Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

The Constitution, Vattel, and “Natural Born Citizen”: What Our Framers Knew

By Publius Huldah.

We have been visited recently with several very silly articles which assert that Marco Rubio is a “natural born Citizen” within the meaning of Art. II, §1, cl. 5, U.S. Constitution (ratified 1788), and hence is qualified to be President:

Bret Baier (Fox News) asserts that Congress may define (and presumably redefine, from time to time) terms in the Constitution by means of law.

Chet Arthur in American Thinker quips that “the original meaning of ‘natural born citizen’” is determined by reference to “The Heritage Guide to the Constitution” and to the definition of “citizen” at Sec. 1 of the 14th Amendment, ratified 1868.

Human Events claims that anyone  born within The United States is a “natural born citizen” eligible to be President.

Jake Walker at Red State purports to show how the term has been used from 1795 to the present.  After quoting James Madison on the citizenship requirements imposed by Art. I, §2, cl. 2, to be a member of the House, Walker gleefully quotes a 1795 discussion of “natural born subject” to “prove” that anyone born here is a “natural born citizen”:

“It is an established maxim, received by all political writers, that every person owes a natural allegiance to the government of that country in which he is born. Allegiance is defined to be a tie, that binds the subject to the state, and in consequence of his obedience, he is entitled to protection…” [emphasis mine]

“The children of aliens, born in this state, are considered as natural born subjects, and have the same rights with the rest of the citizens.” [emphasis mine]

But “subjects” are not “citizens”; and we fought a war so that we could be transformed fromsubjects of the British Crownto Citizens of a Republic!

The four writers don’t know what they are talking about.  But I will tell you the Truth and prove it. We first address Word Definitions.

Word Definitions:

Like clouds, word meanings change throughout time.  “Awful” once meant “full of wonder and reverence”; “cute” meant “bowlegged”; “gay” meant “jovial”; and “nice” meant “precise”.

Accordingly, if someone from an earlier time wrote of a “cute gay man”, he was not referring to an adorable homosexual, but to a cheerful bowlegged man.

So!  In order to understand the genuine meaning of a text, we must use the definitions the authors used when they wrote it.  Otherwise, written texts become as shifting and impermanent as the clouds – blown hither and yon throughout the years by those who unthinkingly read in their own uninformed understandings, or deliberately pervert the text to further their own agenda.

So!  Is Our Constitution built on the Rock of Fixed Definitions – those our Framers used?  Or are its Words mere clouds to be blown about by Acts of Congress, whims of federal judges, and the idiotic notions of every ignoramus who writes about it?

What Did Our Framers mean by “natural born Citizen”?

Article II, §1, cl. 5, U.S. Constitution, requires the President to be a “natural born Citizen”.

The meaning of this term is not set forth in The Constitution or in The Federalist Papers; and I found no discussion of the meaning in Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention or in Alexander Hamilton’s notes of the same.

What does this tell us? That they all knew what it meant. We don’t go around defining “pizza”, because every American over the age of four knows what a pizza is.

Our Framers had no need to define “natural born Citizen” in the Constitution, because by the time of the Federal Convention of 1787, a formal definition of the term consistent with the new republican principles1 already existed in Emer Vattel’s classic, Law of Nations.

And we know that our Framers carefully studied and relied upon Vattel’s work.  I’ll prove it.

How Vattel’s Law of Nations got to the Colonies, and its Influence Here:

During 1775, Charles Dumas, an ardent republican [as opposed to a monarchist] living in Europe sent three copies of Vattel’s Law of Nations to Benjamin Franklin. Here is a portion of Franklin’s letter of Dec. 9, 1775 thanking Dumas for the books:

“… I am much obliged by the kind present you have made us of your edition of Vattel. It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising state make it necessary frequently to consult the law of nations. Accordingly that copy, which I kept, (after depositing one in our own public library here, and sending the other to the College of Massachusetts Bay, as you directed,) has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author…” (2nd para) [boldface added]

Vattel’s Law of Nations was thereafter “pounced upon by studious members of Congress, groping their way without the light of precedents.”

Years later, Albert de Lapradelle wrote an introduction to the 1916 ed. of Law of Nations published by the Carnegie Endowment.2 Lapradelle said the fathers of independence “were in accord with the ideas of Vattel”; they found in Vattel “all their maxims of political liberty”; and:

“From 1776 to 1783, the more the United States progressed, the greater became Vattel’s influence.  In 1780 his Law of Nations was a classic, a text book in the universities.”(page xxx) [emphasis added]

In footnote 1 on the same page (xxx), Lapradelle writes:

“… Another copy was presented by Franklin to the Library Company of Philadelphia. Among the records of its Directors is the following minute: “Oct. 10, 1775. Monsieur Dumas having presented the Library with a very late edition of Vattel’s Law of Nature and Nations (in French), the Board direct the secretary to return that gentle-man their thanks.” This copy undoubtedly was used by the members of the Second Continental Congress, which sat in Philadelphia; by the leading men who directed the policy of the United Colonies until the end of the war; and, later, by the men who sat in the Convention of 1787 and drew up the Constitution of the United States, for the library was located in Carpenters’ Hall, where the First Congress deliberated, and within a stone’s throw of the Colonial State House of Pennsylvania, where the Second Congress met, and likewise near where the Constitution was framed …” [emphasis added]

So!  Vattel’s work was “continually in the hands” of Congress in 1775; Members of the Continental Congress “pounced” on Vattel’s work; our Founders used the republican Principles in Vattel’s work to justify our Revolution against a monarchy; by 1780, Vattel’s work was a “classic” taught in our universities; and our Framers used it at the Federal Convention of 1787. 3

Vattel on “natural born citizens”, “inhabitants”, and “naturalized citizens”:

From our beginning, we were subjects of the British Crown. With the War for Independence, we became citizens.1 [READ this footnote!] We needed new concepts to fit our new status as citizens.  Vattel provided these new republican concepts of “citizenship”. The gist of what Vattel says in Law of Nations, Book I, Ch. XIX, at §§ 212-217, is this:

§ 212: Natural-born citizens are those born in the country of parents who are citizens – it is necessary that they be born of a father who is a citizen. If a person is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.

§ 213:  Inhabitants, as distinguished from citizens, are foreigners who are permitted to stay in the country. They are subject to the laws of the country while they reside in it. But they do not participate in all the rights of citizens – they enjoy only the advantages which the law or custom gives them. Their children follow the condition of their fathers – they too are inhabitants.

§ 214: A country may grant to a foreigner the quality of citizen – this is naturalization.  In some countries, the sovereign cannot grant to a foreigner all the rights of citizens, such as that of holding public office – this is a regulation of the fundamental law.  And in England, merely being born in the country naturalizes the children of a foreigner.

§§ 215, 216 & 217: Children born of citizens in a foreign country, at sea, or while overseas in the service of their country, are “citizens”. By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers; the place of birth produces no change in this particular.

Do you see?  The republican concept of “natural born citizenship” is radically different from the feudal notion of “natural born subjectship.” Under feudalism, merely being born in the domains of the King made one – by birth – a “natural born subject”.  But in Vattel’s Model and Our Constitutional Republic, Citizens are “natural born” only if they are born of Citizens.

How Our Framers applied Vattel’s Concept of “natural born citizen” in Our Constitution:

The Federal Convention was in session from May 14, through September 17, 1787.  John Jay, who had been a member of the Continental Congress [where they “pounced” on Vattel], sent this letter of July 25, 1787, to George Washington, who presided over the Convention:

“…Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government and to declare expressly that the Command in Chief of the american army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen…”4

According, Art. II, §1, cl. 5 was drafted to read:

“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 President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.” [boldface added]

In § 214, Vattel states that “fundamental law” may withhold from naturalized citizens some of the rights of citizens, such as holding public office. The Constitution is our “fundamental law”; and, following Vattel, Art. II, §1, cl. 5 withholds from naturalized citizens (except for our Founding Generation which was “grandfathered in”) the right to hold the office of President.5

Remember! None of our early Presidents were “natural born Citizens”, even though they were all born here. They were all born as subjects of the British Crown. They became naturalized citizens with the Declaration of Independence. That is why it was necessary to provide a grandfather clause for them. But after our Founding Generation was gone, their successors were required to be born as citizens of the United States – not merely born here (as were our Founders), but born as citizens.

And do not forget that the children born here of slaves did not become “citizens” by virtue of being born here. Their parents were slaves; hence (succeeding to the condition of their parents) they were born as slaves. Black people born here did not become citizens until 1868 and the ratification of the 14th Amendment.

So!  Do you see?  If Our Framers understood that merely being born here were sufficient to confer status as a “natural born citizen”; it would not have been necessary to grandfather in our first generation of Presidents; and all the slaves born here would have been “natural born citizens”. But they were born as non-citizen slaves, because their parents were non-citizen slaves.

David Ramsay’s 1789 Dissertation on Citizenship:

David Ramsay was an historian, Founding Father, and member of the Continental Congress  [REMEMBER: This is where they “pounced” on Vattel], whose Dissertation On The Manner Of Acquiring The Character And Privileges Of A Citizen Of The United States was published in 1789, just after ratification of our Constitution and the Year the new Government began.

It is an interesting dissertation and only 8 pages long. At the bottom of his page 6, Ramsay states:

“The citizenship of no man could be previous to the declaration of independence, and, as a natural right, belongs to none but those who have been born of citizens since the 4th of July, 1776.” [modernized spelling & emphasis are mine]

Do you see?  Ramsay’s Dissertation sets forth the understanding of the Time, formally stated by Vattel and incorporated by our Framers, that a “natural born Citizen” is one who is born of citizens.  And we had no “citizens” until July 4, 1776.

Now, let us look at the First Congress.

