400 Years of Bastardized Ideas about Citizenship

~or how the Calvin case dooms our future~

revised Sept. 19.

[in PDF format, 19 pages, two-column: 400 Years of Bastardized Ideas about Citizenship3

America’s native-birth citizenship policy predicament is a result of an odd situation that occurred in England four 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 its 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. An English law did not allow anyone but Englishmen to inherit English lands but his lawyer argued for a different focus of nationality, 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. That switched the focus of the perceived intent of the law away from English natives to subjects of the English Crown, -some of whom were not English, such as Calvin.
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-citizens of the English nation. They were not real, natural Englishman, or natural citizens of the nation of England because they were natural citizens of the nation of Scotland but they had one King in common.

That affected the issue of nationality, as it had to in order for a Scott to inherit English land, which is what the court wanted to allow. 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 Scottish citizen 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 alien subjects, as Scots 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 via birth within his dominion, i.e., “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 could inherit English land, -albeit not as English citizens, but as royal subjects, , 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 unnaturally expanded, -distorted, 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 crowned sovereign of Englishmen as well as the sovereign of new ancillary subjects (the Scots) who were now tied to the English in an artificial relationship, -and that relationship was based on where and when they were born, instead of to whom they were born.

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, and that commonality made them equal before the law.

The language used when referring to both separate groups was probably “the king’s natural and born subjects”, which when written was probably shortened in time to simply “the king’s natural/born subjects”, or “natural-born subjects”.
With the births of Scottish children under the combined reign of their common king, the English authorities had to recognize that birth within the king’s dominion, under his sovereignty, was what had come to be the basis of equality before the laws written for Englishmen, and was not based on one’s birth to English parents (the natural natives of the English kingdom) nor to birth on English soil, but solely to birth under the unopposed subjection to the authority of the king. Under that new scheme, anyone born subject to the King was his subject for life even though born of foreign parents who were subject to their own king.

The inclusion under English law of Scottish children born after the combined reign 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 re-appeared the the recognition of place of birth (whether born on English soil or on foreign soil, i.e., Scotland) as being a substantial co-equal factor not in the determination of who was English, – but who was a subject of the English Crown (which had become joined to the Scottish crown via one single person inhabiting both roles). So, thereafter there existed two means of national attachment and royal attachment, and thus English laws had to be re-construed to include the “foreign” subjects of the King of England.
It thus became clear that 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 or visitors.
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 as the United Kingdom a century later).

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. It was virtually a repeat of a similar situation that had occurred long, long before; over three hundred years earlier when in 1066-68 A.D. William the Conquer, -king of Normandy, lead the invasion and conquest of England, and was then stuck with the predicament of having to combine two distinctly different nations. He had to rely on the same scheme for defining nationality. It was no longer of importance who your parents were (English or Norman) but whether or not you were born within the authority of the new king of both kingdoms.

If you were, then the laws of the new kingdom applied to you and all equally. An attempt was made to alter the natural sense of national identity by refocusing on the King himself and not on one’s national origin. The new mind-set was that if your king is my king then we are countrymen even though you speak a foreign language and have a foreign history and native soil. Not exactly a natural means of creating a natural national identity.

In time, Normandy was lost via reconquest by the French, but the focus of subjectship resulting from birth within the king’s domain remained. Under good King James, 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 their different origins did not make either one a natural citizen of the other nation.

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 thousands 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 laws which were thenceforth directed only at other foreigners.
But in America there was that one unusual, unique office that almost no one was capable of being elected to, namely, -that of President.

Between America and England, there was only one King and also only one President. Only one of each. The Crown of Great Britain was not a position obtained by appointment nor election 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 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.
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 born 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 naturally Americans, or natural citizens of the American States, , -but if born after 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, i.e., natural born citizens -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 3-5% 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, along with 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, -additionally there were children of European immigrants.
They were off-spring of foreigners, and at adulthood owed allegiance & obedience to their father’s foreign monarch if they born within his kingdom, but if not… -if born within the British realm then the English king could claim 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 own from the day they were born, (their whole life) -provided of course that the family were immigrants and not just visitors.
That made sense to the English since it was the native-birth policy in place since the Norman conquest centuries earlier. All of those native-born children of Europeans who emigrated to England (away from endless European conflicts and persecutions) were, like the Scots, viewed as being born subject to the English king. The Brits could not reasonably claim their foreign-born children, but could their British-born children, and that’s just what they did. And how did they label such alien-born children of foreign fathers?

