What the 14th Amendment Doesn’t Say and Doesn’t Mean
August 25, 2013 Leave a comment
Some people embrace the idea that because all citizens who fit a certain criteria (born of Americans in America) are “natural born citizens”, therefore all natural born citizens must fit that criteria as if it alone is what defines them, when it is NOT what defines them.
That natural citizens are those who are born of citizens is not logically connected to the co-incidental location of their birth in the nation of their parents’ citizenship, and thus is not part of the principle by which a child is born as a natural citizen. It is as unsupported as declaring that natural Scandinavians, -having been born with blue eyes, are therefore defined as natural Scandinavians because they have blue eyes and were born in Scandinavia, -as if there are no other natural Scandinavians who do not have blue eyes, -as if eye-color is a co-determinant of nationality.
They make an enormously erroneous assumption defying logic when claiming: “being born within the jurisdiction of the United States to citizen parents are necessary and sufficient conditions of being a “natural born citizen.”
The lazy and indoctrinated mind reads right through that statement without noticing what should not be included in it, namely: “necessary”.
Without the addition of “necessary” the statement would be true because those were sufficient conditions, but both were not necessary conditions since only one was a fundamental condition, which was: having a father who was an American (-the sole criteria which E. de Vattel repeatedly emphasized in his massive tome; The Law of Nations -1758).
The wording of the 14th Amendment is elegantly simple, and is so for two reasons. It resounds with a constitutional ring of simplicity and authority and it does so while embodying a gigantic ambiguity which would one day have to be resolved by the Supreme Court, which it was in 1898 in favor of the amendment meaning that children of not only freed slaves were American citizens but also native-born children of foreign immigrants.
Those were the two purposes behind its simplicity and they allowed it to be vague enough to be passed when if it had been clear that children of foreigners were to be recognized as American citizens before their father became an American, then it would not have been ratified. Just four years prior Congress exempted immigrants and their native-born children from military conscription for the War Between the States. The national government and most States viewed both fathers and sons as aliens subject to a foreign power, so it was unthinkable to all but a few States to give such children American citizenship while their father was a foreign national.
The vagueness of the citizenship clause is a classic example of how not to word something unless you do not want everyone to view it in the same light with the same interpretation. It was totally successful at that, so successful in fact that the federal government held the opposite view of its current meaning for three decades after its adoption. No doubt that view included children of Native Americans as well since they were not acknowledged as being American citizens for over half a century after the the passage of the amendment.
The problem of its ambiguity is a result of the nature of its statement. It is called “declaratory” meaning it declares as a fact a “pre-existing truth” rather than declaring a truth that from thenceforth shall be the law of the land. What it doesn’t say is “shall be citizens of the United States”, instead declaring all such native-born persons “are citizens.”
Such authoritative language has convinced most people who’ve studied the amendment in the course of legal analysis and/ or education that it has a nature that it in fact does not have. They believe that it is declaring what the unwritten law of citizenship always was, and doing so with not just the naturalization power of Congress, but with the authority of an amendment passed by the People of the United States, and yet neither possibility is true, -though they certainly appear to be true.
The amendment does not deal with the issue of United States citizenship per se, but with the specific issue of the citizenship of the native-born only. It deals with them by putting them in one of two categories. They are either subject solely to a foreign sovereign power or they are fully subject to American sovereign authority. It declares that those who are subject to American authority are citizens of the United States, [but avoids the sticky issue of dual subjection to two governments via dual citizenship].
That describes certain classes of people born in the United States but not other classes. But that fact has been almost completely overlooked by both layman and statesman alike, by civilian and politician, along with nearly all judges. They fail to bear in mind the existence of classes of people who are not subject to American jurisdiction as is required by the amendment. That is because when it was written, and for long afterward, those classes of people essentially did not exist.
I speak of the class of people who are Visa Card over-stayers and the millions of illegal entrants from across the border, as well as “birth tourism” visitors who come to the U.S. solely for the purpose of bringing a child into the world who is considered an American citizen based on the ignorant misinterpretation first foisted on the American government by the U.S. Attorney General in 1898.
The 14th Amendment is merely a broad description of all people who meet two criteria: 1. exiting the womb within U.S. borders; 2. subjection to the full authority of Washington. It describes them or defines them as citizens of the United States. But that is not a delineation of a principle by which they are considered citizens because no principle is mentioned, -only the circumstances that describe such people.
Describing certain people as being citizens is quite different from defining the principles by which they are citizens. It is equivalent to saying that all animals born in a kennel that have four legs and can bark are dogs. That describes and defines such creatures but does not define the reason why they are dogs, (-only the circumstances that enable classifying them).
The reason that they are dogs is because of an unstated principle, that being a principle of life, -the principle that “like produces like”. The kennel observation or definition does not define that principle, and so it is with the 14th Amendment.