How the First Congress followed Vattel and our Framers:

Article I, §8, cl. 4 delegates to Congress the power “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization”.6 Pursuant to that power, the First Congress passed the Naturalization Act of 1790.  Here is the text, which you can find at 1 Stat. at Large, 103:

“SECTION1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any alien, being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof, on application to any common law court of record, in any one of the states wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such court, that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law, to support the constitution of the United States, which oath or affirmation such court shall administer; and the clerk of such court shall record such application, and the proceedings thereon; and thereupon such person shall be considered as a citizen of the United States. And the children of such persons so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States.   And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States … APPROVED, March 26, 1790.” 7

So!  This Act of the First Congress implements the Principles set forth in Vattel, embraced by our Framers, and enshrined in Art. II, §1, cl. 5, that:

  • A “natural born Citizen” is one who is born of parents who are citizens.
  • Minor children born here of aliens do not become citizens until their parents are naturalized. Thus, they are not “natural born” citizens.

Our Framers rejected the anti-republican and feudal notion that mere location of birth within a Country naturalizes the children of a foreigner. 8

The distinction written into Our Constitution and implemented by the Naturalization Act of 1790 is between someone who is born a citizen, by being born of parents who are already Citizens, and someone who becomes a citizen after birth by naturalization. Only the former are eligible to be President.

 So!  Original Intent?  Or Whatever the People with the Power want it to Mean?

I have proved the original intent of “natural born Citizen” at Art. II, §1, cl. 5 – it is one who is born of parents who are citizens. We may not lawfully change that definition except by Amendment to the Constitution.  Section 1 of the 14th Amendment does not change the definition because the 14th Amendment defines “citizens” of the United States (which includes naturalized citizens) and not “natural born Citizen”.

Some Democrats no longer pretend that the glib, handsome & black Obama (who, following the condition of his putative father, was born a subject of the British Crown) is “a natural born Citizen”. They now assert that the Democrat Party has the right to nominate whoever they choose to run for president, including someone who is not qualified for the office. [See pages 3 & 4 of the linked Court Order.]

The school-girlish Establishment Republicans who swoon over the glib, handsome & Hispanic Marco Rubio (who is not a “natural born Citizen”, but only a naturalized citizen) will ultimately destroy our sovereignity. Once we accept that our President need not be a “natural born Citizen”, we will have made a major step towards submission to global government. Because then, anybody can be President. PH.


1 Monarchies have subjects. Republics are formed by citizens.  We broke from a monarchy under which we were subjects; and with our War for Independence, were transformed into citizens!

The common law of England recognizes only subjects of the Crown. England has never had citizens.  Her feudal doctrine of “natural born subjects” is set forth in Book I, Ch. 10, of Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (I modernized the spelling):

“THE first and most obvious division of the people is into aliens and natural-born subjects. Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England, that is, within the … allegiance of the king; and aliens, such as are born out of it.  Allegiance is the tie … which binds the subject to the king …” [emphasis mine]

Under feudalism, people are possessions who belong to the Land in which they were born. So they are “naturally” subject to whoever owns the Land. They were born as subjects to the owner of the land [ultimately, the King] on which they were born.

With our War for Independence, We repudiated the notion of natural born subjects.  As Citizens, We ordained and established Our Constitution wherein We created a federal government which was subject to us!

Jake Walker doesn’t seem to know the difference between being “a subject of a King” and “a citizen of a Republic”, as he equates the feudal concept of “natural born subject” with the Republican concept of “natural born Citizen”.

Chet Arthur and Human Events tell us the “original intent” of “natural born Citizen” at Art. II, §1, cl. 5 is given by an Amendment defining “citizen” [not “natural born citizen”] ratified 80 years later!

And Bret Baier seems unaware that the methods for amending the Constitution are set forth in Article V; and that Congress may not amend the Constitution by making a law which redefines terms set forth in the Constitution!

These four amateurs would do well to study Birthright Citizenship and Dual Citizenship: Harbingers of Administrative Tyranny, by Professor Edward J. Erler. Erler addresses the distinctions between “citizenship” and “subjectship”; and the concept of “citizenship” at §1 of the 14th Amendment. He proves that not everyone born here is a “citizen”: Only those whose parents are “subject to the jurisdiction of the US” are citizens. Illegal aliens are not “subject to the jurisdiction of the US” – they are invaders whose allegiance is to the Country they left.  Foreign diplomats stationed here are not “subject to the jurisdiction of the US”. Thus, children born here of these aliens are not citizens!

2 The 1916 ed. of Law of Nations with Lapradelle’s introduction is a Google digitized book. If you download it, you get an easily readable text.

3 Many thanks to my friend, David J. Edwards, who provided me with Evidence of Vattel’s profound influence on our Founders & Framers.

4 The hyperlink contains another link where you can see Jay’s handwritten letter!

5 Note that Art. I, §2, cl. 2, permits naturalized citizens to serve as Representatives; and Art. I, §3, cl. 3, permits them to serve as Senators.

6 “Naturalization” is the process, established by law, by which foreigners become citizens.

7 Note that in §§ 215, 216 & 217, Vattel says that children born of citizens in a foreign country, at sea, or while overseas in the service of their country, are “citizens”. He goes on to say that by the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers; the place of birth produces no change in this particular.  But he doesn’t expressly say they are “natural born citizens”. The italicized words at the end of the 1790 Act correct that and make it clear that children of citizens of the United States are “natural born citizens” wherever they are born.

8 The 14th Amendment doesn’t change this one whit! READ Prof. Erler’s paper, linked above.

NOTICE! To all who strain to find something I “failed to mention”: I didn’t quote Minor v. Happersett because Minor merely paraphrases, in dicta, a portion of the Naturalization Act of 1790, the text of which is set forth above.

July 19, 2012

POST SCRIPT added July 25, 2012:

The following valuable  comment was posted by Political Junkie Too  at:

From The Rights of Man, 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.

Yes, Paine did use the term “native of the country.” Does this mean “native born” instead of “natural born?” We have to look at the following statements to answer that question.Paine refers to Engish examples in order to define this. Paine cites “foreigner” and “half a foreigner” as the oppposite 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 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 two 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.


18 posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 6:10:53 PM by Political Junkie Too

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July 19, 2012 - Posted by | Marco Rubio, natural born citizen, Vattel | , ,


  1. What do you make of this?

    During the debates over the 1795 Naturalization Act, Mr Hillhouse of Connecticut commenting on a proposed amendment to the bill that would have required aliens with titles to renounce them before becoming US citizens. He envisioned a situation where a nobleman could come to the US and refuse to renounce his titles;

    “If we pass the present amendment, the construction must be, that an alien, after residing in this country, abjuring his allegiance to his own, offering to become a citizen of, and taking the oath of fidelity to, the United States, is in the possession of the rights of a privileged order to which he may have belonged; and further that their rights are hereditary, unless he shall, agreeably to the amendment, come forward and renounce them. But what will be the consequences of him not renouncing? Most clearly that he retains and possesses them. A nobleman, then, may come to the United States, marry, purchase lands, and enjoy every other right of a citizen, except of electing and being elected to office. His children, being natural born citizens, will enjoy, by inheritance, his title, and all the rights of his nobility and a privileged order he possessed, an idea which ought not, either explicitly or impliedly, to be admitted.” from the Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 3rd Congress, 2nd Session, January 2nd, 1795, page 1046

    If I am understanding this correctly Hillhouse is saying that a nobleman who comes here and refuses to renounce his citizenship, if he is let to do so, would “enjoy every other right of a citizen, EXCEPT of electing and being elected to office.” (Not being able to vote = not a citizen) If he also got married and had children, those children would be natural born citizens. So here we have an alien father and, most likely, a citizen mother giving birth to natural born citizens.


    Comment by kenleyn | February 4, 2016 | Reply

    • Oh my! We really don’t need to worry about that. In this Country, we don’t recognize titles of nobility (Art. I, Sections 9 & 10). I suppose an English countess could move here and call herself “Countess”, but it would be a bit ridiculous, wouldn’t it? And Congress doesn’t need to make a law about it!


      Comment by Publius Huldah | February 4, 2016 | Reply

  2. Cruz NBC status claimed by Illinois board of Elections does not have authority to determine what Constitution intrupretation ought to actually be. No authority to say he’s eligible or not, yet they did and the supporters are running to the media saying it’s finally with this lie. Warn them just the courts have authority.


    Comment by Robert | February 3, 2016 | Reply

    • I’ll post something on this today on my Home page here.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | February 4, 2016 | Reply

  3. […] [ASIDE: Suppose you read in last month’s Congressional Record that after members of the House Finance Committee worked through the night to get a bill ready for a House vote the next morning, they made one collective, celebratory tweet. It may seem a trifle, but you understood “tweet,” as did all the House Finance Committee members. No definition was required. It’s the same with “natural born citizen.” The Framers understood it then. No definition was required. (To further learn of their understanding, see, for example:…)] […]


    Pingback by Those Darn Birthers are at it Again! - The Libertarian Wing Media | January 26, 2016 | Reply

    • Excellent illustration. Thank you – I’ll use it!


      Comment by Publius Huldah | January 27, 2016 | Reply

  4. If presidents are to be born of natural born citizens, Obama must
    not be eligible.


    Comment by Marianne Lampe | January 24, 2016 | Reply

    • Right, if the obama in the white house is the son of Barack Obama Sr., then obama is not a “natural born citizen”. His Father was a subject of the British Crown at the time obama was born. And if he was born in Kenya – as it appears – then England would consider him a “natural born subject” – since he was born within the dominions of the Queen of England. [Kenya got its Independence a few years after obama was born.]

      Furthermore, obama was taken as a boy to Indonesia, where it appears he became an Indonesian national.
      We have no evidence that obama ever became even a naturalized US citizen!
      As far as we know, obama is STILL an Indonesian national.

      Oh! You stupid Americans for voting for this impostor!


      Comment by Publius Huldah | January 24, 2016 | Reply

    • Like PH said… the Indonesian issue kinda seals the deal if factual. Otherwise, I don’t believe that Obama’s biological father is Obama Sr., but is actually Frank Marshall Davis, a US Citizen.


      Comment by Autarchist | January 24, 2016 | Reply

      • Even if Davis is obama’s biological father, if obama became an Indonesian national as a child [due to his mother’s alliance with Soreto – she did get around!] …gee, it’s complicated!

