Understanding Citizenship via a plethora of hypotheticals

We live in an age of widespread, almost universal ignorance about the facts regarding American citizenship.  That has never mattered before because never before has there been a half-foreign national who was a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a segment of the population whom the American electorate voted into the office of the Commander-in-Chief of all the forces of the American government.

I speak of one Bair´ak Dunham-Soetoro Obama.  (I digress somewhat by indicating the correct pronunciation of his first name, which he altered from that of his name-sake, namely the father after whom he was named.  If we place the accent incorrectly on the last syllable as he’s chosen to do, then it would be correctly pronounced ba-rack´, -not ba-rock´.)
The reason it continues to matter is because he continues to be President and running for re-election.  So it is extremely important to ascertain whether or not he is even entitled to be the President according to the Constitution.
It states that “No person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible to the office of the President,” so it is of immense importance to know by what basis he could be (or should not be) considered to be a natural born American citizen.

Barack, knowing a little something about the Constitution, knows full well that he is not such a citizen, but he also knows full well that few others are aware of that fact, -the ones that are aware don’t care or are afraid to rat-out the first non-white to be elected, or they don’t care because most  people in government violate the Constitution on a regular basis.

But for those who do care about fidelity to our foundational charter, I offer a plethora of hypothetical scenarios which will illuminate the subject like never before.
The place to start is in the beginning, but first I’ll lay out the large number of factors that go into the equation of what determines U.S. citizenship.  Those factors have changed over time, but have roots in fundamental principles which have been forgotten.

  • The Factors That Determine U.S. Citizenship
  • A    The Era in which one is born
  • B    The Nationality of the father
  • C    The Nationality of the mother
  • D    The Gender of a foreign parent.
  • E    The Race of the parents
  • F    The Age of the parents
  • G    The location of birth
  • H    Marital status of parents
  • I    The current interpretation of the Law
  • J    The principle of natural group membership

Applied in conjunction, these factors can result in a large assortment of possibilities.  By framing various scenarios as circumstances affecting a hypothetical Barack Obama we will learn much about the simplicity, and complexity, of American citizenship.

Let’s begin before the beginning.

Scenario # 1.

  In Colonial America, a British subject father was a foreigner.  The British were our brethren in most ways, but they were not us.  They lived directly under the rule of English law, while Americans didn’t because America was not a part of England and, as a foreign territory, was not protected by its laws.  America was essentially the foreign private property of the King of England.  We were not British and the British were not Americans, so Obama senior’s son would have been the son of a foreigner.  Consequently he would not have been recognized as being an America, except in a colony such as Virginia, which, as a state, recognized children of foreigners as being Virginians, -born “sons of the soil” rather than natural native sons (sons of native blood).
Result:  Obama Jr. is not an American.

Scenario # 2.
Circa 1790-1940?  Obama is born in the U.S. to an American mother and British subject father.  What is his nationality?  British, because the citizenship of a family was determined by that of its head.  The citizenship of a daughter was that of her father.  That never changed until she joined herself for life to a foreign subject, was given to him by her father, became his wife and subordinate, assuming his name and his nationality.  The issue of dual-citizenship entered the picture.  Their children derived their citizenship from the man of the house and from him alone, -not their mother.
Result?  Obama Jr. is not an American.

Scenario # 3.

Circa 1790–1795 Obama Jr. was born in Hawaii but his father was not a foreigner.  He was instead a naturalized American.  Since Hawaii at that time was a sovereign country under the rule of a monarch, the Naturalization Act of 1790 impacted the citizenship of  the child because it recognized, promoted and enforced the principle of natural group membership.  By it, an omission in the Constitution which left the nationality of Americans born abroad open to guesswork, was resolved by it mandating that they be recognized as “natural born citizens”, meaning citizens by birth, and not citizens by naturalization law.
No natural American citizen is dependent on naturalization law for their citizenship because it is natural citizenship, not legislated citizenship.  It is not granted by law but is a consequence of natural membership.  One doesn’t need a law to make them that which they are by birth.
Result:  Obama Jr. is a natural born American citizen and is constitutionally qualified to be President.

Scenario # 4.

Circa 1788–1866  Barack Obama Jr. is born to a  father of African descent.
Result:  He is not a citizen of the United States, meaning a citizen of the federal government, though it’s unknown by this author if any of the states granted citizenship to non-whites.  It’s very possible that one or more of the states did.

Scenario # 5.

Circa 1788–1898   Obama Jr. is born to a father who’s a Chinese immigrant.  Asians, Africans, American Indians and gypsies were not allowed to be U.S. citizens for much of American history because they were seen as being too extremely non-American.  Chinese were excluded until 1952.
Result:  Obama Jr. is not an American citizen.

