Are You Smarter Than An 1828 Fifth Grader?

Download for free an important catechism that was used to teach elementary school students about the Constitution:

Elementary catechism on the Constitution of the United States : for the use of schools (1828)

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19 Responses to Are You Smarter Than An 1828 Fifth Grader?

  1. Mick says:

    This catechism claims that the POTUS must be born in the US or a citizen when the constitution was ratified 50 years after ratification. Why does it not say born in the US of citizen parents?

  2. Mick,
    You raise an interesting question. Arthur J. Stansbury, the author of the catechism, has the following to say about birth and citizenship as it pertains to holding the offices of Representative, Senator, and President:

    Q: How old must a person be before he can be chosen a Member of the House of Representatives?
    A: Twenty-five years old.

    Q: May a person be chosen who has just come into the United States, and who is a subject of some other country (that means, who is bound to obey the laws of some other country)?
    A: No. Any person, to be chosen a Member of our House of Representatives, must either have been born in the United States, or must have been naturalized seven years before he is chosen.

    Q: Naturalized? What does that mean?
    A: A person who was born in another country and comes to live in this, is not owned as a citizen of the United States till he has lived among us a certain time; and then, (after knowing something of our laws and customs), has taken a solemn oath to obey the government. He is then admitted as a citizen of our republic. This is called naturalization; and once naturalized, he is allowe to choose the rulers, and do other things, the same as if he had been born among us.

    Q: How old must a person be before he can be chosen a Senator of the United States?
    A: Thirty years old.

    Q: Can he be chosen if he has not been born in the United States?
    A: Yes, if he has become a citizen by being naturalized, and has been a citizen for nine years.

    Q: May any person be chosen President of the United States?
    A: Not every person; none may be chosen unless he has been born in the United States, or was a citizen when the Constitution was agreed to, nor can such a one be chosen if he is less than thirty-five years old, or if he has not resided within the United States for forteen years.

    You ask, “Why does it not say born in the US of citizen parents?”

    It would be pure conjecture to pretend to know why the author did “not say” something. But we can analyze what the author did say.

    The author did say a person must be born in the United States as one of the conditions for being eligible to hold the office of President.

    The author also said a person who is a subject of some other country is not eligible.

    Obama, via his “Fight the Smears” campaign website, openly admitted that he was born a subject of another country.

    That alone disqualifies him from the Presidency.

  3. Math says:

    It would be pure conjecture to pretend to know why the author did “not say” something. But we can analyze what the author did say.

    If you want to analyze what the author did say, he never said that subjects of another country are not eligible for presidency, only for Congress.

    That, of course, is moot because Obama is not subject to another country. He was born in the US, and his only allegiance is to the US, no matter what any foreign country’s law says. If I lobbied my Canadian MP to pass a law that made you a subject to our queen, I doubt you would take it very seriously, and you would be right not to.

  4. The author first mentioned that subjects of another country are not eligible to be elected as Members of the House of Representatives.

    Per the Constitution, the eligibility requirements increase from Represenative to Senator (age requirement increases from 25 to 30, citizenship requirement increases from 7 years a Citizen to 9 years a Citizen) and the eligibility requirements increase again from Senator to President or Vice-President (age requirement increases to 35, citizenship requirement increases to natural born Citizen). If someone is ineligible to be a Member of the House of Representatives, they certainly do not meet the higher eligibility requirements of Senator, Vice-President, or President.

    There obviously was a very serious consideration to ensuring that subjects of some other country were not allowed to be part of the government of this country.

    This echoes what the man who would become the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court (John Jay) wrote to the man who would become the first President of the United States (George Washington) when Washington was President of the Constitutional Convention:

    “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 Commander in Chief of the American Army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen.”

    You expect me to believe that the first Chief Justice and the first President would be OK with someone born a British subject, after the adoption of the Constitution, being allowed to hold the office of President and Commander-in-Chief of our entire military.

    Bovine excrement!

    A natural born British subject cannot be a natural born citizen of the United States, and cannot be constitutionally eligible to hold the office of President and Commander-in-Chief.

  5. Math says:

    So he was born in the UK now?

  6. Mick says:

    Math,

    The point is that he was BORN subject to the laws of another country. and has admitted this himself right here at “Factcheck” under the big Green COLB distraction:

    http://www.fightthesmears.com.php5-9.websitetestlink.com/articles/5/birthcertificate

    His citizenship was “governed by” Britain. Just like children born of Americans abroad are subject to American law.

  7. If the “birth narrative” that “Barack Hussein Obama II” and his camapaign have told is truthful, then by both natural law and man-made law he was born a British Subject regarless of his birth location.

    Natural law:

    By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers, and enter into all their rights (§ 212); the place of birth produces no change in this particular, and cannot, of itself, furnish any reason for taking from a child what nature has given him

    Man-made law:

    “When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children.

    Since Sen. Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4,1982.”

    If the “birth narrative” is truthful, he was born a British subject. Later, when Kenya gained independence, he gained Kenyan citizenship, but according to Leo Donofrio’s analysis of British law, Obama never lost his British subjecthood/citizenship. While the Kenyan citizenship may have expired (how do we really know whether or not Obama swore an oath of allegiance to Kenya?… he cared enough about the government of that country to go there and actively campaign for his favored candidate).

    Obama’s own campaign web site, under the subheading “FactCheck.org Clarifies Barack’s Citizenship”, used the words “his Kenyan citizenship”. Where did “his Kenyan citizenship” come from?