        It’s best not to vote for people when there is any question. I expect John Jay got it right in Federalist No.2, 5th para….. [yeah, you multiculturalists, smear me and call me names for citing Federalist No. 2, 5th para….]


        Comment by Publius Huldah | January 24, 2016 | Reply

        • Yep.


          Comment by Autarchist | January 25, 2016 | Reply

          • And while it does appear that obama became an Indonesian national when he was a child – I have never seen any indication that he ever became a naturalized US Citizen.


            Comment by Publius Huldah | January 25, 2016

  5. The piece on the Constitution (Article II, Section 1, Clause 5) referenced by birther’s does not define who qualifies as natural born. I understand it is their opinion that the Framers implied that only those that come from both citizen parents and who are born within the territory, are solely the natural born referenced in this article.

    There is no, there there. The only thing they can claim is that “in their opinion” the Framers meant or implied something. There is nothing concrete in their argument. The only thing apparent here is how they came to the erroneous conclusion that is their opinion. Where in the Constitution does it read, “ONLY THOSE with both US citizen parents and born within the confines of the United States are natural born citizens”? Where is the smoking gun?

    The Constitution is the foundation not the building. The framers understood that anything not clearly defined would be defined by a future government. The US government has defined it and has done so Constituently. (8 U.S. Code § 1401 – Nationals and citizens of United States at birth) Now the birther’s want to make current US law unconstitutional simply becasue in their opinion the Framers meant or implied something. They have even gone as far as fabricating a third type of US citizen.

    Where it reads, “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution” is simply where the Framers made an exception for them self’s and other citizens in that period in time. There is no third type of Citizen. It’s either natural born or naturalized. New-born’s that are born under 8 U.S. Code § 1401, do not become citizens through the process of naturalization meant for foreigners; but in fact are natural born citizens with citizenship acquired via birth-right and so they inherited all the rights and privileges, including the privilege of running for President of the United States.


    Comment by Ramiro | January 19, 2016 | Reply

    • You better go back to the drawing board.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | January 20, 2016 | Reply

  6. […] the condition of their fathers; the place of birth produces no change in this particular.   In my first paper, you can find the links to Vattel and other original source documents illustrating the original […]


    Pingback by Natural born citizen status is inherited – it’s not bestowed by the Constitution or Acts of Congress | Exposing Modern Mugwumps | January 19, 2016 | Reply

  7. […] condition of their fathers; the place of birth produces no change in this particular.   In my first paper, you can find the links to Vattel and other original source documents illustrating the original […]


    Pingback by Natural Born Citizen Status Is Inherited – It’s Not Bestowed by the Constitution or Acts of Congress | NewZSentinel | January 18, 2016 | Reply

  8. […] the condition of their fathers; the place of birth produces no change in this particular.   In my first paper, you can find the links to Vattel and other original source documents illustrating the original […]


    Pingback by Natural Born Citizen Status Is Inherited – It’s Not Bestowed by the Constitution or Acts of Congress » Sons of Liberty Media | January 18, 2016 | Reply

  9. […] the condition of their fathers; the place of birth produces no change in this particular.   In my first paper, you can find the links to Vattel and other original source documents illustrating the original […]


    Pingback by Natural born citizen status is inherited – it’s not bestowed by the Constitution or Acts of Congress | NCRenegade | January 17, 2016 | Reply

  10. There is NO “President” Obama.


    Comment by Robert Christopher Laity | January 17, 2016 | Reply

    • Right. And pigs fly.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | January 20, 2016 | Reply

  11. Reblogged this on standupspeakoutblog and commented:
    Truth, as applied to U.S. law.


    Comment by standupspeakoutadd | January 17, 2016 | Reply

  12. The provision in the Naturalization Act of 1790 which “considered” children born abroad to US Citizens as “Natural Born Citizens” was in error and was amended in the NA of 1795 to consider children born abroad to US Citizens as only “citizens” and NOT “Natural Born Citizens”. The Definition of an NBC found in Vattels “one born in a country to citizen parents” was affirmed in Minor v Happersett, in the decision and was not dicta. It has been reaffirmed in three or more other SCOTUS cases as One born IN the US to Parents who are both US Citizens. The original French is “Les Naturelles,ou indigenes, sont cceux qui sont nes dans le pays de Parents Citoyens”. It does not say de Parent Citoyen but ” de Parents Citoyens”. The natural Born Citizens are born IN a country to parents who are both citizens. Being born of Parents Citoyens (plural) and birth IN and on the soil of a country is mandatory, Any less and one is NOT a “Natural Born Citizen”

    Robert C. Laity
    Founder and President
    Society for the Preservation
    of Our American Republic


    Comment by Robert Christopher Laity | January 17, 2016 | Reply

    • Congress may not define – and redefine – and redefine still again – terms in the Constitution by means of laws.

      My purpose in my first paper on this topic was to discover the original definition of “natural born citizen”: how did our Framers and those who ratified the Constitution understand the term? So I cited original source documents from the time period: Vattel, David Ramsay’s dissertation, and the 1790 Naturalization Act – as reflective of the original understanding of the term.

      And please do review the doctrine of “coverture”. Modern day Americans generally don’t understand this concept unless they are lawyers (we had this in Family law in law school) or have read the Jane Austin novels where she describes coverture in practice.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | January 20, 2016 | Reply

  13. […] the condition of their fathers; the place of birth produces no change in this particular.   In my first paper, you can find the links to Vattel and other original source documents illustrating the original […]


    Pingback by Natural born citizen status is inherited – it’s not bestowed by the Constitution or Acts of Congress « Publius-Huldah's Blog | January 17, 2016 | Reply

  14. […] States who are foreigners or aliens. For more information, see Publius Huldah’s articles here and here, and Devvy Kidd’s articles here and […]


    Pingback by Ted Cruz, Henry Kissinger & the Globalists | From the Trenches World Report | December 10, 2015 | Reply

  15. […] States who are foreigners or aliens.   For more information, see Publius Huldah’s articles here and here, and Devvy Kidd’s articles here and […]


    Pingback by Ted Cruz, Henry Kissinger, and the Globalists — Part 1 | Capitol Hill Outsider – CHO | December 9, 2015 | Reply

  16. It appears that William Jacobson has uncovered a fatal flaw to your argument.

    “The problem with that argument, however, is that the English translation of the 1758 edition did not use the term “natural born Citizen.” That term did not appear until the 1797 edition, a decade after the Constitution was ratified.”


    Comment by txantimedia | November 18, 2015 | Reply

    • The French words are what they are, and they mean what they mean. The CONCEPT was expressed in Vattel. Our Framers were using the English term, “natural born citizen”, by 1787 (if not before) and thereafter. The English term was defined in Ramsay’s dissertation, and in the Immigration Act of 1790.

      They don’t teach Logic in the public schools – that is why Americans are so easily led astray… And they don’t understand concepts.

      And obviously you don’t have any experience with reading foreign languages!

      Furthermore, it appears that the members of the Continental Congress who “poured over” Vattel, read the French text Mr. Dumas sent to Ben Franklin. I know that is very difficult for the dumbed down Americans of today to understand – reading a book in the original Language.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | November 18, 2015 | Reply

      • PH: “And obviously you don’t have any experience with reading foreign languages!

        “In the original French, the sentence reads: “Les naturels ou indigenes font ceux qui font nés dans le pays, de Parens Citoyens.” (DROIT DES GENS, supra at Ch. XIX, p. 111). In the English translation available at the time of the framing of the Constitution, translated in English in 1760 and in 1787, the terms “naturels or indigenes” were simply interpreted as “natives or indigenes”: “The natives, or indigenes, are those born in the country of parents who are citizens.” THE LAW OF NATIONS, supra at Vol. I, Book 1, Ch. XIX, §212, at p. 92 (1760), and at p. 166 of the 1787 edition. The English phrase “natural born citizen” in early French translations of the U.S. Constitution’s Article II, §1, cl. 5, however, was interpreted as either “citoyen-né” ([a “born citizen”] John Stevens or Warren Livingston, EXAMEN DU GOUVERNEMENT D’ANGLETERRE, COMPARE AUX CONSTITUTIONS DES ÉTAT-UNIS,” at 257 (Paris 1789)), or “citoyen né dans les États-Unis,” ([a “citizen born in the United States”], L.-P. Conseil, MÉLANGES POLITIQUES ET PHILOSPHIQUES, “Constitution Des États-Unis,” at 160 (Paris 1833), and M. Du Ponceau, EXPOSÉ SOMMAIRE DE LA CONSTITUTION DES ÉTATS-UNIS D’AMÉRIQUE, at 45 (Paris 1837)), or in more recent French translations, “citoyen de naissance” (“citizen at birth”). None of these French expressions for the English term “natural born citizen” were used by Vattel.” Jack Maskell, Qualifications for President and the “Natural Born” Citizenship Eligibility Requirement, Congressional Research Service (Nov. 14, 2011), 22 & n. 100.

        I’m sure they have SOMEONE over at the CRS who is fluent in French.

        Besides, you have an even larger conceptual problem. The original Senate had 12 Framers on its roster, and Congress had James Madison on its roster. And ultimately, the Nationalization Act had to be signed into law by another Framer (George Washington). Presumably, they knew what they meant when they signed the Constitution. As there are only two kinds of citizenship — acquired by birth or naturalization — they presumptively knew where they would draw that line. So, why would they pass a bill that they knew was unconstitutional on its face?

        To even state the case is to refute it.


        Comment by LawDog | January 19, 2016 | Reply

        • huh?


          Comment by Publius Huldah | January 20, 2016 | Reply

  17. I agree that the meaning of words from the time the Constitution was written are important. I also agree that the Founding generation would have understood the meaning of the terms as they read the Constitution. However I disagree that the term natural born was derived from Vattel’s Law of Nations. It is much more likely to have been derived from the Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. Another very influential book. The Framers used Blackstone’s as a guide during the Convention. The Founders/Framers were also very familiar with the term “natural born subject” and the ways in which individuals became natural born subjects. They were so familiar with it that they used both terms natural born citizens and natural born subjects interchangeably. The best example of this is the Massachusetts Naturalization Acts (1785 to 1791).

