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Where did the Founding Fathers come up with the term “natural-born citizen” that they used in the qualifications for President?

~ The Rebel ~ 2012/02/23 15:15:58

The term comes from The Law of Nations by Emerich de Vattel in 1758.

The Founders, all very learned and scholarly men, referenced many works as they deliberated on exactly what the Constitution should say: those of John Locke and Sir William Blackstone among them. But their ideas on citizenship obviously came from Vattel.

Benjamin Franklin ordered three copies of Vattel’s Le droit des gens (The Law of Nations) from the publishing house of Chez E. van Harrevelt in the original French. Upon receiving it, Franklin wrote to Vattel’s editor, C.G.F. Dumas, “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 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.”

What exactly does Le droit des gens say about citizenship? In “§ 212 Of the citizens and naturals,” Vattel writes: “The citizens are the members of the civil society; bound to this society by certain duties, and subject to its authority, they equally participate in its advantages. The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. As the society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of the citizens, those children naturally follow the condition of their fathers, and succeed to all their rights. The society is supposed to desire this, in consequence of what it owes to its own preservation; and it is presumed, as matter of course, that each citizen, on entering into society, reserves to his children the right of becoming members of it. The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children; and these become true citizens merely by their tacit consent. We shall soon see whether, on their coming to the years of discretion, they may renounce their right, and what they owe to the society in which they were born. I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.”

Read More: http://personalliberty.com/2012/02/23/the-natural-...

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  • Jackie G - Poker Playing Pa... 2012/02/23 17:01:54
    Jackie G - Poker Playing Patriot
    +5
    Very interesting - it would be a good thing if a Congress defined 'natural born' and passed it into law, however, I do not see that happening since it has become so controversial now.

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  • Kane Fernau 2012/02/23 21:37:09
    Kane Fernau
    +1
    Awesome find. I've argued that point until I was blue in the face
  • wicked soda boy 2012/02/23 19:50:48
    wicked soda boy
    +2
    Interesting. The founders didn't want to see a POTUS elected who intended to radically "transform" the country to something it wasn't designed to be.
    They were obviously wiser than 51% of our 2008 voters.
  • Andy 2012/02/23 18:57:58
    Andy
    +1
    Can you say... Bye Bye Barack??
  • eliosc 2012/02/23 18:24:59
    eliosc
    +2
    Interesting...
  • Jackie G - Poker Playing Pa... 2012/02/23 17:01:54
    Jackie G - Poker Playing Patriot
    +5
    Very interesting - it would be a good thing if a Congress defined 'natural born' and passed it into law, however, I do not see that happening since it has become so controversial now.
  • Louisa - Enemy of the State 2012/02/23 16:05:59
    Louisa - Enemy of the State
    +1
    I can't answer that but if you think about it............in 1776 it took an average of seven weeks to cross the Atlantic. AN overwhelming majority of those entering this country were poor and once they arrived, they never left. It took 8 days to travel from Philadelphia to Massachusetts and that was a rarity too.

    I don't believe that our forefathers considered that in the future people would be crossing the Atlantic in 8 hrs and that they would often take a trip that lasted only two days. And that the sheer number of travelers would be greater in a single day than during a six month period in 1776.

    So they probably weren't thinking about foreign births the way we do today. This might be the reason we have trouble dealing with 'natural born'.
  • Gracie - Proud Conservative 2012/02/23 15:40:12
    Gracie - Proud Conservative
    +1
    How could they mean that your parents had to be citizens when at the time of their Founding, none of their parents were citizens? I'm all for the being born in America but I'm not sure they meant that the parents had to be citizens at the time of their birth.
  • cynsity Gracie ... 2012/02/23 16:46:25
    cynsity
    +1
    actually at least 2 generations BEFORE the revolution people had stopped calling themselves British Subjects and had started calling themselves AMERICANS. Washington, Jefferson etc all called themselves AMERICANS from birth as well even in the British Parlement youw ill find references to representived for the "Americans". The "colonies" became a reference ONLY to land and goods from America not the people where still "subjects" the people were American's.
  • Gracie ... cynsity 2012/02/23 17:05:18
    Gracie - Proud Conservative
    +1
    There has never been a case to test this in the courts and I can't imagine now that Obama has been President that it would lead to this interpretation. I'd personally hate to see Marco Rubio disqualified because he has a bright future if he stays on his current path.
  • cynsity Gracie ... 2012/02/23 17:19:41
    cynsity
    +1
    The way I understand the "legal" interpertation Rubio has Duel citizenship he is natural born aas he was born on US soil while he also shares his parents citizenship now if his parent have since gained legal US citizenship he has no issue... I looked into this as I gave birth overseas and my daughter was granted Duel citizenship even though both my husband and myself were US citizens at the time.(basicly oppisite rubio) and under the currect understandings she si allowed to hold any office including pres even though on paper she is a citizen of another nation.
  • Gracie ... cynsity 2012/02/23 17:21:56
    Gracie - Proud Conservative
    +1
    Rubio's parents are citizens and were soon after his birth, they just weren't at the time of his birth. I've seen people say that he's not eligible so I started looking at it and that's when I found that it's never been challenged in court.
  • cynsity Gracie ... 2012/02/23 18:24:45
    cynsity
    +1
    right, and like my child he holds duel citizenship UNLESS he already renounced it... but I am guessing becasue its cuba an excile order would nulify the duelness as well...
    this makes him elegiable

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