Citizen v. Subject, Natural v. Native

Sometimes you find the most interesting leads in the comments section of articles that further enhance the writers article.

Leo Donofrio has some of the most astute and highly motivated contitutionally thinking readers I have ever come across and here is why I recommend his website ‘Natural Born Citizen’ :

tanarg Says:

This is from Gray’s Wong decision, Leo.

Surely you can read its plain meaning:

It thus clearly appears that by the law of England for the last three centuries, beginning before the settlement of this country, and continuing to the present day, aliens, while residing in the dominions possessed by the crown of England, were within the allegiance, the obedience, the faith or loyalty, the protection, the power, and the jurisdiction of the English sovereign; and therefore every child born in England of alien parents was a natural-born subject, unless the child of an ambassador or other diplomatic agent of a foreign state, or of an alien enemy in hostile occupation of the place where the child was born.

III. The same rule was in force in all the English colonies upon this continent down to the time of the Declaration of Independence, and in the United States afterwards, and continued to prevail under the constitution as originally established.

[Ed. Your comment assumes “natural born subjects” are the same as “natural born citizens”. They are not. When read in context with the other passages I quoted, espcially Gray’s reliance on Binney, it becomes clear that those who were deemed natural born subjects under British law would – at best – be deemed basic “citizens” under US law – not natural born citizens.

You must grasp the understanding that we’re not subjects. And as you will see, the attitude at the time of the adoption of the Constitution makes the repulsion with being a subject clear. I will print for you now exactly what that attitude was straight form the mouth of David Ramsay – David Ramsay (congressman) (1749–1815), an American physician, historian, and Continental Congressman for South Carolina:





By David Ramsay, 1789

The United States are a new nation, or political society, formed at first by the declaration of independence, out of those British subjects in America, who were thrown out of royal protection by act of parliament, passed in December, 1775..

A citizen of the United States, means a member of this new nation. The principle of government being radically changed by the revolution, the political character of the people who also changed from subjects to citizens.

The difference is immense. Subject is derived from the latin words, sub and jacio, and means one who is under the power of another; but a citizen is an unit of a mass of free people, who, collectively, possess sovereignty.

Subjects look up to a master, but citizens are so far equal, that none have hereditary rights superior to others. Each citizen of a free state contains, within himself, by nature and the constitution, as much of the common sovereignty as another. In the eye of reason and philosophy, the political condition of citizens is more exalted than that of nobleman. Dukes and earls are the creatures of kings, and may be made by them at pleasure; but citizens possess in their own right original sovereignty.

(Thanks to Kamira for the research on David Ramsay. This is not the first excellent source she’s brought forward. Nice work.)

A natural born subject is an entirely different species of citizen than a natural born citizen. They sound the same – just as “native born” sounds like “natural born” but they too are not the same. ]

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