November 12, 2012 Leave a comment
~why the founding fathers were all natural born citizens
Yesterday was different. I finally felt done with editing & revising all the hundred plus expositions on citizenship and birth certificates I’ve written, and was in a somewhat different place with a different mental perspective. That perspective happened to be that of 1787, and with all the dust of controversy having dissipated, I could finally clearly see the presidential eligibility clause through the eyes of its authors.
That was something that I was unable to do previously. Instead I relied on logic shaped by a plausible and reasonable assumption that I had absorbed from others who had preceded me in examining the controversy of what the presidential eligibility clause really means.
What I saw yesterday, while thinking without any preconceptions, was that a huge factor had always been missing from the logical explanation of what the founders’ thinking was. What I saw was surprising, and a reversal of what I had read, assumed, and written a dozen times over, and that was the central importance of the present epoch in which they lived, along with those who populated it.
The huge factor that was missing was the natural importance of the Founding Fathers themselves, -alive and electable, in contrast to imagined future Americans who might seek the office of the President. I saw the fact that the first qualification for who could be President applied not just to future generations but also to the Founders’ generation as well.
To refresh your memory, the Constitution states;
“No person, except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of the President;”
It became clear that the language of that first exception did not exclude them because the first thing they would have written would not have been a restriction that excluded themselves, but one that included themselves as the exception. That restriction of the universal prohibition of “No person”, meant no person was eligible to be President, with the exception of…., and then they inserted the description of what type of citizen would be allowed under the exception, and that description included all of them, which I’ll explain after pointing out that the exception that followed it was an exception to their exception. In other words; they allowed another exception to the natural born citizen exception, permitting a second class of persons (citizens of the United States when the Constitution was adopted) to also be an exception to the “No person,” prohibition.
The Founders, all being natural born citizens, left the door open to another class besides the one that they were a part of, and that exception was for those who were naturalized citizens and thus not describable as natural citizens.
That allowance mirrored that for all other elected offices, permitting the candidacy of loyal, tested Americans who were born in a foreign land that they no longer considered to be their home, -America filling that role. They gave them the respect and dignity that they had earned through a long war and its aftermath, and thus acknowledged them as equals, not inferiors.
I also realized something that surprised me, something that I had never read anyone point out, something completely overlooked, and that was the fact that the limitations on the presidency did not come with one of those for Representatives and Senators, which was a necessary minimum length of time of possessing United States citizenship. Representatives had to be citizens for at least seven years, Senators for nine years, but Presidents?…zero years!?
The logical explanation for their lack of inserting a minimum number of years was that the presidency was safe principally by the natural born citizenship requirement, and secondarily by the 14 year residency requirement. Any immigrant who had chosen America as his permanent home, and who had lived through the previous 14 years was very likely (if English speaking, -and more so if an immigrant from England) to be a naturalized citizen already, but even if not naturalized, was just as likely, or more, to be as loyal to America as native citizens, -large numbers of which had been devoted loyalists obedient and subservient to the King of England.
And on top of those two safe-guards was the fact that no one who was a naturalized immigrant or the U.S. born son of an unnaturalized immigrant, had any chance of being a candidate that anyone would vote for to be President. Only natural native citizens, born and raised in America, stood any chance of election. Immigrants were viewed and described as foreigners even after naturalization, because their origin and upbringing was foreign (along with their accents no doubt).
The presidential eligibility clause is the oddest clause in the entire Constitution because of the nature of its construction, -what it contains and what it doesn’t contain. I read that it was kind of shelved until near the end of the long summer in which the Constitution was written, shelved because of the importance of the office of Commander-in-Chief of the national military power, power that could be used as Napoleon later used it, -to make himself Emperor. They were fully aware of such a potential and that was why they put the power under the auspices of an elected officer, -the President, who could appoint and fire generals and admirals.
Along with allowing immigrant citizens who could never get elected, they added a residency requirement which applied not only to immigrants but also in perpetuity to natural citizens as well, which meant that Americans born abroad were required to have lived in the United States for fourteen years before being eligible to be President. The question that raises is; “did they connect in their minds the residency requirement to natural citizens also or only to naturalized citizens?” The answer is unknown and unknowable.
What I saw from the founders’ perspective was the truth about what they had actually written, and not what I had evolved to presume they had meant. I had come to presume incorrectly that one had to be “a natural born citizen of the United States”. I don’t recall when that thought took seed but I know that it came to mind because of the conventional wisdom that explained natural born citizenship as referring to Americans born as citizens of the United States after the ratification of the Declaration of Independence, -as opposed to those born earlier as subjects of the Crown of England.