    Here are the Massachusetts Acts of Naturalization (before the ratification of the Constitution individual states could naturalized individuals):

    February, 1785, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING NICHOLAS ROUSSELET AND GEORGE SMITH.” in which it was declared that Nicholas Rousselet and George Smith “shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, rights and privileges of natural born citizens.”

    February, 1786, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING MICHAEL WALSH.” in which it was declared that Michael Walsh “shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be a citizen of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, rights and privileges of a natural born citizen.”

    July, 1786, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JONATHAN CURSON AND WILLIAM OLIVER” in which it was declared that Jonathan Curson and William Oliver “shall be deemed adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born citizens.”

    March, 1787, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING WILLIAM MARTIN AND OTHERS.” in which it was declared that William Martin and Others, “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

    May, 1787, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING EDWARD WYER AND OTHERS THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that Edward Wyer and Others, “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken, to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

    October, 1787, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING BARTHOLOMY DE GREGOIRE, AND MARIA THERESA, HIS WIFE, AND THEIR CHILDREN.” in which it was declared that Bartholomy de Gregoire, and Maria Theresa, his wife, their children, “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, rights and privileges of natural born citizens.”

    November, 1787, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING ALEXANDER MOORE, AND OTHERS, HEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that Alexander Moore and others, “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, & entitled to all the privileges, liberties, and immunities of natural born subjects.”

    June, 1788, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING WILLIAM MENZIES, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that William Menzies and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and intitled to all the liberties, privileges & immunities of natural born subjects.”

    November, 1788, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING ELISHA BOURN, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that Elisha Bourn and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, & entitled to all the liberties, privileges & immunities of natural born Citizens.”

    February, 1789, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JAMES HUYMAN, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that James Huyman and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free Citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the Liberties, Privileges and Immunities of natural born subjects.”

    June, 1789, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING NATHANIEL SKINNER, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED.” in which it was declared that Nathaniel Skinner and others “shall be deemed, adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

    March, 1790, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JOHN JARVIS, AND OTHERS, THEREIN NAMED” in which it was declared that John Jarvis and others, “shall be deemed adjudged and taken to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and entitled to all the liberties, privileges and immunities of natural born subjects.”

    March, 1791, “AN ACT FOR NATURALIZING JOHN WHITE & OTHERS” in which it was declared that John White and others, “shall be deemed adjudged and taken, to be free citizens of this Commonwealth, and intitled to all the liberties, privileges, and immunities of natural born subjects.”

    Clearly in Massachusetts natural born subject and natural born citizen meant the same thing. How would they have interpreted the Constitution?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by 4zoltan | April 16, 2015 | Reply

    • Did you read my paper?


      Comment by Publius Huldah | April 16, 2015 | Reply

      • I did and I disagree with your characterization of Dr. Ramsay’s dissertation as you ignore it’s original purpose and the outcome of that purpose. I also disagree with your statement on the 1790 Naturalization Act as having any significance to children not “born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States”.


        Comment by 4zoltan | April 16, 2015 | Reply

        • And you know the original purpose of Ramsay’s dissertation because…….?

          And you know all about the 1790 Naturalization Act because …..?

          Or is it that you are gaga for Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio and you don’t give a damn whether they are “natural born citizen” or not?

          Tell me what you know about Ted Cruz’s stance on the issues….. I’m suggesting you have bought the hype and actually know very little about him.


          Comment by Publius Huldah | April 16, 2015 | Reply

          • Personally, I would love to be able to disqualify TC. And unlike Antonin Scalia (who only uses originalism as a deus ex machina for his tyrannical depredations, and is about as faithful to his originalism as Tiger was to ex-wife Elin), I am a bona fide originalist. But the central sticking point for me is the notion that a Congress littered with Framers would send legislation to Framer George Washington that they knew was unconstitutional on its face (which it would have to be, if your argument was meritorious).

            Kindly square that circle for me, PH.


            Comment by LawDog | January 19, 2016

          • I have no idea what you are talking about.


            Comment by Publius Huldah | January 20, 2016

  18. I was more in looking at the “Father” because fathers can not give birth. Like you said about the mother and father are one in the Bible, so you can refer birth to “man” in that sense. But a mother can refer to a father figure. Like “Religion” could mean “something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience” like a government or ” and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Article 1 of the Bill of Rights. Maybe I am looking at this wrong or it is not a strong of a point? Maybe this why the term( “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions”) “Supreme Judge” could refer to a God, a government, or a King. Now you can cover all your bases. Thinking to much here.


    Comment by david | April 5, 2015 | Reply

    • “Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions” refers only to the same “Creator God” who endowed us with unalienable rights.
      Read original source texts ONLY to see what’s there – don’t read in your own interpretations.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | April 6, 2015 | Reply

  19. When Joseph Farah, owner and chief editor of World Net Daily (WND.COM) was a guest on ‘Hannity’ it was suggested that Rubio might be the G.O.P.’s presidential nominee and Mr. Farah interjected that Rubio is not constitutionally eligible, but before he could continue Mr. Hannity interjected exhasperatedly with the words, “That’s not gobing to work.”

    Just as in the case of the Manchurian Muslim from Mombasa who presently illegally occupies the presidency though his criminal usurpation of that office is obvious and the fraudulent documents and electronic files he has proffered as purported authentication of his purported constitutional eligibility to be president have been irrefutably proven to be amateurishly fabricated forgeries, the question of eligibility MUST not be permitted to be raised because it is imperative for the Elitist Faction which has permitted Mr. Obama to illegally occupy the presidency that all they have accomplished through the ‘Empty Chair’ be preserved.

    Consider if you will please the fact that Rubio, Jindal, Cruz, and Santorum were the first four names to be touted by Republican mouthpiece media sources such as Mr. Hannity. It defies the science of Statistical Probabliltiy that the first four individuals to be suggested as potential candidates would randomly ALL be constitutionally ineglibile, that is to say not a one of them is a natural born citizen. Clearly, as in the case of the EIGHT attempts by Congress at doing away with the natural born citizen clause in Artilce II prior to Obama’s first illegal election to the office of the P.O.T.U.S., the “coincidence” is demonstrative of a conspiracy.

    A legal sitting president can take the findings of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s volunteer Cold-Case-Posse and retro-actively abrogate–that is to say effectively annul–both of Barack Hussein’s two illegal elections as well as everything that the criminal usurper-in-chief has accomplished in the commission of his crimes. Many within the Republican party, the Democrat party, the mainstream media, and the judicial system would be brought up on charges of treason if Obama’s mosque of cards were to begin to tumble like the Twin Towers in New York City on 9/11.

    I don’t know who the next president of the U.S.A. will be but he or she MUST be as constitutionally ineligible as Barack Osama in order to preserve all the gains that the Islamo-fascist facilitating Liberal-fascist Elitist Faction controlling both major political parties in America, the judicial system, the vast majority of the mainstream media, as well as Academia in America have gained in the single most sinister crime ever committed against the Constitution, the American experiment in government of the people, and against the honor of the office of the president of the United States of America.

    I don’t understand why nobody has taken any shots yet.

    Question to Sean Hannity: When exactly did the Constitution of the United States of America stop ‘working,’ Stupid?

    My name is Chris Farrell and I approve this message. Don’t know how my email name got listed as my avatar name but they won’t let me change it so I’m unbontir forever. Love you Publius


    Comment by unbontir | January 28, 2015 | Reply

  20. As you quote: “And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States ”

    One assumption you make is this: BOTH parents must be citizens for the child to be a natural born citizen. This is not implied simply from the use of the plural, for grammatically & logically the plural could “either one or the other” as much as it could “both”. Historically, I believe “either one or the other” has been the case.

    Can you cite any examples of children with only one US citizen parent needing to become naturalized? By what process has such naturalization ever been performed? The quote excludes descent of citizenship “to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States.” It is logical that a similar requirement does not apply to a mother or it would have been mentioned. Hence, in its context, the plural of “citizens” does not require both parents to be citizens. Children of a mother who is an American citizen are American citizens by right, as much as those with only a citizen father . The one exception made is for those born abroad but with a father who has never resided in the US, NOT those whose father is not a citizen. (Why this exception was made we can only surmise, but if the requirement had been to have a citizen father, then that could have been stated without any ambiguity if such had been the intention.)

    Many countries only count the father’s status in determining citizenship. This is not true of the US, and to my knowledge never has been true. Can you cite a time when the US first began to confer citizenship for children with only a citizen mother? (The fact that women citizens were not granted the vote until the 20th century is irrelevant. Males below a certain age also could not vote but were still natural born citizens. For some time in many states, there was a property requirement for for voting, which also did not mean that such disfranchised males were not natural born citizens.

    Another question: did free-born blacks vote in states which had outlawed slavery? Or did free-born black men have to wait for the 14th Amendment to become citizens with the right to vote?


    Comment by Joe Martin | January 27, 2015 | Reply

    • At the common law, husband and wife were “one” – and the MAN was the “one”. That was the understanding at the time of our Framing – that understanding changed only recently. Accordingly, our Framers would not see Obama, Rubio, and Cruz as “natural born citizens” – their Fathers were not citizens at the time they were born. I do not know the facts of the births of Jindal & Santorum, so make no comment on them.

      Please read Unbontir’s comment here: WHY is it that the candidates for President the establishment “conservatives” push on us are NOT “natural born citizens”? I suggest there is an ulterior motive and that establishment conservatives are leading us astray.