The label had already been provided by the Calvin case and the Scottish subjects situation. They simply also labeled them, like the Scots’ children, as natural-born subjects. Using that appellation demonstrated that they were not second-class subjects since they were known by the same label as his actual natural born subjects. And who was going to tell the government that it didn’t have the right to label such children as they chose?

Who could object when there was no practical difference between them and natural subjects as far as their rights, privileges, and protections were concerned. Not calling them “alien-born subjects” seemed like a preferable choice since no distinction had to be drawn between the two groups in regard to who could and could not be elected (rather than selected) to command the Royal Army & Navy. The position of military Command-in-Chief was not up for a vote by the citizenry.

It was by appointment only, and 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 and raised in Britain by trustworthy fathers. They did not have an eligibility clause but they had an unwritten eligibility policy, and no doubt they generally stuck to it, -just as we do when it comes to guarding the President, as well as America’s secrets, -along with access to and control over American nuclear bombs.

We are stupid, but not that stupid, -unlike unfortunate Indira Gandhi (India’s Prime Minister) who allowed the hiring of guards for herself from hostile ethnic groups, one of whom machine gunned her to death. (how the hell do you “vet” someone from a group that hates you?? He was probably Muslim or from an oppressed minority)

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 same Crown. The same dual-system of nationality was established by the settlers of the British colonies in America.

Within a century, (after civilization was established and cities and towns and roads were built, the self-governed Americans no longer saw themselves as purely British, -especially after Parliament cut them off from protection and assaulted them with all sorts of deprivations. The Americans then came to realize that they were not the countrymen of such people, -although they were their cultural brethren. 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 charter, and its own mostly unique identity and character.

In time, most of the people living within their borders had been born in the colony. 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. If not British they were deemed to be subject to their European king, 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 had a dichotomy; the natives were 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 the Scots had been 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” (i.e.,  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


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”.

2 Responses to 400 Years of Bastardized Ideas about Citizenship

  1. David Farrar says:

    Would you agree with Dr. Herbert W. Titus, J.D., a Constitutional law expert with more than 30 years of experience, that those born of freed slaves after 1865 were not ‘natural born’ citizens because they were determined by the Dredd Scott ruling to not be citizens against their will?

    ex animo

  2. arnash says:

    I think your wording contains a confusing double negative, so I’m not sure what Titus thought, but it does not matter what any court thought. What is true is true by principle and not legal opinion. But it in fact WAS determined by social opinion.

    Blacks were not natural members of white society, and thus not natural members of the countries they created. Their presence was artificially forced unless they were immigrants from Africa. But once they were freed from bondage, they needed to be something other than state-less persons, and so the Civil Rights Act of 1866 was needed to provide them citizenship.

    At that point social psychology enters the picture and it is a strong factor in the minds of white Americans. What exactly does “natural” mean if not from their perspective? The South strongly felt it was UNnatural to view Blacks as equal to Whites and so discrimination by law subverted their citizenship rights.

    Perhaps the best frame for answering your question is one involving American women, white and black. Were they truly citizens or merely American nationals? Without the rights of citizens, there was no basis to apply the term to them, and so similarly, with Black men, -not being viewed as equal either, but recognized as citizens by law and entitled to citizenship rights, their status as being or not being natural born citizens was socially and psychologically tied to them being socially and civilly liberated, as women eventually were.

    No one who would claim that American women were natural born citizens can explain why they would not be eligible to be President. It had to be because they in fact were not actual citizens. Same with Black men, until they gained citizenship. But like women, legal recognition needed to be followed by social recognition as well.

    So the simple view is only based on cultural reality. With the odd situation of women and minorities not being equal, not having acceptance as fellow CITIZENS, Americans would not have viewed them as sociologically natural born members of the citizen class of white male American natives.

    But technically, their “natural” status could have been asserted by the Supreme Court, but I don’t believe it was ever contested since no Black or woman could have been elected. So it didn’t really matter how they were officially categorized, and thus is was not necessary to even do that. It simply remained nebulous and unaddressed by courts and Congress.

    In today’s world, they are viewed as equal so there is now no way of arguing that they are NOT natural born citizens also. They have all of the rights, although women still are exempt from the natural duty of men to defend their country, so in effect, they still are not fully citizens in every sense. They, like foreign guests and children born to them in the U.S., are not fully subject to the responsibility of citizenship. And hopefully, they’ll never have to be.

    No, I take that back. Hopefully they WILL have to be, but not because of War but because of a need to re-instill a sense of obligation to one’s nation and its future in the young of America. Restoring the draft, almost universally, would dramatically alter the psychology of spoiled, lazy, clueless, aimless, amoral young persons in America and make them aware of how the world really works.

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