Dissecting Minor vs Happersett and Natural Citizenship

The unanimous U.S. Supreme Court in Minor v. Happersett in 1875, seven years after the passage of the 14th Amendment said:

 “The Constitution does not in words say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that.

It was not stated because it is unnecessary to state that which everyone already understands.  The question is; where exactly is “elsewhere” that its meaning can be found?  The only “elsewhere” of relevance would have been found before the Constitution was written.  The Declaration of Independence would have been one such source. It spoke of “the Law of Nature and Nature’s God”, which was an unmistakeable reference to Natural Law and Natural Rights.

“At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar,”

What that does not say is “by common law, by the nomenclature…”, but what follows that is not an explanation of how the terms of common-law language were used or understood, -which is implied by those opening words, instead we read:

“it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.”

“it was never doubted” speaks not of what “the law” was universally known to be, but of what a social, common-knowledge, customary assumption was, -one that was a part of the universal mind-set of the age, and thus never doubted as to its legitimacy or applicability. The grip of such universal acceptance meant that an actual law was not even needed because everyone already agreed to how things are, were, and would always be, -long before they arrived in life and probably long after they would be gone.

Automatic social inclusion, and subjection to the Crown of England, and citizenship in the colony of one’s birth came with native-birth.  It was an unquestioned reality of life that preceded the colonies by hundreds of years, perhaps 600 years (dating to the Norman invasion and conquest of England).

“that all children born in a country”, -that is inclusionary language, as apposed to exclusionary language.  Both together would be “all children, and only children…”, (-thereby excluding all children not born in-country).  But the rare child born outside of its parents’ country was not included in the general statement or observation regarding those who were born where nearly all children are born: -where their parents live.  So the context is notall children of citizen parents”; just those born in the parents’ homeland.

“all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also.”

That is an observation of reality that no one doubted, and since it was never doubted, there was no reason to contemplate the nature of the observation and consider what principles were involved.  No such reason ever existed until Barack Obama was unconstitutionally elected President of the United States.  Then a very strong reason arose, as folks sought to understand what that paragraph meant by the term it tossed in: “natural-born citizens”.

Was that paragraph some sort of Rosetta Stone that would clarify what was meant by the words used in the presidential eligibility clause?  Or was it something less, something less definitive, something not all-encompassing?  Well, the definition of a definition was definitely not met by that observation as one can easily ascertain by reading about how deep the truth about definitions is at wikipedia.  It involves almost a whole world unto itself.

The bottom line question is: what makes such children citizens like their parents?  Is it their parents or is it the sovereign soil within the borders of the nation where they were born?  Do they inherit their nationality from their father, (the head and master of their life, whose name they carry for all of their days) as the author of the original quote (E. Vattel, 1758) quite clearly explained?

Or are they presumed to be new citizens of their parents’ nation simply because that was where they were born, and custom says that that is enough to make one a citizen?  But we can’t overlook the third question; are both circumstances needed for citizenship? (Native-birth and citizen parents?)

Three possibilities. Only one can be the true reason why one is a natural citizen of one’s nation.  If you pick the wrong one, then you will form an erroneous extrapolation as to what the tossed-in term “natural born citizen” means.

“These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners.”

That follow-on statement is woefully inadequate and short-sighted because it ignores a large entire category of citizens: the native-born common law citizens who, definitely prior to the Revolution, and  probably also prior to the Constitution, also were never doubted to be citizens even though born of aliens or foreigners.  They are not included in the observation since they were not born of citizens, but that did not matter for perhaps 700 years prior.  Birth place alone was deemed sufficient to make a subject of the Crown.  That was common law, so what the statement says does not relate to common law but to a combination of unrelated factors (parentage & nativity) which has no basis in any law ever written.

It is just an observation of an anthropological /sociological / political fact, combining two separate and unrelated factors which related to two very different and unrelated principles, although only one is a real principle (membership by blood relationship) while the other is merely an artificial legal convention of government policy and judicial ruling, perhaps codified into a statute, or not.

It is a huge and illegitimate leap to presume that there is an immutable requirement of the nation’s laws or unwritten laws that both sources of nationality actually be combined together in order to produce “a citizen” who is also describable as “a native, or natural-born citizen”

The falsity of defining a natural born citizen as one who fit that description of being born within the nation of their citizen parents, is seen in the real-world fact that only one of those two factors is necessary to produce a citizen, which is what the observation states such children are.  “became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also.”

One does not have to be born in their parents’ country in order to be a citizen, nor even born of citizen parents, so being describable as “a citizen” does not equate to being a natural born citizen.  But those children described as born of citizen parents, whether in or out of their country, are the real natural citizens because their national membership is automatically handed-down from father to child as an inherited character of their political nature.