      Re your questions about Blacks voting: I don’t know how the free States handled this before the 14th & 15th amendments. Blacks did not become “citizens” until the 14th Amendment. If you research it, let me know what you find out. The best evidence would be the various States laws which addressed qualifications for voting.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | January 28, 2015 | Reply

  21. Publius/Huldah, you have illuminated the issue of natural born citizenship for many, but have missed a critical element from the documented dialog. The Extension of the definition of natural born citizens in the First Congress. Sess. II. Ch. 3. 1790, defining the children, born overseas, of citizens as natural born was entirely rescinded, and signed by Washington, in the Nationality Act of 29 January, 1795, Chapter 20. Children born overseas to US citizen parents are citizens, not natural born, as abrogated in the 1795 Act, which has never been questioned. For Congress to have been able to interpret the Constitution was in direct conflict with Article III Section 2, as well as with the notion of separation of powers. The change was consistent with Article 1 Section 8 granting Congress with the authority create and Uniform Rule for Naturalization. If Congress could interpret the Constitution we would have no need for a Constitution, and have one that is now only marginally used when convenient.

    Congress is well aware of this interpretation, rendering McCain ineligible, as indicated by Senate Bill 2678, co-sponsored by Senators Obama and his presidential campaign co-chair, Claire McCaskill, in February 2008, called the “Children of Military Families Natural Born Citizen Act.” In the body of the bill a citizen parent is specified. The bill was clearly created to confirm John McCain’s eligibility. It failed to pass. So McCaskill and Leahy quickly, in April 2008, filed the “Senator John S. McCain Natural Born Citizen Resolution”, SR 511, in which bill the moot 1790 extension of natural born citizenship was used by Obama’s Harvard advisor, Larry Tribe, to claim that our framers would have intended that McCain be eligible. A “Resolution”, for any possible readers, is not legally actionable. No one questioned McCain’s allegiance, but every US Senator knew his eligibility was questionable. This author would support an amendment to address this seeming shortcoming, but McCain was born in 1936, year before Congress declared US Sovereignty over the Canal Zone. If the Constitution is not our legal foundation we will lose the freedoms our framers designed it to protect.

    There are not, by design, definitions in the Constitution. Only “Treason” is constrained, because the common law defined Treason with respect to a monarchy. You can read Madison’s explanation for no definitions in Mark Levine’s Liberty and Tyranny, p 37. I find your questions about his proposed amendments thoughtful, but he too mis-cited the 1790 Nationality Act, which this writer cannot believe he never read. The Congressional Record includes the revocation of that act in the margin notes.

    The definition for natural born citizenship is cited in a dozen or more Supreme Court Cases, most importantly in Minor v. Happersett, which is cited as the authority in Wong Kim Ark. Chief justice Waite explains that the definition must be based, as Madison explained, “At common law, with the nomenclature of which he framers of the Constitution were familiar, 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.” Anyone not a citizen was an alien or foreigner because natural born citizens were the only citizens defined in the Constitution, our framers leaving naturalization for Congress to define in Article 1 Section 8.

    Nowhere in the 14th Amendment, and in no law since the rescinded 1790 law is the term Natural Born Citizen referred to. Justice Gray in Wong Kim Ark, decides that Wong Kim is a citizen, born on our soil to resident Chinese parents – not a natural born citizen. Neither Barack Obama, who doesn’t believe the old constitution is binding, nor Senator Cruz, whose legal colleagues correctly state in answer to questions of eligibility “The Senator says he is just as eligible as Barack Obama.” has claimed to be a natural born citizen. As Professor Gruber admitted. the ignorance of much of the public can be useful. The media have done an excellent job of misdirection, with the help of political operatives using the tantalizing absence of a documented past for Obama, the same technique used by Chester Arthur, whose father was not a citizen when he was born.

    Vattel “Law of Nations” was the only book, according to newspaper reporters visiting Washington in New York on his first day in office in 1789, on Washington’s desk. Hamilton, in several letters sent by the Treasury Secretary to his boss Washington, cites Vattel as his most trusted guide as they executed laws thus creating the first Constitutional Republic since early Rome. Many of Vattel’s rules did not become our laws, but a remarkable number did. For a new nation Vattel was a remarkable cookbook defining much of what would allow a government based upon Natural Law, and free from a monarchy. It was our first law book, so designated by Thomas Jefferson at Jefferson’s creation of our first law school, carved out of William and Mary in 1779. Vattel was the most cited legal reference in US Jurisprudence between 1790 and 1821 (Grotian Society Letters, 1972, Ruddy) John Marshall, who cited Vattel when he established the definition accepted by all in The Venus, 12 US 253. (1814) , was one of the first students. The last use of the Minor precedent familiar to this writer is in Perkins v. Elg, 307 US 325, in 1939. Marie Elg was born to Swedish parents in New York (some time in the 1920s). When she was about three years old her father got a job in Sweden, returning and repudiating his US citizenship. His wife and daughter followed a few years later. when Marie was 20 or 21 she decided to return to the US. The US Attorney decided she need to apply for citizenship. Supreme Court, Chief Justice Hughes, decided that Marie was a natural born citizen, with citizenship granted by nature, a state not revocable by man, Congress. He said that as a natural born citizen she could run for the presidency of she chose.


    Comment by Sonatafool | December 30, 2014 | Reply

    • You miss the point: I cited and quoted from that early act of Congress to show how our Framers understood the term, “natural born citizen”. I cited several different sources from our Framing Era to show the original understanding of the term. That is the meaning our Framers had in mind, and that is the meaning of those who ratified the Constitution.

      THAT original intent can’t be changed by subsequent acts of Congress or by US supreme Court opinions.

      The problem so many people have today is that their heads are so full of what they think they know that they won’t listen when bare bones Truth is handed to them on a silver platter. They fight off Truth with their own misconceptions they are so infatuated with.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | December 30, 2014 | Reply

  22. I agree with your research 99%. The only thing I have a question about is the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1795, which repealed the Act of 1790. In it, children born overseas of American citizen parents are, now, just citizens, not Natural Born Citizens. McCain, having been born in Panama to 2 American citizens, was eligible because of his father being in the service of his country…..just as Vattel notes in his book. The average joe with non military serving parents cannot, under this Act, be considered as natural born.
    Even the State Department ‘ s Foreign Affairs Manual gives credence to this in 7FAM 1113 c-1 AND 7FAM 1131.6-2 (a b c d ).
    Senate Resolution 511 was a sideshow meant to confuse the citizenry, who are mostly confused to begin with. 8 times in recent history, the Congress (on both sides of the aisle) have attempted to change the eligibility requirements for President because they KNOW what the actual requirements are.

    Your thoughts?


    Comment by John Murphy | January 6, 2014 | Reply

  23. Publius you need to update this article to include Mr. Handsome, Ted Cruz. To me this is NOT a birther issue as we know where Cruz was born, same as Rubio.


    Comment by Cindy L. | August 20, 2013 | Reply

    • Place of birth doesn’t matter! What matters is the citizenship status of the parents at the time the baby is born. Children assume the condition of their parents. If the parents are U.S. citizens, then the baby is BORN a U.S. citizen – it is a “natural born citizen”.

      This is why John McCain, who was born of parents who were both U.S. citizens, is a “natural born citizen” – it is irrelevant that he was born in the Panama Canal Zone.

      It is irrelevant that Ted Cruz was born in Canada. What matters is the citizenship status of his parents. If his father was not a U.S. citizen when Ted was born, then Ted is not a “natural born citizen”.

      Ann Coulter, etc., etc., have been lying about, or misrepresenting this requirement of being a “natural born citizen” b/c they wanted a man who is NOT a “natural born citizen” (Marco Rubio) to be vice president with Romney – and then President.

      We don’t have many – if any – “prominent” people on our side. Most of those who pretend to be are phonies.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | August 21, 2013 | Reply

      • Doesn’t this vindicate Ann Coulter on this issue?


        Comment by Linda Starr | January 18, 2016 | Reply

        • The last time I listened to Ann Coulter, she was chortling with glee after obama produced the forged Hawaii birth certificate; and she said, “We were right!” The “we” being those who said obama was a natural born citizen. My recollection is that she was at that time mocking us birthers.
          Has she changed her tune? Well, I’ll click on the link you sent and see.

          Oh, it was to long too read and I dislike clever chatter.


          Comment by Publius Huldah | January 18, 2016 | Reply

        • Linda, I didn’t mean to post a response which sounded “snippy”. It is commendable when a person abandons a false belief and accepts Truth. e.g., I once saw nothing wrong with abortion – now I oppose it. If Ann Coulter has changed her views on the “birther” issue, then I commend her. Save me some time – has she?


          Comment by Publius Huldah | January 19, 2016 | Reply

        • It is immutable. To be an NBC requires that one be 100% American. That can only be attained by birth IN the US to Parents who are BOTH Americans themselves. This has been adopted,accepted,affirmed and reaffirmed by the USSCt in six separate cases. An NBC has US Jus Soli AND 100% US Jus Sanquinis. NO EXCEPTIONS.


          Comment by Robert Christopher Laity | January 20, 2016 | Reply

  24. I like and highly rate what Publius/Huldah has to say on parental rights.
    Personal Observation: Although Ayn Rand has made a few poignant points in her day, they weren’t that good IMO when you look at her whole point of view and philosophy on the big picture of the world (and dare I say Universe?). I think it was short sighted and offered no true or Godly solution. I think Ayn Rand is over rated and pretty much ungodly.


    Comment by Jack | July 21, 2013 | Reply

    • I am a Christian theist – I see the Universe as ruled by Law – God’s Law.
      Ayn Rand saw the Universe as ruled by Natural law.
      For the most part, God’s Law and Natural law are the same.
      So I have more in common with Ayn Rand than with antinomian “christians”.
      And she was brilliant. I started reading her when I was in the 10th grade – I’m familiar with her work. Also, she was rowing against the tide. That is worth a lot. Those who row against the tide are few.
      Whether you call the Laws of physics, chemistry, math, botany, logic, morality, economics, civics, etc. “God’s Law” or “Natural Law” – what difference does it make? One who respects and obeys the Natural Law [as Rand did] obeys and respects God’s Law [whether he knows it or not.]


      Comment by Publius Huldah | July 21, 2013 | Reply

  25. One of the most excellent articles I have read in some time. We have lost both mainstream parties and are drifting so far from what our founders have set forth for us as a Nation to follow, that what it will take to set things right once again derives fear within those who are awake. Those who know and have read and learned the true meaning of Liberty in America.