It describes as being U.S. citizens people who match the two criteria that it mentions, but it does not give the principle on which it is based, avoiding doing so because of a complication. A serious complication. It is the complication that some are citizens because of a principle of life while others are a citizen because of a policy of law, -constitutional law.
While neither are mentioned, both are embraced and neither is de-legitimized, (-like all sheep in a flock, regardless of whether or not they are the unusual black sheep). That’s due to simply avoiding the issue all together, and allowing people to assume whatever they wish. That works perfectly except for two exceptions, and they are natural citizens not born within the supreme & sovereign U.S. borders, -along with the rare individual who runs for President.
The vague and ambiguous nature of the 14th Amendment makes possible a view of it that results in an erroneous understanding of the citizenship of those two exceptions. It results in the view that the amendment is the final word on defining citizenship in the United States. That is essentially true (for children of immigrants) but not in the way that everyone assumes.
They assume that it is an elucidation of the force of law being the determinant of all citizenship, in effect, erasing the distinction between the types of citizenship and their true origins. The seemingly “self-evident truth” is a false impression because it is only half true. Half true is not the same as wholly true. Columbus was half correct. He was convinced that you could travel to the East by going West, thereby circumnavigating the globe (that was not flat). He was half right but also half wrong because his journey did not take him to the Far East but to the Caribbean. He didn’t take into account a gigantic element that was missing from his calculation; -that being the American continents and the massive Pacific Ocean that occupies nearly half of the surface of the Earth.
Being half right is better that being wholly wrong, but it is not good enough when it comes to who is eligible to serve as the American President. It must be known that he is wholly eligible and why he is. That must be known in order to know who is not eligible, including one who is elected even though he is ineligible.
The different origins of citizenship for Americans born overseas, and that of citizens who are not eligible to serve as President are not elements of the 14th Amendment, and thus the principles involved in determining the nature of their citizenship is not elucidated by its simple words (which only cover two criteria and no others). Thus, without understanding what those principles are, people are left in the dark with a clear impression about the ultimate authority of the amendment, -but an impression which is false.
What is that impression? It is that the American citizenship of not just immigrant-born children is determined by American common law and the 14th Amendment, but also that of all natural citizens as well, (rather than natural law).
The implications of that misconception are gigantic and far, far reaching. They go to the very heart of the nature of the relationship between Americans and their government.
Does government legitimize people via the granting of citizenship at its discretion or do the People legitimized government via granting it certain authority at their discretion? Who owns who? Does the government own you or do you (co)-own the government? That is a fundamental philosophical question whose answer was not in doubt when the signers of the Declaration of Independence committed treason by putting their signatures to it.
They made it clear to the entire world that government does not own people, rather, people own the government and can and should change it when it becomes abusive. Without that strong conviction, the Declaration would not have even been written.
When a People decide to create for themselves and their posterity a new government, they do not look to that government for permission to be a member of the national family that they are forming. Does a mother look to her children for permission to be their mother?
The government is the child of the members of a country who decide to form themselves into a nation by establishing a government to govern and protect their rights, liberties and security. It possesses no authority to determine why or if they are members of their own country and nation. Their membership is no more ever an issue for government than a mother’s motherhood is an issue to be decided by her children.
The only issue it is charged with governing is the membership of outsiders, foreigners, and those born to them. And that is what the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment does by citizen-izing the children of foreign immigrants who are still subject to the authority of their own government.
It did not citizen-ize the children of Native Americans (even though they would be born within the United States) because they were recognized to not be subject to the jurisdiction of the United States government since they were: ~a People; -separate and apart. So such an example reveals the falseness of the belief that all persons “born in the United States” are made citizens simply by that fact.
The difference between them and foreign immigrants made all the difference in the world, with that difference being that immigrants came to America with the hope of becoming Americans by becoming members of American society, while Native Americans remained apart from American society.
That has since changed and a new amendment to the Constitution granted citizenship to Native Americans. At least it should have because something so fundamentally different from how things always were requires the consent of the American people, just as when women were given the right to vote.
But Congress took the easy way and simply passed a law making them citizens. No one cared because there was no opposition except from some Native Americans who did not want to be citizens and be obligated to obey all of the federal laws that citizens are subject to. Being an American was an option that they could choose at their own discretion.
But for natural born citizens, there is no option. Nor for 14th Amendment immigrant-born children. They are automatically United States citizens but for very different reasons. The former are citizens by natural law, blood connection, patrilineal descent, inherited status, unalienable birthright, -while the children of foreigners only have a constitutional right, which is a legal right, -not a natural right.
That is essentially identical to the difference between a natural child and an adopted child. The adopted child has a legal right to be a member of its new non-biological family, but it does not have any natural right to be a member.