Almost all of them are born where their parents live, -within their country, but that is an irrelevant factor, -only being relevant to children born of non-citizens who are nevertheless given the gift of citizenship based on the criterion of native-birth alone.

So you have two kinds of children born within a nation; nearly all are born of citizen parents but a small minority are born of foreigners.  The two types of “citizens” have native birth in common, but that fact is only relevant to those born of foreigners, since if they are not native-born, then they have have no connection to the nation whatsoever.

But because of the overlapping of two “principles” that are mutually unrelated, no definition can be attached to either “native” (a purely non-legal term) or natural born citizen (also a non-legal term except for the word “citizen”;  -it combines the natural world with the political world into one new hybrid term.)

To illustrate; one could say that all babies born under your roof to you and your wife are your children; -your home-born, natural-born children.  That is certainly true but it does not define what natural-born children are since they are your children regardless of where they are born.  Same with natural citizens.  They are children born of a living segment of the nation; of parents who are its citizens.  They cannot possible be anything else, just as your children cannot possibly be someone else’s children just because they were not born at home.

A country is a living social entity comprised of human families and the unmarried.  A nation is a living entity comprised of the citizenry of the country as well as the government and its laws.  The natural children of the country are the natural citizens of the nation, just as the children of the King, and his ambassadors, were considered natural born subjects of Britain regardless of what nation they were born in.  “family is family”.

“Some authorities go further and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class there have been doubts, but never as to the first.”

There were no doubts within the States that allowed jus soli citizenship at birth for the children of their immigrants.  That was their right to allow.  But it was also the right of the federal government to disallow such citizenship from being recognized by the federal government.

It was independent of the practices of the States, and it rejected the dual-allegiance, dual-nationality, and the conflict-of-sovereignty that they produced.  It allowed only jus sanguinis (by “Right of Blood); -citizenship by descent, -“.  All others had to be naturalized.  No native-birth citizenship was allowed for children of aliens.

Those who failed to grasp the total dichotomy that existed in America were the source of the doubts as to whether or not all native-born children were, or were not, U.S. citizens.  The answer depended on which perspective one viewed the issue from.  State?… -or Federal?

The doubts were not resolved until 1898 when the Supreme Court in the U.S. v Wong Kim Ark case decided to make State common law citizenship their interpretation of what the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment meant.  But that had a huge error in its logic, because the 14th Amendment did not allow expansive native-birth citizenship.  It only allowed citizenship for those born in America with no attachment to any foreign power.  That meant that only freed slaves would be made citizens by it since children born of foreigners were subject to their foreign father who was still subject to his own government, unless they were born of permanent members of American society.  If so, then they could also be drafted into the military because they were fellow members of the American society and nation, and had a duty to defend them.

But the Attorney General who interpreted the opinion of the high court for the executive branch got around that fact by simply ignoring it and thus altered the meaning of what it is to be fully subject to a national government.

Instead, he pretended that the jurisdiction that one must be born under was not the full sovereign authority of the national government over its citizens, -males in particular, but was merely local and State jurisdiction over their citizens, -as prevailed with State common law citizenship.  The flaw with that was that States could not raise an army and send it to war and into fatal combat.  No State had such sovereign authority, and thus not every common law State citizen was really subject to the authority of the national government which could do that, because some were not born of immigrants, -of members of American society, but were born of foreign tourists, visitors, guests, or students (like Barack Obama Sr.).

They remained subject to their own government and were exempt from American jurisdiction as temporary guests, -just like guests in one’s home are not obligated to scrub the floors and clean the toilet.  They are exempt because they are not permanent members of the household, (or nation).

“For the purposes of this case, it is not necessary to solve these doubts. It is sufficient, for everything we have now to consider, that all children, born of citizen parents within the jurisdiction, are themselves citizens.”

Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S.  (1875).  Id. at 167-68.

So they ended up right where they began.  If you are born in the country of parents who are citizens, then you are a citizen also, regardless of how or why.  They did not have to decipher the “how?” or “why?”, -and so they didn’t.  And no Supreme Court ever has, and probably never will.

It is too explosive of an issue.  Why?  Because if children of Americans are natural members of the United States then children of foreigners are not.  That would mean that perhaps millions of people born of non-citizen immigrants, who imagine that they could be eligible to be President one day, would have the cold water of denial thrown in their face. And that would include some of the leading personalities of the Republican Party.

In order to embrace the true illegitimacy of Barack Obama’s presumed citizenship and presidential eligibility, they would have to deny their own potential leaders any right to run for President, -as the Demoncrats twice avoided doing with their socialist candidate Barry Dunham Soetoro Hussein Obama.