    Stay the course and be righteous in all things in spirit and mind. For “we” will know when the time is right!


    Comment by akathesob | May 15, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you, akathesob! Your words are comforting and encouraging. Really.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | May 25, 2013 | Reply

  26. Yesterday, the American Thinker published a garbage article by Ken Blackwell and Robert Morrison claiming that anyone born within the US is a “natural born citizen”, and later, in the evening, a blogpost making the same claim by J.R. Dunn. Do you intend to write a counter-article for AT on the subject?


    Comment by zbigniewmazurak | March 14, 2013 | Reply

    • I have already written a definitive paper on this. No one can refute it; but they sure can ignore it. Which is what the “establishment conservatives” are doing.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | March 14, 2013 | Reply

      • Hello Publius Huldah,

        I just wanted to add that not only do these “establishment conservatives” ignore the truth, they openly and adamantly argue for Case Law over Original Intent as to why Obama and Rubio are eligible to be President. No matter how many times it is pointed out to them that the Case Law they are citing (if you can even get them to cite a court case) has nothing to do with natural born Citizen and only refers to naturalized Citizen, they still refuse to concede.

        I had one self-declared “conservative” tell me the Framers are dead when I told him they didn’t agree with his position over this matter. That was after he said the Supreme Court didn’t agree with me. Another one from his group even tried to claim that US Rep. John A. Bingham supports their position as well. Completely absurd to put it mildly.

        Take care and keep fighting the good fight!

        Ps, FWIW, Bill O’Reilly and Bernard Goldberg took a few seconds out of their busy lives the other day to tamper “The Birthers”. It’s always nice when a couple of “independent” elitists tell conservatives what is in there best interests. If you wish to skip the majority of their sanctimonious baloney, go to the last minute of the video.


        Comment by Randle | May 16, 2013 | Reply

        • It is sanctimonious baloney! I think that Bernie Goldberg is the one who said that Judge Roy Moore (the one with the Ten Commandments in his courtroom) was one of the most dangerous men in America. Goldberg can go to hell.

          All of the establishment RINOS refuse to deal honestly with this issue. They won’t even admit established facts. It is disgraceful.


          Comment by Publius Huldah | May 16, 2013 | Reply

  27. It took persistence, but they eventually got their way – for now.

    Senate resolution S.RES.5.11, sponsored by Claire McCaskill and co-sponsored by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, declared John McCain a Natural Born Citizen because he was born of two United States citizens in a U.S. Territory.

    Since it did not matter where he was born, the Senate was trying to create an open door for Barack Obama. Obama admitted that he could not meet the definition as prescribed in the resolution anyway, but that wasn’t about to stop him.

    The resolution also made a statement to the effect that “Natural Born Citizen” was not defined in the United States Constitution.

    Obama meets with 8 out of 9 Supreme Court Justices in a closed session meeting while cases were still pending before the Supreme Court concerning Obama’s eligibility.

    Justice Samuel Alito was strangely and unexplainably absent. No reporters were allowed. No attorneys were invited on behalf of the plaintiffs who had cases pending against Obama before the Supreme Court.

    Congress Attempts to Change Article II Natural Born Citizen Clause 8 Times Between 2003 and 2008.

    Published on May 21, 2012
    A very well made mini-documentary (less than 10 minutes) presenting the facts regarding the repeated attempts by the corrupt Congress to covertly change Article II of the US Constitution and the requirement of being a Natural Born Citizen to serve as president or vice-president. This is not an “Obama bashing” video. It is a video depicting (and proving) the sheer unadulterated corruption which permeates throughout politics and three branches of the “government”. Obama just happens to be the benefactor.


    Comment by Peabody | February 17, 2013 | Reply

    • I know! Yet ALL the establishment “conservatives” are against us and mock and ridicule us. ALL the evidence shows that zero is NOT a NBC.

      The best theory I can come up with is that the establishment “conservatives” want that vapid RINO marco rubio to be president.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | February 17, 2013 | Reply

      • PH, first, you made me look up “vapid”. Second, just heard a Hannity repeat show on the radio where Coulter was on. She mentioned “Cruz was born in Canada, so that disqualifies him”; but in the same conversation, where they were naming possible candidates, they still included Rubio in the list.


        Comment by Mike Foil | February 17, 2013 | Reply

        • I am mystified by Coulter. She is not stupid. So I can’t believe she doesn’t know that PLACE OF BIRTH IS IRRELEVANT.

          And why do she, mark levin, glen beck go our of their way to mock us birthers?

          I owe you a letter, dear. I have been so busy. Am giving a speech tomorrow night in a place 4 hours away.


          Comment by Publius Huldah | February 17, 2013 | Reply

      • Marco Antonio Rubio was born May 28, 1971 in Miami, Florida. His parents were Cubans who had immigrated to the United States in 1956 and were naturalized as U.S. citizens in 1975.

        Perhaps the think is “close enough”.


        Comment by Peabody | February 17, 2013 | Reply

  28. I can’t even begin to describe how refreshing it is to find a blog that cuts through all the nonsense and gets to the root of our problems. As I am sure you already know, most deal in red meat talking points that do not and will not solve anything, so I thank you for all your work in putting out this information.

    You would think after all we have been through with the current dictator, people on the right would at the very least be more knowledgeable about the requirements of eligibility to be president and what a “natural born Citizen” is. What better example is there than Obama as to why it is a good law that should not be ignored and violated?

    Sadly, most Republicans only care about the Constitution when they are in the minority (and obviously not always then). They feed off the red meat talking points which causes them to circle the wagons around their own and defend the indefensible without ever questioning for fear of giving the other side ammunition against their candidate. That is until one of their own decides to speak out and question with boldness, then they attack their own. People better wake up and realize both major political parties have been engaging us with psychological warfare for decades and have been turning us against each other. It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff so we can stand united against the enemies of this Republic, foreign and domestic.

    Keep up the good work! You truly are a Godsend.


    Comment by Randle | February 14, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you, Randle!

      I am baffled as to why Ann Coulter, Mark Levin, Glen Beck, etc., etc., ridicule us “birthers”.

      There is a conventional mindset among “conservatives”, just as there is among progressives. I was in email contact with someone from Glen Beck’s show, and he said I should stop talking about this birther issue b/c I am “hurting the country”. I asked how I was hurting the Country, and he wouldn’t say.

      It may be that they want marco rubio to get the Republican nomination (Mark Levin does; and Ann Coulter “loves” marco rubio), and so they don’t care that he is not a NBC. If that is their motivation, then they should have the intellectual honesty to just come out and admit that they too despise our Constitution, instead of pretending that they support it.

      Or, it may be that they just don’t know what a NBC is; but think they know, and so reject everything which contradicts what they think they know. In Mark Levin’s case, I suspect his attitude is that no fact exists unless HE knows it; and no argument is worth a dime, unless HE is the one who made it.

      I am unaware of ANYONE “famous” who is really on our side. I used to think Rush Limbaugh was, but recently it seems that his show has turned in the “draft marco rubio” show. I hope and pray I am wrong and have misunderstood Rush and his motives.

      But it does appear that marco rubio is the RINO establishment choice to be the next republican nominee for president. I have a paper on marco rubio you might find interesting:

      BTW: That paper resulted in my getting banned from Canada Free Press. You can’t criticize marco rubio!!!!


      Comment by Publius Huldah | February 14, 2013 | Reply

      • I will hand it to Glenn Beck when he said the masks were going to start coming off, little did he realize his was too. This last year has been a real eye opener to what has been going on behind the political/media scene and whom are merely talking the talk (which seems to be all of them).

        Miss Ann lost all credibility with me when she first said if we nominated Mitt Romney we would lose the election then suddenly flip-flopped and started saying Mitt is the only one who can win. Professing her love for Gov. Chris Christie and becoming the biggest cheerleader for Romney Care told me what she was all about and it wasn’t the truth.

        I can’t remember the author who when asked about the “conservative” media said something to the effect, “I don’t have a problem so much with what they say, it’s what they never say”. Meaning they never talk about the underlying problems we are facing. It would be interesting to have a private one on one conversation with each of them to learn what their major malfunction really is.

        I enjoyed your link and will be commenting there in the near future, I am interested in your thoughts on some of the subjects discussed there.


        Comment by Randle | February 15, 2013 | Reply

        • Well, thank you, but please remember: when I write on the Constitution, I am NEVER giving my thoughts or opinions. I am merely using original source documents to PROVE the original intent of the Constitution.

          Same when I write on Philosophy – not my thoughts, but what the philosophies stand for.

          And about Ann Coulter: I have no idea why she was such a fan of Chris Cristi. But when it looked that Romney would get the nomination, all Republicans must support him! Maybe that was her thinking.

          About Romney care: I expect the MASS. Constitution permits it! The federal Constitution does not – it is one of “enumerated powers” only, and “medical care” is not one of the enumerated powers. Romney did seem to understand this concept of “federalism”: That the States retain most of the powers, but delegate only an enumerated few to the federal government. Most of the people in MASS wanted socialized medicine.

          Glen Beck: My instincts tell me his heart is in the right place. But I have the impression that he doesn’t have much education. That might make him easily lead by those who do have lots of education who pretend to be “conservative”. Now here – in this para – I am speaking only of my own “thoughts”.


          Comment by Publius Huldah | February 15, 2013 | Reply

  29. Brava! Your research has been pivotal in a discussion on the new Tea Party Community site. This page has been cited by many (myself included!) who have absorbed these truths and who are passionately committed to the restoration of Constitutional primacy.
    If you are interested in taking a look, you may find us at
    By the way, as I see you are not a “party” person, may I assure you that this community is not a party affiliated site, but a gathering of small-government, Constitution-loving patriots. Your voice would be so welcome there.


    Comment by magdalene51 (@magdalene51) | February 7, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you, Magdalene!
      I’m swamped now, but will check out your Community later.


      Comment by Publius Huldah | February 8, 2013 | Reply

  30. The “Marco Rubio 2016!” crowd is already in full swing and they just do not want to listen to reality. “But he was born in Miami!” “His parents weren’t illegal immigrants they legally emigrated!”

