- Published: 01 January 2012
By Edward Ellison Jr., J.D.
THE 14TH AMENDMENT CITIZEN
=================Amendment XIV. =================
SECTION 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within it's jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
No one is perfect; And of course because of this, anyone can err. The Court is no exception. However, just as the court can err in its decisions so can the average individual who is even more likely to misinterpret information, not having the background or education to sufficiently analyze what he has learned.
Today, patriots have a tendancy to embrace even the most outlandish theories in an attempt to explain the legal machinery of the New World Order. The reason for this tendancy is not unlike the person who refuses to acknowledge the death of a loved one. The reality is difficult to bear. With this denial, comes the list of excuses which allow for the belief that the government is still obeying the law, but that the Constitution has been somehow altered or made of no effect due to this or that voluntary association or act. The result being, that some lessor form of government exists, nested within the original form of government (i.e. our Constitutional Republic). We are forced to address such theories because they do great harm to the education of everyone involved and to the movement as a whole.
So it is with the argument put forth which contends that we are "14th amendment citizens." Perhaps you've heard of it. In essence, the premise stems from the belief that our present condition (which is not unlike that of slaves) is the result of the 14th amendment which has made us (by conspiratorial design?) to be "subjects" rather than citizens. The argument has little or no merit, and whatever relevance it may have, depends on half truths and distorted logic. The 14th Amendment is reproduced here (see above).
It came about simply because some people do not know how to apply the grammatical and/or definitive rules of the English language, and are unwilling, whatever their motives, to ascribe the proper definitions pertinent to the text. More often as not, the individuals who perpetuate this (mis)understanding have usually heard someone else repeat the same story (which the originator himself only half understood) and then, believing it to be correct (and without bothering to check it out) passed it on in an attempt to explain our current national condition. Such misguided enthusiasm stems from an honest desire to educate others to the facts surrounding the steadily declining economy, debauching of currency, and other factors that are emerging as a result of an evolution towards an oligarchical legal system, the technically incorrect nature of the subject matter not withstanding.
The usual misinformation is supported by talking about the Crown, or monarchy of our progenitors, with reference to the people who were "subjects" of the Crown. Chief among these "subjects" were the serfs who lived only to serve their master. Thinking only of this category, the misinformed patriot will use the word "subjects" to describe only those people who are on the short end of the stick. They forget however, that under a Monarchy even the Dukes, the Princes and Princesses, Barons and Duchesses, Earls, Archbishops, Sheriffs etc, were all "subjects" of the Crown as well. This aspect (the nobility being subjects) is never considered by those who insist on perpetuating the myth regarding the 14th amendment. Well meaning though they may be, (to educate others to the present dilemma) in their minds, "subjects" are "slaves." Their misunderstanding is further compounded by the fact that the 14th amendment actually uses the word "subject." Under the distorted magnifying glass of the misinformed, this evolves into the belief that the Constitution is not working and that what's left of our actual citizenship in "the several states of the union," is for example, found only in the Preamble..."We the People." In other words, due to the 14th amendment we are all now "subjects" of the government.
This faulty logic results in the conclusion that failure to positively assert ones position using the proper legal dictum (jurisdictional mumbo jumbo) will leave an otherwise free citizen of our Constitutional Republic, (under the Preamble) to live with the less than desirable status of "14th Amendment citizen," or even worse, that there is no way out of the jurisdictional quagmire at all. When a person believes that there is "no hope" he will sit back and do nothing. Sometimes we wonder whether such theories aren't intentionally spread?
In any case, those who labor under this false impression talk about the "power" of the Preamble as though it were a grant of power. This too is a fallacy, and dependent upon endless suppositions that have no real basis in fact.
To analyze the validity of such arguments we will start by examining the Preamble and the phrase "We the People." To support such an argument one would first have to assume that the document was indeed a grant of power. However, the Preamble does not grant any power whatsoever. It is merely a statement of purpose for the "grants" of power which follow in Articles 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7. Therefore, it is not a grant power to anyone or anything.
PREAMBLE: a clause at the beginning of a constitution or statute explanatory of the reasons for its enactment and the objects sought to be accomplished. (Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd Ed., St. Paul, Minn.1933)
The singular phrase "We the People," (which is not, in and of itself, a sentence) is often misconstrued and/or misidentified as some mystical grant of power to which everyone must cow tow, bow down, and/or genuflect.
