Every four years, we are reminded that the president of the United States must be a “natural born citizen.” But what does this even mean? Does it apply to everyone born in America, and is there a difference between a “native born” (one naturalized at birth by statute) and a “natural born” (one who does not require any naturalization) citizen?

That’s the thing: It’s never really been decided who is and is not a natural born citizen of the United States. In fact, there’s not even universal agreement that anyone born within the borders of the United States is a natural born citizen. Unsurprisingly, there is an ideological divide in the United States between those who believe anyone born here is a citizen and those who disagree.

While the concept of a “natural born citizen,” which goes all the way back to England, is often discussed in terms of who can and cannot be the president, it alludes to bigger issues: Of illegal vs. legal immigration as well as assimilation, because its goal is to protect against electing someone with divided loyalties. The concept itself has roots in the Old World, but it also presents pressing questions for the United States today that go far beyond presidential politics and to the very core of the character of our nation.

There was a massive immigration to the United States between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the Great Depression. However, those who are so quick to remind us of this historical truth neglect another: There was also an almost total moratorium on immigration between the Great Depression and when Ted Kennedy and his paymasters opened the borders in 1965. Further, those such as Pat Buchanan and Ann Coulter have explored the role that mass immigration played in dramatically expanding the scope and size of the federal government in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Birthright citizenship was for freed slaves. So why is it being used to allow the children of illegal aliens to vote in our elections and enjoy other benefits of citizenship? More to the point, why are we allowing one faction of American politics to import an unlimited number of reliable voters, and how is this undermining our representative republic?

The Roots of Natural Born Citizenship

The concept of “natural born citizens” goes back to at least 1608, with Calvin’s Case. This court case attempted to determine whether or not a child born in Scotland after the Union of the Crowns could be considered an English subject, receiving the rights and privileges thereof. While this might sound far away, this case has been explicitly cited in the United States (not just the colonies) as the bedrock of the natural born citizen question under the law.

The case in question was to determine whether or not a child born in Scotland could inherit estates and own land in England. This was not a theoretical question at the time due to the rights, privileges and duties that came with holding land during this era. It was taken as a given by most medieval legal systems that one could not hold land in two different kingdoms, as this would mean fealty to two possibly antagonistic monarchs.

However, in this case, there were no two antagonistic monarchs: King James VI of Scotland had become King James I of England. While the two were governed as separate countries, they were now in personal union under King James. The British courts ultimately found that those born after his ascension to the English throne were natural born citizens, but those born before it were not.

Continue reading Natural Born Citizens: Understanding Who Can Be POTUS in a Nation Beset By Divided Loyalties at Ammo.com.