Monthly Archives: June 2010

Madison’s Letters: Defense of the American Party (Bumped)

The contents under this caption contain the material portions of eleven or twelve letters, written over the signature of ” Madison,” in vindication of the American party. The editor has examined carefully all the defences of the American organization, and considering this the most able of them all, written, it is said, by the Hon. A. II. 11. Stuart, of Virginia, he yields it a space in his work.

No. 1.

The vital principle of the American party is Americanism—developing itself in a deep rooted attachment to our own country—its Constitution, itsUnion.and its laws—toAmerieuo men, and American measures, and American interests—-or, in other words, a fervent patriotism—which, rejecting the transcendental philanthropy of abolitionists, and that kindred batch of wild enthusiasts, who would seek to embroil us with foreign countries, in righting the wrongs of Ireland, or Hungary, or Cuba—would guard with vestal vigilance American institutions and American interests against the baneful effects of foreign influence.

No. 2.

I closed my first number by stating what I conceived to be the vital principle of the American party—the principle which, like the main spring of a watch, imparts activity to its whole machinery.

Let us now consider what are the measures and policy which these Americans propose to adopt, to give practical efficiency to this great principle.—There is, doubtless, among the members of that party, as among the members of all other parties, much difference of opinion in regard to matters of detail; and mutual forbearance and concession must and will be practised in giving shape to their measures. No one can, therefore, tell with certainty what form they may ultimately assume.

For the present, I will refer to the action of the National Council as the most authentic exposition of the opinions of the party. It» creed, as expressed by that body, is embraced in the following propositions:—

2d. The perpetuation of the Federal Union, as the palladium of our civil and religious liberties, and the only sure bulwark of American independence.

3d. Americans must rule America, and to this end, native-born citizens should be selected for all state, federal, and municipal offices or government employment, in preference to all others; nevertheless,

4th. Persons born of American parents residing temporarily abroad, should be entitled to all the rights of native-born citizens ; but,

5th. No person should be selected for political station (whether of native or foreign birth), who recognises any allegiance or obligation, of any description, to any foreign prince, potentate, or power, or who refuses to recognise the federal and state constitutions (each within its sphere) as paramount to all other laws, as rules of political action.

6th. The unqualified recognition and maintenance of the reserved rights of the several states, and the cultivation of harmony and fraternal good will, between the citizens of the several states, and to this end, non-interference by Congress with questions appertaining solely to the individual states, and non-intervention by each state with the affairs of any other state.

7th.  The recognition of the right of the native-born and naturalized citizens of the United States, permanently residing in any territory thereof, to frame their constitution and laws, and to regulate their domestic and social affairs in their own mode, subject only to the provisions of the Federal Constitution, with the privilege of admission into the Union, whenever they have the requisite population li-r one representative in Congress.—Provided always, that none but those who are citizens of the United States, under the Constitution and laws thereof, and who have a fixed residence in any such territory, ought to participate in the formation of the Constitution, or in the enactment of laws for said territory or state.

8th. An enforcement of the principle that no state or territory ought to admit others than citizens of the United States to the right of suffrage, or of holding political office.

9th. A change in the laws of naturalization, making a continued residence of twenty one years, of all not hereinbefore provided for, an indispensable requisite for citizenship hereafter, and excluding all paupers, and persons convicted of crime, from landing upon our shores; but no interference with the vested rights of foreigners.

10th. Opposition to any union between Church and State ; no interference with religious faith, or worship, and no test oaths for office.

llth. Free and thorough investigation into any and all alleged abuses of public functionaries, and a strict economy in public expenditures.

12th. The maintenance and enforcement of all laws constitutionally enacted, until said laws shall be repealed, or shall be declared null and void by competent judicial authority.

These propositions may be classed, for greater perspicuity, under three heads.

I. Those that relate to reforms in the naturalization laws which require legislation.

II. Those that relate to the appointment and election of officers, which are purely ministerial.

III. Those that refer to the general policy of the party in the management of the government, which appeal both to the legislative and executive departments.

I intend to discuss these subjects in the order in which they are stated.

It is proposed to modify the naturalization laws in four particulars:—

1. To make them prescribe uniform rules of naturalization throughout all the states and territories.

2. To exclude convicts and paupers from the country.

3. To extend the period of residence of the applicant for naturalization, so that he may have time to understand our language and become acquainted with our laws and institutions, before he is intrusted with the right to participate in their administration.

4. To guard against fraudulent abuses of the right of naturalization.

I am aware that there is a very prevailing idea that Congress has no constitutional power to provide by law, that the rules of naturalization shall be the same in all the states; and

I have heard this difficulty suggested as being fatal to the objects of the American party. But the objection is wholly without foundation. The Constitution of the United State* provides in terms ” that Congress shall have power to establish a uniform rule

This provision has repeatedly been the subject of judicial consideration and interpretation, and although the opinion was at one time expressed by the Circuit Court of th« United States for the District of Pennsylvania, that the power was concurrent in th* state and federal governments, that opinion has long been overruled, and it is now held by Judge Iredell, in U. S. r. Fellato. 2 Dallas, 370: Judge Washington v Gordon r. Prince, 3 Wash. C. C. U. 313: by Judge Marshall, in Chirac v. Chirac, 2 Whenton, 2(19: by Judge Story, in Houston c. Moore, 5 Wheaton, 40 ; by Chancellor Kent, 1 Comm. 423 ; and by Judge Taney, in Norris r. Boston and Smith v. Turner Howard, that the exclusive power is in Congress. The remarks of C. J. Taney are so clear, not only in regard to the power, but also as to the policy of exercising it, that I readily adopt his argument, as far more satisfactory than any I could offer. He says:—

” It cannot be necessary to say anything upon the article of the Constitution which gives to Congress the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. The motive and object of this provision are too plain to be misunderstood. Under the Constitution of the United States, citizens of each state are entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states, and no state would be willing that another should determine for it, what foreigner should become one of its citizens, and be entitled to hold lands and vote at its elections. For without this provision, any one state could have given the right of citizenship in every other state ; and as every citizen of a state is also a citizen of the United States, a single state, without thi> provision, might have given to any number of foreigners it pleased, the right to all the privileges of citizenship in commerce, trade, and navigation, although they did not even reside among us.

” The nature of our institutions under the federal government, made it a matter of absolute necessity that this power should be confided to the government of the Union, where all the states were represented, and where all had a voice; a necessity so obvious, that statesman could have overlooked it. The article has nothing to do with the admission or rejection of aliens, nor with immigration, but with the rights of citizenship. Its sole object was to prevent one state from forcing upon all the others, and upon the general government, persons as citizens, whom they were unwilling to admit as such.”

Another subject of kindred character, if nut indeed falling under the same head, will also doubtless engage the attention of the party. with a view to see if the Constitution does not supply the means of redressing an evil which is of the most flagrant character. I allude to the want of uniformity in the state constitutions in regard to the right of suffrage by foreigners. By the constitution of Virginia, none but citizens of the United States can vote, and as no one can legally become a citizen of the United States unless he has been a resident of the country for five years, it follows that no one can be a voter m Virginia, who has not been a resident of the United States for five years. But by the constitution of Illinois’, it is provided (Art. 2, s. 27), “that in all elections, all white male inhabitants above the age of 21 years, having resided in the state six months next preceding the election, shall enjoy the right of an elector.”