Does the non-sentence "We the People" have any meaning at all without completing the sentence? Of course not! Yet, there are those who repeatedly revere those words in the extreme. Sometimes this extreme borders on false worship. Perhaps you may recall an old "Star Trek" episode in which the remnant of a fallen society was left to worship those very words without ever understanding their meaning. Quite appropriate in light of the reverence that those who perpetuate a "subject of" government (14th amendment citizen) argument.
The phrase "We the People" is not even a sentence. For it to carry any meaning the question must be asked; "We the People who what?" By way of demonstration consider the following:
1) We the People who bark at the moon?
2) We the People who rob banks?
3) We the People who put savings in banks?
4) We the People who swim on the banks of the mighty Mississippi?
5) We the People who march at Pro Life rallys?
"We the People" is meaningless unless the phrase expands into a sentence. In the case of the Preamble, even if we add the next four words it still won't have any meaning. We the People (of the United States...) is still not a complete sentence! What does it mean?
"We the People of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America."
The all important question is; Even as a complete sentence, does it mean anything for the people of the United States? Actually, that was a trick question too. The answer is still an emphatic "NO" because while a sentence may carry some ethereal or philosophical meaning to any given individual, it does not, and cannot, carry any uniform meaning to a body of people unless it has legal effect.
Even though we now have a complete sentence, the Preamble (speaking for the people en masse) is still irrelevant because those who signed the Constitution (up to Article 7) and affixed there names thereto, had no power to make it the law of the land. It is a mere introduction or statement of purpose for the Constitution which follows. Furthermore, under those circumstances, if it was not a grant of power after the Constitution was made the law of the land, it certainly was not a grant of power before the Constitution had any legal effect at all. Sorry to throw you such a curve, but it just goes to show how easy it is to be carried away by a concept or an understanding, and then be tripped up by small (enormous as the case may be) details.
The Constitution did not become the law of the land until it was ratified. To be precise, the "ratification of the conventions of 9 States shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the same.
So...until the ratification by the States, the Preamble was a mere excercise in verbosity. For all the huffing and puffing that went on it means nothing more than a statement of purpose for that which follows it.
It's like the auctioneer who stretches the truth to sell goods at auction. His words are meant to capture the imagination of those who desire to benefit from what they purchase! Furthermore, the auctioneer cannot be held responsible for his embellishments because he is working for the sellor and not the buyer. The legal concept is "buyer beware," the principal of Caveat Emptor. His words mean nothing.
The Preamble simply has no legal effect.
Does it "grant" any power? Not hardly!
Can the Preamble "grant " any power? To anyone? To any of the three branches of government?
PRE 14TH AMENDMENT CITIZENSHIP
To believe that the 14th amendment makes you a citizen, you would need to believe that citizenship did not exist at all prior to the 14th amendment. In other words, it would be necessary to assume that we simultaneously became "citizens" of the United States of America, and "subjects" of its government when the amendment was passed.
While these concepts may be exciting and stimulating they are nevertheless misperceptions that are based on half truths. Acceptence of such conceptual theories is a lazy way out. Once they are believed, you no longer have to study or read anything. All you need do, is accept the buffoonery and bluffery that has occurred in presenting the argument. Those who blindly grab at such logic are like drowning men who grab at straws. Moreover, those who accept this (il)logic are more likely to sit back and do nothing... Except talk about it... And, there is already enough of that going around.
Taking a closer look at the process of citizenship reveals nothing suspect. What makes a person a citizen is, and always has been, birthright or naturalization. Birthright is citizenship by virtue of birth within the geographical or political jurisdiction of the United States, and naturalization is the granting of citizenship by virtue of request, via compliance with terms associated with the granting of the request, to foreigners who come to this country and apply for it. Clause 4 of the Constitution [Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4] establishes an "uniform rule of naturalization."
