ARTICLE II SECTION I
qualifications for becoming the President of the
Section I of the Constitution of the
As with much of our Constitution, this rule was written to be understood by the people, not written in a manner requiring a PHD in jurisprudence to understand. Why was it written? Our founders intended that the individual holding the highest office in the land have a natural affinity for that land and none other. This is common sense and reasonable. The natural born citizen clause was meant to ensure such affinity in the individual holding the highest office in our land.
The founders did not, alas, define what that phrase meant, either in the principle document or in others opining on its meaning. For a requirement constraining eligibility for such an important position in our new republic, one must ask why? Accepting the wisdom of our founders, it must have been that the phrase was one of common use at the time such that its definition was unnecessary and redundant. If so, certainly there must be records illuminating this common sense definition, and indeed there are.
As our republic
was newly formed, the concept of precedent in regards to our laws and their
interpretation did not exist.
That our founders
relied on a law of nations legal foundation rather than one built from British
common law for the definition of terms constraining who could hold the highest
office in the land in the newly founded republic is clear from both
correspondence of some of the principle players at the time of our nations
founding as well as court dicta from our earliest years. Vattel’s Law of Nations was continually in the hands of our
founders as they deliberated on our constitutional framing. The same was referenced in Supreme Court
dicta where this term’s definition was reiterated by justices contemporary
with, and fellow revolutionaries with, our constitutional framers. In the case of the Venus, a supreme court
decision on a prize taken during the war of 1812, the court reiterated Vattel’s definition of natural born citizen as “…those
born in the country of parents who are citizens.” Although this should be conclusive of
original intent, additional supreme court decisions offer supporting
evidence. In Minor v. Happerset, the court reiterated this definition of natural
born citizens. In 
The laws of citizenship have been changed throughout our nations history. The definition of natural born citizen has not. Native born citizens, citizens by birth, and naturalized citizen definitions have evolved. The intent of the founders to limit ascendancy to the highest office in the land to natural born citizens, those presumptively with the highest affinity for this land rather than another, has not. Whether we wish they had been changed or not to fit into our current plans and machinations is immaterial. We, the people, want, and our constitution requires, a national executive leader who is unquestionably faithful to our nation and to no other. Our founders wisely made provision for this in our constitution. Whether we disregard this aspect of it, as we have with so many others, is up to we, the people. If recent history provides any example, this is just another casualty in the destruction of our foundational principles.
Franklin, Benjamin (