Skip to comments.United States Never Adopted Jus Soli from England (Must Read on Birthright)
Posted on 04/09/2007 10:45:31 AM PDT by AZRepublican
Q: When did the United States Adopt Jus Solis?
Answer: United States never did adopt it, and instead, abandoned it.
After the Revolutionary War the first thing the colonies threw out was Englands much hated perpetual allegiance. To the colonists, perpetual allegiance was much like perpetual bondage, and was considered both a dirty phrase and offensive. To say America freely adopted common law rule of jus soli would be like suggesting America adopted Nazism after WWII.
Under jus soli, there was no personal choice. Under old English common law, foreigners were not required to owe any allegiance to the nation in advance, only birth upon British soil without condition. Under common law, dual allegiance could easily be forced upon a child, something Americans greatly despised and guarded against.
Founder Rufus King said allegiance to the United States depended on whether a person is a member of the body politic. King says no nation should adopt or naturalize a person of another society without the consent of that person. The reason? Because he ought not silently to be embarrassed with a double allegiance.
Theodore Roosevelt called dual allegiance a self-evident absurdity. Adams said a man who confesses to several allegiances is not a man anyone could completely trust. There was to be no dual allegiance in the United States, and the framers went to pains to make sure the evil could never exist.
After the current Constitution was adopted, America devised its own rules governing citizenship that resembled nothing like jus soli under common law that had been abandoned. Instead of forcing allegiance upon a person, it was required that they consent in advance and renounce all allegiance they owed to their country of birth.
Under American law it was required for foreigners three years before admission to first record their intent to become citizens with a local court. Furthermore, foreigners were required to take a oath that it is their intention to become a citizen of the United States, and that they renounce forever any allegiance and fidelity to another country. Upon this, children born to him/her would be considered born within the allegiance of the United States, and thus, a citizen of the United States even though the father had not yet been awarded citizenship.
Under common law, none of the above was required, and so, proves without a doubt the United States never adopted jus soli. Anyone who says different is a very troubled person.
The 39th Congress adopted the same allegiance requirements under the Fourteenth Amendment: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.
What did subject to the jurisdiction mean? It was defined by Lyman Trumbull, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary: Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means.
The primary author of the Fourteenths citizenship clause, Sen. Jacob Howard, said subject to the jurisdiction means the the same jurisdiction in extent and quality as applies to every citizen of the United States now.
The construction applied to the citizenship clause by its framers dramatically departs from the rule of jus soli, and thus, differs in operation. Under Howards construction the clause could had well read: All persons born to citizens of the United States are citizens of the United States.
Next time someone says America adopted the rule of jus soli, or adopted Englands common law of birthright, laugh at em. Finally, I will finish with some words of wisdom from TR.From the melting pot of life in this free land all men and woman of all nations who come hither emerge as Americans and nothing else. They must have renounced completely and without reserve all allegiance to the land from which they or their forefathers came. And it is a binding duty on every citizen of this country in every important crisis to act solidly with all his fellow Americans, having regard only to the honor and interest of America, treating every other nation purely on its conduct in that crisis, without reference to his ancestral predilections or antipathies. If he does not act, he is false to the teachings and lives of Washington and Lincoln; he is not entitled to any part or lot in our country and he should be sent out of it. (Theodore Roosevelt, "The Children of the Crucible" New York, Sept. 9, 1917)
Winston Churchill was an American citizen, thanks to his American mother, till his 21st birthday, when he had to choose between British and American citizenship.
A very reasonable approach. Permanent dual citizenship is an oxymoron.
Congress failed to address birthright citizenship when Republicans were in control of both houses and could have easily passed a bill that would pass Supreme Court muster. It is certainly not going to be fixed under the Democrats.
Very interesting article—thanks for posting it.
P.S. Personally against dual (or multiple) citizenship. Pro jus soli.
Strongly against jus sanguinis (citizenship based on genetic race--citizenship by blood), as is the case in Japan. Thus, Americans of Japanese descent are also Japanese citizens, from the point of view of the Japanese government.
Get to work, all you legal eagles.
I think you have to explain how this case was wrongly decided if you want to get rid of jus soli, and I don’t think it is reasonably possible to do so:
169 U.S. 649
United States v. Wong Kim Ark
APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
No. 18 Argued: March 5, 8, 1897 -— Decided: March 28, 1898
A child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States, by virtue of the first clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution,
> I think you have to explain how this case was wrongly decided
Already done, see:
>if Jus Soli was abolished then someone should be able to point to specific statutes that abolished it
Easy, look at our Naturalization Laws from 1785 onwards.
Look at how the framers of the citizenship clause recorded the meaning of “subject to the jurisdiction”:
Not owing allegiance to anybody else.” AND...
the same jurisdiction in extent and quality as applies to every citizen of the United States now.
It’s all there, recorded and in plain view.
> Already done, see:
Good arguments, and they seem well researched and reasoned.
But, honestly, what do you think are the odds that the Supreme Court is going to overturn 110 years of precedent that has been cited in other decisions in order to correct the Wong court?
Easier to re-amend the Constitution to clarify the question, would be my take on it.
Well the court has overturned itself after 100 years before. Consider also the ruling in Wong Kim had nothing to do with illegal aliens either.
Our judiciary just plum sucks when it comes to ruling on the written law. Too much agenda and bias involved in the supreme court.
> P.S. Personally against dual (or multiple) citizenship. Pro jus soli.
How can you be pro jus soli and against dual citizenship? Jus Soli creates dual citizenship because it is a act of force against the consent of the parents.
Forcibly denouncing the other (non-American) citizenship of the baby. And in the majority of cases (where the parents either American natives or naturalized citizens, or want their children to be Americans) of jus soli, there isn’t disagreement or conflict with the baby being American by birth.
Oh yes there was always conflict and disagreement with what you assert. All through the late part of the 19th century aliens came to America to have children, then returned to their countries. They did this so they could use american citizenship to remove the burdens of their home countries. Austria and Germany compelled 18 y/o’s to millitary service, and the parents could claim the children could not be compelled to military service being Americans!
Jus Soli is ripe for abuse in a modern world.
> Well the court has overturned itself after 100 years
> before. Consider also the ruling in Wong Kim had nothing
> to do with illegal aliens either.
It’s exceedingly rare, though, for the court to do so.
I agree that Wong Kim Ark can be read narrowly, to exclude those in the US illegally. That is, perhaps, the more feasible course.