Now as the vote of every man cast in Illinois for members of the legislature which elects U. S. Senators, for members of Congress, and for Presidential electors, has a direct bearing on the interests of Virginia, it is well worthy of inquiry whether Virginia is, under the Constitution, to be governed by the votes of aliens. It is a new and a grave question. There is certainly a difference in form between the question of elective franchise and the question of naturalization. But is not this system of allowing aliens to vote before they are naturalized an abuse, if not an evasion of the Constitution ? A sensible writer on the subject has well remarked, ” if individual states can admit to the elective franchise those who are not citizens, thereby neutralizing the votes of citizens, not only the federal power over naturalization becomes a nullity, but a minority of actual citizens, by the aid of aliens, may control the government of the states, and, through the states, that of the Union.”

Who will deny that this is a crying abuse, and that all the constitutional powers of the government ought to be brought into requisition to correct it ?

2. It is proposed to exclude by state and federal authority, convicts and paupers from landing on our shores, to corrupt the morals of citizens, to plunder our property, to fill our penitentiaries and alms-houses, and to burden •our people with taxation for their support. This is no new policy, and it will at once commend itself to the favorable regard of all reflecting men. It is an evil which attracted the attention of the founders of the republic at an early day, and has from time to time been pressed upon the attention of the government, but thus far no adequate measures of prevention have been adopted.

On the 10th of September, 1788, the Continental Congress, then about to close its labors, adopted the following resolution : ” Resolved, that it be, and it hereby is recommended to the several states to pass proper laws to prevent the transportation of convicted malefactors from foreign countries into the U. S.”— Journal, page 867.

On the 13th November, 1788. Virginia did

pass such a law imposing a penalty of $50 on masters of vessels who should land convicts in this state.

In 1836, the matter was brought to the attention of Congress by Mr. Davis of Massachusetts, who made a Jong and able speech to the Senate, on presenting certain resolutions of the legislature of Massachusetts on the subject.

In 1838, Mr. Van Buren, in reply to a call of the House, sent a message to Congress, accompanied by many documents. A bill was reported to correct the evil, but amidst the press of business it was overslaughed.—See Congressional Globe 1837-’38, page 489, and 1838-’39, page 168.

In 1845, Mr. Berrien made an elaborate report on the subject, accompanied by a great mass of testimony establishing in the most conclusive manner the certainty and magnitude of the evil.—See Sen. Doc. 173, 28th Cong. No final action, however, was taken.

In 1847, Mr. Buchanan, as Secretary of State, adopted measures to obtain information on the subject, and a report was made by Mr. A. D. Mann, on the 13th September, 1847.

On 1st January, 1855, Mayor Wood, of New York, addressed a strong letter to President Pierce, invoking his aid. He says: ” It has long been the practice of many governments on the continent of Europe to get rid of paupers and convicts by sending them to this country, and most generally to this port, (N. Y.) 1*116 increase of crime here can be traced to this cause, rather than to defect in criminal laws or their administration. An examination of the criminal and pauper records, shows conclusively that it is but a small proportion of these unfortunates who are natives of this country. One of the very heaviest burdens that we bear, is the support of these people, even when considering the direct cost, but when estimating the evil influence on society, and the contaminating effect upon all who come within the range of their depraved minds, it becomes a matter exceedingly serious and demanding immediate and complete eradication.”* Mayor Wood, being a Democrat and in no way attached to the American party, I presume he will be regarded as good authority, and I will here rest this branch of the subject, and I hope I may console myself with the reflection, that as far as we have progressed in the examination of the propositions of the American party, nothing has yet hern discovered in conflict with ” the cause of civil and religious freedom.”

Did Common Law Really Grant Automatic US Citizenship Upon Birth Regardless Of Parentage? Part II (Bumped)

At the time of the revolution, citizens either renounced their ties to the English crown, taking up their arms and joining the cause for freedom, or they held fast to English Monarchy and took up their arms and joined the British army. The only middle ground during the revolution was for those that deserted the British army to join the cause for freedom and remained loyal to the end of the revolution.

After that bloody war was over and the United States were free from the feudal form of government & Orwellian laws of England, the founding fathers set out to draft a new constitution, with limited powers for a national government, to replace the current Articles of Confederation which were hindering interstate commerce & citizenship travel due to the lack of a set of uniform laws. From the time of the Declaration of Independence to the passing of the US Constitution in 1789, the Articles of Confederation, which included extremely limited powers to a national congress, allowed for each state to adopt and enforced their own individual laws regarding property, commerce & citizenship.

From the founding, American citizenship is something every stifled subject of some foreign oligarchy dreams of acquiring and for most that have acquired American citizenship either by emigrating & going through naturalization or being born to those emigrants, they never let go of that pride and patriotism, making sure future generations would learn & know what it meant to be an American.

In the new country, the citizens were sovereign. The government of the people, by the people, for the people was adopted to ensure true freedom for all citizens for all time. Well, that is for all time that they worked earnestly to ensure it.

As a protection against foreign influences & intrigues, the founding fathers carefully and diligently worked to draft a constitution that would protect this from happening. Strict requirements were put in place for anyone who wished to attain to elected positions in the national government.  The President, Vice President, Senator or Congressman must have reached a certain age as well as had residency in the US for a number of consecutive years prior to attaining election to office. Then we get to citizenship. The president must be a ‘natural born’ citizen or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the constitution, however, Senators & Congressmen merely needed to be a citizen, so what is the difference. Why the 2 distinct verbiages?

To that, one only needs to go back to the debates of the Continental Congress & the Federalist Papers. Congress was comprised of many but the Executive was only comprised of 2. There was less chance for mischief to arise if only a couple of the elected officials in Congress were naturalized from foreign nations, however with only 2 in the Executive, there clearly was a need for more stringent requirements to guard against foreign influences & intrigues.

So, how do we define the difference between ‘citizen’ & ‘natural born’ citizen? Liberal constitutional scholars and progressive legalese rely on English common law that was in place prior to the revolution. Their interpretation is that if you are born of the soil, you are a natural born citizen and they wallow in diluted elitism by citing historical foreign law & case precedent, when in fact there is plenty of American law & legal case history for one to learn from.  Now, as I have said before, to think that the founding fathers & patriots fought a bloody war only to adopt the same definition of citizenship that they were oppressed under by the English Monarchy is to believe that there never was a bloody war to gain freedom from it. The feudal form of government that the British adopted did not allow for natural rights for all citizens. All rights were granted to the people by the government of the Monarchy, the Monarchy was the sovereign not he people. In the very 1st US Supreme Court decision (Chisholm v. Georgia) written by Chief Justice John Jay, we find our 1st clue as to the type of citizenship the founding fathers adopted for the new nation:

[T]he sovereignty of the nation is in the people of the nation, and the residuary sovereignty of each State in the people of each State…

[A]t the Revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people; and they are truly the sovereigns of the country, but they are sovereigns without subjects…]

Chief Justice John Jay was also the person who sent this historical letter to George Washington the summer of 1787 before the constitution was finalized:

[Permit me to hint whether it would not be wise and 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.]

