April 4, 2014 2 Comments
~or how the Calvin case dooms our future~
America’s citizenship predicament is a result of an odd situation that occurred in England three centuries ago. The aftermath of how it was dealt with reverberates in the United States to this day.
Have you heard of or seen a case where an illegal alien woman, or a very pregnant Visa Card visitor gives birth in the U.S. so that her baby will be considered to be an American? Well, the absurd reason that the government mindlessly adheres to a self-damaging and brain-dead policy of citizenship is because of the aftermath of a court decision in the early 1600′s in England. It is known as the Calvin case.
It involved a Scotsman who inherited property in England. But an English law did not allow anyone but Englishmen to inherit English lands (nor, I would presume, to buy them either). But his lawyer found a way around the law and the court of 14 judges bought his argument.
He pointed out that even though his client was not English, he nevertheless was a subject of the English King and therefore a sort of English subject just like Englishmen. He was a subject of the English King although the King was first and foremost the King of Scotland.
England, without a male heir, was forced to turn to the young King of Scotland in order to supply someone to assume the throne of England. So James VI of Scotland became James I of England.
That’s how Scotsman came to be subjects of the King of England and thereby quasi-subjects of the English nation. But, of course, they were not real, natural Englishman, or natural subjects of the nation of England because they were natural subjects of the nation of Scotland. But they had one King in common.
How did that affect the issue of nationality? It had to affect it in order for a Scotsman to inherit English land, which is what the court wanted to be allowed. It affected nationality by changing the language and the orientation of nationality.
Before their decision, Englishman were not men without a country simply because they were men without a king. They were the natural members of the English nation. It’s native countrymen.
Following it, the court recognized that every Scotsman, who was born after James VI assumed the throne of England, was born being a subject of James I of England, and therefore could be grouped in with the natural subjects of the English nation. Those born before that ascension to the throne, remained as foreigners, as Scotsmen not born subject to the King of England.
So people in Britain were of three types; those who were still aliens to England, those born as subjects of the King, or “born subjects”, and those who were his natural subjects by being born with the blood of Englishmen. Aliens, born subjects, and natural subjects.
What was the difference in the real world between his Scottish born subjects and his English natural subjects? Well, with the barrier between them erased by the court’s decision that Scotsmen, -not as English subjects, but as royal subjects, could inherit English land, they essentially became equivalent before the law.
That was due to the focus on them and their relationship to England being shifted from England as a nation to the English King as a royal sovereign over both peoples. From then on the concept of nationality became distorted, bastardized from its natural focus on one’s relationship to their countrymen and their country, to one’s relationship solely to their king.
The focus shifted from the natural relationship of national membership to an artificial criterion which applied solely to the Scots.
Englishmen continued to be Englishmen by being born of Englishmen, but in addition, others were added to the kingdom of the king of both nations from the perspective of the English. From the perspective of James, he was the natural sovereign of the Scots and the artificial sovereign of the English.
To the English he was the artificial sovereign of Englishmen as well as the sovereign of new ancillary subjects (Scotsmen) who were now tied to the English in an artificial relationship, -and that relationship was based on where they were born and when they were born, instead of to whom.
They were tied to the English king by having been born within his dual dominion. They were not Englishmen and had no “blood connection” to them but had a connection of also being subject by simply being born under their king’s reign. That gave them a quasi-equality with Englishmen and their rights. So then they had as much in common as not.
The language used when referring to both separate groups was probably “the king’s natural & born subjects”, which in writing was probably shortened in time to simply “the king’s natural/born subjects”, or “natural-born subjects”.
With the new births of Scotsman under the combined reign of their common king, the English had to acknowledge that birth within the king’s dominion, under his sovereignty, required recognition of their “subject” nature and their inclusion based on their birth location, -not their blood.
Their inclusion under English law could not be based on their inheritance of English nationality from English fathers, so it had to be accepted that it was instead based on their birth within the borders of the king’s kingdom, -the new larger royal realm. [Like a father having two separate families in two separate homes.]
Thus appeared the the recognition of place of birth being a substantial co-equal factor in the determination of who were subjects, -not of England, but of the combined Crowns. So, thereafter there existed two means of national attachment and royal attachment.
One’s allegiance was owed not only to one’s English countrymen and nation, along with its laws and government, but also a separate allegiance owed directly to “his Royal Majesty”, the titular head of Church & State of England.
And… you no longer had to be born of an Englishman to be his subject. You could be born of any subject person who was within the boundaries of his domain as long as they were not invaders in possession of national territory, nor foreign ministers.
So other than birth to such men, you had those who were born of Englishmen as natural subjects of the king and nation, and also those who were born as subjects (but non-English) since he was their king also. Since they were his subjects from birth (-and naturally so since their fathers were subject to the king who ruled their country as part of his kingdom) they, like sons of Englishmen, could reasonably be labeled as his natural, born subjects, -even though of a completely different nation with a separate throne, (-but eventually united; -the United Kingdom).
Logic and meaning applied differently to the two separate types of subjects since some were only subjects of England while others were only subjects of Scotland. But those born after James because king of both realms, were in a sort of new fangled unnatural nationality situation.
