In Minor, written only six years after the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, the Court observed that:
The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.
Ankeny admitted they had no legal precedent and no real guidance for the 'conclusion' from Wong Kim Ark:
We note the fact that the Court in Wong Kim Ark did not actually pronounce the plaintiff a natural born Citizen using the Constitution‟s Article II ...
How did they get guidance when they admit there's no legal precedent.
“The only legal precedent both cases could formally cite for defining natural-born citizenship is from Minor v. Happersett.”
You aren’t good at reading, are you...
“II. The fundamental principle of the common law with regard to English nationality was birth within the allegiance, also called “ligealty,” “obedience,” “faith,” or “power” of the King. The principle embraced all persons born within the King’s allegiance and subject to his protection. Such allegiance and protection were mutual — as expressed in the maxim protectio trahit subjectionem, et subjectio protectionem — and were not restricted to natural-born subjects and naturalized subjects, or to those who had taken an oath of allegiance, but were predicable of aliens in amity so long as they were within the kingdom. Children, born in England, of such aliens were therefore natural-born subjects. But the children, born within the realm, of foreign ambassadors, or the children of alien enemies, born during and within their hostile occupation of part of the King’s dominions, were not natural-born subjects because not born within the allegiance, the obedience, or the power, or, as would be said at this day, within the jurisdiction, of the King.
This fundamental principle, with these qualifications or [p656] explanations of it, was clearly, though quaintly, stated in the leading case, known as Calvin’s Case, or the Case of the Postnati, decided in 1608, after a hearing in the Exchequer Chamber before the Lord Chancellor and all the Judges of England, and reported by Lord Coke and by Lord Ellesmere. Calvin’s Case, 7 Rep. 1, 4b-6a, 18a, 18b; Ellesmere on Postnati, 62-64; S.C., 2 Howell’s State Trials, 559, 607, 613-617, 639, 640, 659, 679.
The English authorities ever since are to the like effect. Co.Lit. 8a, 128b, Lord Hale, in Hargrave’s Law Tracts, 210, an in 1 Hale P.C. 61, 62; 1 Bl.Com. 366, 369, 370, 374; 4 Bl.Com. 74, 92; Lord Kenyon, in Doe v. Jones, 4 T.R. 300, 308; Cockburn on Nationality, 7; Dicey Conflict of Laws, p. 173-177, 741.
In Udny v. Udny, (1869) L.R. 1 H.L. Sc. 441, the point decided was one of inheritance, depending upon the question whether the domicil of the father was in England or in Scotland, he being in either alternative a British subject. Lord Chancellor Hatherley said: “The question of naturalization and of allegiance is distinct from that of domicil.” P. 452. Lord Westbury, in the passage relied on by the counsel for the United States, began by saying:
The law of England, and of almost all civilized countries, ascribes to each individual at his birth two distinct legal states or conditions: one, by virtue of which he becomes the subject of some particular country, binding him by the tie of natural allegiance, and which may be called his political status; another by virtue of which he has ascribed to him the character of a citizen of some particular country, and as such is possessed of certain municipal rights, and subject to certain obligations, which latter character is the civil status or condition of the individual, and may be quite different from his political status.
And then, while maintaining that the civil status is universally governed by the single principle of domicil, domicilium, the criterion established by international law for the purpose of determining civil status, and the basis on which
the personal rights of the party, that is to say, the law which determines his majority or minority, his marriage, succession, testacy or intestacy, [p657] must depend,
he yet distinctly recognized that a man’s political status, his country, patria, and his “nationality, that is, natural allegiance,” “may depend on different laws in different countries.” Pp. 457, 460. He evidently used the word “citizen” not as equivalent to “subject,” but rather to “inhabitant,” and had no thought of impeaching the established rule that all persons born under British dominion are natural-born subjects.
Lord Chief Justice Cockburn, in the same year, reviewing the whole matter, said:
By the common law of England, every person born within the dominions of the Crown, no matter whether of English or of foreign parents, and, in the latter case, whether the parents were settled or merely temporarily sojourning, in the country, was an English subject, save only the children of foreign ambassadors (who were excepted because their fathers carried their own nationality with them), or a child born to a foreigner during the hostile occupation of any part of the territories of England. No effect appears to have been given to descent as a source of nationality.
Cockburn on Nationality, 7.