    They will repeat this crap over and over but they will refuse to consider any evidence to the contrary. I wonder sometimes why God made humans so stubborn and unwilling to think for themselves.

    I could only imagine how the world would be if people would just accept truth when they heard it – there would be so few problems in the world.


    Comment by Zach | November 10, 2012 | Reply

    • Zach, you are singing my song. Precisely. I have found that if one’s ONLY loyalty is to TRUTH, then it is so easy to figure things out. Questions just untangle all by themselves and the answer is right there! It’s like shucking an ear of corn.

      But most people judge what they read by another standard: “Does it fit with what I already believe?” If it fits, they accept it. If it doesn’t, they reject it. They are so unthinking that it never enters their heads that what they already believe may be false.

      And then there is the astonishing conceit of these people! I have always known the difference between what I know, and what I don’t know. It really is an issue of basic honesty: I took high school physics (about 55 years ago) and have watched a couple of shows on TV about physics. Am I an expert on physics? Am I qualified to spout off about whether nuclear power plants are safe? NO! I understand that it is IMMORAL to speak as an authority on matters on which one is ignorant.

      But these people! I can tell by the way they write that they can’t think, they can’t write, they don’t understand the supreme Court opinions they babble about, they don’t understand what they read, in short – they don’t know what they are talking about. But they think they are experts. It is ignorant conceit. It is a serious moral failing – pride. They are so proud of their “knowingness” – they want to be seen as knowing.

      Obedience to Truth casts a very bright light! You are a rare one to see this.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | November 10, 2012 | Reply

  31. I completely agree with your explanation of ‘natural born citizen’. I am wondering how you view this in relation to the 14th amendment and “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States….”

    So, there is ‘natural born citizen’ which is one who is born of citizens. Then there are those who are naturalized, who are just citizens not eligible for the Presidency. So, where do people who are born in the United States fall? Are they citizens on the same level as naturalized citizens. The 14th says those who are born in the US AND subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens. So, if someone of foreign parents is born here are they subject to the jurisdiction of the US – they should become citizens of their parents country. But a plain reading of the 14th would seem to indicate they become US citizens.



    Comment by Zach | November 4, 2012 | Reply

    • Professor Edward J. Erler’s article which I referenced in footnote 1 addresses this brilliantly. His paper is a bit technical and probably wants highlighting or outlining.

      One of the two purposes of the 14th Amendment was to make citizens of the freed slaves. They were born here and were born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. But until the 14th Amendment, they were not citizens. [And they had NO civil rights!]

      The key is not just being born in the United States, but being born “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

      So if the French Ambassador’s wife gives birth here, her baby is not born “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States”, b/c the baby is born of French parents who are subject to the jurisdiction of France.

      American Indians born here were not made citizens by the 14th Amendment b/c they were not considered “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States”, but instead were subject to the jurisdiction of their own tribes.

      Babies born here of illegal aliens are not citizens of the United States b/c their illegal alien parents are subject to the jurisdiction of the Country they left.

      So, assuming the 14th Amendment even applies today [an argument can be made that it is no longer relevant and has expired], it’s application today re citizenship would be this: Re parents who are “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” by virtue of being “natural born” or “naturalized” citizens: The baby is born a citizen of the United States.

      So it doesn’t change the definition of “natural born citizen” as set forth by Vattel and clearly implemented by our Framers and the First Congress: If, when you were born, your parents were citizens [whether themselves natural born or naturalized], then you are a natural born citizen. B/c your citizenship when you are born is the same as your parents when you were born.

      But if, when you were born, your parents weren’t citizens, then you are not a natural born citizen.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | November 4, 2012 | Reply

      • Don’t know how I missed the link to that article. So, the only way to be just a ‘citizen’ is to be naturalized? Everyone at this time who did not gain their citizenship through naturalization is a ‘natural born citizen’ – i.e., there is no such thing as just a ‘born citizen’? Unless you follow the Wong Kim decision.


        Comment by Zach | November 5, 2012 | Reply

        • Citizens are either “natural born citizens” (the parents were citizens when baby was born) or “naturalized citizen” (baby became a citizen sometime after he was born).

          The freed slaves born here were not born as citizens, but were naturalized by the 14th Amendment (they were “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States”). Thereafter, the children of these naturalized former slaves were “natural born citizens”.

          Children born here of aliens are born with the citizenship of their parents – the parents are not “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States”. (The French diplomat’s wife, the American Indians who were subject to their tribes, the illegal aliens dropping babies here).

          As Prof. Erler says, in a Republic, citizenship is determined by LAW – as opposed to a feudal system where citizenship is determined by where you were born: If you were born on the King’s land, you belong to the King – just as all the deer born on his land belong to him.

          Our Constitution requires that our President be “natural born”. That is locked in concrete until it is changed by an Amendment to the Constitution.

          The 14th Amendment addresses the broader sphere of both natural born and naturalized citizens, as well as aliens (babies born here whose parents are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States).


          Comment by Publius/Huldah | November 5, 2012 | Reply

          • thanks, that is what I was thinking but so much confusion stems from Wong Kim.


            Comment by Zach | November 5, 2012

          • Zach! thank you – you made me laugh when you said that much confusion stems from Wong Kim. SCOTUS hasn’t done anything for well over 100 years which didn’t cause confusion.

            Erler’s article explains the original intent of “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” very well.

            Just remember: Under “republican” principles – as opposed to feudal principles – a child’s citizenship follows that of his parents! It is not where the child was born – that is the dangerous notion – the feudal notion – wherein people are “subjects” of their king who owns the land where they were born. That is why Prof. Erler is rightly so concerned about this. We are gradually being stripped of “citizenship” and are gradually being transformed into “subjects”.


            Comment by Publius/Huldah | November 5, 2012

  32. […] The Constitution, Vattel, and “Natural Born Citizen”: What Our Framers Knew […]


    Pingback by News Jackie’s Way August 20th 2012 | Frank Talk | August 20, 2012 | Reply

  33. Trouble at two o’clock: Fred Thompson is now spouting off ignorant garbage, claiming that Marco Rubio is eligible to be VP and President solely because he was born in the US. Obviously, he hasn’t read your well-researched paper.


    Comment by zbigniewmazurak | July 31, 2012 | Reply

    • Fred Thompson is a paradox. Four years ago, when he was (for a time) supposedly seeking the republican nomination for President, he said the just about the best words I have heard any public person say about enumerated powers.

      Then he comes out as a national co-chairman of the National Popular Vote movement. I think I recall that George Soros’ organizations support the NPV.

      And now this!

      With most of them, I debate whether they are Ignorant & Stupid or Bad. I don’t think Thompson is Ignorant & Stupid.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 31, 2012 | Reply

  34. In your excellent informative article, THE CONSTITUTION, VATTEL, AND “NATURAL BORN CITIZEN”
    on July 18, 2012 in, the following statement appears:
    Only those whose parents are “subject to the jurisdiction of the US” are citizens.

    In regards to Rubio who I agree is not a “natural born citizen” although I have seen the argument below and would like to know your take on the “Platt Amendment of 1901”:

    Marco Rubio was born in the United States of parents who had legally immigrated here and soon thereafter became US citizens. There is no court decision that overturns his status as a natural born American.

    Additionally – “The Platt amendment of the 1901 Army appropriations Act determined that Cuba was to be considered a “self-governing colony” of the US. This amendment stayed in effect until 1934, with the passage of a formal Treaty of Relations between Cuba and the US.

    Since both Rubio’s parents were born in Cuba during the time when the Platt amendment was in effect, they were born in a “self-governing colony”, a US “self-governing colony” which makes his parents US citizens.

    One right people have being born in US Territory is citizenship. His parents were born in Cuba in US Territory, Father 1927 Mother 1931.


    Bob Yount, Jr.


    Comment by Bob Yount Jr | July 28, 2012 | Reply

    • No, that theory comes out of la la land:

      1. The status of Cuba changed radically – several times – after 1901.

      2. Marco Rubio never had status as an NBC. And it is not up to a court to decide (based on its own theories) who is and who is not an NBC. The Constitution determines that! At the time of our Framing, a NBC was one who was born of parents who were already citizens. Since children take the condition of their fathers, a child born of citizens is “naturally” a citizen from birth.

      3. I know of no basis for claiming that Marco Rubio’s parents were really U.S. citizens all along! That is bizarre! They certainly didn’t think they were U.S. citizens all along, and the U.S. government didn’t think they were U.S. citizens all along, since they were naturalized several years after Marco Rubio was born.

      The person who came up with that argument has imagination, at least!


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 28, 2012 | Reply

  35. […] favorite constitutional expert, Plubius Huldah answers the question of why you should care in her most recent post. First, from Wikipedia  we […]


    Pingback by “Natural Born Citizen” It’s in the Constitution for a Reason « Conservatives on Fire | July 24, 2012 | Reply

  36. […] The Constitution, Vattel, and “Natural Born Citizen”: What Our Framers Knew […]


    Pingback by Liberty 07/24/2012 (a.m.) « Liberty in the Breach | July 23, 2012 | Reply

  37. Our people are lawless because of the command from a great modern liberal philosopher, who in the 60’s, said, “If it feels good, do it.” At the risk of sounding like Chauncey Gardner, if you will allow me this metaphor: The flower intended is more difficult to grow than weeds. The soil has to be tilled and tended often to prevent the weeds. Great article PH. Been looking for a researched, sourced article on this matter. At last, I have found it. Bravo!


    Comment by Jeff Edelman | July 21, 2012 | Reply

  38. […] Blog | The Constitution, Vattel, and Natural Born Citizen: What Our Framers Knew Our Framers had no need to define “natural born Citizen” in the Constitution, because by the […]


    Pingback by Saturday Shares | What Would The Founders Think? | July 21, 2012 | Reply

  39. Thanks, PH, I appreciate your work! The Framers understood the evil tendencies of man and tried to provide a system of government which would protect the people from tyranny.

