We ARE the strict constructionists. The problem is that most of these people are not even aware of the fact the United States had a different set of citizenship laws for each one of the States until long after the phrase was written into the Constitution.
John Jay, Goerge Washington, and the other Founding Fathers knew exactly what the phrase meant, and they knew perfectly well that they were talking about allegiance and not about the place of birth. The misrepresentations being disseminated in the SCOTUS case law and discussions are difficult to follow and understand because they are based upon false assumptions that naturally lead to conflicting and nonsensical interpretations. When you disregard all this later revisionism and return to the plainly written words of the Founding Fathers and the works of the authors like Vattel whose Law of Nations they relied upon, the errors of the later revisionists become obvious.
The following is a response I just posted in another thread, and it explains how the phrase is referring to allegiance a person has at birth as determined by the varying laws existing at the time in each of the thirteen States of the Union.
So far we have assumed that the conventional meaning of natural born citizen for those learned in the law in the eighteenth century was equivalent to the meaning of natural born subject in nineteenth century English law. But is this assumption correct?
No, the assumption is not correct. The British common-law was a relatively recent, 18th Century, abnormal departure from and in contradiction to the customary Law of Nations stretching back two millenia to the Roman Republic and earlier. The recent propensity to assume the 18th-19th Century English common-law practice of making the place of birth, jus soli, the method of determining status as a natural born subject equivalent to a natural born citizen is based upon widespread public ignorance and an erroneous confusion of the purpose and means of determining citizenship.
The place of birth, jus soli, is just one of many METHODS for determining ALLEGIANCE to a sovereign. There are many other METHODS which were used to determine ALLEGIANCE to a sovereiegn. Descent by blood, jus sanguinni, is another method used to determine allegiance to a sovereign. Descent from foreign parents, jus albinatus, was a method of denying allegiance to the sovereign in whose domains a person was born. In each circumstance, it is the allegiance which determines citizenship, and it is one or more of the methods which determines that allegiance.
A person natural born in the domain of a sovereign with parents of foreign citizenship and owing allegiance to another sovereign as a result of jus albinatus is the natural born citizen of the other sovereign, and is not the natural born citizen of the sovereign in whose domain the person was born. This was the actual law and practice in old France and many other nations at a time when England used jus soli as a method of claiming the allegiance of every person born in the dominions of the sovereign of England.
Upon the Revolution as of 4 July 1776, the United States of America abolished the British common-law and each state began to enact its own statutory citizenship laws in replacement of the former British common-law. The new statutory laws were modeled on a mixture of international law and custom as described by the works of Vattel and others of like background with respect to the Law of Nations. In every such law, the authors were concerned with allegiance to the sovereign State using a variety of methods including combinations of jus soli and jus sanguinni to determine the natural born allegiance of a person.
So when the phrase “natural born subject” or “natural born citizen” was used at the time of the origin of the Constitution, the true meaning of the phrase is “born in nature with allegiance to a sovereign” of this or another domain. As in old France, the sovereign owed the allegiance was not necessarily going to be the sovereign of the domain which was the place of birth, unless the place of birth was a domain of Britain.
The phrase, “natural born citizen,” as it was used in the Constitution was all about “natural born” allegiance and not about “natural born” place of birth. This is why the Founding Fathers understood exactly what they meant to say when they wrote the phrase into the Constitution for the purpose of excluding any person born with allegiance to a foreign sovereign from serving as Commander-in-Chief or being eligible to the Office of the President. As used by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, the phrase means “a person born in nature with allegiance only to the United States of America.” Each of the thirteen States of the Union had enacted its own laws to determine who could and could not be a Citizen of that State and thereby also a Citizen of the United States. Since dual nationality did not exist at that time, no person born with allegiance to another sovereign could possibly also be “a person born in nature with allegiance only to the United States of America.”