Mr. Dicey, in his careful and thoughtful Digest of the Law of England with reference to the Conflict of Laws, published in 1896, states the following propositions, his principal rules being printed below in italics:
“British subject” means any person who owes permanent allegiance to the Crown. “Permanent” allegiance is used to distinguish the allegiance of a British subject from the allegiance of an alien who, because he is within the British dominions, owes “temporary” allegiance to the Crown. “Natural-born British subject” means a British subject who has become a British subject at the moment of his birth.” “Subject to the exceptions hereinafter mentioned, any person who (whatever the nationality of his parents) is born within the British dominions is a natural-born British subject. This rule contains the leading principle of English law on the subject of British nationality.
The exceptions afterwards mentioned by Mr. Dicey are only these two:
1. Any person who (his father being an alien enemy) is born in a part of the British dominions, which at the time of such [p658] person’s birth is in hostile occupation, is an alien.
2. Any person whose father (being an alien) is at the time of such person’s birth an ambassador or other diplomatic agent accredited to the Crown by the Sovereign of a foreign State is (though born within the British dominions) an alien.
And he adds:
The exceptional and unimportant instances in which birth within the British dominions does not of itself confer British nationality are due to the fact that, though at common law nationality or allegiance in substance depended on the place of a person’s birth, it in theory, at least, depended not upon the locality of a man’s birth, but upon his being born within the jurisdiction and allegiance of the King of England, and it might occasionally happen that a person was born within the dominions without being born within the allegiance, or, in other words, under the protection and control of, the Crown.
Dicey Conflict of Laws, pp. 173-177, 741.
It thus clearly appears that, by the law of England for the last three centuries, beginning before the settlement of this country and continuing to the present day, aliens, while residing in the dominions possessed by the Crown of England, were within the allegiance, the obedience, the faith or loyalty, the protection, the power, the jurisdiction of the English Sovereign, and therefore every child born in England of alien parents was a natural-born subject unless the child of an ambassador or other diplomatic agent of a foreign State or of an alien enemy in hostile occupation of the place where the child was born.
III. The same rule was in force in all the English Colonies upon this continent down to the time of the Declaration of Independence, and in the United States afterwards, and continued to prevail under the Constitution as originally established.
In the early case of The Charming Betsy, (1804) it appears to have been assumed by this court that all persons born in the United States were citizens of the United States, Chief Justice Marshall saying:
Whether a person born within the United States, or becoming a citizen according to the established laws of the country, can divest himself absolutely of [p659] that character otherwise than in such manner as may be prescribed by law is a question which it is not necessary at present to decide.
2 Cranch 64, 119.
In Inglis v. Sailors’ Snug Harbor (1833), 3 Pet. 99, in which the plaintiff was born in the city of New York about the time of the Declaration of Independence, the justices of this court (while differing in opinion upon other points) all agreed that the law of England as to citizenship by birth was the law of the English Colonies in America. Mr. Justice Thompson, speaking for the majority of the court, said:
It is universally admitted, both in the English courts and in those of our own country, that all persons born within the Colonies of North America, whilst subject to the Crown of Great Britain, are natural-born British subjects.
3 Pet. 120. Mr. Justice Johnson said: “He was entitled to inherit as a citizen born of the State of New York.” 3 Pet. 136. Mr. Justice Story stated the reasons upon this point more at large, referring to Calvin’s Case, Blackstone’s Commentaries, and Doe v. Jones, above cited, and saying:
Allegiance is nothing more than the tie or duty of obedience of a subject to the sovereign under whose protection he is, and allegiance by birth is that which arises from being born within the dominions and under the protection of a particular sovereign. Two things usually concur to create citizenship: first, birth locally within the dominions of the sovereign, and secondly, birth within the protection and obedience, or, in other words, within the allegiance of the sovereign. That is, the party must be born within a place where the sovereign is at the time in full possession and exercise of his power, and the party must also, at his birth, derive protection from, and consequently owe obedience or allegiance to, the sovereign, as such, de facto. There are some exceptions which are founded upon peculiar reasons, and which, indeed, illustrate and confirm the general doctrine. Thus, a person who is born on the ocean is a subject of the prince to whom his parents then owe allegiance; for he is still deemed under the protection of his sovereign, and born in a place where he has dominion in common with all other sovereigns. So the children of an ambassador are held to be [p660] subjects of the prince whom he represents, although born under the actual protection and in the dominions of a foreign prince.
3 Pet. 155. “The children of enemies, born in a place within the dominions of another sovereign, then occupied by them by conquest, are still aliens.” 3 Pet. 156.
Nothing is better settled at the common law than the doctrine that the children, even of aliens, born in a country while the parents are resident there under the protection of the government and owing a temporary allegiance thereto, are subjects by birth.
