“Natural Born Citizen”

This whole thing about whether Ted Cruz is a “natural born citizen”, from the standpoint of original meaning, is fairly interesting. (I do not know, one way or the other.) I started looking at some stuff on line, and it quickly became apparent it would take a good bit for research, and I just don’t know that I care enough. I did look at Blackstone, who would have been considered authoritative at the time of the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, and he offers a definition of “natural born subject”, for purposes of British law at the time:

“Natural-born subjects are such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England, that is, within the ligeance, or as it is generally called, the allegiance of the king; and aliens, such as are born out of it. ”

He then later says that some persons born outside the dominions of the crown would still be considered “natural born subjects”:

“When I say, that an alien is one who is born out of the king’s dominions, or allegiance, this also must be understood with some restrictions. The common law indeed stood absolutely so; with only a very few exceptions:…”

He then seems to imply that at common law one such exception were persons born to ambassadors of the King while abroad:

“Yet the children of the king’s embassadors born abroad were always held to be natural subjects: for as the father, though in a foreign country, owes not even a local allegiance to the prince to whom he is sent; so, with regard to the son also, he was held (by a kind of postliminium) to be born under the king of England’s allegiance, represented by his father, the embassador.”

Blackstone also seems to say that merchants’ children born abroad were also considered to be “natural born subjects” at common law:

“To encourage also foreign commerce, it was enacted by statute 25 Edw. III. st. 2. that all children born abroad, provided both their parents were at the time of the birth in allegiance to the king, and the mother had passed the seas by her husband’s consent, might inherit as if born in England: and accordingly it hath been so adjudged in behalf of merchants.”

Additional disabilities against being a “natural born subject” of the King were also removed by statute:

“But by several more modern statutes these restrictions are still farther taken off: so that all children, born out of the king’s ligeance, whose fathers were natural-born subjects, are now natural-born subjects themselves, to all intents and purposes, without any exception; unless their said fathers were attainted, or banished beyond sea, for high treason; or were then in the service of a prince at enmity with Great Britain.”

So, according to original meaning, if Blackstone would have been authoritative, then any person born outside the United States to a parent (specifically a father) who was a natural-born subject, was also a “natural born subject” themselves.

In the case of Ted Cruz, it was his mother that was a US Citizen at the time of his birth. So the question is: Assuming Blackstone is authoritative on original meaning and that my interpretation of Blackstone is correct, then would a person born from a mother, not a father, who was a US Citizen be considered a “natural born citizen”?

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I am Dean Cook. I currently live in Dallas Texas.