Sunday, May 2, 2010

Thomas Jefferson a Founder of our Nation & Influential in Framing our Constitution used his personal copy of 1775 French edition of 'The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law' by Vattel

Thomas Jefferson a Founder of Our Nation and Influential in the Framing of Our Constitution used his personal copy of 1775 French edition of "The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law by Vattel", newly edited edition by Charles Dumas in 1775, to help write and influence others in the writing of the Founding Documents.

The founders and framers were fluent in French, the diplomatic language of the time, many having served as diplomats to France. Thomas Jefferson used his personal copy of the new 1775 French edition of the Vattel's Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law to write the Declaration of Independence. He was also very influential in the creation of the U.S. Constitution. Quotations such as "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", "Laws of Nature" and concepts for a new "more perfect" form of government with a written Constitution and independent Judiciary and the sovereignty of the People are right out of Vattel's Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law. In 1776 Jefferson was tasked with primary responsibility for drafting the Declaration of Independence and if you read it after first reading Vattel's Law of Nations, Volume 1, you can see where he got his inspiration for many of the words and concepts. Jefferson was very influential via his correspondence to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia Pa in 1787 and in getting the Bill of Rights added. Read Vattel's Law of Nations, Volume 1 first. Then read the Constitution. We can see in the words of the Constitution the impact of Vattel and the Law of Nations once again in the words therein such as "in order to form a more perfect Union" (perfection of government to serve the people was a prime directive of Vattel). And the title of the book Law of Nations, the preeminent legal treatise of the time, is even mentioned in the Constitution in Article I, Section 8, in the enumerated and limited powers of the new federal republic form of government. The impact of Vattel and Volume 1 of his legal treatise The Law of Nations on his visions for a new form of government on the founders and framers of this nation and its founding documents cannot be overstated. Vattel was the keystone legal source for the new federal government established in 1789 when the new Constitution was ratified, the first of its kind in the world and a beacon of liberty to the rest of the world, with the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

Jefferson's personal and well annotated in the margins copy of Vattel's Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law 1775 French edition is now in the possession of the Library of Congress. I suspect that this copy was actually one of the 3 copies sent to Benjamin Franklin by Charles Dumas in 1775. Franklin's personal copy of the 1775 edition was never found in history. We also know that Franklin also had a copy of an earlier edition of Vattel. I suspect he loaned one of the 3 newly received 1775 editions of Vattel to Jefferson for use in the writing of the Declaration of Independence and that is how that copy got to Jefferson. The other two copies of the 1775 edition sent to Franklin ended up with one copy in the Library in Philadelphia for use by the Congress meeting in Philadelphia and the other in library of "College of Massachusetts Bay" in Massachusetts. So maybe I've solved the mystery of what happened to the 3rd copy sent by Dumas, Franklin's personal copy of the 1775 Dumas edition of the Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law.

Charles Kerchner, Commander USNR (Retired)
Lead Plaintiff, Kerchner v Obama & Congress

P.S. Thomas Jefferson was one of the first founders that I have found a written record of as using the term "natural born Citizen" in his writings. See this account in 1777.

P.P.S.: See more about the founders and framers use of The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law to write the founding documents for our Constitutional Republic in the links below. The legal treatise, The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law, known as the Law of Nations for short, clearly defined the term "naturel" or "natural born Citizen" as a person born in the country of parents (plural) who were Citizens of the country:

1. Benjamin Franklin in 1775 thanked Charles Dumas of the Netherlands for sending him 3 more copies of the newest 1775 French edition of Vattel's Law of Nations:

2. President George Washington in 1789 consulted Vattel's legal treatise The Law of Nations as America's new President:


jayjay said...

Washington and now Jefferson, too. And we already know that B. Franklin had several copies and that John Q. Adams (son of John Adams) not only was fluent in French well before the Constitutional Convention but was hired and paid to be the linguist for the Envoy to Russia when he was only 14.

The import of that is that John Q, being home schooled as were many in that era would have been taught French by his parents since that was the diplomatic language at the time.

Those foolish enough to claim that the Founders couldn't read French could not be "davantage mal" (more wrong). the Flying Monkeys will make any outrageous claim - no matter how warped - to try to protect a man who has never shown himself to be legally eligible to hold the office he now occupies.

Brianroy said...

Thomas Jefferson (in Paris) to William S. Smith, Nov. 13, 1787
"...I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams I am to give my thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will be yet three weeks before I shall receive them from America.
...What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it's natural manure."

Thomas Jefferson served as a US Ambassador (i.e., US Minister to France) in Paris, France in the interim period when there was no Congress. [“We have no Congress yet.” writes James Madison To Edmund Randolph, NY Jan. 10 1788 ].