So, if the people are the sovereigns, not the government, then where did the definition come from? For that we go to the very 1st commentaries on US law, Lectures on Law by Justice James Wilson, 1791. In the lectures Wilson expounds heavily on early philosophers and the different forms of government from the earliest of times that have been recorded. When he finally gets to discussing the laws adopted by the Continental Congress and ratified by the states, he writes:

The law of nature, when applied to states and political societies, receives a new name, that of the law of nations. This law, important in all states, is of peculiar importance in free ones. The States of America are certainly entitled to this dignified appellation…But if the knowledge of the law of nations is greatly useful to those who appoint, it surely must be highly necessary to those who are appointed…As Puffendorff thought that the law of nature and the law of nations were precisely the same, he has not, in his book on these subjects treated of the law of nations separately; but has every where joined it with the law of nature, properly called so…the law of nature is applied to individuals; the law of nations is applied to states.

Natural law did not always elude that of the Monarchy though. Early definitions of ‘natural born’ subject confined it to children born to parents, both of whom were ‘natural born’ subjects. However, to replenish their depleting armies from the many wars & to increase the Treasury, the Monarchy expanded the definition of ‘natural born’ subject to include  all children born on the soil, regardless if the soil was that of England, provided that the father was a natural born subject. For foreigners whose children by chance were born on English soil, the Monarchy also laid claim to them. This is the feudalism form of government commonly known as a democracy or dictatorship. The reasoning of today’s progressives that any child born on US soil, regardless of parentage, is thusly a ‘natural born’ citizen of the US is not the original definition that was initially adopted by the Monarchy and the definition that the founding fathers were highly learned in.

So what did the law of nations say as to who were the citizens of a nation?

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.

According to natural law which is that of the law of nations children follow the conditions of the father. But was this really the law adopted by the US? The 1866 act passed by congress stated:

“All persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.”

In 1885, US Secretary Of State under Grover Cleveland, Thomas Bayard, decided  that ‘the son of a German subject, born in Ohio, was not a citizen under the statute or the Constitution, because “he was on his birth ’subject to a foreign power,’ and ‘not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States’ Thomas Bayard was the fourth generation of his family to serve in the U.S. Senate and was considered a prominent Bourbon Democrat.

Another interesting thesis  I recently had the pleasure of finding in historical archives is one of a George H. Yeaman, another constitutional scholar from the mid-late 1800’s who certainly would have been familiar with Kent, Story & Wilson’s works which were the only American works for law students to study during that time. Yeaman was the US Minister to Copenhagen from 1865-1870 and was also a professor of law at Columbia College. In 1867 Yeaman wrote a thesis titled:  Allegiance and citizenship: An inquiry into the claim of European Governments to Exact Military Service of Naturalized Citizens of the United States. In the thesis, Yeaman writes of the unconstitutionality of dual citizenship and its ill effects on sovereign citizens & the continued existence of our sovereign nation.

To quote from American writers and statesmen who maintain the liberal view on this subject would be to incur the objection of attempting to sustain our position by our own authorities. To accept as law the opinions of those  modern European writers who have maintained the theory of  indissoluble allegiance and continuing, unavoidable duty to serve the crown, would be to yield the contest for truth and right, to those who discover a supposed interest in. maintaining what we hold for error. It will be far more satisfactory to rely upon general principles, and, so far as authority is invoked, to seek for it in the works of those great European masters of the Laws of Nature and of Nations who built up and illustrated the science of which they are the acknowledged fathers…

Vattel discusses the matter more explicitly than any who had preceded him in the science of natural and public law and international jurisprudence…

every man, on coming of age, may determine for himself if his interest is to remain a member of the society in which he was born…

writers, statesmen, diplomats, and legislators who have treated allegiance, which is imposed by the accident of birth, as an indestructible tie, have labored against reason, against nature, against the highest authority and against common sense practical to mankind. The states which adopt this theory are far municipal regulations, an extraterritorial effect, in this, that though they may enforce them against those who under the laws of nations does not subject a foreigner to any but the command of his own government…

Progressive scholars and legalese of today would like you to believe that since the term ‘native-born’ was often spoken when discussing and writing about the presidential qualification, those scholars were inherently implying that the term native as adopted merely meant born and had nothing to do with allegiance.

Enter James Kent, who was the 1st professor of law at Columbia College from 1793-1798 during which time he also resumed his seat at the NY state assembly. In 1798 Kent then went on to serve as a Justice on the NY State Supreme Court where he became the Chief Justice in 1804. Here is the Kent citing that the very liberal progressives want you to see and uses adnausium.

“As the President is required to be a native citizen of the United States…. Natives are all persons born within the jurisdiction of the United States.” James Kent, COMMENTARIES ON AMERICAN LAW (1826)

The progressives cite from 2 completely different sections in Kent’s commentaries as if the above phrase was all part of the same section. What they do not tell you is that the latter part, natives are all persons born within the jurisdiction of the United States is cited from Kent’s lecture on A1, S8, C4, the power granted to Congress to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization.

The actual text of Kent’s commentary on the qualifications for president taken from Kent’s original works, not cites from unknown sources and taken out of the original context, state something quite different.

(2.) The constitution requires that the President shall be a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the constitution, and that he shall have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and shall have been fourteen years a resident within the United States. Considering the greatness of the trust, and that this department is the ultimately efficient executive power in government, these restrictions will not appear altogether useless or unimportant. As the President is required to be a native citizen of the United States, ambitious foreigners cannot ; intrigue for the office, and the qualifications of birth cuts off all those inducements from abroad to corruption, negotiation and war, which have frequently and fatally harassed the elective monarchies of Germany and Poland, as well as the Pontificate at Rome… (James Kent, Commentaries on American Law, Part II: Of the Government and the Jurisprudence of the United States, 1826) 

Lets break it down:

As the President is required to be a native citizen of the United States, ambitious foreigners cannot; intrigue for the office ( here he is speaking of the grandfather clause ( a citizen at the time of the adoption of the constitution),

Then he goes onto part II:

and the qualifications for birth (natural born citizen) cuts off all those inducements from abroad to corruption, negotiation and war,

There you have it. As the President is required to be a native citizen AND the qualifications for birth. Kent was talking about each qualification respectively, not inclusively.

As you can see, the progressives go to great lengths to twist and turn the truth with no regard as to the law. Liberal progressive legal scholars believe that the meaning of the words written in the constitution are ever changing and that the constitution itself is a living, breathing blank vessel for liberal interpretation. The radically progressive Professor of law at Harvard, Laurence Tribe, writes in the opening of his newest book that [i]nterpreting the constitution is an ‘equal-opportunity’ reality that is not confined to the text of the document.]

