The Difference Between a U.S. Citizen and a Natural Born Citizenby LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHDJanuary 7, 2016Many members of the political-media establishment are either deliberately misrepresenting facts for political reasons or they are simply ignorant of those facts, that is, the manner in which one becomes a citizen as opposed to the concept of natural born citizenship.
Those who equate “citizen” with “natural born citizen” often misinterpret Constitutional law and statute law, the latter meaning that Congress may pass laws only defining the manner in which one becomes a citizen, either citizen by birth or a naturalized citizen, not the Constitutional concept of natural born citizenship
.In addition, many people mistakenly cite English Common Law as the origin of the natural born citizen concept, which, in that regard, the Founders rejected; rather than its true origin, the codification of natural law described by Emerich de Vattel in his 1758 book “The Law of Nations.”Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 states:”No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
“Recognizing the Constitutional nature of the natural born citizen concept, there have been numerous attempts, in recent years, both by Democrats and Republicans, to amend the Article II “natural born citizen” clause, including:January 14, 1975 – Democrat House Rep. Jonathon B. Bingham, [NY-22] introduced a constitutional amendment under H.J.R. 33: which called for the outright removal of the natural-born requirement for president found in Article II of the U.S. Constitution – “Provides that a citizen of the United States otherwise eligible to hold the Office of President shall not be ineligible because such citizen is not a natural born citizen.”June 11, 2003 – Democrat House member Vic Snyder [AR-2] introduced H.J.R 59: in the 108th Congress – “Constitutional Amendment –
Makes a person who has been a citizen of the United States for at least 35 years and who has been a resident within the United States for at least 14 years eligible to hold the office of President or Vice President.”September 3, 2003 – Democrat Rep. John Conyers [MI] introduced H.J.R. 67: – “Constitutional Amendment – Makes a person who has been a citizen of the United States for at least 20 years eligible to hold the office of President.”September 15, 2004 – Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher [CA-46] introduced H.J.R. 104: – “Constitutional Amendment – “Makes eligible for the Office of the President non-native born persons who have held U.S. citizenship for at least 20 years and who are otherwise eligible to hold such Office.
“According to Article II, Section I, Clause 5 of the U. S. Constitution, a candidate for the Presidency must be a “natural born citizen,” that is, a second generation American, a U.S. citizen, whose parents were also U.S. citizens at the time of the candidate’s birth.That there is a difference between “citizen” and “natural born citizen” has been clear since the writing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787 and its ratification on June 21, 1788.A first draft of what would become Article II, Section 1, Clause 5, submitted by Alexander Hamilton to the Constitutional Convention on June 18, 1787 stated:
“No person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States unless he be now a Citizen of one of the States, or hereafter be born a Citizen of the United States.”Fearing foreign influence on the President and Commander in Chief of the American military, the future first U.S. Supreme Court Justice, John Jay, on July 25, 1787, asked the convention presiding officer George Washington to strengthen the requirements for the Presidency:”Permit me to hint, whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Command in Chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen.
“The term “or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution” referred to loyal Americans who lived in the thirteen colonies at the time of the Revolutionary War, thus establishing the first generation of United States “citizens,” upon which future “natural born” citizens would be created. The Founders, under Article II, allowed these original U.S. citizens to be eligible for the Presidency
.As understood by the Founders and as applied to the U.S. Constitution, the term “natural born citizen” derived its meaning less from English Common Law, than from Vattel’s “The Law of Nations.”They knew from reading Vattel that a “natural born citizen” had a different standard from just “citizen,” for he or she was
Source: Family Security Matters