WHAT DID VATTEL REALLY MEAN WHEN HE SAID, “…CHILDREN NATURALLY FOLLOW THE CONDITION OF THEIR FATHERS?”

by Jesse T. Mims, ©2014

(Feb. 26, 2014) — If people would only apply a little logic when reading Vattel’s words, there would be no question in anyone’s mind as to the meaning of “natural born citizen.”  By “Vattel’s words,” I mean, in particular, those found in Book 1, Chapter 19, § 212, “Citizens and natives,” in his book titled The Law of Nations. See http://home.earthlink.net/~dybel/Documents/LawOfNations,Vattel.htm#I-§212

The only place the term “natural born citizen” is found within Vattel’s book is in that exact portion of it, as follows…

“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.”

First note the title of that Section: “Citizens and natives” (During that time, “native” and “natural born” citizen had the same meaning).

In the first sentence, Vattel defines the term “citizens.” In the second sentence, he defines “natural born citizens.” Logic defies all other conclusions other than that the first sentence defines “citizen” and the second defines “natural born citizen.”

Thus, we know the two terms have separate and distinct meanings and are not interchangeable. Therefore, it can only be logically concluded that any time Vattel uses the word “citizen,” he is NOT referring to a “natural born citizen.”

The third sentence is where many really go astray of logic and subsequently get confused in thinking “fathers” are in some way a part of the definition of natural born citizen. That sentence says, “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.”

We have previously established that “citizen” and “natural born citizen” have entirely different meanings and cannot be used interchangeably. Therefore, we know that since sentence #3 ONLY mentions citizens, it cannot possibly be speaking of natural born citizens. The same is true throughout the remainder of Chapter 19, § 212 as well as Vattel’s entire work. Since the second sentence of § 212, Citizens and natives, in Book 1, Chapter 19, is the ONLY place Vattel ever uses the term “natural born citizen,” logic demands the conclusion that in no other sentence anywhere within The Law of Nations is he speaking of natural born citizens.

Logic also demands the conclusion that the complete definition of “natural born citizen” lies within the second sentence of Book 1, Chapter 19, § 212, Citizens and natives, as quoted above. Ergo, the complete, and only, definition of “natural born citizen” is “those born in the country, of parents who are citizens.” It is clear Vattel never intended for what he said about fathers to change or be added to the definition of natural born citizen he had just confirmed in the immediately preceding sentence.

Some people also get hung up on the word “rights” in the third sentence. To those people, I would point out that as important as the term “natural born citizen” is in determining who can become president, it is not a right and cannot grant any; but, rather, it is merely a term used to denote a particular circumstance of birth. ALL U.S citizens have the same rights, even naturalized citizens. But ONLY natural born citizens are given the Constitutionally authorized privilege of becoming president of the United States.

The only logical conclusion is this:  Natural Law, codified into the centuries-old laws of nations and put into book form by Vattel, dictates that in order to be a natural born citizen of the USA, one must be born on U.S. soil and to two U.S.-citizen parents.

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  1. Also, the statutory significance of the words; ” no person except a (U.S.) natural born Citizen SHALL be eligible for the Office of POTUS..” should NOT be taken lightly.

    Which is to say that ANY person that is NOT a (U.S.) natural born Citizen, a term of words set out in the Constitution and construed under Federal Law, is NOT and can NOT be said to be POTUS no matter how that person may have been selected or elected.

    Such a person, or cabal of persons, can ONLY be said to be “interim Executive Administrator(s)” or some such designation that is subject to the election or selection of a Constitutionally eligible POTUS under the Rule of Law.

    The Constitutional Office of the POTUS is VACANT when not occupied by a Constitutionally eligible person, under the Rule of Law demanded by Our Republican form of Government.