Now think about it... If the founders were going to provide for the naturalization of foreigners, then they must have already had an understanding of, and recognition for, the citizenship that resulted from birth in respect of everyone who was already here (and long before the 14th amendment). Indeed this is evidenced by references on page 221 of the Annotated Constitution reproduced here. (See side bar for information on the Annotated Constitution) One has only to research "intent" to find that the 14th amendment defined citizenship because the 13th amendment did not provide for the citizenship of blacks who had been freed from slavery. See reference to Slaughter House cases, and U.S. V. Wong Kim reproduced here. You'll recall, this was shortly after slavery was abolished.
To compound the question, Chief Justice Taney had erred in Scott v. Sanford (Dred Scott) and it would be many years before that decision would be overturned. There were many who doubted that any Blacks were citizens; Many were prepared to insist that although those who had been held in bondage were now free men that they could never become citizens. And; without citizenship there could be no guarantee of due process of law. The fears were not unfounded, so with these concerns in mind the 14th amendment was born. Reprinted to the right are portions of Minor v. Happersett and U.S. v. Wong Kim as published in the Annotated Constitution which explains that the 14th amendment "was intended to allay doubts and settle controversies" that had arisen. The 14th Amendment was not a grant of citizenship! It did not confer citizenship! It merely defined citizenship and the manner by which it could be obtained.
FREEDOM DID NOT CREATE CITIZENS
In the Dred Scott case Chief Justice Taney had said that white persons were one of the two classes of citizenship. That was in in 1857... (10 or 11 years before the 14th amendment) and before many Blacks became free men. He said that those enjoying citizenship were white persons born in the U. S. AND those who were at the time of the adoption of the constitution (1788) recognized as citizens in the several states. Justice Taney believed that Blacks, even though free, could not be citizens. It should have been obvious that Taney was incorrect because some Blacks were already recognized as citizens. They were free, they were property holders. They were already citizens when the new federal government was established! Moreover, they became citizens of this "new political body" (the United States of America under the Constitution) which was to be a Republic, by virtue thereof. Editors note * The old political body was the union governed under the Articles of Confederation.
Rather than enforce Constitutional provisions, Justice Taney used 80 years of slavery, Art. I, sec. 9, cl. 2, and Art. IV, sec. 1, clause 3 [probably should be Art. IV, sec. 2, clause 3] to conclusively establish that such persons and their descendants were not embraced within the term "citizen" as used in the Constitution. Taney was wrong. See reference to Scott v. Sanford reproduced here.
But...Just as there were Blacks who were citizens, there were also Blacks who were not. Taney's decision had left a vaccum with varying degrees of doubt in the minds of those who were already questioning the issue... Smith v. Turner and Scott v. Sanford are examples of this, and serve to describe the origin of the question ultimately addressed by the 14th Amendment. See exhibit reproduced here.
Furthermore, while the States may have been competent to "confer State citizenship upon anyone in their midst, they could not make the recipient of such status a citizen of the United States. No State can make you a citizen of the United States. The Slaughter House cases, and Colgate v. Harvey, reference reproduced here, demonstrates the distinction. Such citizenship would occur by the granting of a naturalization certificate after a person had renounced allegiance to any other (foreign) government, and after having taken a test to prove an understanding of the principles of government here in the U.S, in conformance with such provision.
It should be rather obvious why there was a percieved need for an Amendment to settle such controversy. Indeed, the Amendment was needed to define citizenship to include all those who had been born in the U.S. regardless of parentage or heritage thereby eliminating the error in Scott v. Sanford and disputes that were arising.
DUE PROCESS OF LAW
Having covered thus far the historical and sociological significance of abolishing slavery, and having covered the provisions for citizenship, you should now see why the release of men from the bonds of servitude had created such questions. The reasons why those questions had to be answered center around the right to due process of law that is so important to us all.
In order to assure that everyone born in the U.S. would receive it, the controversy had to be settled, and upon defining citizenship, the 14th amendment proceeded to create a provision so that "No state could make or enforce any law which would abridge the rights of citizens of the U.S." With such a provision in place, those rights could never be set aside by the States. The amendment continues..."nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property..." This was to ensure due process of law for those Blacks who had never had it before, and had always been told that they had no standing in Court.
