Skip to comments.Would the Founders Have Cared Where Ted Cruz Was Born?
Posted on 08/28/2013 8:45:24 AM PDT by Nero Germanicus
From beginning to end, the debate over Senator Ted Cruz and his birth certificate has been silly. Like the "birtherism" debate surrounding Barack Obama, it shows that many Americans think our Constitution is a Harry Potter book of spells ("Mandamus! Habeas Corpus! Nullus indviduus mandatus!"). The "natural born" citizen clause in particular appeals to the mythological imagination.
The clause is found in Article II § 1 cl. 5, which contains three and only three requirements for a potential president: He or she must be 35 years old, must have lived in the U.S. for 14 years, and must be "a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution."
What was the reason behind this third requirement? Many people are convinced that the "purpose" of the Clause was to bar Alexander Hamilton (born in Nevis in the Caribbean) from the presidency. But the provision above says in so many words that anyone who is a citizen "at the time of the adoption of this Constitution" can be president. Hamilton had become a citizen of New York by act of the legislature in 1782. He didn't become president largely on account of the whole being-shot-to-death-by-Burr thing.
In fact, in 1787, no one over 11 -- not George Washington, not John Adams, not Thomas Jefferson -- was a "natural born citizen" of something called "the United States of America." The first "natural born citizen" to enter the White House, by my count, was Martin Van Buren in 1836 -- who was born in 1782, five years before Philadelphia.
I don't think that the Framers were even thinking about potential presidents born to American parents abroad. Their concern was naturalized citizens, and it was a lot more immediate and urgent.
(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...
For the record, I approve of politicians doing this to each other.
Sure . . . Article II, section 1, clause 4 doesn’t exist in the Constitution.
Or is that Clause 5? Funny how some versions group words differently . . .
I'm pretty sure that if Ted Cruz were ever elected President then he would not become a puppet of the Canadian government.
This whole debate is stupid, because the original intent was to ensure loyalty to America and not a foreign sovereign.
Is this author serious? He sounds like an idiot. The “citizen...at the time of the adoption” clause was because it was impossible to find natural-born citizens of a country which didn’t yet exist.
yes, they did care
“I don’t think that the Framers were even thinking about potential presidents born to American parents abroad Their concern was naturalized citizens, and it was a lot more immediate and urgent.”
STOP RIGHT HERE! This idiot “THINKS” he knows what the framers intended, and then goes on to prove that he doesn’t.
No need to read further.
Except Hamilton was an honorable man, as were most of the Founders.
Burr was no such thing. He was an opportunist interested only in his own advancement. The other Founders greatly distrusted him, as they should have.
IOW, Burr was a politician of the type we’ve become so used to.
The "natural born" citizen clause in particular appeals to the mythological imagination.
Ahhh! Another freshing dose of distilled stupidity from the Atlantic!
I have a hunch that site and Salon are where people go after they can't even make it on television.
Ah yes, the "many people" opening often used by liberals to introduce their personal cockeyed opinions.
Yes, the founders were concerned with DUAL and DIVIDED loyalties.
They want the President to be DEVOTED to the United States and NOT to any other country.
I think that was the SPIRIT of their concern.
Having said that, let’s get real...
Being born a natural-born citizen does not guarantee that you will love America when you grow up ( See for instance, The American Taliban, John Walker Lindh ).
Being born a foreigner on the other hand does tell us where a person’s heart will lie when he becomes a naturalized American. I know of several foreign born soldiers who have fought bravely for this country.
These people are flat out nuts. I think they should form a chapter of "Conservatives to take out Ted Cruz" and get a grant from Soros......
“I’m pretty sure that if Ted Cruz were ever elected President then he would not become a puppet of the Canadian government.”
I’m pretty sure that if Barack Obama were ever elected President then he would not become a puppet of the Kenyan government or the socialists, or the Muslim nations, or the Muslim Brotherhood, or want to arm Al Qaeda-linked groups, or treat our best allies (Great Britain) with contempt, or ignore any other part of the Constitution that he feels like ignoring, etc. etc.
AND it doesn’t matter if you are pretty sure about something we have laws and the Constitution is the SUPREME law of the land, you can’t just dismiss it.
The same people say that Bam might not be so anxious to blow up the Syrians if he weren’t in the pocket of the Sunni Wahhabis.
So yeah, if they hadn’t meant it, it wouldn’t be in there.
Ted Cruz seems to be a good guy, but he has zero qualifications to be President.
And as for “natural born,” it’s hardly surprising that the Communist Atlantic wants to twist things.
Cruz is doing a good job right where he is, so far. Let’s encourage him to keep on doing it. We don’t gain anything by bending the Constitution just because the Democrats do it. First you bend it a little, then a little more, then you throw it in the garbage. That’s what the Atlantic wants us to do, for obvious reasons.
“I know of several foreign born soldiers who have fought bravely for this country.”
Please point me to which clause in article II says that “foreign born soldiers who have fought bravely for this country” are eligible to be president.
Obviously, Ted Cruz is *not* a “natural born citizen” of the United States.
I’m not arguing the constitutionality of the issue, I am arguing the SPIRIT of the issue.
Which is to say, I am for REPEALING the natural-born citizen clause of the constitution. It is obsolete and does not guarantee love and devotion to country.
Yup. Sad but true.
“Funny how some versions group words differently . . .”
So are you reading the King James Version or the New International Version of the Constitution?
Any ‘conservative’ not on his knees thanking God for Cruz is being paid, IMO.