Scenario # 6.

Circa 1788–mid 20th Century   Obama is born to a white American mother and a visiting African  father.  His birth is seen as an abomination, -a crime against nature & culture, and the union that pro-

duced it as a criminal offense in many states.
Result:  Obama Jr. is not an American citizen.

Scenario # 7.

Circa 1898-mid 20th century.   Obama Jr. is born to a white American mother and an African-immigrant father.  His birth is seen as an abomination in many states and regions, but falls under the naturalizing authority of the 14th Amendment.  His father is subject to federal jurisdiction.
Result:  Obama Jr. is a constitutional U.S. citizen,
but is constitutionally unqualified to be President.

Scenario # 8.

Circa 1866–present.  Obama Jr. is born to a white American mother and an African-American husband.  His birth is seen as an abomination in many areas of the nation, and the marriage is a crime in several states.
Result: Obama Jr. is a natural born citizen regardless.
He is constitutionally qualified to be President.

Scenario # 9

Circa 1788–1898   Obama Jr. is born to an American mother and a foreign father.
Result: Obama Jr. is not an American citizen.  Until the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Wong Kim Ark in 1898, foreign fathers were deemed to not be fully subject to the authority of Washington D.C. because they remained subject to their own government. Nothing changed that fact until they became  naturalize citizens.  After the ruling they were viewed as subject to federal authority.

Scenario # 10.

Circa 1898–mid 20th century.  Obama Jr. is born in America to an American mother and a non-immigrant foreign father who is allowed into the country with a temporary visa.  The father is not subject to full U.S. political jurisdiction nor, consequently, is his son, therefore the 14th Amendment does not apply to him and does not provide him citizenship.  His mother’s U.S. citizenship isn’t conveyed to him until statutes finally allow it in mid-20th century.
Result:  Obama Jr. is not a U.S. citizen.

Scenario # 11

Circa 1898–Present.   Obama is born in Hawaii, -an annexed sovereign nation subjugated by Americans.  As a federal territory, birth within it allows only federal citizenship.  The inhabitants are under direct federal authority.  It is not a state and they are not state citizens until achieving statehood in 1958.  Citizenship is dependent on the various factors present in the situations of one’s parents.  If he is born to an immigrant father then he is a constitutional “native-born” 14th Amendment citizen.
If born to an American father he is a “natural born citizen” as long as his mother is also an American.

If born to a non-immigrant foreign father then he is not a U.S. citizen unless born abroad following passage of statutes in the mid-20th century that granted derivative citizenship based on that of the American mother.  They only dealt with foreign births.  No statute was ever written granting citizenship for children of such a couple within the United States because it was erroneously assumed that it would be covered by the 14th Amendment.
But it in fact can’t be because the father is not subject to the fully authority of the American government as the 14th Amendment requires.  He is not subject to conscription into military service to defend the nation.  It has been falsely and ignorantly assumed for over a century that subjection to federal jurisdiction has no meaning.  Hence the current policy followed is unconstitutional, and doubly so.

Scenario # 12

Circa 1776–present.   If born in Hawaii to the African wife of his father then he would have no connection to America whatsoever.  The 14th Amendment would not apply through his father, nor would any statute apply through his mother.
Result:  Obama Jr. is not an American citizen.

Scenario # 13

In 1961 Obama Jr. is born outside of the U.S. to his American mother.  Her citizenship is not conveyed to him because an American mother married to a foreign father has to have lived in the U.S. for five years after her 14th birthday, but his mother is only 18..
Result:  Obama Jr. is not an American citizen.
Scenario # 14.

Obama is born in Panama to his American mother and an American father.  By American statute such a child must be recognized as being an American citizen.  The policy of the statute follows the principle that was mandated by the Naturalization Act of 1790, -passed by the first Congress which included about 20 of the founding fathers, namely the law of natural group membership by which one is what their father is, or in modern terms, what their parents are.
Result:  Like John McCain, Obama Jr. is a natural born citizen.

The primacy of the law of natural group membership has never been legally established in the United States because it would require the Supreme Court to apply it to the Constitution’s term “natural born citizen”, and they have never done that, and hope to never have to.  Because if they ever did, it would be in only one context, -the one in which the nature of one’s citizenship makes an enormous difference.  And that nature only makes a difference in one context, and that is the eligibility for the office of the President.
But that context has never arisen in American life until the election of a one half-American to the presidency.
The society of the era of the founding fathers followed only one rule of membership in the union of the several states and the federal government and that was patrilineal descent.  Inherited membership from the father.  Its legal moniker was Jus Sanguinis -the Law of Blood.  Nationality conveyed by birth to a father who is a member of the nation.
Being as no other automatic national membership was conceivable nor acceptable, there was no need to explain nor define what such membership was determined by.  Hence, no definition exists for the meaning of natural citizenship and natural born citizen.