The 14th Amendment came about so as to define the citizenship status of Blacks and (with their citizenship) to equally protect their God given rights to due process and so forth. Blacks could therefore now come to Court...Raise arguments of defense, etc...things that they were never able to do before! See reference to Scott v. Sanford - Munn v. Illinois, Yick Wo v. Hopkins and Hibben v. Smith, reproduced here. Some States had already made provisions in their respective Declarations of Rights prior to any made under the Constitution. The equal protection provisions within those States would be that the State Constitutions could not be altered to deny Blacks their rights, and of course, following the 14th amendment, they would have equal protection in the federal Courts as well. The 14th amendment served to define citizenship so as to include these individuals. The Annotated Constitution published at the time says (regarding the 14th amendment) that the word citizen is here used in a political sense to designate one who has the rights and priviledges of a citizen of a State or of the United States.
The 14th Amendment defined citizenship and has been applicable to all persons who were born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, ever since. This being the case, one can easily see the error of the Court in the Dred Scott case which stemed from social imperatives existing outside of Constitutional authority. The decision was eventually overturned, but the point that this drives home is that the 14th amendment was the catalyst for removing (by definition) any shadow of doubt as to who was, or was not, a citizen, and to ensure due process for all concerned.
The obtuse belief that the 14th amendment makes you "subjects" of government is invalidated by case after case after case. Even Marbury v. Madison exclaims such nonsense..."It is a proposition too plain to be contested, that the Constitution controls any legislative act that is repugnant to it; or that the legislature may alter the Constitution by an ordinary act." If an oligarchical legal system facilitates the imposition of a personal agenda based on the philisophical dreams of those who peddle influence, this does not mean that such acts are in conformance with the law. Nor does it mean that the 14th Amendment makes you the "subject of" a government within a government. What it does mean is that the Court is simply not enforcing the law. Reproduced here are pertinent references to Marbury v. Madison.
To more fully understand citizenship by virtue of birth or naturalization consider someone who is born in the U.S. but not subject to the jurisdiction thereof? Confused? How can someone be born in the United States, but not be subject to the jursidiction thereof? Consider the embassy of a foreign government. The territory that comprises the embassy grounds is within the geographical confines of the United States, however it is not subject to the jurisidicition of the United States because the United States, (wishing to have diplomatic ties with whatever foreign government is represented by the embassy) has by agreement conferred jurisdiction of the embassy grounds to that foreign power. Ever hear of Diplomatic immunity? If a child is born on the grounds of the embassy, it is not born within the geographical United States, as it would seem; rather it is born in a little piece of the country for which the Embassy stands representative and therefore it is NOT born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
To cement this understanding and emphasize the importance for the preciseness of the language, consider the scenario involving the birth of a child to American parents on the high seas. The vessel is a U.S. vessel subject to the U.S. maritime laws. The child is considered to be a U.S. citizen even though not born within the geographical United States because the mantle of citizenship extends by birth from his or her parents who were born or naturalized within the U.S. while on the vessel subject to U.S. jurisdiction. Now, if the child was born to U.S. parents in a foreign country which was geographically under the jurisdiction of a foreign government, then that child is a dual national and upon reaching his/her majority must decide which citizenshipis to be retained. If that child remained in the other country beyond majority expatriation could occur. Repatriation would require that one "renounce" all otherallegiances... Naturalization might be required but in either case the duality is severed.
Here's another example...The wife of a Russian embassador is pregnant and about to give birth. If the wife travels to a hospital that is away from the grounds of the embassy (to an area not subject to the jurisdiction of Russia) then when the child is born it is a dual national. It is both a citizen of Russia by virtue of the parents citizenship, and it is a citizen of the U.S. by virtue of its birth in the country of jurisdiction. In this particular case, the complications of dual nationality (Russian/U.S.) could present grave problems which is why under such circumstances, a doctor is summoned to the embassy grounds to deliver the child within the area strictly under the jurisdiction of Russia. This resolves the problem of dual nationality.
The same misunderstanding of the 14th Amendment has led to confusion over the right of women to vote. For example; Some have alleged that women were not citizens prior to the 14th amendment and thus had no voting rights.