Since the original draft allowed naturalized citizens to become President, and since the change was adopted without debate, it is hard to know exactly what the Founders were thinking. I suspect the truth is they were tired and were not particularly concerned, so they didn’t mind adopting a fairly well-known legal phrase that would prevent naturalized citizens (except for the Grandfather clause) from becoming President.
There wasn’t a loyalty clause in the Constitution. The People were supposed to ensure the person elected was a loyal US citizen - something voters don’t seem to care about any more, since no sane person would have suggested Obama thought well of the USA in 2008...
No but they would have asked to see a real birth certificate
“These people are flat out nuts. I think they should form a chapter of “Conservatives to take out Ted Cruz” and get a grant from Soros......”
Nope. I’m going to start a “Canadians for Cruz!” committee.
I would like to see Cruz as senate majority leader for a couple of terms.
Spoken like a Leftist-Theorist. Understanding the intent of the text of law is an essential task in upholding and enforcing that law. What people like this author want is to just go along with the author's interpretation of what and why the "natural born citizen" requirement is in the Constitution. But we're not to be ruled by the ever-changing whims of the Left (or Right for that matter). Original intent and understanding of the text is a basic and very important judicial step in correctly construing an ambiguous clause in the Constitution. It doesn't guarantee perfection but it does support the rule of law - a much happier state of society than the rule of man and his ever-changing whims in which we find ourselves today.
Yes. They would indeed have cared, otherwise they would not have taken the time to include specific clauses regarding eligibility.
Nearly every single person posting comments to this article is a liberal, so that says something about who actually reads The Atlantic. It’s trash.
However, I do think you should get that Soros grant. Congrats on your siding with the democrat/media complex. You do them proud.
I don’t think so. I’ve read two biographies, and there is very little admirable about him.
He was highly competent, but at least equally amoral. Ran as T. Jefferson’s running mate, and then tried to stab him in back in the Electoral College. Perfectly constitutional, but dishonorable. The only reason he failed is that Hamilton, who was Jefferson’s bitterest enemy, lobbied with Federalist electors not to give into Burr’s blandishments.
Nobody would look askance at him today, but he was shocking at the time.
A natural born citizen has been construed to mean born to at least one parent who is a U.S. citizen regardless of what soil he was on at birth. Here, it is alleged Cruz's mother, Eleanor, is a U.S. citizen by birth. This could very well mean Cruz is a natural born citizen. (Same could be true of Obama if his mother was in fact a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth. Why he evaded (and continues to evade) the issue is another story.)
He was the Bill Clinton of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a man of infinitely flexible principles.
No. Because if Ted Cruz was alive, and in the country back then, he would have been a British subject like Pres. Washington.
Ok, disregard this post...
For the record, I approve of politicians doing this to each other.
Put me on that record too.
Yes They had foresight and the very reason they designed it that way - was because of what we have now. O is not loyal to America/The Constitution. Once unwilling to follow it, it is always easier to never followed what they layout for us. And the results are - obamacare, illegal immigration, o not adhering to Congress and Congress doesn’t give a flip. One big circle downwards and we are reaping what liberals/commies/low level Americans sowed for us. Not enough voice and commitment from the good to overcome this evil that is allowed. I’m a believer in rules are rules and you don’t break them for ‘convenience’. Only pieces of s*** try to break them.
Nah, different websites. And I was in need of caffeine.
“a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution.”
In other words, there was an exception for George Washington and the other Founders, who were born before the Constitution was written and confirmed. No one was born an American before then.
I presume you know that, and were joking.
I didn’t say he was a good man, just a bad man with a spine. Could you really see Charlie Crist challenging someone to a duel with pistols, even one where the men were expected to miss on purpose?
Thomas Jefferson had Burr arrested and charged with treason but he was acquitted.
You're a BIRTHER!..............
I'm afraid I don't agree. Ideally, IMHO, a candidate needs three things to be highly qualified:
1) A clear understanding and devotion to the principles of the American founding, commitment to preserving and protecting the U.S. Constitution, and a fierce loyalty and determination to protecting America's interests as a free, safe and prosperous nation.
2) Political Experience: Necessary to understand and navigate the political environment both in terms of the electorate and also in terms of the administrative functions and the political realities of working with the other 2 branches.
3) Executive Experience: Necessary skills for managing a large organization, selecting talent, team building, delegation and oversight.
I submit that there is no potential candidate currently on the Horizon that has all three of these qualifications.
Cruz has #1, probably more so than any other potential candidate I can imagine (with the possible exception of Sarah Palin)
Cruz has #2 (see his Wikipedia bio
Admittedly, he lacks #3, whereas, say, Chris Christie or any other governor has that. But Christie lacks #1, as do most sitting governors. (Herman Cain had #1 and #3 too, but he lacked #2).
So please name one other single individual on the political scene who is more qualified.
I understand the NBC issue, and that needs to considered, although there is some legitimate room for interpretation of what that means.
But Cruz is a demonstrably brilliant guy, who clearly understands the Constitution, loves the USA as it was designed, has strong political/legal experience, and as far as I can see, so far has shown that he is 100% conservative on the issues that count.
So maybe he'll disappoint with some position, as so many others have done before him.
But name me anyone -- ANYONE -- who would be a better candidate and a better president.
Well, to be fair, some of them are just plain being stupid......
Yes, they would.
I told you to disregard the post, but noooo, you just had to throw some bait in the pond.