3 Pet. 164.
In Shanks v. Dupont, 3 Pet. 242, decided (as appears by the records of this court) on the same day as the last case, it was held that a woman born in South Carolina before the Declaration of Independence, married to an English officer in Charleston during its occupation by the British forces in the Revolutionary War, and accompanying her husband on his return to England, and there remaining until her death, was a British subject within the meaning of the Treaty of Peace of 1783, so that her title to land in South Carolina, by descent cast before that treaty, was protected thereby. It was of such a case that Mr. Justice Story, delivering the opinion of the court, said:
The incapacities of femes covert, provided by the common law, apply to their civil rights, and are for their protection and interest. But they do not reach their political rights, nor prevent their acquiring or losing a national character. Those political rights do not stand upon the mere doctrines of municipal law, applicable to ordinary transactions, but stand upon the more general principles of the law of nations.
3 Pet. 248. This last sentence was relied on by the counsel for the United States as showing that the question whether a person is a citizen of a particular country is to be determined not by the law of that country, but by the principles of international law. But Mr. Justice Story certainly did not mean to suggest that, independently of treaty, there was any principle of international law which could defeat the operation of the established rule of citizenship by birth within the United States; for he referred (p. 245) to the contemporaneous opinions in Inglis v. Sailors’ Snug Harbor, [p661] above cited, in which this rule had been distinctly recognized, and in which he had said (p. 162) that “each government had a right to decide for itself who should be admitted or deemed citizens,” and, in his Treatise on the Conflict of Laws, published in 1834, he said that, in respect to residence in different countries or sovereignties, “there are certain principles which have been generally recognized by tribunals administering public law” [adding, in later editions “or the law of nations”] “as of unquestionable authority,” and stated, as the first of those principles, “Persons who are born in a country are generally deemed citizens and subjects of that country.” Story, Conflict of Laws, § 48.
The English statute of 11 & 12 Will. III (1700). c. 6, entitled
An act to enable His Majesty’s natural-born subjects to inherit the estate of their ancestors, either lineal or collateral, notwithstanding their father or mother were aliens,
enacted that “all and every person or persons, being the King’s natural-born subject or subjects, within any of the King’s realms or dominions,” might and should thereafter lawfully inherit and make their titles by descent to any lands
from any of their ancestors, lineal or collateral, although the father and mother, or father or mother, or other ancestor, of such person or persons, by, from, through or under whom
title should be made or derived, had been or should be “born out of the King’s allegiance, and out of is Majesty’s realms and dominions,” as fully and effectually, as if such parents or ancestors “had been naturalized or natural-born subject or subjects within the King’s dominions.” 7 Statutes of the Realm, 90. It may be observed that, throughout that statute, persons born within the realm, although children of alien parents, were called “natural-born subjects.” As that statute included persons born “within any of the King’s realms or dominions,” it, of course, extended to the Colonies, and, not having been repealed in Maryland, was in force there. In McCreery v. Somerville, (1824) 9 Wheat. 354, which concerned the title to land in the State of Maryland, it was assumed that children born in that State of an alien who was still living, and who had not been naturalized, were “native-born citizens of the [p662] United States,” and, without such assumption, the case would not have presented the question decided by the court, which, as stated by Mr. Justice Story in delivering the opinion, was
whether the statute applies to the case of a living alien ancestor, so as to create a title by heirship where none would exist by the common law if the ancestor were a natural-born subject.
9 Wheat. 356.
Again, in Levy v. McCartee (1832), 6 Pet. 102, 112, 113, 115, which concerned a descent cast since the American Revolution, in the State of New York, where the statute of 11 & 12 Will. III had been repealed, this court, speaking by Mr. Justice Story, held that the case must rest for its decision exclusively upon the principles of the common law, and treated it as unquestionable that, by that law, a child born in England of alien parents was a natural-born subject, quoting the statement of Lord Coke in Co.Lit. 8a, that,
if an alien cometh into England and hath issue two sons, these two sons are indigenae, subjects born, because they are born within the realm,
and saying that such a child “was a native-born subject, according to the principles of the common law stated by this court in McCreery v. Somervlle, 9 Wheat. 354.”
In Dred Scott v. Sandford, (1857) 19 How. 393, Mr. Justice Curtis said:
The first section of the second article of the Constitution uses the language, “a natural-born citizen.” It thus assumes that citizenship may be acquired by birth. Undoubtedly, this language of the Constitution was used in reference to that principle of public law, well understood in this country at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, which referred citizenship to the place of birth.
19 How. 576. And, to this extent, no different opinion was expressed or intimated by any of the other judges.
In United States v. Rhodes (1866), Mr. Justice Swayne, sitting in the Circuit Court, said:
All persons born in the allegiance of the King are natural-born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country, as well as of England. . . . We find no warrant for the opinion [p663] that this great principle of the common law has ever been changed in the United States. It has always obtained here with the same vigor, and subject only to the same exceptions, since as before the Revolution.