Mario Apuzzo said to me: It looks like your children born out of the United States to U.S. citizen parents made it on the list of naturalized citizens of the United States at birth under a naturalization Act of Congress, but did not make it on the list of the natural born citizens under American national common law as presented by the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court in Minor.

Well that would be significant if such lists actually existed, but they do not.  Except in his fertile imagination.  Children of Americans, who happened to be born abroad, were only included in a naturalization statute because there was no other sort of statute that would be remotely related to their situation, -not because they were aliens, or because Congress thought it had authority over their citizenship.  What Congress thought was that it needed to echo the rule of natural law that the British had codified to deny citizenship to foreign-born children born of foreign-born American parents born of foreign American emigres.

Such children are natives of a foreign nation via birth to a native father of that nation and thus had no direct connection to the United States, since their native-born American grandfather would not constitute a direct connection.  Only a father would, and he, although U.S. citizen born, was born and raised as a foreigner who never lived in the United States.

As for “the list of the natural born citizens under American national common law”, it also is a list that can’t exist since Mario’s fabled American national common law is merely a figment of his imagination.  The national government rejected common law citizenship as he knows, so inventing a new American version out of fantasy interpretations does not change reality.

No one, including Mario, can ever produce a quote by any founder which states that the common law rule of the federal government was jus soli combined with jus sanguinis.  Or natural citizenship combined with native-born common law citizenship.  Such a combo has never existed and can’t be found in anything but his fanciful writings.

“The definition of a natural born citizen is a national one, not a state-by-state one as you maintain.  [I do???]  Therefore, a natural born citizen is defined by national law, not by the English common law which the states selectively adopted until abrogated by their state legislatures.”

But gee, Mario, such a national common law never came into being by any process or any federal body or anyone.  So where did it magically appear from?  From Infinity and Beyond?  In what year did it touch down?  In what location and by what process was it formulated?  Who signed on to it and who opposed it?  No clue?

You persist in declaring that the words “natural born citizen” need a quasi-official authoritative definition.  Says who?  Please illuminate the authority that can back up that claim.  You won’t because you can’t because it is all fiction.

The words are not defined by any government authority, or written source since they are common English language words defined by their common English language meanings.  Just like: a natural born athlete, a natural born beauty, a natural born chess prodigy.  Let’s see: -a natural prodigy; -a born prodigy, -a chess prodigy.  Which one is a legal term of art in need of a government or legal definition?  Is the English language simply inadequate to understand what those terms mean?  Or is your doctrine inadequate to explain the many holes and contradictions it contains?

That national law [law? what made it “law”?] took its citizenship principles from the law of nations.  These were general principles which the Founding generation incorporated into its common law.

Okay!  So you can therefore elucidate when and how and by whom that transpired, right?  No?  Why not?  Don’t you have that vitally important history and record at your fingertips?  Can’t you just call up those immensely important quotes to share them with everyone?

Of course you can’t because you’ve made the whole damn thing up. You are attempting to support your fantasy doctrine by riding on your own coattails, -as a knowledgeable authority figure who condemns appeals to authority while enlisting such an appeal to legitimize what you cannot ever prove or even reasonable make credible.  What you claim to be true is not actually true simply because you proclaim it,  even though it’s crucial to your hybrid dogma.

That common law became American common law and was national in scope. Hence, it was national common law…that defined an Article II natural born citizen. [“defined”???]

Oh good!  Another crystal clear claim that can easily be explained by crystal clear supporting documentation.  Right?  Not so much?  Not at all?  Well, I have to admire your boldness and confidence to proclaim things as an authoritative attorney who knows all about such things, unlike that crazy Nash who makes unsupported statements not backed by supporting authorities and citations but merely natural law and such crap.  Now before we all forget, could you maybe share with us all just what that documentation is?  When?  Next century?

The unanimous U.S. Supreme Court in Minor v. Happersett (1875) confirmed that the Framers use this national common law rather than the English common law to define a natural born citizen.

Hmmmm, I can’t tell if that is simply a demented statement or a flat-out lie.  How can it possibly be true when they did not define, and did not claim to have defined, what a natural born citizen is?  Simply stating a fact that everyone agrees on is not anywhere near formulating a definition, which is something they did not attempt and did not pretend to have attempted.  Except in Mario’s self-deluded imagination.

