Jefferson’s 1779 Virginia Citizenship Law

Wilted Rose said,

I have for years been arguing with the Obots over the meaning of Jefferson’s 1779 citizenship law. They argue that it proves that the Framers accepted jus soli citizenship. I have maintained that it proves that they rejected jus soli and accepted jus sanguinis.

Here is the pertinent text of the law.  [the expanded, paragraphed version is right below it]

An Act Declaring Who Shall Be Deemed Citizens of This Commonwealth:

~Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That all white persons born within the territory of this commonwealth, and all who have resided therein two years next before the passing of this act; and all who shall hereafter migrate into the same, other than alien enemies, and shall before any court of record, give satisfactory proof by their own oath or affirmation that they intend to reside therein; and moreover shall give assurance of fidelity to the commonwealth; and all infants wheresoever born, whose father, if living, or otherwise whose mother was a citizen at the time of their birth, or who migrate hither, their father if living, or otherwise their mother becoming a citizen, or who migrate hither without father or mother, shall be deemed citizens of this commonwealth, until they relinquish that character in manner as herein after expressed; and all others not being citizens of any the United States of America shall be deemed aliens….

~    ~    ~    ~

This is the only logical formatting of Jefferson’s text:  Be it enacted by the General Assembly

That (1) all white persons born within the territory of this commonwealth; [the jus soli common law rule]

(2) and all who have resided therein two years next before the passing of this act; [a grandfather-clause allowing those with previous residence at the time to automatically be deemed citizens without the oath of allegiance.]

(3) and all who shall hereafter migrate into the same (other than alien enemies [note: an unnecessary carry-over from British doctrine, rendered pointless by the oath] ) and shall before any court of record, give satisfactory proof by their own oath or affirmation that they intend to reside therein; and moreover shall give assurance of fidelity to the commonwealth; [no requirement of renunciation of one’s foreign sovereign]

(4) and all infants wheresoever born, whose father (if living, -or otherwise whose mother) was a citizen at the time of their birth,[pure jus sanguinis; membership by descent, by blood relationship, with “wheresoever” including the entire world along wth the State.]

(5) or who migrate hither, their father (if living, -or otherwise their mother) becoming a citizen; (or who migrate hither without father or mother [perhaps with an uncle or aunt]),

shall be deemed citizens of this commonwealth, -until they relinquish that character in manner as herein after expressed;

and all others not being citizens of any of the united ‘States of America’ shall be deemed aliens….

The clerk of the court shall enter into record such oath, and give the person taking the oath, a certificate thereof, for which he shall received the fee of one dollar.

And in order to preserve to the citizens of this commonwealth that natural right which all men have of relinquishing the country in which birth or other accident may have thrown them, and seeking subsistence and happiness wheresoever they may be able, or may hope to find them;

And to declare unequivocally what circumstances shall be deemed evidence of an intention in any citizen to exercise that right, It is enacted and declared that:

Whensoever any citizen of this commonwealth, shall by word of mouth …(or by deed in writing, -under his hand and seal executed in the presence of three witness)… openly declare to the same court, that he relinquishes the character of a citizen,…such person shall be considered as having exercised his natural right of expatriating himself, and shall be deemed no citizen of this commonwealth from the time of his departure.

[~ the absolute Natural Right to attach oneself to whatever people & nation that one freely chooses, -a fundamental right denied to all subjects of the British Crown.  They were deemed subjects for life under the doctrine of perpetual allegiance.]

The free white inhabitants of every of the states (?) [the united STATES], parties to the American confederation, paupers, vagabonds [ Gypsies in particular] and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all rights, privileges, and immunities of free citizens in this commonwealth, and shall have free egress, and regress, to and from the same, and shall enjoy therein, all the privileges of trade, and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions [obligations, -not trade taxes] and restrictions as the citizens of this commonwealth….

“The Statutes at Large;: Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia.”  Revised Bills of 1779, chap. LV. p. 41.

