For those who aren’t paying attention to American politics, there has been a bit of controversy with our current president, Barak Obama. There is a strong argument that he does not meet the “natural born citizen” requirement of the constitution. This claim is false as the evidence shows he was born to a US citizen (his mother) in United States territory (the state of Hawaii). Current case law supports that either ONE of these two conditions would qualify him for the presidency. His 2008 opponent, John McCain, is a naturally born citizen for the first (his parents are citizens) despite being born in Panama.
This has brought up the greater question of what the framers of the constitution meant when they wrote “natural born citizen.” There are people in the United States currently arguing that the only people who could hold office had to be born in the United States AND to US citizens. While the prevailing historical research does not support this view, it is a growing point of view.
What about this point of view? It has interesting repercussions when you look at history. Using either one of these two requirements, none of the first nine presidents were eligible for that position. None of them even COULD have been born in the US, because there was no US when any of them were born. Nor were they born to US citizens, for similar reasons. The 12th president Zachary Taylor would have also been ineligible, having been born in 1784. John Tyler, the tenth president, was the first to be born after the signing of the Constitution (1790 vs 1787), and thus the first truly “natural born citizen” to be president.
But no one at the time doubted these men were eligible. To them, the United States metaphorically extended backwards before the Constitution, granting citizenship to those who were born and lived here before its creation. In the same way, we currently extend our “soil” outside the borders of the States, to Puerto Rico and Guam and others. We extend the reach of our citizenship to all children of our all citizens, regardless of the land they are born in. All deserve the right to hold the highest elected office in the land.
-That is all.