the Framers used natural law and the law of nations to define an Article II “natural born Citizen,” they continue trying to sell to the unknowing person that the Framers used the English common law to define a “natural born Citizen.” Can you just imagine? The Founders told us in the Declaration of Independence, the same document that was inspired by the political philosophy of natural law and the law of nations, that it became necessary for the American people “to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them…” They also declared that the new “Free and Independent States” were “absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great-Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved….” The Founders' goal was to “totally dissolve” all political connection with and allegiance to Great Britain. They saw themselves as establishing a new nation that was separate from Great Britain or any other nation. They saw that they had a right to this free and independent status by the Law of Nature and of Nature’s God. Hence, it was in nature that they saw their rights to be born and not from government. The Founders saw the need and the wisdom in totally dissolving any connection or allegiance to a foreign power which happened to be Great Britain. The Framers understood that adhering to the Revolution provided the Founding generation with the opportunity to dissolve any allegiance individuals had to Great Britain.
With all that, demagogue Dr. Conspiracy and his hate-filled team of birther bashers want us to believe that the Framers would have allowed a British subject by birth like Obama to be President and Commander in Chief of the Constitutional Republic. Now they want to convert President George Washington into an Article II “natural born Citizen” in order to give support to their untenable position. http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/2010/04/george-washinton-natural-born-citizen/. Dr. Conspiracy reaches the desperate point of declaring President George Washington an Article II "natural born Citizen" even though we know that President George Washington and his parents were born “natural born subjects” of Great Britain, when they were born there was no United States of America, it is his mother's (his father died a British subject in 1743 when Washington was 11 years old) and Washington's adherence to the Revolution which naturalized them to become original citizens of the United States, and David Ramsay, a highly respected historian from the Founding period, provides direct evidence from that period and explains in no uncertain terms at page 3 and 6 of his 1789 dissertation, A Dissertation on the Manners of Acquiring the Character and Privileges of a Citizen (1789), that the “difference is immense” between a “subject” and a “citizen” and citizenship “as a natural right, belongs to none but those who have been born of citizens since the 4th of July, 1776….” Founder and Historian David Ramsay Defines a Natural Born Citizen in 1789, http://puzo1.blogspot.com/2010/04/founder-and-historian-david-ramsay.html. Of course, Dr. Conspiracy takes the position that he does because he is looking for mere birth on the territory (he will even go as far as settling with British territory) to make one a "natural born Citizen" rather than have to concede that a “natural born Citizen” is one born in the United States (or in what is deemed its equivalent) to parents who are themselves United States citizens (by birth or naturalization). See Ramsay; Emer de Vattel, The Law of Nations, Or, Principles of the Law of Nature bk 1, c. 19, sec. 212 (1758 French edition) (1759 first English translation). See also all Supreme Court cases and other authorities cited and discussed in my essay, Obama - Maybe a Citizen of the United States but Not a Natural Born Citizen, http://puzo1.blogspot.com/2010/03/obama-maybe-citizen-of-united-states.html. Dr. Conspiracy would have a lot to do if he had to explain why President George Washington under Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 was only a grandfathered “citizen of the United States” and not a “natural born Citizen.” He figures he better stay away from that one. Hence, a Washington that is a "natural born Citizen" of the United States, even though the United States of America did not exist when Washington was born, suits his unfounded position just fine.
But Dr. Conspiracy and his supporters do not stop there. They also put forth the position without providing any evidence that the Fourteenth Amendment amended the meaning of an Article II “natural born Citizen” by making a born “citizen of the United States” under that Amendment or under any Congressional Act to mean the same thing as an Article II “natural born Citizen.” Finally, they even go as far as to pooh-pooh the constitutional requirement that a President and Commander in Chief must have unity of Citizenship and sole and absolute allegiance and loyalty to the United States from the moment of birth and that the Framers inserted the “natural born Citizen” clause in the Constitution for the security of the nation. It is by examining the Dr. Conspiracy team which is a reflection of the current Democrat and Republican parties that we can understand President Washington’s warning in his farewell address about the threat that political parties pose to the survival of the Constitutional Republic.
In his Farewell Address of 1796, Washington not only warns the young nation which had yet to “settle and mature its yet recent institutions” about the “insidious wiles of foreign influence” which he saw as “one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government," but he also continues to advance his idea of the dangers of sectionalism and expands his warning to include the dangers of the “fury of party spirit” to the survival of the republic. His warnings are made in the context of the then-recent creation of the Democratic-Republican Party by Jefferson, to oppose Hamilton's Federalist Party, which had been created a year earlier in 1791 and which in many ways promoted the interest of certain regions and groups of Americans over others. A more pressing concern for Washington, which he makes reference to in his address when speaking about the need to maintain neutrality in the war between England and France, was the Democratic-Republican party aligning with France and the Federalist party aligning with Great Britain in the ongoing conflict between the two European nations caused by the French Revolution.
Washington accepts that it is natural for people to organize and operate within groups and to have the “spirit of party.” But he also argues that every government has recognized political parties as an enemy and has sought to repress them because of their tendency to seek supremacy over other groups and take revenge on political opponents, motivations which he argues have led to horrible atrocities. He also warns that such party spirit could ultimately lead to a “more formal and permanent despotism” as people seek security in that individual who may gain and wield absolute power and who will most likely use that power for his own elevation at the expense of “Public Liberty.” Washington sees parties as something that could promote and protect liberty in monarchies. But he believes that parties must be restrained in a country led by self-representative government because of their tendency to distract the government from carrying out its most pressing duties, create unfounded group and regional jealousies, create false crisis among the public, and promote riot and insurrection. What he also cautions against and which is most relevant to the issue of the President having to be a “natural born Citizen” is his warning that the spirit of party “opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.” Finally, Washington advises that since there is the constant danger to liberty posed by the spirit of party, the people need to be forever vigilant that party excesses do not consume the nation and to express their views publicly.
We can see where love of party has led us on the constitutional question of whether Obama is a “natural born Citizen” and eligible to be President and Commander in Chief. People like Dr. Conspiracy now tell us that Washington was an Article II “natural born Citizen.” Both the Democratic and Republican parties will not touch the question of Obama’s eligibility to be President and do not take any affirmative steps to stop party operatives and media cronies from bashing those who do, all at the expense and survival of our Constitution and Constitutional Republic. Obama and both political parties believe they do not have to prove or do anything because they consider those who question Obama’s eligibility to be President to be nothing but “radical fringe groups.” But polls, even recently in the NY Times with their liberal readership, disagree with that characterization and reveal that a significant percentage of Americans do not believe at all or doubt Obama's eligibility.
President George Washington warned us so that the spirit of party does not consume our nation, the people need to be forever vigilant and express themselves through public opinion on the issues that they believe are dear and vital to their liberties. Let the Obama eligibility debate rage on in the court of public opinion, for it is only with open, complete, and honest public debate on this issue that the truth will be revealed.
Mario Apuzzo, Esq.
May 2, 2010