By that perspective, none of the founding fathers viewed themselves as natural born citizens of the United States (which didn’t exist when they were born) and they therefore had to add a “grandfather clause” to allow for their own eligibility.
But I realized that that perspective would not have been how they saw themselves, -and that that language was incorrect. They did not require of a President a quality that they themselves did not naturally possess and that is evident in the fact that they didn’t require the President to be a natural born citizen of the United States. They only required that he be a natural born citizen period, -without adding “of the United States”.
They all were natural born citizens of their home colony, being American natives by birth, born and raised in America and they certainly would have described themselves as such because the alternative would be describing themselves as immigrants and foreigners or naturalized citizens. So the use of the term “natural born citizen” was in connection to their home land, the commonwealth or colony (state) in which they were born and grew up, and, -in the broader context, the American country comprised of similar English-speaking members of the American world created by descendants and immigrants from Great Britain, but not in reference to the evolving United States which was something that they were still attempting to create.
They had to have realized that if they allowed only the one exception (natural born citizens) -while it would have been adequate and identical in effect to the election result of adding the second exception, (allowing naturalized citizens) it also would have insulted the feelings of all immigrant men who fulfilled the other two requirements of maturity and residency, and no doubt the vast majority of them were men who had rejected life in England under the King and his minions, and embraced life in America with its principles of unalienable human rights, and protected freedoms as Americans.
Since there was no chance of any of them actually being elected President, there was no point in offending them in the name of a non-existent risk of such an American being a secret loyalist supporting the Crown although elected President. So there was no good reason to not add an exception to the main exception, one to accompany the exception made for themselves and all natural Americans. That way everyone was happy and everyone was equal and would be judged solely on the merits of what the voters saw in them. No insult and no risk to nation security. All citizens (males) were eligible.
A couple other points should be noted also. They certainly would have put the primary exempted class first in the order of exceptions. Which they did, and they also would have included themselves in the primary class because filling the office of the President would definitely be all about them in the present, and near future, and secondarily about the extended future.
The second point is that they realized full well that the second class of exceptions, unlike the first, was a finite group whose membership ceased being increased or replaced once the Constitution was ratified. After June 1788, no more “citizens of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution” were coming into this world. So the class of naturalized citizens eligible to be President at that time was a class that would disappear when the last of them was deceased in about 50 years.
Lastly, it should be recognized that the addition of the second exception for those who were United States citizens only but not natural born was not written by the Founders to allow themselves to be President, but to allow naturalized Americans to not be and feel excluded from a high prize which would only be won by about .00001 percent of the population (more or less) meaning one in three million, [-today that ratio being 100 times greater].
The Founders were both types of citizens. They were natural members of the American land of their birth by being fathered by subjects of their home commonwealth. That membership was converted from belonging to Britain through their membership in their colony, to belonging solely to their state and through it to the union of the American States, making them therefore also citizens of the United States.
While the eligibility of those who were only “citizens of the United States” would self-terminate when all who were naturalized citizens when the Constitution was adopted had died, the eligibility of natural born citizens would continue on in perpetuity, at least until this modern era in which everyone is ignorant of what natural citizenship is, resulting in the election of one who not only was not born as a natural citizen, but also was not born as a 14th Amendment citizen, nor as a statutory citizen.
He was in fact, by the true and original meaning of the 14th Amendment, not born as a citizen of the United States by actual law but merely by an Attorney General’s erroneous administrative opinion based on a deliberately distorted Supreme Court opinion that rejected consideration of the true and original meaning of the words that they were ruling on (the words of the 14th Amendment).
The historical circumstances required in order for Obama to be considered eligible to be President is like a bank vault combination lock with half a dozen numbers that must be set in the proper order. Or like the 6 steps that the managers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant had to take in violation of proper procedure which caused the nuclear core to melt down. Any one of them would have prevented it from happening. But like a vault combination lock, they all occurred one after another leading to the worst nuclear disaster possible. A similar American Chernobyl occurred in relation to the Presidency and via a similar error-based process. Once ignorance replaced insight then the tumblers slowly began lining up leading up to a meltdown of the constitutional rules for selecting a legitimate President.
by a.r. nash nov. 2012 obama–nation.com