Moving on, under the progressive interpretation of ‘native’, which is that of the feudal form of government, mere chance of birth on the soil is equivalent to perpetual allegiance. So was this really the case? Let’s continue with the Commentaries of James Kent, who wrote about just exactly what the term ‘natives’ meant. This is the actual text of the above mention cite the progressives had you believe was under qualifications for president, when in fact it is found under immigration & naturalization.

James Kent, Commentaries  1:397–98; 2:33–63(1826-1827)

We are next to consider the rights and duties of citizens in their domestic relations, as distinguished from the absolute rights of individuals, of which we have already treated. Most of these relations are derived from the law of nature, and they are familiar to the institutions of every country, and consist of husband and wife, parent and child, guardian and ward, and master and servant. To these may be added, an examination of certain artificial persons created by law, under the well known name of corporations. There is a still more general division of the inhabitants of every country, under the comprehensive title of aliens and natives, and to the consideration of them our attention will be directed in the present lecture.

(1.) Natives are all persons born within the jurisdiction of the United States. If they were resident citizens at the time of the declaration of independence, though born elsewhere, and deliberately yielded to it an express or implied sanction, they became parties to it, and are to be considered as natives; their social tie being coeval with the existence of the nation. If a person was born here before our independence, and before that period voluntarily withdrew into other parts of the British dominions, and never returned; yet, it has been held, that his allegiance accrued to the state in which he was born, as the lawful successor of the king; and that he was to be considered a subject by birth. It was admitted, that this claim of the state to the allegiance of all persons born within its territories prior to our revolution, might subject those persons who adhere to their former sovereign, to great inconveniences in time of war, when two opposing sovereigns might claim their allegiance; and, under the peculiar circumstances of the case, it was, undoubtedly, a very strong application of the common law doctrine of natural and perpetual allegiance by birth. The inference to be drawn from the discussions in the case of M’Ilvaine v. Coxe, would seem to be in favour of the more reasonable doctrine, that no antenatus ever owed any allegiance to the United States, or to any individual state, provided he withdrew himself from this country before the establishment of our independent government, and settled under the king’s allegiance in another part of his dominions, and never afterwards, prior to the treaty of peace, returned and settled here. The United States did not exist as an independent government until 1776; and it may well be doubted whether the doctrine of allegiance by birth be applicable to the case of persons who did not reside here when the revolution took place, and did not, therefore, either by election or tacit assent, become members of the newly created state.The ground of the decision in the latter case was, that the party in question was not only born in New-Jersey, but remained there as an inhabitant until the 4th of October, 1776, when the legislature of that state asserted the right of sovereignty, and the claim of allegiance over all persons then abiding within its jurisdiction. By remaining there after the declaration of independence, and after that statute, the party had determined his right of election to withdraw, and had, by his presumed consent, become a member of the new government, and was, consequently, entitled to protection, and bound to allegiance. The doctrine in the case of Respublica v. Chapman, goes also to deny the claim of allegiance, in the case of a person who, though born here, were not here and assenting to our new governments, when they were first instituted. The language of that case was, that allegiance could only attach upon those persons who were then inhabitants. When an old government is dissolved, and a new one formed, “all the writers agree,” said Ch. J. M’Kean, “that none are subjects of the adopted government who have not freely assented to it.” The same principle was declared by the Supreme Court of this state, in Jackson v. White… 

According to Kent, the ‘natives’ were the adults who elected to renounce the Monarcy and take allegiance with the new nation of the United States and as so went their allegiance, so went that of their wives & children.

Looking into the legal definition of the terms that are used by the early scholars that were taken from the law of nations also helps us to understand what the original intent of the founding fathers of the meaning of ‘natural born’ citizen was is also a task one cannot divest themselves of.

tacit: Implied, inferred, understood without being expressly stated

assent: An intentional approval of known facts that are offered by another for acceptance; agreement; consent

Children at birth can not speak their consent to be a citizen and as it was in England and all nations at the time of the adoption of the constitution, it was the father who gave the consent for the child to be a citizen unless the child be born out of wedlock and if the father made no claim to the child prior to the child coming of age..

[A]s the child ascends from the father, so does his citizenship through tacit assent] as stated by Kent. Therefore the children become citizens of the society in which their fathers are citizens.

I also had a hard time conclusively finding specific government documentation of this that was not mere debate of congress or declarations made by those that drafted the 1866 Act, the 14th and the Expatriation Act of 1868. The halls on the online Library of Congress are exhaustive. One has to look at all the laws pertaining to all US citizenships to find a conclusive definition for ‘natural born’ citizen as required in Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution.

The 1st finding came at a genealogy page in the National Archives on the history of immigration and its laws. For years now we have been stating that at the time of the adoption of the constitution, women & children followed that of the husband and father which is that of the laws of nations. Children of unwed mothers followed the condition of the mother which was that of her father and to this we now have government confirmation.

Naturalization Act of 1790 (1 Stat. 103)

The 1st major exception to this 1790 Act was that “derivative” citizenship was granted to wives and minor children of naturalized men. From 1790 to 1922, wives of naturalized men automatically became citizens. This also meant that an alien woman who married a U.S. citizen automatically became a citizen.

(Conversely, an American woman who married an alien lost her U.S. citizenship, even if she never left the United States.) From 1790 to 1940, children under the age of 21 automatically became naturalized citizens upon the naturalization of their father.

Further confirmation comes from the SoundexIndex to Naturalization  Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois, and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9 (1840-1950)

Under the section on the background of Naturalization . . . .” (A1, S8, C4) this official government document states that:

Married women and children under the age of twenty-one derived citizenship from their husband or father respectively. Children of unsuccessful applicants could apply for citizenship in their own right, at the age of twenty-one.

Illinois state voting law in 1919, which could not supersede the requirements for citizenship that was laid out in the US constitution stated that:

A woman born in the United States of foreign parents, regardless of whether either of her parents was naturalized, is a citizen, unless such parents were temporarily in the United States. (see above naturalization of children born on US soil to foreign parents after their coming of age) A woman citizen of the United States who marries an alien thereby forfeits her citizenship, whether such alien is a resident of the United States or not.

These official government documents conclusively support what we have been reporting and that is, at the founding of the United States there were 3 kinds of citizens. The natural born, children born to the US citizens that renounced the Monarchy after the Declaration of Independence and were subsequently the original native(inhabitant) citizens born on the soil, but some of the founding patriots were even native(inhabitant born overseas such as Hamilton) citizens by naturalization according to Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, who was also the founder of Harvard Law School, in Volume 3, Section 73: § 1473 of his Commentaries on the Constitution, 1933:

It is indispensable, too, that the president should be a natural born citizen of the United States; or a citizen at the adoption of the constitution, and for fourteen years before his election. This permission of a naturalized citizen to become president is an exception from the great fundamental policy of all governments, to exclude foreign influence from their executive councils and duties. It was doubtless introduced (for it has now become by lapse of time merely nominal, and will soon become wholly extinct) out of respect to those distinguished revolutionary patriots, who were born in a foreign land, and yet had entitled themselves to high honors in their adopted country. A positive exclusion of them from the office would have been unjust to their merits, and painful to their sensibilities. But the general propriety of the exclusion of foreigners, in common cases, will scarcely be doubted by any sound statesman. It cuts off all chances for ambitious foreigners, who might otherwise be intriguing for the office; and interposes a barrier against those corrupt interferences of foreign governments in executive elections, which have inflicted the most serious evils upon the elective monarchies of Europe. Germany, Poland, and even the pontificate of Rome, are sad, but instructive examples of the enduring mischiefs arising from this source. (emphasis mine)

At the formation of a new nation, a citizen can be a native, but not all natives are citizens. Being a ‘native’, did not automatically make one a citizen according to Wilson, Kent & Story. Citizenship required complete allegiance and there was no law that allowed for one to retain the former while aligning with the latter. I also found it quite intriguing that everyone of these 1st scholars on American law & the US Constitution began their works by expounding on the Law of Nations as well as the different forms of government and that which was adopted by the United States was that of the Republic, not that of a Democracy.

