needs of the time. If five Supreme Court members adhere to this philosophy, “natural born” can mean whatever they want it to mean.
That was the meaning and intent of the Founders of the US Constitution and David Ramsey is backing this fact up 223 years later.
"David Ramsay (April 2, 1749 May 8, 1815) was an American physician and historian from Charleston, South Carolina. He served as a South Carolina delegate to the Continental Congress in 17821783 and again in 17851786. He was one of the first major historians of the American Revolution."....
These 4 clowns also love living a lie.
As for Woodrow Wilson, his mother became a "citizen" when she married her husband who was a citizen, by way of a Congressional Act of February 1855, which stated,
any woman who might lawfully be naturalized under existing laws, married, or shall be married to a citizen of the United States, shall be deemed and taken to be a citizen. [Act of February 10, 1855, 10 Stat. 604, section 2]
This act was enacted in 1855. Woodrow Wilson was born in December 1856. Therefore, Wilson would have been born to two citizen parents...on U.S. soil and therefore an NBC.
And if 100 million Americans decide it means both parents must be citizens, who will win?
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