1 Abbott (U.S.) 28, 40, 41.
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, speaking by Mr. Justice (afterwards Chief Justice) Sewall, early held that the determination of the question whether a man was a citizen or an alien was “to be governed altogether by the principles of the common law,” and that it was established, with few exceptions,
that a man born within the jurisdiction of the common law is a citizen of the country wherein he is born. By this circumstance of his birth, he is subjected to the duty of allegiance which is claimed and enforced by the sovereign of his native land, and becomes reciprocally entitled to the protection of that sovereign, and to the other rights and advantages which are included in the term “citizenship.”
Garder v. Ward (1805), 2 Mass. 244, note. And again:
The doctrine of the common law is that every man born within its jurisdiction is a subject of the sovereign of the country where he is born, and allegiance is not personal to the sovereign in the extent that has been contended for; it is due to him in his political capacity of sovereign of the territory where the person owing the allegiance as born.
Kilham v. Ward (1806), 2 Mass. 236, 265. It may here be observed that, in a recent English case, Lord Coleridge expressed the opinion of the Queen’s Bench Division that the statutes of 4 Geo. II, (1731) c. 1, and 13 Geo. III (1773), c. 21, (hereinafter referred to) “clearly recognize that to the King in his politic, and not in his personal, capacity is the allegiance of his subjects due.” Isaacson v. Durant, 17 Q.B.D. 54, 65.
The Supreme Court of North Carolina, speaking by Mr; Justice Gaston, said:
Before our Revolution, all free persons born within the dominions of the King of Great Britain, whatever their color or complexion, were native-born British subjects; those born out of his allegiance were aliens. . . . Upon the Revolution, no other change took place in the law of North Carolina than was consequent upon the transition from a colony dependent on an European King to a free and sovereign [p664] State; . . . British subjects in North Carolina became North Carolina freemen; . . . and all free persons born within the State are born citizens of the State. . . . The term “citizen,” as understood in our law, is precisely analogous to the term “subject” in the common law, and the change of phrase has entirely resulted from the change of government. The sovereignty has been transferred from one man to the collective body of the people, and he who before as a “subject of the king” is now “a citizen of the State.”
State v. Manuel (1838), 4 Dev. & Bat. 20, 24-26.
That all children born within the dominion of the United States of foreign parents holding no diplomatic office became citizens at the time of their birth does not appear to have been contested or doubted until more than fifty years after the adoption of the Constitution, when the matter was elaborately argued in the Court of Chancery of New York and decided upon full consideration by Vice Chancellor Sandford in favor of their citizenship. Lynch v. Clark, (1844) 1 Sandf.Ch. 583.
The same doctrine was repeatedly affirmed in the executive departments, as, for instance, by Mr. Marcy, Secretary of State, in 1854, 2 Whart.Int.Dig. (2d ed.) p. 394; by Attorney General Black in 1859, 9 Opinions, 373, and by Attorney General Bates in 1862, 10 Opinions, 328, 382, 394, 396.
Chancellor Kent, in his Commentaries, speaking of the “general division of the inhabitants of every country under the comprehensive title of aliens and natives,” says:
Natives are all persons born within the jurisdiction and allegiance of the United States. This is the rule of the common law, without any regard or reference to the political condition or allegiance of their parents, with the exception of the children of ambassadors, who are in theory born within the allegiance of the foreign power they represent. . . . To create allegiance by birth, the party must be born not only within the territory, but within the ligeance of the government. If a portion of the country be taken and held by conquest in war, the conqueror acquires the rights of the conquered as to its dominion and government, and children born in the armies of a State, while [p665] abroad and occupying a foreign country, are deemed to be born in the allegiance of the sovereign to whom the army belongs. It is equally the doctrine of the English common law that, during such hostile occupation of a territory, and the parents be adhering to the enemy as subjects de facto, their children, born under such a temporary dominion, are not born under the ligeance of the conquered.
2 Kent Com. (6th ed.) 39, 42. And he elsewhere says:
And if, at common law, all human beings born within the ligeance of the King, and under the King’s obedience, were natural-born subjects, and not aliens, I do not perceive why this doctrine does not apply to these United States, in all cases in which there is no express constitutional or statute declaration to the contrary. . . . Subject and citizen are, in a degree, convertible terms as applied to natives, and though the term citizen seems to be appropriate to republican freemen, yet we are, equally with the inhabitants of all other countries, subjects, for we are equally bound by allegiance and subjection to the government and law of the land.”
That decision is quoted at length in Ankeny.