“Citizen” and “natural born Citizen” Are Not the Same


by Creg Maroney, ©2016

George Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention which yielded the U.S. Constitution, supplanting the Articles of Confederation

(Mar. 8, 2016) — Most people confuse the US Code 8, Section 1401 definition of “citizen” and the 14th Amendment “citizen” with Article II “natural born citizen.”

They don’t realize they are not the same and do not have the same meaning.

Both terms are used in Article II, Sec. 1, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution, “citizen” and “natural born citizen.”

You can read it for yourself here:

United States Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 5:

“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.”

To break this down for an easier understanding. Article II states if you were a “citizen” alive at the time of the adoption of the Constitution you were eligible for President. This is considered the Grandfather Clause in Article II. This allowed the Founding Fathers and the citizenry at that time to be President of the United States because they were either born British or born with some other foreign citizenship such as Canadian.

However, they wanted to protect the future and only allow someone who didn’t have foreign citizenship at birth or after birth to be commander of the U.S. Army; hence, a “natural born citizen.” It was put in place for national security.

Dual citizens at birth have foreign influence/allegiance.

By reading a letter from the first Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Jay, to George Washington you can clearly see that dual citizens are excluded from being a “natural born citizen” because of their foreign citizenship. A “natural born citizen” doesn’t have any foreign citizenship whatsoever..

Letter To George Washington:

John Jay
New York
July 25, 1787

“…Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & 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.”


This is why the Founders had to “grandfather” themselves in for President by including the phrase “a citizen (alive) at the time of the adoption of the Constitution.” There weren’t any “natural born citizens” at that time, being a new nation. Those Patriots were only U.S. “citizens.”

One Response to "“Citizen” and “natural born Citizen” Are Not the Same"

  1. cfkerchner   Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 10:13 PM

    The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of the “natural born Citizen” Term In Our United States Constitution: https://www.scribd.com/doc/300919680/The-Who-What-When-Where-Why-and-How-of-the-natural-born-Citizen-Term-in-Our-U-S-Constitution

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