By now you can see the fallacy behind such an argument. In the case of Minor v. Happersett it was stated that "...women born of citizen parents have been considered citizens of the United States as much so before the 14th amendment as after." That means that the citizens rights to which they could lay claim, were just not excercised by the women (even though they had them). Women were raised by their mothers to go to the drawing room after meals, they would do their Petite point and so forth, play the piano, chat or sew; And men would go to the billiard room or the library and they would smoke, tell jokes... talk politics. Women were told they should have babies, raise kids etc. The schism between the genders was broad enough to perpetuate an attitude that precluded the actual excercise of such rights by the women who were unconcerned with the things that men usually took care of. The men would tell the women that politics (like fighting a war) was too much for a women and for the most part, the women (at least of that day) bought it !!! While the mores of society may have dictated such attitudes, it had nothing to do with the citizenship provisions of the Constitution. The Constitution was not deficient towards women ...it recognized the God given rights of men and women alike. But, because of the predominant social structure of that day carried along by the momentum of peer pressure, it was misconstrued by those who had no understanding of, (or didn't want to understand) its provisions.
The Constitution has been misconstrued in the past to justify one's position, and it will no doubt be used in the future for the same purpose. The point is; if the Courts allow this to happen, they are not excercising some extra- Constitutional provision which permits them to do so! To the contary, if they allow it to happen, they are in error and their decisions reversible. If it is not challenged then it is the fault of those who do not challenge it.
The statements in ("Whatever" [A separate article]) that were reproduced on page 2 are now all the more relevant... "The opening sentence is throughout affirmative and declaratory, intended to allay doubts and settle controversies which had arisen to impose any new restrictions upon citizenship" If it was intended to "allay doubts," then the definition was in no way a new "legal definition" but rather a clarification of the inherent definition of citizen which because of all the clamor had become less than "self evident." Citizenship had not been defined in the Constitution because it was considered to be "self evident," but it was now being formally set forth, in order to settle opinions to the contrary, and any disputes which had arisen from such opinion. This being the case, it is still "birth" that carries a grant of citizenship, not a privilege granted by legal provisions in the 14th Amendment.
When it comes to the 14th amendment and its language... "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" as opposed to "subjects" of, and someone attempts to convince you that you are a "subject" of a Democracy or other governmental entity foreign to our Constitutional Republic, then you can recommend a refresher course in the English language, with perhaps a remedial in American History. This explanation of New World Order legal machinery simply doesn't fly.
We have thoroughly researched the 14th amendment and there is absolutely no basis for an argument that would remotely suggest that there is any validity to the belief that we are "subjects" of government. And; though we consider it invalid we recognize and do not deny the half truths associated with it. We merely emphasize that the validity of the argument as a whole must not be left to speculation based upon those half truths. Rather, it is important to adhere to the preciseness of language when delving into or attempting to explain the current state of affairs. Whether it be to explain the "how, what, why, or where," of the misapplication of the IR Code, the money debacle, or any other subject matter, it is absolutely essential to consider the meaning of the words and phrases used in the text of supporting documentation, in terms of what it meant at the time it was written, by those who wrote it or were affected by it.
To facilitate any project of this magnitude one should be equipped with as many as all 5 of the Black's law dictionaries (or others) going back to the time of the actual writing of the text. Many novice researchers believe that the "latest" version is the best, or most complete. They don't understand or consider the evolution of language. Because of this, they rarely consider that the meanings/definitions of words change, and that it is necessary, when reviewing older documents to determine intent and so forth, to use the dictionaries that were used by those who wrote at the time.
To do so makes abundantly clear the intent of any given law, and since the intent of the law is the force of the law, it goes without saying that the theorist of such arguments as 14th amendment citizenship are simply not in tune with reality. That is; The logic used to support the argument is flawed in one or more technical areas. The downside to repeating the theory is that those individuals of influence who may be sincerely interested in your contentions, and who are perhaps on the verge of becoming involved or in a position to move the patriot cause forward (the tax movement in particular) end up rejecting the whole movement because they have the knowledge or education to research the validity of the (errant) contention, and do. The fallacy of that one (incorrect) argument espoused by one well meaning but misguided patriot (repeating such incorrect subject matter) destroys the validity of everything else that is said regarding the misapplication of law. It happens more than you may think. The attorneys that we work with, then end up battling problems of credibility and other innuendo rather than the subject matter.