The transcription of the Bill here:


~ ~ ~

This is more revealing than either side can accept. Why? Because it demolishes both jus soli alone and jus soli + jus sanguinis as the on-going basis of natural citizenship.

With the passage of the act, citizenship by natural right is reestablished as pure jus sanguinis, and British common law native-birth subjectship or citizenship is perpetuated as a traditional allowance for immigrant-born children.

But an infant “wheresoever born” on Earth, if born of a citizen of the republic, was by nature also a citizen due to their blood relationship, -State membership purely via descent.

That is what it says but no one is willing to accept what is right before your eyes. Neither side.

Both jus soli (for the 2+%) and jus sanguinis membership (for natives, -the 98%) were authorized by law!

The natural law of belonging is made supreme from the family level to the republic level, while the mercy of the law continued to be extended to the  native-born children of new-comers.

“~that natural right which all men have of relinquishing the country in which birth or other accident may have thrown them, and seeking subsistence and happiness wheresoever they may be able.”



paupers, vagabonds [like Gypsies] and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all rights,…”

That is a vitally important statement since it goes to the very heart of a correct interpretation of the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause.  It reveals in plain language that some souls were not deemed to be citizens because they were not a part of American society and thus not SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION of the Government.

The  bottom line of that truth is that not everyone born on U.S. soil is deemed by the amendment to be a U.S. citizen because those born of such persons as listed, along with the newer phenomenon of illegal aliens, and Visa Card over-stayers, ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE JURISDICTION of the United States.

14th Amendment: All persons born in the United States, or naturalized, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”

There is another class of persons who are not subject: foreign guests and foreign ministers.  They include tourists, family visitors, scientists, scholars, authors & entertainers, athletes, temporary skilled workers, and foreign students.

But unfortunately, your government is brain-dead in that regard because the actual meaning of being subject (and to what jurisdiction?) has been bastardized into simple civil obedience instead of the much broader and deeper responsibility of actual civic membership; i.e., Citizenship.

That subjection includes the duty of national defense -without limitation of what that might cost one.  The justices that decided the 14th Amendment case in 1898 were the elites of society, isolated and insulated from normal reality, conceptualizing in their ivory towers, immune from the obligations of real citizenship, -particularly the duty to defend one’s people and nation.

They may not have ever held a weapon in their hands, much less fired one, -much less fired one in self-defense, -much less fired one in offensive combat.  They knew nothing about the full jurisdiction required by the executive authority of the Commander-in-Chief whose orders, along with those under him, could send you to your death.   Obedience to “U.S. jurisdiction” was not about loud parties, -not breaking laws, paying taxes, and submitting to martial and judicial authority, etc.  Instead it extended all of the way to submitting to Military authority as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States.

The authors of the citizenship clause stated plainly that “jurisdiction” means “full jurisdiction” -which includes all political jurisdiction.  But the Attorney General at the time that the Supreme Court overthrew the original meaning of jurisdiction (1898 U.S. v Wong Kim Ark) himself overthrew the opinion of the court by extending citizenship way beyond the U.S. immigrant-born children that the high court’s amendment opinion covered, and made it national policy that any child except that of a foreign ambassador shall be deemed to be an American, regardless of how criminal, hostile, or committed to the over-throw of the U.S. government that the foreign parents might be.

That would include the sons of all of America’s (and the world’s) worst enemies.  Was one guilty of horrific crimes against humanity and still at war with America?  No problem.  His son is an American! -just as long as his mother gets herself onto U.S. soil during delivery.

Consider the situation of embarking on a thousand mile journey across uncharted territory, with no roads nor markers, to a specific intended destination.  If the angle of your embarkation is off from perfect by just a tiny amount, at a thousand miles out the distance between where you’ll end up and the true line direct to your destination will be enormous.

That is exactly what has been the result of that decision of Attorney General John Griggs.  Why is America being inundated by millions of foreigners?  Because of similar stupidity when it comes to making available social benefits meant solely for American citizens.