In my previous series, The Congressional Natural Born Citizen, I laid  out dozens of attempts over the past 35+ years where Congress has attempted to change the qualification requirements for president as well as change the definition of natural born so that it includes children of not yet naturalized immigrants, whether they be here legally or not. Thanks to citizenscott, a commenter at The Right Side of Life (TRSOL), I now have another document to add to that file. It is a 1987  Oklahoma City University Law Review  wherein they conclude:

 [t]he natural born citizen qualification, although embedded into our Constitution, serves no useful purpose.

In 2008, another liberal progressive appeal  appeared titled: An Idea whose time has come—the curious history, uncertain effect, and need for amendment of the “NATURAL BORN CITIZEN” requirement for presidency by Lawrence Friedman. Mr Friedman lists many more congressional attempts to amend presidential qualifications. His list dates back to 1961 but he also brings to light another challenged candidate in the 20th century and he also has a funny notion of what makes law. Hmm…assumptions are now the rule of law?

It is now generally assumed that the term “natural born” is synonymous with “native born. 

Many progressives to this date, claim the need for the amendment is simply because the requirement that a President must be a natural born citizen is barbaric and does not reflect the view of the mainsteam US public today and they base their findings on assumptions; however it is not the law of assumptions that we are seeking to define & uphold. It is the written law at the time of ratification that definitively sets the requirements for president. The written law which is still in place today. As George Washington proclaimed in his farewell address:

If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution  designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield…

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government

Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests…


For more on the history on American Citizenship, Allegiance & American Law  please visit the Heritage Foundation.



America’s Beginning: The Law of God as the Basis for Colonial Laws (Bumped)


[By Samuel Willard]


II. Samuel 23:3.

He that Ruleth over men, must be just, Ruling in the Fear of God.


    Whether the ordination of civil government be an article of the law of nature, and it should accordingly have been established upon the multiplication of mankind, although they had retained their primitive [first] integrity–or whether it have only a positive right, and was introduced upon man’s apostasy, is a question about which all are not agreed.  The equity of it, to be sure, is founded in the law natural, and is to be discovered by the light of nature, being accordingly acknowledged by such as are strangers to Scripture revelation; and by Christians it is reducible to the first commandment in the Second Table of the Decalogue; which is supposed to be a transcript of the law given to Adam at the first, and written upon the tables of his heart.  For though, had man kept his first state, the moral image concreated [created] in him consisting in, knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, would have maintained him in a perfect understanding of, and spontaneous obedience to, the whole duty incumbent on him, without the need of civil laws to direct him, or a civil sword to lay compulsion on him; and it would have been the true Golden Age, which the heathen mythologists are so fabulous about.  Yet even then did the all-wise God ordain orders of superiority and inferiority among men, and required an honor to be paid accordingly.  But since the unhappy fall has robbed man of that perfection, and filled his heart with perverse and rebellious principles, tending to the subversion of all order and the reducing of the world to a chaos, necessity requires, and the political happiness of a people is concerned in, the establishment of civil government.  The want of it has ever been pernicious, and attended on with miserable circumstances.  When there was no governor in Israel, but every man did what he would, what horrible outrages were then perpetrated, though holy and zealous Phinehas was at that time the high priest?  and we ourselves have had a specimen of this in the short anarchy accompanying our late revolution.  God’s wisdom therefore, and His goodness is to be adored in that He has laid in such a relief for the children of men, against the mischief which would otherwise devour them, and engraven an inclination on their hearts, generally to comply with it.  But this notwithstanding, men’s sins may put a curse into their blessings, and render their remedy to be not better, possibly worse, than the malady.  Government is to prevent and cure the disorders that are apt to break forth among the societies of men, and to promote the civil peace and prosperity of such a people, as well as to suppress impiety, and nourish religion.  For this end there are to be both rulers, and such as are to be ruled by them: and the weal or woe of a people mainly depends on the qualifications of those rulers, by whom we are to be governed.  Hence that observation, Eccles. 10:16, 17.  Wo to thee, O Land, when thy King is a Child, and thy Princes eat in the morning.  Blessed art thou, O Land! when thy King is the Son of Nobles, and thy Princes eat in due season for strength, and not for drunkenness.  There is then much of God’s kindness or displeasure to be read in His providential disposing of this affair.  God says of them, Hos. 13:11.  I gave them a King in mine Anger.

   We have therefore the character of a Good RULER recommended to us in the Word of GOD, and exemplified in some who deserved that epithere, not only to let men know when GOD favors them with such a blessing, that they may return Him His deserved praise for it, but also, both to instruct such into whose hands it falls, how to demean [humble] themselves in their authority, so as to be a common good, and to direct those unto whose trust it is committed, what manner of persons they ought to introduce, if they would either please GOD, or consult their own and their people’s welfare.

    Such a character we find is given in our text, and we may suppose David intended for an instance of it.

    The words are introduced with greatest solemnity, to give them the deeper impression on the hearts of those that read them, and are concerned in them.  They are the words of David, whom God had exalted to the government over His people Israel, and instructed in His duty–who was God’s own anointed by an extraordinary calling.  And they are his last words, probably not that he ever spoke, but some of his dying words, and the last that he uttered by a peculiar [special] prophetical inspiration, and they were not his own words, but such as the Spirit of God dictated to him, and spoke by him, whereof he was only the instrument of their being committed to record.  They therefore came out of the mouth of the God and Rock of Israel–and surely there must be unspeakable importance in words ushered in with so majestical a preface.  I might here tell you the divers readings, occasioned by the curt expression of the Hebrew text, but I shall not spend time in it, since the general current of interpreters runs the same way with our translation.   And I need but briefly acquaint you that the import or sense of the words is variously understood: some apply them to God Himself, and accordingly read the words as a continued description of Him: he that Ruleth just men; that ruleth men to fear God.   Others apply them to Christ, as typified by David, and take them to be a prophesy of His mediatorial kingdom–and then they read it, shall be just, ruling the fear of God: i.e., Divine instituted worship–pointing to the abrogating of the legal, and bringing in of the Gospel administrations–but then the Type also must be respected, at least under a shadow–and so they suppose that David’s typical government is represented.   Others take them according to the sense of our translation, not to be a prediction but a precept, giving us to understand what manner of persons such are required to be, by the Divine mandate, and that it was left as a rule to them who should succeed.