“The Court explained there that under the common law the nomenclature with which the Framers were familiar when they adopted and ratified the Constitution, a natural born citizen was a child born in a country to parents who were it citizens at the time of the child’s birth…”

The court never used the word “under” (the common law).  They wrote: “at common law”, but regardless of whatever that meant exactly, we know that that sentence was poorly conceived because they jumped from the thought that the terminology (nomenclature) of the common law was familiar to the great number of lawyers among the founders and framers, to speaking not about that something which that nomenclature illuminated or defined, but about something unrelated to it.   “it was never doubted…” is unrelated to nomenclature but solely to common perception quite unrelated to jargon or British terminology, yet Mario worships at the alter of that verbiage, never failing to unnecessarily repeat it.

His much bigger sin is in reversing the order of the statements made, attempting to make it look like they were issuing a Supreme Court definition of a term that was not the subject of the statement, but merely an unneeded, added aside.  How the hell can an added aside be reversed into being that which is being described?  That is Bizarro World backward thinking.

Here’s the Minor-style version of a similar statement:

~”Every beast housed in the dog pound that was born of dogs is also a dog, -a mutt; -a natural born canine.”

Here’s the Mario-style version of the Minor statement:

~ “A natural born canine is every beast housed in the dog pound which was born of dogs.”

No Mario!  That is not the definition of a natural born canine!  Grow a brain for God’s sake!

But he then gets back on the truth-train with this important statement:

The Slaughterhouse Cases (1872) had said that children born in the United States to alien parents were not citizens under the Fourteenth Amendment. Minor’s expression was not found in English common law, which did not consider the citizenship of the parents of children born in the King’s dominion and under his allegiance, and on the contrary, without any doubts, considered children born to alien parents in the King’s dominion and under his allegiance to be English “natural-born subjects.”

But then he barrels right off the the track with this perennially proclaimed falsehood:

“Rather, this statement is an expression of citizenship principles found in the law of nations. See Emer de Vattel, Section 212, The Law of Nations (1758) (1797) (“The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.”).”

Anyone who actually reads that section of Vattel notices quickly that Mario has everything backwards. That is because Vattel wrote in French, was not a definer of anything for anyone, -merely an observer and reporter of how the world worked, and used the words: “Les Naturels ou les indigenes”, with “naturels” referring to natural inhabitants or natural countrymen, and “les indigenes” referring to the natives or indigenous population.

But aside from that gross error is the fact that Vattel stated repeatedly, about three times in a row, that one’s nationality follows that of the father (since one is a replica of him and an inheritor of his national status).  The father was everything as far as the law and the government were concerned. He was the HEAD!
His nationality was the Parent Set. All within his family set were subsets of his nationality. If he was American then so were his wife and children. It all began and ended with him, not borders. If born of Americans or married to an American, then you were by nature or derivation an American also.

It is as clear as anything could possibly be, and yet Mario pretends that only the one sentence which he has managed to distort, is all the authority that we can and must take from Vattel.  The rest does not exist!  Point it out to him and you will get no response, -so don’t bother trying.



“But a nation has no just power to establish any regulation tending to abridge the rights of other nations, (1) or the imprescriptable rights of mankind. (2) The one would derogate from the equality of nations, the other would violate the rights of nature. (3) Both would be contrary to the natural or necessary law of nations.” (4)

1.  Declaring the native-born children of foreign guests to be the King’s subjects for life, with no right to reject subjection to him, would be and was a gross violation  abridging the rights of other nations.

2. Declaring a person to no longer be a member of the country of his birth and inheritance would be a gross violation of his imprescriptable rights as a human being.  National ostracism is not allowed in civilized nations that respect fundamental natural rights.  People have a natural right to be a member of their own family as well as their own nation.  No government person or persons have any right to deny anyone that fundamental right.

3. Ignoring and trampling on the rights and sovereignty of other nations certainly violates their right to be treated as equals.  Sending killer teams and drones into the airspace of another nation is a gross violation of that nation’s sovereignty unless done so with permission.  Revoking the citizenship of women who married foreign men is an egregious example of violating the rights of nature since it is a form of involuntary ostracism, yet it was the law of the land for well over half a century.

4.  The law of nations was the code by which nations were expected to conduct themselves, and included not just relationships between nations but also treatment of the people by the government.  Genocide would be the most egregious violation of the rights of mankind that were a part of the law of nations.

Children of natural born subjects born abroad, to be deemed natural born subjects: explained by 4 Geo. 2 c. 21.(1)   ~Page 22. ALIEN 7 ANNE chap. 5.  ~A.D. 1708

An Act for the naturalizing foreign Protestants.

Sec. III. And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid: That the children of all natural born subjects, born out of the legiance of her majesty, her heirs and successors, shall be deemed adjudged, and taken to be natural born subjects of the kingdom, to all intents, constructions and purposes whatsoever.

“shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be his Majesty’s natural born subjects of this kingdom, to all intents, constructions, and purposes as if they and every of them had been, or were born within this kingdom “

They could hardly have used stronger or clearer language to convey that the position of the government was that the place of birth of his Majesty’s natural born subjects was irrelevant.  Those statements are so emphatic that they are in essence declaring that no one is to even think for a second that such children are anything other than 100% full natural subjects of England.  But actually they could have gone one step more and declared that they were such by Right of Blood, -and not merely by allowance or proclamation of the government.  Since they didn’t do so, the principle was not made unmistakeably clear.


United States Law Review, Volume 29 (1895)

“It is manifest, then, that by international law, [the law of nations] the political or national status of the father fixes that of the child and hence the universally adopted rule, prevailing primarily among all nations, that the children of citizens are citizens, although born in a foreign country. “

Mario cannot ever address that statement which destroys both his claim about Vattel’s message (which it fully supports) along with his whole doctrine that foreign-born American children are aliens and therefore not natural born citizens as the first and most faithful Congress mandated that they be recognized as.  It they are natural born citizens, per “international law”, then his definition of “American constitutional common law” goes up in a puff of smoke (!) as native-birth is eliminated as a criterion of natural born citizenship.

“With this principle of international law before it, the same Congress which framed and proposed the constitutional definition of citizenship, [1866] adopted section one of the Civil Rights Bill, – a measure designed to enforce [what became] the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment, and therein defined citizenship as embracing: “All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed.”

Understand that it “defined citizenship as embracing” -meaning including, but not defining the full scope of citizenship.  Previously as well as subsequently, the federal government rejected that aliens, like Indians, were subject to American authority or jurisdiction.  Since Congress failed to define the full scope of jurisdiction, the executive branch had the prerogative to be the one to define it, and it choose to continue the policy and legal position that aliens were not subject to American jurisdiction while they were still subject to their own government’s jurisdiction, -which was not terminated until one took the oath of Allegiance and Renunciation, and personally and verbally renounced the king, prince, sovereign, potentate, or government under which they were born and were subject.

The position of the federal government was that only that act terminated their subjection to a foreign power, -not mere residency alone.  But there was no emphatic law specifically supporting that policy, -only the nationalization acts which left the children of immigrant aliens being aliens until their father naturalized.

Mario wrote:

“Now we know why Justice Gray in Wong Kim Ark insisted that the alien parents be permanently domiciled and resident in the United States in order for their U.S-born child to be a citizen of the United States.”

That is true but is very toxic to your doctrine. Without residency there is no attachment to a foreign nation since one’s attachment remains with one’s home country while traveling.
Without attachment there is no obligation toward the nation that one visits. Thus there is no allegiance “owed” to that foreign land by parents nor their native-born child, the child being under the allegiance and jurisdiction of the father and his government.

But with permanent domicile, that all changes. Attachment results, along with obligations (Selective Service registration, paying taxes, etc.) A native-born child is then born under the full jurisdiction that its domiciled parents are under. Then citizenship naturally attaches.

But the same is true of American babies born abroad to Americans who are transients and not permanent residents.
If transient foreigners’ U.S. born babies are foreigners only, then the same is true of transient Americans’ babies born abroad. They are not born with natural membership in that foreign nation because they lack domicile and its attachments.
They are aliens, being American only, -with national membership not attaching to them where they were born since the parents remain attached and subject to the jurisdiction of their homeland, the United States.

That is something that requires no statute to be true. It is naturally true, and such children are therefore naturally natural born citizens born of citizens and without any foreign nationality or conflict of allegiance.


“Publius” (probably James Madison who was President then, and who had employed that moniker to co-author the Federalist Papers) in The Alexandria Herald on October 7, 1811, commenting and applying the Naturalization Act of 1802 (-the same as the Acts of 1790 and 1795 in the particular at issue) concerning the “Case of James McClure,” stated:

“Mr. Rodman hints, that it would have been sufficient for James McClure to have been born in the United States—he is mistaken. The law of the United States recognizes no such claim. The law of Virginia, of 1792, does—for, “all free persons born within the territory of this commonwealth,” is deemed a citizen. The law of Virginia considers him as a son of the soil. An alien, as well as a citizen, may beget a citizen, but the U. States’ act does not go so far. A man must be naturalized to make his children such.”

That is super definitive; all we need now is a handwriting expert to examine the letter Publius wrote to determine if President Madison wrote it.  That would be a game-changer.  But until then, we are left with the other statements, policies, laws and logic that clearly point to the truth.

by Adrien Nash  July 2014  obama–nation.com




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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