Without a definition, ignorance has replaced historical knowledge and now misunderstanding is everywhere.  Misconceptions take on a life of their own, -spread to the people from a misguided authority figure, and then from generation to generation.
The error spread from a misconstruence of the Wong Kim Ark court opinion in 1898 all the way through the generations to the present.  That misunderstanding rendered the subjection-to-federal-authority requirement of the 14th Amendment effectively null and void.   It lead to the common misconception that if “everyone born in the U.S. is a citizen”, then we are all eligible to be President! (except children of foreign representatives).  That is almost completely true, but there is a tiny sliver of the population for whom it isn’t true; those born to non-immigrant foreigners,  and Obama Jr. Is among that tiny number.

Scenario # 15.

Circa 1907–1922  Obama Jr. is born 40 years earlier, -in 1921, in America.  Fourteen years earlier the Naturalization Act of 1907 was passed and remains in effect.  By it, any American woman who marries a foreign man loses her U.S. citizenship and is thereby solely a citizen of her husband’s nation.
Result:  Obama Jr. is not an American citizen.

Scenario # 16.

Circa 1940–?  Obama Jr. is born abroad to his actual parents.  His mother retains her U.S. citizenship but it is not conveyed to her son unless she divorces his father.  She divorces him after a few years and her son thereby acquires derivative citizenship, and is able to obtain a Certificate of Derivative Citizenship.
Result:  Citizenship is dependent upon divorce.

Scenario # 17.

Circa 2nd half of 20th Century, including perhaps 1961.  Obama Jr. is born abroad with his foreign father and American mother and her citizenship is conveyed to him automatically, making him a dual-citizen.
Result:  He is born a statutory citizen via naturalization laws passed in the last half century, maybe even earlier.  He is not a natural American citizen nor eligible to be the President.

Scenario # 18.

1776–1866.  Obama Jr. is born in America to an American father and a Kenyan mother.
Result:  He has no citizenship with the United States government because he is born black, (though state citizenship may have been allowed) -changed only when the Civil Rights Act of 1866 made citizens of freed slaves, thereby ending racial discrimination.

Scenario # 19.

Circa ?–present.  Obama Jr. is born abroad to an American father and a foreign mother.
Result: unknown.  Depends on various factor, especially whether legitimate birth or illegitimate.  Paternity is assigned based on the word of the mother.  Maternity is self-evident.

Scenario # 20.

Circa ?–present.  Obama is born anywhere to his 17-year old American mother and Obama Sr.  She is too young to convey citizenship since she’s a minor.  Is the citizenship of her father conveyed to his grandson?  Probably not, but conceivable historically if his Obama Sr. was not of a barred class, i.e., non-white.  Obama Sr.’s citizenship is the only one conveyed since the 14th Amendment is inapplicable through him and her.
Result:  Obama Jr. is not an American citizen.

Scenario # 21.

If the previous scenario ends in divorce, then his mother’s citizenship provides him provisional citizenship.  He will become a permanent American citizen if he is raised in the United States for a requisite number of years.  (If he remains abroad for too many years during the years of his youth, then he can only become a citizen as an adult through the naturalization process.)  Upon residing in the U.S. the clock starts ticking, -counting down to fulfilling the required number of years for permanent citizenship.
Result:  He obtains provisionally provided citizenship as a naturalized statutory citizen. Therefore…
He is not eligible to be the President.

These many scenarios reveal the tenuousness of the citizenship of Barack Obama.  No “natural born citizen” was ever so dependent upon circumstances as he was because they were all born to American parents.  Everyone who wasn’t has always been a statutory or constitutional citizen and therefore not a natural citizen and eligible to be the President.

by a.r. nash  June 2012

About arnash
“When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain - Politicians and diapers - change 'em often, for the same reason. "Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other." Ronald Reagan "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views." William F. Buckley, Jr. “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” - Bertrand Russell The people are the masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it. Abraham Lincoln “Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” - George Orwell “Satan will use a lake of truth to hide a pint of poison”.


  1. chris farrell says:

    In consideration of the quasi-absurd hypotheticals that Judge Terry Lewis presented to attorney Larry Klayman at the Hearing in Tallahassee on the 18th, I sincerely hope you will send this article to Mr. Klayman.

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