During the founding, "natural born Citizen" meant the same thing as "native born citizen." It is only in later years that the the term "native born citizen" came to mean a child born in the United States without any reference to the citizenship of his or her parents. The term was so used to distinguish a born citizen from a naturalized citizen. But use of the word "native" in this sense caused it to no longer mean the same thing as "natural born Citizen." In this modern context, "natural born Citizen" means much more than "native born citizen," for the former also has a connection to the child's parents and not just to the soil on which the child was born. The connection to the parents is of utmost importance because a child to a great degree "inherits" his/her values, condition, and allegiance from his/her parents. Knowing who a child's parents are tells us a great deal (of course not all) about the child in this connection. Put all together, this vital information helps the people to know who their would-be leader is and place their trust and national security in his hands. See Oxford English Dictionary for the definitions of "natural born" and "native born." http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2160462/posts.
Finally, we must keep in mind that Article II only provides for threshold eligibility standards which are only the minimum requirements to be President. It does not make any further value judgments. Hence, once a would-be candidate satisfies the strict standard of what a "natural born Citizen" is, i.e., born on U.S. soil or its equivalent under military circumstances to two U.S. citizen parents who have acquired that status by birth or naturalization, it is still up to the people to vote for that individual based on their perception of what that candidate stands or does not stand for. In other words, there are no value judgments made by the people when it comes to a Presidential candidate's Constitutional eligibility requirements, for the Constitution has already given the people what those requirements are. Once that candidate shows the people through objective, credible, and sufficient evidence that he/she meets those minimum Constitutional eligibility requirements, the rest is in the hands of the people.
© Mario Apuzzo, Esq.
January 10, 2009
Amended on November 16, 2009