    In the words there are two things to be observed.

    1.    The subject spoken of, He that Ruleth over men.  He that ruleth:  The word imports one that has any dominion, right, or authority over either persons or things, and is here applicable to all those degrees of men that have any mark of authority upon them, whether the king as supreme, or any ministers under him, under what character or title soever.

    Over men:  The word (Adam) is frequently used to express the commonalty, or people that are to be governed, but however, there is or ought to be a vast difference between the government of men and beasts, though some brutish men may deserve to be treated as brutes.  Man is a reasonable creature, and of the same order of being wtih them that govern him, and ought to be managed accordingly.

    2.    The duty incumbent on such a one:  He must be Just, Ruling in the Fear of God.  Some suppose that the double office of the civil magistrate is here pointed at, who is custos utriusque tabulae, who is to maintain justice towards men, and piety towards God.  Others suppose the latter expression to be exegetical to the former.

    (Just) i.e. one that makes conscience to observe and keep to the rule of righteousness in all his administrations; he ought not to exert his power illimitedly [unlimitedly], and arbitrarily, but in conformity to the Law of God, and the light of nature, for God’s honor, and the promoting of the common benefit of those over whom he bears authority.  And hence,

    (Ruling in the Fear of God.)    And if he does not so, he cannot be just–and by the Fear of God we may either understand a holy, reverential fear, entertained in his heart, which must govern him, or else he will never rule well.  For though every good man will not make a good ruler, yet it is scarce to be believed that a man will acquit this office well without piety.  Or else it [may] be taken metonimically, for the rules of God’s Word, and those particular precepts which direct men how to carry themselves in every station–which are therefore called the Fear of God. because they serve rightly to regulate our fear of Him.  Where it is said (he must) it does not suppose that all who have such authority with them, do so rule; woeful experience too frequently proves the contrary–but that it is their duty, and a matter of great importance for them to attend it.  Hence.


It is of highest consequence, that civil rulers should be just men, and such as rule in the fear of God.

    Where shall we find any one text in Scripture ushered in more remarkably than this?  I may not tarry here to draw out this character in its full dimensions, and give it all its colors, but must only make some brief glances.

    Civil rulers are all such as are in the exercise of a rightful authority over others.  These do not all of them stand in one equal rank, nor are alike influential into government.  There are supreme and subordinate powers–and of these also there are some who have a legislative, others an executive power in their hands, which two, though they may sometimes meet in the same persons, yet are in themselves things of a different nature.  There are Superior Magistrates in Provinces, and such as are of Council with them, and Assemblymen, the representatives of the people.  There are Judges in courts, Superior and Inferior; Justices of the Peace in their several precincts: and in each of these orders there resides a measure of authority.

    Now, that all these may be just, it is firstly required, that they have a principle of moral honesty in them, and swaying of them–that they love righteousness, and hate iniquity–that they be men of truth, Exod. 18:21.  For every man will act in his relation, according to the principle that rules in him–so that an unrighteous man will be an unrighteous ruler, so far as he has an opportunity.

    They must also be acquainted with the rules of righteousness; they must know what is just, and what is unjust, be able men, Exod. 18:21.   For, though men may know and not do, yet without knowledge the mind cannot be good.  Ignorance is a foundation for error, and will likely produce it, when the man applies himself to act–and if he do right at any time, it is but by guess, which is a very poor commendation.

    Again, he must be one that respects the cause, and not the persons, in all his administrations, Deut. 1:17.  Ye shall not respect Persons in Judgment, & etc.  If his affections oversway his judgment at any time, they will be a crooked bias, that will turn him out of the way, and that shall be justice in one man’s case which will not be so in another.

    Furthermore, he must be one whom neither flattery nor bribery may be able to remove out of his way, Deut. 16:19.  Thou shalt not wrest Judgment, thou shalt not Respect Persons, neither take a Gift; and hence he must be one who hates both ambition and covetousness, Exod. 18:21.  Hating   Covetousness; which word signifies, a greedy desire, and is applicable to both the forecited vices–for if these rule him, he will never be a just ruler.

    Finally, he must be one who prefers the public benefit above all private and separate interests whatsoever.  Every man in his place, owes himself to the good of the whole, and if he does not so devote himself, he is unjust–and he who either to advance himself, or to be revenged on another, will push on injurious laws, or pervert the true intention of such as are in force, is an unjust man–and he who is under the influence of a narrow spirit, will be ready to do so, as occasion offers.

    Nor is this justice to be looked upon as separate from the fear of God, but as influenced and maintained by it.  He therefore that Ruleth in the Fear of God, is one who acknowledges God to be his Sovereign, and carries in his heart an awful [awe-filled] fear [respect] of Him–who owns [acknowledges] his commission to be from Him, and expects ere long to be called to give in an account of his managing of it–which makes him to study in all things to please Him, and to be afraid of doing anything that will provoke Him.

    And accordingly, He is a student in the Law of God, and meditates in it Day and Night, making it the rule into which he ultimately resolves all that he does in his place.  We find that in the Old Law, the king was to write a copy of it with his own hand, and to make use of it at all times: Deut. 17:18, 19.

    If he has anything to do in the making of laws, he will consult a good conscience, and what may be pleasing to God, and will be far from framing mischief by a law.  And if he be to execute any laws of men, he will not dare to give a judgment for such a one as directly crosses the command of God, but counts it ipso facto void, and his conscience acquitted of his oath.

    Yes, the Fear of God will make him not to think himself lawless, nor dare to bear witness, by laws and penalties, against sins in others, which he countenances and encourages by living in the practice of himself–but to use utmost endeavors that his own life may be exemplification [exemplar] of obedience, and others may learn by him, what a veneration he has for the laws that are enacted for the good of mankind.

    In a word, he is one that will take care to promote piety as well as honesty among men, and do his utmost that the true religion may be countenanced and established, and that all ungodliness, as well as unrighteousness, may have a due testimony born against it at all times.  So he resolves, Psal. 75:10. all the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.

    It then follows that we enquire of what great moment or consequence it is that these should be such–and there is a three-fold respect in which the high importance of it is to be discovered by us.