Clearly, Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin and many others WERE fluent in French, one of the languages of sea merchant trade, and one of the nations to which the US depended heavily on exporting to. Jefferson would have had to deal vigorously in speaking, reading,reasoning in French in those precarious times as November 1787 in Paris was. The revolt of the aristocratic bodies of France had been in play for months by this time, and the fuse of the 1789 French Revolution had already been lit. So, not only was Jefferson fluent, he had to be a linguistic master and fast talker of French by necessity in those times.

Later in life, Jefferson advised in those that would seek to interpret the Constitution:
"On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."
— Thomas Jefferson to Judge William Johnson, (from Monticello, June 12, 1823)

Jefferson argued an originalist view was the only view, three years before his death.

James Madison argued on June 6, 1788 before the VA ratifying Convention that he viewed interpretation as extending from 1776-1787/1788 as the crucible (melting pot or severe testing) years of originalism: "We not only see violations of the constitution, but of national principles in repeated instances. How is the fact? The history of the violations of the constitution extends from the year 1776 to this present time — violations made by formal acts of the legislature: every thing has been drawn within the legislative vortex.”

Focus then, should be especially 1776-1787ish time period to present before the US Supreme Court regarding NBC, nationally and internationally, it seems to me.

Brianroy said...

Preceeding Vattel was the Dutch Scholar and Jurist Hugo Grotius. In his French written "De jure belli ac pacis Libris Tres",

he wrote about the "Law of Nations" regarding times of war and peace in the 17th century, and how Greek and Roman and Biblical thought entered into the considerations of International Law in those times.

In Book 3, Chapter 4, Section 8, he defines: "the persons of NATURAL-BORN SUBJECTS, WHO OWE PERMANENT ALLEGIANCE to a hostile power may, according to the law of nations, be attacked, or seized, wherever they are found."

In the context of which he writes, the persons are the children of FATHERS (cf. Book 1, Chapter 1, Sections 3 and 5).

Book 3, Chapter 11, Section 12, refers to a sovereign's "NATURAL-BORN AND REGULAR SUBJECTS" (even his traveling Merchants. The emphasis here, as used by Grotius, is on the transmission of the FATHER's national status to the child (in the Law of Nations in the century preceding Vattel and the US Constitution), whether it be times of WAR OR PEACE, and the use of the word "regular" upon the status of the citizen or "subject".

The Father's transmission of citizenship status upon the child, in the Law of Nations, under intent as carried forth by Vattel, was the decision factor...even as this formula applied to merchants
in Book 3, Chapter 11, Section 12.

James Madison, in his Speech in Congress on the Jay Treaty, on March 10, 1796, said:

"The Constitution of the U. States is a Constitution of limitations and checks. The powers given up by the people for the purposes of Government, had been divided into two great classes. One of these, formed the State Governments, the other the Federal Government."

George Washington in his letter to CHARLES CARTER, from Mount Vernon, December 14, 1787, wrote of that time in which we had no Congress, and only a presentation of the Constitution (i.e., it was as yet unratified by the States) wrote:
"General Government is now suspended by a thread I might go farther and say it is really at an end..." In THAT frame of mind, the "natural-born" clause was added to the US Constitution, in order that no one of foreign influence or dual-allegiance might cut that thread, and (as Jefferson put it) turn patriots into the manure of (rotting) corpses littered about, and unburied. A sight that they who lived through the Revolutionary War must have been accustomed to seeing from time to time.

cfkerchner said...

Natural Law was the guiding legal work of that era for the founders of our nation to unify the newly freed sovereign states.

The 13 original colonies were free and independent sovereign states. The only set of guidance which could unite free and independent sovereign states were the Laws of Nature which are universal truths and as codified in the legal treatise by Emer de Vattel in his legal book, The Law of Nations or Principles of Natural Law. The founders looked to Natural Law and the Law of Nations to unify the 13 free and independent states, not to English Common Law which they just threw off. It's silly that people think our U.S. Constitution was based on English Common Law. How could the common law of one nation, a nation the colonies just rejected, be used to unite 13 newly freed and independent states, each with their own constitutions and laws of citizenship. No to accomplish that, the founders and framers looked to universal law to unite the colony states and form a new more perfect union in the U.S. Constitution. The framers and founders where quite well versed in the Law of Nations and that is what they used to write the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the USA.

Here are just a few examples of some key founders and framers who depended on Vattel's "The Law of Nations of Principles of Natural Law" to guide them in setting up a new form of federal government the likes of which the world had never seen before, and which became a beacon to the rest of the world for centuries.

Benjamin Franklin used Vattel's Law of Nations:

George Washington used Vattel's Law of Nations:

And of course, Thomas Jefferson used Vattel's Law of Nations:

The truth and real facts and the universal truth of our U.S. Constitution will win the day in the end. Obama is not an Article II "natural born Citizen" to constitutional standards because his father was not a U.S. Citizen and thus Obama was born with dual citizenship. That is not what the framers intended and what Vattel wrote about who is a "natural born Citizen". Obama will be removed as being a Usurper.

CDR Kerchner