The Truth About John Jay’s Letter To Washington
July 20, 2012 1 Comment
This is an exposition by John Woodman, -a very erudite and intelligent analyst who has applied his mind to the issues of Obama’s eligibility and birth certificates. Most of what he writes is factual, but he is possessed be an erroneous view regarding the meaning of natural citizenship. There are two extreme views and he believes in one of them, -namely the one that defines anyone who happened to exit their mother’s womb while she occupied space within U.S. territory as being a natural born citizen and eligible to be President, even if the father was a mass murdering foreign enemy of the United States.
The other extreme is the one that he rightfully excoriates, namely, the also baseless, unprincipled view that natural citizenship is dependent on both a U.S. birth and U.S. citizen parents. It has no more basis in natural law than Woodman’s view. The truth is in the middle.
Natural membership, -the origin of natural citizenship, is dependent on only two things, -a mother and a father of the same genus, species, breed, tribe, clan, ethnicity, race, country, or nation. As in nature which requires parents with the same life-form, so in national societies, the only requisite is two parents with the same citizenship. They produce natural members of their society and nation, -members who need no law whatsoever in order to possess the membership with which they are born. In America they are citizens by birth to citizens, -not by any law ever written. Their membership is natural, and not dependent on any citizenship law (i.e., “naturalization law”), including the 14th Amendment. A.R. Nash
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John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and the Mystery of the “Natural Born Citizen” Letter
Posted on June 11, 2012 by John Woodman
Famous Letter from John Jay to George Washington Proposed a Constitutional “Natural Born Citizen” Restriction
John Jay vs. Alexander Hamilton — Were They At Odds on Presidential Qualifications?
In the summer of 1787, leaders from across America were gathered in Philadelphia in a convention that would create a new Constitution for the fledgling United States. On July 25th, Founding Father and US Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay — who was stuck up in New York — wrote a letter to General George Washington, the presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention. In that letter, Jay wrote:
“Permit me to hint whether it would not be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government, and to declare expressly that the Command in chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen.”
On September 2, Washington wrote a reply in which he said, “I thank you for the hints contained in your letter.” And on September 4, the “natural born citizen” clause for Presidential eligibility appeared in a draft of the Constitution reported from the Committee of Eleven.
The “natural born citizen” requirement was approved, with no objection or debate from any member of the Convention, on the 7th.
But John Jay was not the only person known to have wanted a birth-related requirement for the man ultimately in charge of our nation’s armed forces. Among the 55 delegates to the Convention, there was one other person who is known to have entertained such an idea. Alexander Hamilton thought the new President should be “born a Citizen.”
On June 18, 1787 (a month before Jay’s letter) Alexander Hamilton submitted to the Convention a sketch of a plan of government. Several copies (with some variations) of this plan have survived.
Hamilton’s plan called for a chief executive — but called that executive a “Governour” rather than a “President.” The plan mentioned no eligibility requirements for this chief executive.
Notable in Hamilton’s plan was that both Senators and the Governour would be elected “for good behavior” — which really meant for life. Although members of the Convention seem to have felt Hamilton’s plan was well thought-out and workable, it was a non-starter. The proposed life terms were a turn-off. Many of the delegates also didn’t like the similarity of Hamilton’s plan to the British system, and they did not want to establish some new kind of monarchy. As a result, the plan was never seriously considered.
About the end of the Convention, two months later, Hamilton gave a paper to James Madison which he said represented the Constitution he would have wanted. Hamilton had stated its principles in the course of the deliberations. Preeminent Constitutional historian Max Farrand notes that this paper “was not submitted to the Convention and has no further value than attaches to the personal opinions of Hamilton.”
Hamilton’s later, more complete “draft constitution” provided:
“No person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States unless he be now a Citizen of one of the States, or hereafter be born a Citizen of the United States.” Was Jay’s Letter a “Correction” of Hamilton’s Proposal?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ some salient comments, and a conclusion by yours truly.
June 11, 2012 at 9:01 pm
I believe Kerchner is basing his claim on a previous mistake by Jill Pryor in her 1988, Yale Law Review article:
“On June 18, a little over a month before Jay’s letter, Alexander Hamilton submitted a “sketch of a plan of government which ‘was meant only to give a more correct view of his ideas, and to suggest the amendments which he should probably propose … in … future discussion.’ ” Article IX, section 1 of the sketch provided: “No person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States unless he be now a Citizen of one of the States, or hereafter be born a Citizen of the United States.”” Yale Law Review.
I actually pointed this out to Mario back in November, 2010 during the Lakin court martial. Comments from November 23, 2010:
John Woodman says: June 11, 2012
I did a lot of research that led to the writing of this article… I actually first intended to write it 3 months ago, but at that time got a bit bogged down with the research and laid it aside. In that whole process I ran across the quote from Jill Pryor’s Yale Law Review article that you mentioned, and noted that her account conflicted with Farrand’s. That was one of the things that led to me double check original sources to see if there was any chance Farrand was wrong.
gorefan says: June 11, 2012
I’ve seen other law review articles that repeat the same mistake which I suspect are all based on that quote from Pryor. And of course there are a number of birthers who repeat the mistake, KenyanBornObamAcorn is one who repeats it even thoough she has been shown the mistake. In fact, it appears in a recent legal brief filed in Maryland.
John Woodman says:
What is truly astonishing is that for more than a year and a half, Kerchner’s article — which is really nothing more than a gigantic falsehood — has remained uncorrected on Mario’s site.
And Mario knew it was a gigantic falsehood all along. And yet he has allowed it to remain, deceiving the public, all of this time.
As of June 14, 2012 — a year and nine months after the article was written — the article still remains, with not a single note anywhere on the page regarding any error.
In fairness, I doubt that the article was written by Charles Kerchner with the intent of deceiving people. But for a year and a half now that has been the result.
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A.R. Nash says: The pot calls the kettle black! Both are in error. Neither follow natural law. Kerchner, Apuzzo, and Donofrio all assumed the falsehood that natural Americans had to be born in America even though the first Congress tried to dispel that false idea the best they could by mandating that American children born abroad be considered as natural born citizens even though the only real issue for state and federal authorities was whether or not they were Americans (citizens) or foreigners. Since at the time the Constitution was being authored, Thomas Jefferson was serving his country as Ambassador to France, and John Adams as Ambassador to England, without the statement in the first naturalization statute that any son born to them abroad was just as American as their domestically born brethren, their foreign born sons would one day suffer from the false assumption that they could never serve as the President. That possibility was abhorrent to both men because of its error-based unfairness.
John Woodman, on the other hand, erroneously assumes that anyone born within U.S. territory, who is not protected by diplomatic immunity, is a native citizen, and a domestic birth location makes one a natural native of the country even though born to aliens with no connection to the country and no natural right of citizenship.
That is obviously false since only those born to natives are native members of the national group. Those born to outsiders are not natural members but are members by permission (automatic 14th Amendment naturalization). Not realizing his error, he embraces that fallacious delusion throughout everything that he reads and writes on the subject. But to be fair, it’s not his own original error, -it was firmly believed by many who came before him, including many who served in all branches of the government.
There is a term for that type of situation, -the type that to this day has enshrined a 500 year old error in the terminology of the government and the people, -the unrealized error of Christopher Columbus who called the indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands “Indians” -thinking he had reached India. The term to describe that situation, (as well as the one in which people equate native-born citizens with natural born citizens) is “Institutionalized error”.