Native Born Citizenship vs Natural Born Citizenship
May 3, 2012 Leave a comment
The greatest travesty in the political history if our republic was made possible due to a wide-spread lack of understanding of the meaning of the word “natural” (as used in Article II of the US Constitution). Natural is not, and never has been, interchangeable with the word “native”. Native refers to the land in which one is born, the land of ones ancestry, ones country, though not necessarily ones nation because nations appear and disappear but the land is forever.
To be born in a certain country usually makes one a native of the nation that occupies that country, but being a native is not the same as being a citizen. Moses was a native born Egyptian, as was the entire Hebrew nation, but while he was a citizen of Egypt, they were not because they were not natural born Egyptians, (while he was adopted). He also was not a natural born Egyptian because he was a natural born Hebrew, born to a Hebrew mother and father and a natural part of the Hebrew people who remained a separate and distinct people even though Egypt was their only home and had been for many centuries.
But Egypt was the home of the Egyptians for many millennia and no one was not conscious of that distinction. So while the Hebrew nation/people occupied Egyptian soil, within the Egyptian nation (political entity), which occupied the country of Egypt (geographical entity), the Hebrews were born into a society in which they were not natural born citizens even though they were native born subjects.
The distinction between the land of ones nativity and the nation of ones citizenship is of paramount importance. The clearest evidence of that fact is the example of Kuwait. When the Iraqi army conquered Kuwait, it did not conquer the nation of Kuwait, only the country of Kuwait, because the nation of Kuwait fled into exile where it still existed until it was able to return to the country of Kuwait and repossess the land. Any child born to a Kuwaiti abroad was not a citizen of the land of its birth but was instead a natural born Kuwaiti and part of the Kuwaiti nation because it was born from parents who were Kuwaiti. Kuwaiti citizenship was its natural inheritance by birth. No law was needed to make it so, it was so by nature of its birth to Kuwaiti citizens.
German parents who delivered a child in Nazi occupied France didn’t give birth to a French citizen but a German citizen because the child was German by birth to German parents, and thus a German citizen.
So, with more examples to follow, let’s examine the meaning of the word “natural”. That which is Natural come by nature. Nature is biological, not geographical. You could draw geographical boundaries on the moon, or Mars but there is nothing of nature on either because they are barren wastelands. Nature only exists where there is life. For something to be natural it has to come from nature, not geography, nor politics. Whatever is natural is beyond the power of any law-making or enforcing entity to change, just like inalienable rights with which humans are born.
So the association of the word “natural” with the word “born” refers to a biological association, not a geographical association. The association of the word “native” with the word “born” refers to a geographical association, and not a biological association. So it can be said that the land of ones nativity is not always the same as the nation of ones citizenship although it is generally almost universally so. That has changed in the United States due to the general acceptance of the words of the 14th Amendment at their simplest interpretation.
The definition of a country as a delineated geographical entity is different from what constitutes the nation that occupies that geography, and both can change over time. Germany, leading up to WWII felt that areas in other nations were a natural part of the country of Germany, and so, by invasion, they took steps to make those areas in reality to be part of the nation of Germany. But time proved that countries are one thing and nations are another and they don’t always and forever overlap perfectly. So nativity, the country of ones birth, is not synonymous with the nation of ones citizenship.
What happened to Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia also demonstrates this point. Having citizenship in either of those countries by reason of native birth or natural born citizenship eventually became void because both the countries and the nations ceased to exist. Then citizenship was determined by geography or choice. This split happened because natural born members of various groups didn’t mix into a new hybrid group with a new identity. The split wasn’t because of where individuals were or were not born, but because of who they were born to. Ones membership in a group came by the nature of their parentage, not their nativity.
Lastly, there’s the example of Native Americans, native Australians, and slaves. The native Americas and Australians were truly both native born and natural born members of their nations/peoples and their country was the land that they belonged to by geography and parentage. Where as slaves were not native born members of any group since the soil that they were born on was irrelevant and immaterial to anything in a legal or cultural way. They were natural born Africans and natural born slaves since those were the only things that they inherited from their parents. When an American or Australian native couple was transported to Britain during the colonial era, and gave birth to a child there, that child would be a natural born member of their tribe-nation even though the land of their nativity was not the same as, the land of their origin. Was it the legal position of the British government that such a child was under the jurisdiction of the crown and not their parents, even though they were only visitors? That’s not reasonable, fair, nor sane.
Children born to parents of a group are natural born members of the group by inheritance from the parents, regardless of where they are born. The Vikings traveled and settled far and wide. Their off-spring were Vikings regardless of whether they were born in the native homeland, or in Greenland, or in Europe or Russia. They were natural born Vikings. The framers of the Constitution required that the US President be a naturally born member of the group -which is: citizens of the U.S. They required that the President’s citizenship be citizenship conferred on him at birth, by birth, that is, birth to US citizens, and possibly, in an even stricter sense, also native born. In other words, his citizenship had to be citizenship that he inherited, citizenship that came naturally, not by law or statute, nor geography. If geography was meant to be required, it was meant to be in addition to natural citizenship, not in place of it.
They meant to assure that his loyalty was solely to the United States due to his parents being loyal citizens of the United States. That is the reason why they put that requirement (loyalty) ahead of the 2nd requirement (maturity) and the 3rd requirement (residency). Loyalty by natural citizenship was the only way to insure that a native born loyalist citizen was not empowered with the command of the United States military by reason of election to the Presidency, which he could use to the harm of the republic and its citizens.
by a.r. nash 2011