One could say that both his born subjects (by place-of-birth within his realm, i.e., Scotland) as well as his natural subjects by the blood of Englishmen, were both born as his subjects, and were naturally subject to him, making them, in effect, both natural born subjects, although by different principles and origins.
Did the difference make a major difference in their lives? No, it made no difference whatsoever, -just as it makes no difference in America whether or not one is born of Americans or born of immigrants, -everyone is equal. Almost…
-but some are more equal than others when it comes to one arcane, totally unique, rarely attained but highly visible job. That job is the one held by the President of the United States, -the same man who also commands all of the nation’s defensive and offensive weaponry, systems, infrastructure, and military personnel (including 1000’s of nuclear bombs).
In Great Britain, it did not matter what the origin and source of your subjection to the king was, -whether birth within his expanded kingdom or birth to his Englishmen. He was king of both types of people, and now English law recognized them as subjects of the English king.
The property rights of his foreign subjects (Scotsmen) were thereafter protected from discrimination by English law thenceforth directed only at other foreigners, with the king, -as the head of both states, fulfilling his duty to defend his own peoples and uphold their rights under the laws and charters of the realm.
But in America there was that one, small, unusual, unique rare office that almost no one was capable of being elected to; -the Presidency.
Between America and England, there was only one King, and also there was only one President. Only one of each. The king was not appointed nor elected so there was no legal issue written in stone about what kind of bloodline he was required to have. In fact, he was not even required to be English, Scotch, Irish, or Welch, -not even British by blood. He could be a total foreigner!
Why would they allow such an insane thing? Because they were permanently locked into the monarchical system of government, -and when it failed to produce a male heir, they were forced to look abroad for a king or for a husband for the Queen.
A foreign husband was expected of a Queen because it bound nations together by marriage & blood (via their children) which otherwise might end up in enmity and at war. So having a foreign monarch or royal spouse was the protocol for the royals while it was the exact opposite for the leadership of the Americans. [* see Thomas Paine's explanation at bottom]
For that one single, exceptional, extraordinary position they would allow no royals at all, nor any nobles, nor aristocrats, nor any foreigners, nor… -and here’s the point where almost everyone falls into error, -no son of a foreigner either.
No person from a foreign nation who is not an American can be President, (-nor can he be made eligible by being naturalized), nor can his children be made eligible either since they, like him, are not naturally Americans, even though they are allowed by law to be citizens if born within the boundaries of the American “kingdom”.
As with the sons of Scotsman who were fortunate to be born after their king became the new king of England, the timing of one’s native-birth in America to immigrant parents is critical to whether or not, like Calvin, (born after James assumed the English throne), they could be deemed to be American citizens.
If born while their parents were still foreigners, they would not be off-spring of Americans and thus would not be describable as natural Americans, or natural citizens of America, i.e., natural born citizens, -but if born following their parents becoming Americans, then they would be American children by birth to Americans, but something more; -they would not be alien-born Americans like those born of un-naturalized foreign immigrants; they would be natural Americans, -which would make them eligible to be the American President. So birth timing mattered.
Being eligible to be President involves nothing more, citizenship-wise, than being in the same class with all equally eligible natural American citizens, and not being in the class of all alien-born American citizens. They make-up about 3% of the citizenry.
For those in the natural born citizen group, it does not matter if your father & mother became Americans the day you were born, or are descendents of the settlers who arrived as Pilgrims or Puritans, -because there is no difference since all natural citizens are equal.
Returning to the situation in Britain, a new development followed that of the situation in which Scottish children were the king’s new natural subjects at birth thanks to the adopted legal fiction that they were co-subjects of the English subjects, -into the mix is added…: children of European immigrants.
They were off-spring of foreigners, and at adulthood owed allegiance & obedience to their father’s foreign monarch, unless… the English king claimed them as his from birth. That would cripple the foreign king’s claim to their obedience and allegiance at adulthood being as the foreign English king was claiming them as his from the day they were born, (their whole life) -provided of course that the family were immigrants and not just visitors.
That made quite profitable sense to the English monarch since it increased the number of subjects that he could claim as his own, -all of those children of Europeans fleeing to England from endless European wars. He could not reasonably claim their foreign-born children, but could their England-born children, and so he did just that.
But what did he call such alien-born children of foreign fathers? The answer had already been provided by the Calvin case and the Scottish subjects situation. They simply slapped the same new label on them as on the Scots’ children; calling them also his natural-born subjects.
Using that new appellation demonstrated that they were not second-class subjects since they were known by the same label as his real natural born subjects. And who was going to tell the king, (or Parliament) that he didn’t have any right to attach any old label that he chose to such children?
So no one objected because there was no outward practical difference between them are far as their rights, privileges, and protects were concerned. So not calling them his alien-born subjects seemed like a preferable choice. It wasn’t like a distinction had to be drawn between them in regard to who would be elected (not selected) to command the Royal Army and Royal Navy.
The position of military commander in chief was not up for a vote by the citizenry. It was by appointment only. But those responsible for the survival of the nation kept all high positions of national security and national secrets in the hands of only men born of Englishmen, not born of aliens, nor other Britons.