    1.    In respect to the glory of God.

    Civil rulers are God’s viceregents here upon earth; hence they are sometimes honored with the title of gods, Psal. 82:6. I have said ye are gods.   Government is God’s ordinance, and those that are vested with it, however mediately introduced into it, have their rightful authority from Him, Prov. 8:15, 16. By me Princes Rule, and Nobles, even all the Judges of the Earth, and they that are from Him, should be for Him, and ought to seek the honor of Him who is King of kings, and Lord of lords–which they only then do, when they manage their whole interest and power with a design for His glory, and accordingly manage themselves in all their ministrations by the statutes of His kingdom, which none will ever do, but they that are Just, Ruling in the Fear of God.  Righteousness and religion flourishing in these, will be as a torch on a hill, whose light and influence will be vastly extensive: every one will be advantaged to see their good works, and to glorify God for and in them.   Their very example will have the force of a law in it, and win many by a powerful attraction, to the avoiding of sin, and practicing of righteousness.  They will be a good copy, that many will be ambitious to write after–and their faithful administrations will render them a Terror to Evil Doers, and an Encouragement to them that do well, which will advance the very end of government.  Whereas the evil deportment, and ill management of rulers, who are unjust, and void of the fear of God, is an open scandal, and of a more pernicious tendency than the wickedness of others, inasmuch as their example is a discouragement to them that are well disposed, and animates those that are set in their hearts for iniquity, and they are thereby enboldened to show their heads, and to declare their sin as Sodom–hence that remark of the Psalmist, Psal. 12:8. The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.  Those that would bear their testimony against impiety and debauchery, are frowned on and neglected, and such as would nourish them are countenanced–and either good laws to suppress them are not provided, or they are laid by as things obsolete, and of no service–and thus all abominations come in upon a people as a flood, and the Name of God is woefully dishonored by this means–and hereupon the last and most excellent end of government comes to be frustrated, and what is there that we can conceive to be of greater weight than this?  If this be lost, the glory of such a people is gone.

    2.    In regard to the weal of the people over whom they rule.

    A people are not made for rulers, but rulers for a people.   It is indeed an honor which God puts upon some above others, when He takes them from among the people, and sets them up to rule over them, but it is for the people’s sake, and the civil felicity of them is the next end of civil policy, and the happiness of rulers is bound up with theirs in it.  Nor can any wise men in authority think themselves happy in the misery of their subjects, to whom they either are or should be as children are to their fathers: We have the benefit of government expressed, 1 Tim. 2:2. a quiet Life and a peaceable, in all Godliness and honesty.  And it lies especially with rulers, under God, to make a people happy or miserable.  When men can enjoy their liberties and rights without […] [harassment] and oppression–when they can live without fear of being borne down by their more potent [powerful] neighbors–when they are secured against violence, and may be righted against them that offer them any injury, without fraud–and are encouraged to serve God in their own way, with freedom, and without being imposed upon contrary to the Gospel precepts– now are they a happy people.   But this is to be expected from none other but men just and pious: they that are otherwise, will themselves be oppreneur, and they that are influenced by them, and dependent on them, will add to the grievance.  They that should look after them will do it fast enough: Yes, everyone will usurp a license to do so to his neighbor upon an advantage–and such a people must needs groan under an intolerable burden.  Besides, it is a great truth, that the mercies and judgments of God come upon a people, according as their rulers carry themselves in managing of the trust which God has committed to them.   Just and zealous rulers are men that Stand in the Gap, and keep off judgments from a sinning people; God sought for one such, Ezek. 22:30.   They turn away wrath, when it has made an inroad; so it is recorded of Phinehas that he did, Ps. 106:30., and God is wont to bless such a people, as He did Israel and Judah in the days of David, Solomon, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah–whereas when these fall into such sins as God is provoked at, the people are like to smart for it.   There is such an influence with the prevarications of these men, that, in the righteous judgment of God, those under them suffer grieveously by it.  This the heathen observed in the course of Providence, and made that remark upon it, [….]   Thus David numbers the people, and seventy thousand of the men of Israel die for it, 2 Sa. 24.  Yes, such may be the influence of the mal-administration of rulers, though done without malice, and in an heat of misguided zeal for the people of GOD–as Saul’s act in slaying the Gibeonites is recorded to have been, 2 Sam. 21:2, that the guilt may lie long upon a land, and break out in terrible judgments a great while after, and not be expiated till the sin be openly confessed, and the Atonement sought unto.

    3.    With reference to rulers themselves.

    It is, as we before observed, a dignity put upon them, to be preferred to government over their brethren–to have the oversight, not of beasts, but of men.  But as there is a great trust devolved on them, so there is an answerable reckoning which they must be called unto: And however they are […] [placed] in authority by men, yet GOD, who rules over all, has put them in only durante bene placito: they are upon their good behavior; they are stewards, and whensoever GOD pleases, He will call for a reckoning, and put them out.  GOD sets up, and he pulls down, and He has a respect to men’s carriages in His dealings with them. [* * * * *]  The only sure way for rulers to build up their own houses is to be such in their places as David was, of whom we have that testimony, Psal. 78:71, 72. He brought him to Feed Jacob his People, and Israel his Inheritance.  So he Fed them according to the Integrity of his heart, and guided them by the Skillfulness of his hands.  And although GOD does not always peculiarly put a brand in this world upon impious and unjust rulers, yet there is a tribunal before which they must stand e’re long as other men, only their account will be so much the more fearful, and condemnation more tremendous, by how much they have neglected to take their greater advantages to glorify GOD, and abused their power to His dishonor, by which they had a fairer opportunity than other men.


All that I have to offer by way of improvement, shall be in a three-fold commendation of this TRUTH to us.

   1.    Let me propose it to such in whose hands it is to appoint the persons that are to bear rule over this people, whether for the making of laws to govern by, or the putting of such as are made into execution–whether Counselors, Assemblymen, or Justices of the Peace.  Let this be your directory in exerting of this right. Civil government is seated in no particular persons or families by a natural right, neither has the light of nature, nor the Word of GOD determined in particular, what form of government shall be established among men, whether monarchical, aristocratical, or democratical–much less, who are individually to be acknowledged in authority, and accordingly submitted to.  Nevertheless the holy providence of GOD presides in this matter–sometimes, by a more immediate, and extraordinary pointing to the persons and families, when by revelation He declares His pleasure in it.  Thus was Saul set up over the Kingdom of Israel, and afterwards David was thus chosen of God, and an entail made of the Crown on his posterity, but this way has long since ceased.  Sometimes it is more mediate and ordinary, and that is, either forcible, when God judicially delivers a people up to the will of their enemies, and the conqueror gives laws to, and appoints rulers over, such a people at his pleasure, and they are compelled to accept of them, little to their content–which, as is not eligible, so neither is it wont to be of duration: things violent used not to be permanent.   Or voluntary, which is by the free consent of a people, orderly, and without compulsion establishing the fundamentals of government among themselves, and the methods of introducing persons into authority–which methods are not prescribed in Scripture, but remain points of prudence, and may lawfully be divers here and there.  There are yet general rules which both reason and religion do point men to attend in this case, and the weal or woe of a people do very much depend thereupon.  And as it is a thing very grateful to men to have some hand and consent in the appointment of their own rulers, so they do either make or mar themselves by the using or abusing of such a liberty.   When this power is immediately devolved upon some persons, they have great advantage to procure either the happiness or misery of their people.  Such electors therefore are under the obligation to be very wary in the application or themselves to the nomination of the persons for such a trust.  A good charter [constitution] is doubtless preferable to a bad one; it is a great privilege to be secured from being hurt by any but ourselves–but, let charter privileges be never so excellent, good rulers only can make us happy under them–and if they are not so, we suffer notwithstanding.