The authors of the 14th Amendment avoided the nuances of the origins and nature of citizenship by avoiding a wording that attempted to define them, choosing instead a wording that was merely broad and general and inclusive. The result has been that generation after generation grows up, and passes away believing that it spelled out a principle that it in fact avoided. It avoided declaring that all persons born in the United States are American citizens because that is not the fundamental principle of citizenship in the United States since about 97%. are citizens without it.
It didn’t do that because that is not a fact. That was a fact only under that autocratic reign of the British dictator, but once his reign was declared to be null and void, Americans switched from being subjects of the Crown to being Citizens of the United States and the sovereign State in which they resided.
The were no longer owned by the government as a side-effect of being born on the property of the King but instead were the owners of the governments which they created and populated with patriotic, liberty-loving men of both native and foreign birth.
Immigration was very encouraged in the new and vast and wild land, and new citizens were welcomed as long as they were of an American outlook regarding government and man’s responsibility of self-governance.
So who did and who didn’t meet the requirements of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment, which reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”?
These are the children born in America that did not meet that criteria since they were not at all subject to the political authority of Washington, even though subject to the civil authority of the counties, States & federal government:
Children of foreign Ambassadors.
Children of foreign military attaches.
Children of foreign diplomats.
Children of Native Americans (aka American “Indians”). [until made citizens by law]
Children of invaders, like Mexican marauding outlaws or General Santa Ana’s Army.
Children of foreign Gypsies who never joined American society. (a gray area)
Children of foreign tourists and visitors.
Children of foreign students and temporary guest workers (-stone masons, etc).
Children of illegal migrants.
Children of illegal immigrants including Visa Card over-stayers.
There is no principle nor legal factor that makes such children Americans. They are not citizens via natural law nor via constitutional law because they are not Americans by inheritance nor automatic mandatory subjection. They are the property of parents who are not subject to the sovereign authority of the American government that reigns over American citizens and American immigrants. That sovereignty includes the authority to force all fit young males to do their natural duty to defend the women, children and elderly of the nation, just as their American fathers and forefathers did before them. That means the defense of their homeland via service in the American military (or a permitted substitute).
THAT is the subjection to which the amendment refers, and it was obeyed by the men of America to the extent of half a million dead in the war that had finally ended just a year before the amendment was written.
That subjection was not required of American women nor immigrant women, and as such, the amendment was not written with immigrant women in mind. At that time, they could not come to America and become naturalized citizens since that would have had no meaning.
They (all women) had no right to vote, nor to hold public office, -nor to serve on juries, or in positions of legal authority, nor in the Armed Forces. Their so-called citizenship was something different from that of men because they were different from men.
The Right Arm versus Left Arm Analogy
A good comparison is that of the difference between a man’s right arm and his left arm. In right-handed men, their left arm is their “girly” arm. They would not want to participate in a public contest in which they compete at throwing a baseball with their left arm because it throws like a girl. It would be embarrassing.
What is their relationship regarding their two different arms? If one had to live without one or the other, every man alive would choose his strong dominant right arm every day of the week. That is his fighting arm, his punching arm, his hammering arm, his throwing arm, etc. It is essential to almost everything. [unless you are me; my right arm does all things that require force while my left arm does all things that require finesse, including writing, painting, eating, etc., -two different brains]
A man does not value his left arm less from a subjective standpoint, but he knows objectively that one is superior to the other when it comes to living and surviving in this world. It is the same with the citizenship of men and women. Both are equally precious but are not of equal value when the spit hits the fan.
Who would a man rather be in an assaulted foxhole with, -his sister or his brother; -his father or his mother; -his son or his daughter? The strength of young men is the spine of the nation. Of course a body needs more than just a spine, but without it neither a body nor a nation can stand. It is crucial.
For that reason, foreign women were not given the opportunity to take the naturalization Oath of Allegiance and Renunciation because it binds one to a commitment to bear arms for their new nation, but the United States government and its male citizens did not and never will require American women to serve in combat.
Only men can legitimately swear such an oath because it was written solely for them. They are the ones who were fully subject to the jurisdiction of the United States when the 14th Amendment was written, and that has never changed.
Consequently, the son of a foreign man who is not so subject to the authority of the American government is not subject either. Such a son is one of those included in the preceding list. Such a son is not an American citizen by the 14th Amendment and its interpretation by the Supreme Court.
Barack Obama is such a son, and as such is not only not a natural born citizen as required to be President, but is not even a legal citizen either. His citizenship exists as a fiat fiction of law dependent on the policy of the government. He is a government policy citizen and nothing more. Actual law is not involved.
Adrien Nash Sept 2013 http://obama–nation.com