They did not have an eligibility clause but they had an unwritten eligibility policy, and no doubt they stuck to it, just as we do when it comes to guarding the President, as well as America’s secrets and access to and control over American nuclear bombs. We are stupid, but not that stupid, unlike Indira Gandhi who allowed the hiring of guards for herself (India’s Prime Minister) from hostile ethnic groups, one of whom murdered her.
We are stupid because we fail to understand the background of national membership inherited from the British, how it originally was solely by patrilineal descent, but expanded to include foreigners who were subject to the power and authority of the Crown.
The same sort of dual-system of nationality came to be established by the settlers of the British colonies in America.
Within a century, after civilization was established and cities and towns were built, -along with the creation of needed bodies for self-governance, the Americans no longer saw themselves as British, nor as Englishmen because, they were not their countrymen, -although they were members of the growing British empire and the brethren of the English.
They were neither born nor raised in England as Englishmen, but they were nevertheless tied by charter to the sovereignty of the British king, with each of the individual colonies having its own unique charter, and thus its own unique identity and character.
Within the borders of each of them lived mostly people born in the colony except when a colony was new and populated by new immigrants from England or Europe who arrived en mass to create a new society.
With the passage of generations, the Americans inevitably would see themselves as the native-born natural members of their individual colonial country. Folks who migrated into the natives’ societies from other colonies or countries would in a short amount of time be allowed to participate in the common duties of citizens, whether in a civic role or via simply paying taxes to support the administration of government.
They were not natives but they were valued just like an extra pair of hands helping to push a cart uphill or construct a new barn. They remained deemed to be subject to their European king if not British but children born to them in America, -in the colonies of the king of England, were deemed to be his subjects from birth.
So again you have a dichotomy; the natives are natural members of their colonies by birth to native parents, while the native-born children of foreigners were members by their subjection to the king of the colonies which resulted from having been born within his dominion, -just as had been the Scotsman in the era of the Calvin case long before.
by Adrien Nash April 2014 ~end of part 1 of 4 ~ ~ ~ ~
The following valuable comment was posted by Political Junkie Too at:
From The Rights of Man, Chapter 4 — Of Constitutions, Thomas Paine, 1791:
If there is any government where prerogatives might with apparent safety be entrusted to any individual, it is in the federal government of America. The president of the United States of America is elected only for four years. He is not only responsible in the general sense of the word, but a particular mode is laid down in the constitution for trying him. He cannot be elected under thirty-five years of age; and he must be a native of the country.
In a comparison of these cases with the Government of England, the difference when applied to the latter amounts to an absurdity. In England the person who exercises prerogative is often a foreigner; always half a foreigner, and always married to a foreigner. He is never in full natural or political connection with the country, is not responsible for anything, and becomes of age at eighteen years; yet such a person is permitted to form foreign alliances, without even the knowledge of the nation, and to make war and peace without its consent.
But this is not all. Though such a person cannot dispose of the government in the manner of a testator, he dictates the marriage connections, which, in effect, accomplish a great part of the same end. He cannot directly bequeath half the government to Prussia, but he can form a marriage partnership that will produce almost the same thing. Under such circumstances, it is happy for England that she is not situated on the Continent, or she might, like Holland, fall under the dictatorship of Prussia. Holland, by marriage, is as effectually governed by Prussia, as if the old tyranny of bequeathing the government had been the means.
The presidency in America (or, as it is sometimes called, the executive) is the only office from which a foreigner is excluded, and in England it is the only one to which he is admitted. A foreigner cannot be a member of Parliament, but he may be what is called a king. If there is any reason for excluding foreigners, it ought to be from those offices where mischief can most be acted, and where, by uniting every bias of interest and attachment, the trust is best secured. But as nations proceed in the great business of forming constitutions, they will examine with more precision into the nature and business of that department which is called the executive.
What the legislative and judicial departments are every one can see; but with respect to what, in Europe, is called “the executive”, as distinct from those two, it is either a political superfluity or a chaos of unknown things. finis.
~Yes, Paine did use the term “native of the country.” Does this mean “native born” instead of “natural born?” [-or born of natives?] We have to look at the following statements to answer that question. Paine refers to English examples in order to define this. Paine cites “foreigner” and “half a foreigner” as the opposite to “full natural” connection to the country. So, what is “half a foreigner?”
It seems to me that “half a foreigner” is a person with one parent who is a citizen and one parent who is not. This person does not have a “full natural… connection with the country.”
Paine wrote plainly of why the Framers did not want “half-foreigners” to be president, and why only people with a “full natural… connection with the country” were allowed to become President.
Paine was widely recognized as the most influential writer of the time of Independence because of his plain writing style that resonated with the common person.
Paine’s description of the meaning of Article II was written in 1791, and I take it to be reflective of the common understanding of the time. This was, after all, written just 2 years after the ratification of the Constitution.
If Paine said that natural born citizens meant both parents were citizens, then that was the plain meaning.
PJ 18 posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 by Political JunkieToo