    Here then you are told what qualities are to be eyed in those whom you fix your choice upon.  Whatsoever other rules discretion may point to be observed in this affair, yet these must always be of the quorum.  It is true, there are none without their failings, nor can we expect that the best of men will never do amiss, but yet the best are to be preferred, as they that will do it seldomest, and never of [from] design.  They that fear God will be afraid willfully to hurt men; they that are just will do justice, and that can wrong none.   This is it which advantages all other [gifts], whether natural or acquired, to be truly serviceable to the promoting of the welfare of a people: Without this, the more that men have of these, they are so much the more advantaged to do mischief.  There is no misery greater, or less pitied, than what men foolishly bring on themselves, and none will be equally blamed for it, as they who were the guilty occasions of it, or more deserve it.   Choose such men, and then you may expect to be so governed: If you desire that holiness and righteousness may be promoted and encouraged, this is the best stroke that you can give to it; if you have a mind that prophaneness and debauchery should take place, and bear all down, here is the readiest way for it.

    And if you will keep to the rule prescribed in our text, beware of being misguided by special favor, bribery, or faction.

    When persons shall be crowded in, because they are our friends, or have gained a room in our affections, without any respect to their meetness [fitness], but what our blind passions judge of–or that they may have a way to support themselves by government–it is easy to tell what is to be expected.

    When places of trust in government are bought and sold, and he shall have them that will give most for them, we may well conclude that such a people are bought and sold, too, and must only serve to make a good market of.

    When a people are divided into factions, just and wise and good men are renounced and not thought worthy to be made use of, because they favor not the party that can sway, and such as are hotly zealous for the design, are counted, merely by that zeal sufficiently qualified, and to be of all most worthy; this will not promote the public good, but only gain to the one side a little more of advantage to do hurt.

    2.    Let me humbly offer this as a copy for all that either are, or may be, in place of rule, to write after.  Allow me the liberty to say this from GOD, that by whatsoever titles of excellent, honorable, or worshipful, you are known, you not only rule under such as are your superiors on earth, unto whom you are accountable for what you do, but under GOD also, who is your Great SOVEREIGN.  Your authority is from Him, and ought therefore to be for Him, else will you be found false to your trust.  You rule over His subjects, and that not only upon a common account, as the whole world is His kingdom, but one more special, as the people under your watch are the subjects of His GOSPEL KINGDOM: If you do that which is right to them, He will be pleased, but if you should do otherwise, their APPEAL is open to Him, and there is  COURT that will be called, wherein their CAUSE shall be heard, and adjusted.

    Be you entreated, to measure all your administration by this rule: Do all justly and in the fear of God.  This is the way to be blessings in your places, and to be the Blessed of the Lord.   By this course you will make your people a happy people, and you yourselves shall be established.  Thus shall you pull down a blessing on your own heads, and upon the land you dwell in.  This is the way to be the Repairers of breaches, and the Restorers of paths to dwell in.

    To this end, be entreated to take care that religion may flourish; the true fear of GOD, and right administration of His ordinances may be promoted and secured–that righteousness may be done for men, and that iniquity which defiles a land, and pulls down wrath, may be purged away–that drunkenness, and swearing, fornication, and Sabbath-prophanation, and whatsoever hastens the calamity of a professing people, may be duly born witness against.  Let this be your sincere unbiased aim in all that you do.

    Carry this with you, and let it rule in the making of laws; let the Word of GOD be consulted, and the common utility of the subject be designed.  For, though there be not a body of civil laws drawn up in the Scriptures, to which every polity is to be confined, yet there are sufficient general directions, and rules, to be gathered from thence, which may regulate in this affair.

    Take heed of any sinister aims in whatsoever laws do pass: Laws made to strengthen a particular separate interest never did good, but hurt, to a body politic; that which may serve the present turn, may in a little time prove more mischievous, than ever it was advantageous.  Remember, you cannot repeal such laws when you will, or when you have advanced a design with them.  Look then forward to the after-issues.  It will be no small aggravation of our trouble, to be wounded with a shaft of our own making.  Look for changes in a world of mutability, and lay in, as far as innocent prudence may direct, for your own, and your people’s safety.

    Keep to this also in all your administration or application of laws: Maintain a good conscience in it, and let the fear of God, and a principle of justice, make you to lay aside all sinister respects.  Let not persons but things sway you in all your dispensations, and when the case is the same, let the same sentence proceed from you; let neither riches nor poverty turn the scale; neither friendship nor enmity spoil the sentence.  Take no gift in secret to stop or pervert justice, nor misapply your power to take private or personal revenge.  When cases are plain, do not obscure them, and when they are dubious, search them out, and let not flattery or impudence prevail over you, but take His advice in 2 Chron. 16:9. Thus shall you do in the fear of the Lord, faithfully, and with a perfect heart, Deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good.

   Remember the cause is God’s, and He will have the calling of it over again, where He will either applaud your fidelity, or condemn your unfaithfulness.

    Do so also in your exemplary conversation.   Do not do that yourselves, which you ought in duty, and oath, to punish to others; embolden not wicked men to trangress by your example, and to excuse themselves upon your account.  That man who will violate the laws which he is to rule by, will soon neglect to excuse them on others, and bring reproach on himself where he does.

    3.    Let it afford matter of instruction to us all.

    Are these the eminent qualifications of good rulers?  It is no small concern that we have in this affair.  It tells us that we ought earnestly to pray to God that we may have such always–and we pray for ourselves when we so do.

    Whatsoever other influence we may have into the appointment of those that are to govern us, there is none that can hinder us of this but ourselves.  God overrules the lot; He determines the hearts of men, and He can make men after his own Heart.  He presides over every election, and if we can prevail with Him by importunate prayer, our business is done.  It is one of the blessings that He will be sought unto for, by the House of Israel.

    It calls us to be thankful to Him for such when He bestows them upon us.  God not a little displays His kindness to a people when it is thus, and expects their gratitude to Him for so comprehensive a mercy.  There is nothing will sooner lose us this benefit than ingratitude.

    Let us encourage them that are such, and that by a cheerful acknowledgment of them, contention under them, and candid interpretation of them.

    We are governed by men of like infirmities with ourselves; wonder not if sometimes they discover something of them, but when we know that their cordial endeavors are to do that which is right, and promote our peaceable and Godly living, let this please us.

    And beware of murmurings; GOD will not take it well of us, and can easily let us know a difference, and it is an observation that seldom misses, That they who are most addicted to, are soonest weary of, changes.

    In a word, let us beware lest we provoke a holy and jealous God to anger so as to give us men of another spirit to rule over us, or to withdraw His Spirit from them that do, and leave them to do things inconvenient.

    Evil doers, and the mal-administrations of good ones, are punishments which GOD does inflict on a people that have provoked Him to anger against them.  God gave Saul to Israel in His wrath, and he left David to number the people because His anger was kindled against Israel.

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    But if we be a people fearing GOD and keeping of His Commandments, He will delight in us to bless us, and to do us good–and to give us rulers after His own prescription, Just Men, and Ruling in the Fear of God.