Is Being a Born Citizen of the United States Sufficient to be President of the United States and Commander in Chief of Our Military? The Founders and Framers Emphatically Decided It Was Not!
By: CDR Charles F. Kerchner, Jr., (Retired)
18 September 2010
By: CDR Charles F. Kerchner, Jr., (Retired)
18 September 2010
During the process of writing the U.S. Constitution Alexander Hamilton submitted a proposal for the qualification requirements in Article II as to the necessary Citizenship status for the office of President and Commander in Chief of the Military.
Alexander Hamilton’s suggested Presidential requirement appearing in the first draft of the Constitution wherein Hamilton on June 18, 1787 submitted the following:
"No person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States unless he be now a Citizen of one of the States, or hereafter be born a Citizen of the United States."
Many of the founders and framers had a fear of foreign influence on the person who would in the future be President of the United States since this particular office was singularly and uniquely powerful under the proposed new Constitution. He was also be Commander in Chief of the Military. This fear of foreign influence on a future President was particularly strongly felt by John Jay, who later became the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He felt so strongly about the issue of potential foreign influence that upon reading the proposed language put forward by Hamilton that he took it upon himself to draft a letter to General George Washington, the presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention, recommending/hinting that the framers should strengthen the Citizenship requirements. John Jay was an avid reader and proponent of natural law and particularly Vattel's codification of natural law. In his letter to Washington he said that the Citizenship requirement for the office of the President should be a "strong check" against foreign influence and he recommended to Washington that the requirement be open only to a "natural born Citizen", not just simply a "born Citizen" as Hamilton had proposed. See his letter dated 25 Jul 1787 at this link. This is the relevant change part in Jay's letter proposed by John Jay to strengthen in Article II above what Hamilton had proposed and to require more than just being a "born Citizen" of the United States to serve as a future President.
"Permit me to hint, whether it would 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 Commander in Chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen. "
This letter from Jay was written on July 25, 1787. It is historically in direct response to Alexander Hamilton’s suggested Presidential qualification requirements appearing in the first draft of the Constitution wherein Hamilton – five weeks earlier on June 18, 1787 - which required only a "born Citizen of the United States". General Washington passed on the recommendation from Jay to the convention and it was adopted in the next draft and was accepted adding the adjective "natural" making it "natural born Citizen of the United States" for future Presidents. Thus Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution, the fundamental law of our nation reads:
"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."
There you have the crux of the issue now before the nation and the answer.
Hamilton’s original drafted presidential requirement that a Citizen simply had to be a born Citizen of the USA, i.e., a Citizen by Birth. But that status was rejected by the framers. Instead of allowing any person "born a citizen" to be President, the framers chose to adopt the more stringent requirement recommended John Jay to block any chance of the person with foreign allegiances or claims on their allegiance at birth from becoming President and Commander of the Military. No person having any foreign influence on them or claim of allegiance at birth to other than the USA could serve as a future President. The person must be a "natural born citizen".
Jay recommended the additional adjective be added before "born Citizen" that was proposed by Hamilton. And that word means something that modifies just being born a Citizen of the USA such as being simply born on the soil of the United States. The adjective added "natural" comes from Natural Law which was codified by Vattel in his preeminent legal treatise used by the founders, The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law. In Vol.1 Chapter 19 Section 212 of Vattel's Law of Nations, the naturels or "natural born Citizens" are those born in the country to Citizen parents (plural). Such a person is born with unity of Citizenship and sole allegiance at birth due to having been both born on the soil but also being born to two Citizen parents. The person who would be President must be a second generation American, the child of two Citizens and born in the USA. This is a much stronger check to foreign influence than simply being born a Citizen say on the soil of the USA but with one or the other parent being a foreigner, such as is the case of Obama. The situation with Obama's birth Citizenship status is exactly the problem that the founders and framers did not want. They did not want the child of a foreigner serving as President and Commander of our military. This was a national security concern to them. And it is a national security concern now.
Barack Hussein Obama II may or may not be a born Citizen of the USA depending on what the 1961 contemporaneous birth registration documents sealed in Hawaii reveal. And Americans have good reason to be greatly concerned about the truth as to where he was physically born as opposed to where his birth may have been falsely registered by his maternal grandmother as occurring in Hawaii as this Catalog of Evidence details. But he can never be a "natural born Citizen of the United States" since his father was a foreigner, a British Subject who was never a U.S. Citizen and was not even an immigrant to the USA. Since his father was a British Subject and not a U.S. Citizen when Obama was born, Obama was born a British Subject. The founders and framers are probably rolling over in the graves knowing this person was sworn in as the putative President and Commander of our military.
The founder rejected simply acquisition of Citizenship by birth on the soil without consideration as to who were the parents. That is clear from the history and evolution of the writing the eligibility clause in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5, which specifiies who can be President and Commander in Chief of the Military.
So can a "born Citizen" be President of the USA? The answer is a resounding no per the founders and framers. Only a "natural born Citizen" can be the President of the USA. Obama is not constitutional eligible (to constitutional standards) to serve as President and Commander in Chief of the Military.
CDR Charles F. Kerchner, Jr., (Ret)
Lead Plaintiff, Kerchner et al v Obama & Congress et al
P.S. Here is a chart which lists and explains the five (5) Citizenship terms used in the U.S. Constitution.
P.P.S. Being a "born Citizen" or "Citizen at Birth" is not identically the same as a being a "natural born Citizen".