And why do thousands of pregnant foreign women come here to give birth?  Because of the side-effect of the Griggs choice which is still the policy of the land over a century later when the circumstances are what would have been inconceivable in his day.

We are a thousand miles away from the intended destination of his interpretation of the supreme court’s interpretation.  He was steeped in historical British nationality rules established over centuries, and failed to foresee that the results of America not being an island like Britain, due to a southern border with a Latin population having a machismo character that takes pride in large families, resulting in an exploding population that is not matched by an explosion in job creation, producing a tsunami of illegal immigrants.

~     ~     ~

What confuses people is the fact that 98% of those born of citizens were born not “wheresoever” but within the State, (just like immigrant children) but their citizenship was not negotiable by lawmakers, -it was not by permission of government. It was by NATURAL RIGHT. Their citizenship is the result of birth to a citizen father though they are falsely presumed to be a citizen because of birth location regardless of a foreign father.

But everyone focuses on where they were born (the tail) instead of to whom they were born, i.e., a citizen father (the dog).  The mind that reads that act, without any background understanding of the nature of national membership, does not read anything about the principles behind its superficial statements of circumstances (and their citizenship result) which only deal with observable, provable facts.  It is not a treatise on the nature & law of citizenship and as such gives no clue as to why such circumstances produce citizenship and whether or not there is a natural difference between those deemed to be citizens.

It’s philosophical superficiality as an Act of law leaves it up to the philosophers to unravel its unexplained logic and principles.  It artificiality is seem in it conclusion that those who meet the criteria “shall be deemed citizens of this commonwealth”.  That covers two kinds of citizens.

One is those who are natural citizens regardless of the passage of any citizenship act, and even in the total absence of one; while the other is all of the others who are “deemed” citizens by authority of the law.  The GIGANTIC mistake is in the natural but false presumption that the others, -the natural citizens, are only deemed to be citizens because of legal authority as well, -when they in fact they are citizens even without it.

A good analogy is this: Imagine an ocean current that flows along a continental coast, moving ships from one city to another a long distance away.  That is analogous to natural family membership, -something entirely natural without any intervention of any authority.

In time sailing ships are invented and they follow the same current since the trade-winds do also.  That is analogous to governments recognizing natural nation membership that follows the natural pattern of family membership.

After a great deal of time has passed, engines are invented; steam and later diesel-powered ships then begin to plow that same course across the waters.  After a generation or two have passed, everyone “knows” that the way to get from the first city to the distant one (non-citizenship to citizenship) one must take the sail-less, engine-powered commercial travel ship.

That is analogous to everyone “knowing” that citizenship is something acquired by the operation of Law and has nothing to do with natural relationships.  They (the entire legal establishment) “know” that you can’t get to Citizenship City without taking the Government Steamship of Nationality Law.

They are all oblivious to the fact that if all of the Law-Powered ships vanished tomorrow, one could still travel via wind-power.  That is analogous to a nation without any nationality statutes.  The people would know who is a natural member by whether or not a child was born of outsiders or born of natives.  So people would still be deemed to be citizens or not without any actual nationality law.

If a meteor strike and consequential massive fires destroyed all of the law books of the country, there would still be the equivalent of the natural ocean current to move people to Citizenship City.  That current is of course blood relationship.  That current, and its accompanying wind, is there and underlying all of the man-made, law-powered determination of national belonging, -it providing natural national membership.

A Founder who subscribed to the “son of a citizen” basis of citizenship was Supreme Court Justice, James Wilson, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, who wrote in 1791:

“Generally speaking,” says the great political authority, Aristotle, “a citizen is one partaking equally of power and of subordination…  In this view, a citizen of Pennsylvania is he who has resided in the state two years; and, within that time, has paid a state or county tax: or he is between the ages of twenty one and twenty two years, and the son of a citizen. ~~~ You will be pleased to hear,…we have renewed, in our governments, the principles and the practice of the ancient Saxons.”