  2. An example of the use and authority that the “mandated plenary power” given to the Congress that would have been Constitutional had it been enacted with these words , made law;

    “…And the male children of such person so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being between the age of thirteen and twenty one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also make oath and affirmation and thereafter be considered as citizens of the United States. And the male children of citizens of the United States being between the age of thirteen and twenty one shall also make oath and affirmation and thereafter be considered as citizens of the United States no matter where in the world they may have been born, shall be considered as natural born Citizens retroactively for the purpose of A2S1C5: Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States: …”

    That construction leans toward the Judeo half of our Judeo / Christian heritage but does NOT rely on the “tacit consent” of children as Vattel , Queen Anne and others do.

    The Judeo tradition requires the “tacit consent” to circumcision FOLLOWED by a Bar Mitzvah oath & affirmation.

    I offer this example not as a “should have been” but as a “could have been” under the madated plenary power of the Congress and ALSO as an alternative “resort elsewhere ” MIGHT BE” if the ACTUAL FEDERAL LAWS are not looked to for the “legal” definition of circumstances that constitutes being born a U.S. natural born Citizen.

  3. It is not a question of where in Vattel’s words, or any one else’s, that the term of words “natural born Citizen” and their meaning & intent is found.

    The question is where to find the “legal” meaning of the term of words under U.S. Federal Law that makes them “legal” and enforceable under the Constitution.

    With the adoption of the Constitution the U.S. became a REPUBLIC, you know, the Rule of Law under the Constitution.

    ” This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” A6S2

    That provision means that if the Constitution is the Controlling legal authority on a subject then anything a State, Judges or common practice has to say on the subject is no longer in effect.

    “To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, …… throughout the United States;” A1S8C4

    I see nothing in that provision that suggest ANY LIMITS on the power of Congress to say who is or is not a Citizen and or National, or on who may or may immigrate and by what process may be utilized.

    The ONLY requirement that the Clause requires is the ESTABLISHMENT of an uniform Rule, i.e., a guiding principle or doctrine upon which subsequent laws and regulations obtain their legal basis.

    Here is the pertinent portion of the 1st Congress’ 1st expression of the uniform Rule is DECLARED in the title of the Act that was being established which must be construed by the words used and the effect that those words the require when the rules of Statutory Construction and Interpretation are applied.

    “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization” (March 26, 1790).
    ” …..And the children of such person so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States. And the children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens: Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States:…”

    Vattel wrote that the children follow in the footsteps of the father, the 1st U.S. Congress said the same thing under their Constitutional mandate that gave them the plenary power over Citizenship, Nationality, Immigration and Naturalization, i.e., any and all concerns regarding U.S. Citizenship.

    The Rule established above says once a person (father) is a U.S. Citizen then so too are their children.

    Women did NOT have “independent citizenship” until the 1922 Cable Act so any child born to a married a U.S. Citizen father was born a U.S. natural born Citizen to two Citizen parents no matter where in the world the birth took place between March 1790 and January 1795 when the ‘foreign born” provision was repealed and thereafter limiting the birth of U.S. natural born Citizens to the limits of the U.S.

    Aristotle & Vattel, along with Queen Anne’s Statutes on British Nationality, et seq, as interpreted by Coke & Blackstone, et al, said in their own ways.

    Our Constitution and its Laws, made in pursuance thereof, has said it in ITS own way.

    WHY is it so important to understand the CONSTITUTIONAL LEGAL BASIS for the definition of circumstances that constitutes being in conformity with the meaning and intent of term of words expressed at A2S1C ……?

    Because by ignoring Our Constitution and its Laws, made in pursuance thereof WE are left with an unlimited number of alternate “notion” that has brought us to a point where our Courts suggest that even Mickey Mouse might be “eligible”.

    The MANDATED PLENARY POWER given to Congress at A1S8C4 and the Acts made in pursuance thereof precludes “resorting elsewhere” when no authority to do so was made, or as the 1795 Act said it in its own words; : …. may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States, or any of them, on the following conditions, and not otherwise: —

    (…and yes, the “mandated plenary power” was / is complete and our Congressional Representatives possess the power to say who is or is not a U.S. Citizen and or National and who may or may not immigrate and or be naturalized, the Constitution tells me so…)