    “We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” – John Adams

    “On every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying to determine what meaning can be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion.” – Thomas Jefferson

    Unfortunately, Tyranny is upon us! Citizens are being bribed with plunder (read Bastiat’s Essay, The Law), school children are indoctrinated with socialism, and Morality is being constantly undermined!

    We must all try to inform the people as you are so adequately doing, because the ‘Day of Reckoning’ is fast approaching! May God Bless America!

    BTW, I posted this same comment on the American Clarion website


    Comment by lakewoodbob | July 21, 2012 | Reply

    • Great post, Lakewood Bob.
      Yes! I read Bastiat’s The Law decades ago. I remember Ayn Rand recommended it so highly. surely it is the best thing to ever come out of France.

      You are so right about the Day of Reckoning fast approaching.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 24, 2012 | Reply


    Ellen submitted a comment for this site which was long, rambling, and consisted in substantial part of quotes from some other modern day commentator.

    She posted the following comment on ANOTHER WEB SITE in response to the posting of my Paper there. Ellen’s comment there was shorter than the one she posted here, so I substituted her comments. So this is what Ellen posted on the other site:

    “Subjects and citizens are different, to be sure. But where is he evidence that the writers of the Constitution chose a definition of Natural Born based on the parents rather than the existing rules, which were based on the place of birth. There are no articles or letters saying anything like: “We are citizens now, so let us base the Natural Born requirement on parents,” or “let us use Vattel’s definition of Natural Born and not the one in the common law.” There is nothing like that at all, and the writers would certainly have told us if they had made such a change.

    The grandfather clause of the US Constitution was passed to allow Alexander Hamilton and James Wilson, American leaders who were not born in the 13 colonies, to be eligible to be president.

    The meaning of Natural Born Citizen comes from the common law, not from Vattel, who is not even mentioned once in the Federalist Papers, and who recommended such things as a state religion—which we did not adopt.
    The meaning of Natural Born Citizen comes from the common law and refers to the PLACE of birth, not to the parents of a US-born child.

    “Under the longstanding English common-law principle of jus soli, persons born within the territory of the sovereign (other than children of enemy aliens or foreign diplomats) are citizens from birth. Thus, those persons born within the United States are “natural born citizens” and eligible to be President. Much less certain, however, is whether children born abroad of United States citizens are “natural born citizens” eligible to serve as President …”—- Edwin Meese, et al, THE HERITAGE GUIDE TO THE CONSTITUTION (2005) [Edwin Meese was Ronald Reagan’s attorney general, and the Heritage Foundation is a well-known Conservative organization.]


    Comment by ehancock | July 20, 2012 | Reply

    • Ellen! Your comment bodes ill for the future of our Country, if there are many more like you.

      1. The evidence that a “natural born citizen” is one who is born of parents who are citizens, is in the ORIGINAL SOURCE DOCUMENTS I quote in my paper!

      First: Note that Art. II, §1, cl. 5 uses the term “natural born Citizen” and not “natural born subject”.

      Then: Look at the original sources I quoted. After you review what Vattel said, note Ramsay’s dissertation (1789) where he says:

      “The citizenship of no man could be previous to the declaration of independence, and, as a natural right, belongs to none but those who have been born of citizens since the 4th of July, 1776.”

      And did you not read the Naturalization Act of 1790 passed by the First Congress? I quoted it in full in my paper! Maybe the quote was too long for you to absorb – so, I’ll just quote from the end:

      “…And the children of citizens of the United States … shall be considered as natural born citizens…”

      Read that again and again. Read Vattel. Read the quotes from the Constitution, Ramsay, and the First Congress. Do you see a connection? Keep reading until you see the connection.

      Our Framers specifically REJECTED the feudal and common law concept of “natural born subjectship”, and replaced it with the republican concept of “natural born Citizen”.

      2. You have no original source documents showing that the purpose of the “grandfather clause” was merely to permit Hamilton & Wilson to be president.

      If somewhere in your brain there still exists any capacity for rational thought; and if you are able to comprehend the fact that before the War for Independence, we were “subjects of the crown of England”; but that we became transformed into “citizens” – then ask yourself what converted us from “subjects” to “citizens”.

      We became “citizens” with the Declaration of Independence. That is the event which made our Founding Fathers “citizens”. So when in 1789, The Constitution was ratified, Our Founding Fathers ALL had to be “grandfathered in” to be eligible to be president b/c none of them were born as “citizens”. They were all born as “subjects of the crown of England”.

      The “natural born” citizens were not eligible to be President in 1790 because by 1790, they would only have been 14 years old or younger [1790 – 1776 [the date of the DOI] = 14].

      So, without the “grandfather clause”, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, etc. would not have been eligible to be president b/c they were all born as “subjects of the crown of England”.

      None of the “natural born Citizens” were eligible to be President in 1790 because they were all too young.

      3. While your comment is distinguished throughout by its ignorance, the most idiotic thing you said is:
      “The meaning of Natural Born Citizen comes from the common law…”

      That comment is stupid because the concept of “natural born citizen” did not exist in the English common law. “Citizenship” is a “republican” concept [“republican” as distinguished from monarchist].

      The Heritage Foundation is a major source of misinformation about the Constitution. The people there who write on the Constitution, along with Edwin Meese, merely parrot the prevailing dogma of our time – which is wrong. To my knowledge, there is not an independent thinker among the lot. They just regurgitate the mush they were fed in law school.

      What I do is set forth the ORIGINAL INTENT of our Constitution, and I prove it by means of quotes from original source documents. I do not parrot the prevailing dogma – b/c it is demonstrably false.

      4. In footnote 1, I linked to Prof. Edward J. Erler’s brilliant article. My only criticism of his article is that it is over the heads of our dumbed-down American People who know nothing, can’t think, can’t distinguish between truth and lies; but are so conceited that they think they are geniuses who know everything!

      Our country – indeed all of western civilization – is collapsing because of Ignorance and moral decline. Ask yourself (and this is a moral test): Do you care more about Truth or about getting Marco Rubio as Vice President? PH


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 21, 2012 | Reply

  41. […] The Constitution, Vattel, and “Natural Born Citizen”: What Our Framers Knew « Publius-Huldah&#8… […]


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  42. Larry Peterson
    Well written Publius Huldah. Thank you for referencing you work. I have long understood that our Constitution requires that POTUS must be a Natural Born Citizen and your work goes a long way in validating that understanding. Now to somehow wake America to that fact.


    Comment by Larry Peterson | July 19, 2012 | Reply

  43. […] The Constitution, Vattel, and “Natural Born Citizen”: What Our Framers Knew By Publius Huldah, 07.19.12, and an article he links to: ROMNEY, RUBIO, McCAIN AND NATURAL BORN CITIZEN By J.B. Williams, 06.11.12 Among the references cited: the lexicon in the days of our founding (Vattel’s Law of Nations), the language of the First Congress in the Naturalization Act of 1790, and even the current-day resolution in the U.S. Senate which cleared John McCain to run for President. […]


    Pingback by The “Natural Born Citizen” debate RESTS « SubConch | July 19, 2012 | Reply

  44. PH, Superbly done….. only someone in denial can not see that Rubio is ineligible to be President.


    Comment by Spense | July 19, 2012 | Reply

  45. You did a great job here, really informative.

    Unfortunately, it’s only for purposes of posterity.

    Our constitution is gone. We are now a law of men.

    It does not good to pretend otherwise.


    Comment by Jim Nazyum | July 19, 2012 | Reply

    • Jim! It is time to fight! Not to give in and give up. Learn our Founding Principles, and then talk about them every chance you get.

      Do NOT be Denethor in Lord of the Rings!


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 19, 2012 | Reply

  46. If only we had representatives who would hold to their oath. So many of our problems would be non-existant if we would only follow the Constitution, as intended. Thank you so much for the guidance.


    Comment by Mike Foil | July 19, 2012 | Reply

  47. Of course England doesn’t have any citizens… because England is not a sovereign country. England is just one of the four realms of the United Kingdom of GB and NI. :)


    Comment by zbigniewmazurak | July 19, 2012 | Reply

    • Cast your mind back to late 18th Century England and to Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. THAT is the Country from which we declared our Independence. England recognized only “subjects”, not “citizens”.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 19, 2012 | Reply

      • I know that it recognized only “subjects”, not citizens, but the US declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, not from “England”. England wasn’t even a sovereign country at the time.


        Comment by zbigniewmazurak | July 19, 2012 | Reply

        • I suggest you are quibbling. Blackstone’s Commentaries are on “The Laws of England” – that’s what the American Lawyers used and studied as the basis of the common law here.

          Blackstone’s “Commentaries on The Laws of England” is what the anti-birthers are now relying on for their definition of “natural born subject” which they equate to “natural born citizen”.

          It is irrelevant to the point of my paper whether one calls it “England” or “Great Britain”. But note that Blackstone referred to “the Crown of England” in his commentary on natural born subjects.


          Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 19, 2012 | Reply

  48. Your research and organization of this information will certainly be used now and in the future by those defending the rule of law as established by our constitution. I hope authors and patriots like you can help to make our society less lawless and arbitrary than it has currently become. Thank you for taking your time and using your skills to provide us with this information.


    Comment by Eric Stamper | July 19, 2012 | Reply

    • Thank you, Eric!

      But the problem is this: How do we turn the lights on in the minds of Our People? How do we get them to renounce existentialism & pragmatism and return to the concept of FIXED PRINCIPLES & STANDARDS to which they must conform?

      Our People are lawless: They think only in terms of what they like, and don’t like. They don’t understand that some things are TRUE, other things are FALSE. They think it’s all a matter of opinion, and their opinion is as good as anybody’s.

      All I can do is hold up the light. But I can’t reorganize peoples’ minds. THEY must do it – or continue to be manipulated by the powers that be.


      Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 19, 2012 | Reply

      • “There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.”- Ayn Rand

        Another great essay! Thanks again for your hard work!

        Yours Truly Johnny Dollar


        Comment by JohnnyDollar74 | July 24, 2012 | Reply

        • Thanks, Johnny Dollar! Love the Ayn Rand quote.


          Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 24, 2012 | Reply

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