~     ~     ~

Slartibartfast said…
-the Virginia law…makes people born in Virginia citizens (and, implicitly, natural born citizens) without reference to the condition of their parents.”

What ignorant idiocy. No law can make someone a natural born citizen anymore than a law can make you the natural born son of a different mother.

The law can only deem outsiders to be insiders, and adoptees to be as natural children (both fictions of law).  It cannot, and does not, deem insiders to be insiders because they are already that without any need for a law to make it so.

The natural born natives are within the description of those deemed citizens but they are not made what they are by it. They are only identified by the law so that any State magistrate who is ignorant of State policy and law will know what the facts are.  That law was administrative law, -not criminal nor civil law.  It was written for the State magistrates, as well as the public, so they could identify who were and were not citizens of the commonwealth.

Also, the term “natural born citizen” is antithetical to American values of inclusive equality and that is why is was not even used except when necessary.
Aside from the CiC position, all citizens were equal in every way and would not be defined by language aimed to categorize them.


Slarti wrote: -the Naturalization Act of 1790 made some children born overseas to US citizens natural born,.. It is clearly within the power of the Congress to pass a law containing the same wording as the 1790 Naturalization Act if they so choose.

What ignorance! “within the power of the Congress” is a meaningless concept from a constitutional stand-point.
What Congress “can do” and what it is allowed to do by constitutional authorization are two different things.
It can pretend that it is imbued with a facsimile of the unlimited power of Parliament to pass anything it wants with no court to tell it otherwise, but Congress has no legitimate authority other than what the Constitution gives it.

And what does it give it? Authorization to write a nation-wide uniform rule for the States to adopt in their individual State naturalization procedures. Period. Nothing else!

NO POWER to naturalize anyone. Can’t you read? Are you too stupid to comprehend plain English?
Why will no one on either side explain where the unlimited Parliament-like authority of Congress comes from?
Why? Because they don’t have a single clue where it comes from. Pure presumption. No basis in anything.

Everyone is living is a false reality of their own absorbed impressions, -unwilling to read and comprehend the words of the framers.
In that crime-against-reason, both Mario and Slarti, and Dr. Conspiracy line-up together against the truth. (kind of like Islamists and Progressives versus Liberty.) Pathetic.
How can one debate with minds that get basic facts so wrong?

And will anyone on either side even attempt to dispute what I’ve stated? No, they will not because there is no basis for any other view even though having one is central to their doctrinal delusions.

Slarti wrote: show me evidence of where the law of the federal government, or that of any state, was changed from the pre-revolutionary standard which made the native-born children of aliens natural born.

Aside from the fact that “the law of the federal government,” couldn’t change from what it was before the revolution since it didn’t exist for over a decade after the war; take note that there was no “law of the federal government” at all regarding those born in America.  All it had power to write was a rule to make the 13 State naturalization rules uniform, and that dealt solely with making foreigners into Americans, (State & National citizens).  It was not aimed at any of the native-born.

Slarti’s stupid and deceitful question attempts to convey that the States deemed their alien-born children to be “natural born citizens” when the States didn’t need nor use that term.  The term he avoided using even though it was the correct one, is “citizen”.  He is correct that the States, some or all, had no reason to nullify automatic citizenship for those born within their borders, -as it had been the tradition and British rule for over a century.  But nothing on Earth could make such an alien-fathered, native-born person into “a natural born citizen” of the State nor the nation.

~    ~    ~

Under current policy, according to the Code, ALL native-born persons are citizens except children of Ambassadors, -that includes all other embassy employees, even consular officers!
It’s like U.S. citizenship is a free gift bag for everyone who shows up for our American event.

“Thanks for coming folks, -so glad that you were born here, and here’s your very own free United States citizenship just to show our appreciation! Citizenship for everyone!!!”

by Adrien Nash, June 2014  obama–


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”.

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