A little clip from another site regarding certain discussions
Before the Constitution the closest reference we have to Natural Born Citizen is from the legal treatise “the Law of Nations,” written by Emerich de Vattel in 1758. In book one chapter 19,
§ 212. Of the citizens and natives.
“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.”
“Please note that the correct title of Vattel’s Book I, Chapter 19, section 212, is “Of the citizens and naturals”. It is not “Of citizens and natives” as it was originally translated into English. While other translation errors were corrected in reprints, that 1759 translation error was never corrected in reprints. The error was made by translators in London operating under English law, and was mis-translated in error, or was possibly translated to suit their needs to convey a different meaning to Vattel to the English only reader. In French, as a noun, native is rendered as “originaire” or “indigene”, not as “naturel”. For “naturel” to mean native would need to be used as an adjective. In fact when Vattel defines “natural born citizens” in the second sentence of section 212 after defining general or ordinary citizens in the first sentence, you see that he uses the word “indigenes” for natives along with “Les naturels” in that sentence. He used the word “naturels” to emphasize clearly who he was defining as those who were born in the country of two citizens of the country. Also, when we read Vattel, we must understand that Vattel’s use of the word “natives” in 1758 is not to be read with modern day various alternative usages of that word. You must read it in the full context of sentence 2 of section 212 to fully understand what Vattel was defining from natural law, i.e., natural born citizenship of a country. Please see the photograph of the original French for Chapter 19, Section 212, here in the original French if you have any doubts. Please do not simply look at the title as some have suggested that is all you need to do. Vattel makes it quite clear he is not speaking of natives in this context as someone simply born in a country, but of natural born citizens, those born in the country of two citizens of the country. Our founding Fathers were men of high intellectual abilities, many were conversant in French, the diplomatic language of that time period. Benjamin Franklin had ordered 3 copies of the French Edition of “Le droit des gens,” which the deferred to as the authoritative version as to what Vattel wrote and what Vattel meant and intended to elucidate.”.
If not Vattel, then where did they arrive at this term. Many of those who ridicule us like to quote Blackstone as authoritative that the United States adopted English Common Law. They like to state that Blackstone’s natural born subject is equivalent of a natural born citizen. There is no doubt that the Founding Father’s were influenced from Blackstone’s Commentary. However, the Framers of the Constitution recognized that it was Blackstone, who argued that the Parliament and King could change the constitution at will. Blackstone was increasingly recognized by the Americans as a proponent of arbitrary power. In fact, the framers rejected the notion that the United States was under English Common Law, “The common law of England is not the common law of these States.” George Mason one of Virginia’s delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
As to what is a natural born subject, Blackstone went on to say that any person, freeman or alien, except those of diplomats who were born in the realm of the King of England was a natural born subject. There is a problem with a simple substitution of citizen in place of subject, that some people think are synonymous. In England, not all natural born subjects of the Crown can become the King. This is reserved for a very small subset of natural born subjects called the royalty. This is drastically dissimilar to the American concept that any Natural Born Citizen can become President. Under Blackstone’s subjects only a very, very small subset of Natural Born Subjects could rise to be King, the American Presidency is drawn from the largest class of citizens, the natural born. Like the analogy of a field of clover, the Founding Fathers were not looking for that elusive genetic mutation of a four-leaf clover, they were looking for the common, naturally occurring three-leaf clover to be President.
I’ll let someone else make my argument, as some appear not to consider my interpretation worthy. The Founders intent may not be altered by future court interpretations.