    If you want to claim that Obama was born a “natural born citizen” of the United States, with no subjecthood to a foreign country, then explain: Where did “his Kenyan citizenship” come from?

  8. As a follow-up to my comment at 1:41 am, the catechism makes it clear that one is not eligible to be elected to hold the office of Representative unless they are 25 years old and have been a citizen of the United States, not a citizen or subject of any other country, for at least the last 7 years of their life.

    It follows that one is not eligible to be elected to hold the office of Senator unless they are 30 years old and have been a citizen of the United States, not a citizen or subject of any other country, for at least the last 9 years of their life.

    And it follows that one is not eligible to be elected to hold the office of President unless they are 35 years old and have been a citizen of the United States, not a citizen or subject of any other country, for their entire life. Anyone who has been a citizen or subject of any other country is not eligible to hold the office of President and Commander in Chief.

    Why?

    It’s a matter of national security. The first President agreed with the first Chief Justice when he wrote:

    “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 Commander in Chief of the American Army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen.”

    Our military is not to be commanded by anyone who has ever been a citizen or subject of a foreign country.

    For Obama, “his Kenyan citizenship” (preceeded by his British subjecthood) disqualifies him. He is not eligible to hold the office of President and Commander in Chief.

  9. This post was originally filed under Uncategorized, but I’ve decided based on the comments above to file it under Presidential Eligibility.

    You can see all earlier posts filed under Presidential Eligibility by clicking here.

  10. (For the LORD is our Judge,
    The LORD is our Lawgiver,
    The LORD is our King;
    He will save us);

    Isaiah 33:22

    Three co-equal branches of government:
    Judicial,
    Legislative, and
    Executive.

    you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses; one from among your brethren you shall set as king over you; you may not set a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.

    Deuteronomy 17:15

    This verse may very well have been what prompted John Jay to write his letter to George Washington, and for the Constitutional Convention to incorporate Jay’s suggestion into the Constitution.

    We call the head of our executive branch “President”, not “King”, but the “natural born citizen” requirement appears to be the result of heeding the Biblical directive found in Deuteronomy 17:15.

  11. Math says:

    Did the bible just contradict itself there? Is the lord our king, or is one of our brethren?

  12. No contradiction there. Our king (President) is to be one of our bretheren, but Jesus Christ remains the King of kings.

    And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

    KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

    Revelation 19:16

  13. Math says:

    How do you come up with all those quotes at the drop of a hat? Did you actually memorize the bible?

  14. No, I haven’t memorized the Bible, although Christians in China often do, so that when they are imprisoned for their beliefs, they can still share scripture with others even when they don’t have access to a printed Bible.

    I simply remember verses, or even portions of verses, often without remembering exactly where it is found in the Bible (book, chapter, and verse). When I want to give the link to where those words are found in the Bible, I look it up here and then copy and paste.

    For example, in this case, all I needed to remember is “King of kings”… then put that phrase into the search window, set the search setting to “Match EXACT phase” and click the search button, which gives these results.

    I found the verse I was looking for, clicked on the link, and then copied and pasted the text into my comment and made the scripture reference into a link. That way, you can click on the link yourself and verify that the words actually come from the Bible and I’m not making it up.

    This search is quite useful if you’ve ever wondered what the Bible has to say about a certain topic, for example truth.

  15. You said: “The author also said a person who is a subject of some other country is not eligible.”

    I failed to see where Standbury says this. But more importantly I would point out, for example, that Thomas Jefferson was elected president TWICE while being a naturalized French citizen, making such an interpretation highly unlikely.

    The most reasonable answer to the question of why Standbury did not mention parental requirements to be President is the same reason no other civics book in the country’s history (to my knowledge) mentions it: it is not true.

    A more complete view is found in William Rawle’s “A view of the Constitution.” Rawle was President Washington’s personally appointed District Attorney for Pennsylvania, and his book was used as a text book at the West Point Military Academy. Rawle said:

    he who was subsequently born a citizen of a state became at the moment of his birth a citizen of the United States Therefore every person born within the United States its territories or districts whether the parents are citizens or aliens is a natural born citizen in the sense of the Constitution and entitled to all the rights and privileges appertaining to that capacity

    The Supreme Court in Smith v Alabama has declared that the terms in the Constitution are defined by English Common Law, and not by Swiss judicial philosophy (de Vattel). Emerich de Vattel was influential, but the founders who wrote the Constitution were largely common law lawyers and wrote using the terminology of the common law. This is further evidenced by colonial legislation that before the revolution said “natural born subject” and after the Revolution said “natural born citizen.”

  16. On 2010/05/05 at 10:20 am, Dr. Conspiracy said:

    You said: “The author also said a person who is a subject of some other country is not eligible.”

    I failed to see where Standbury says this.

    See the following, already quoted above:

    Q: How old must a person be before he can be chosen a Member of the House of Representatives?
    A: Twenty-five years old.

    Q: May a person be chosen who has just come into the United States, and who is a subject of some other country (that means, who is bound to obey the laws of some other country)?
    A: No. Any person, to be chosen a Member of our House of Representatives, must either have been born in the United States, or must have been naturalized seven years before he is chosen.

    Q: Naturalized? What does that mean?
    A: A person who was born in another country and comes to live in this, is not owned as a citizen of the United States till he has lived among us a certain time; and then, (after knowing something of our laws and customs), has taken a solemn oath to obey the government. He is then admitted as a citizen of our republic. This is called naturalization; and once naturalized, he is allowe to choose the rulers, and do other things, the same as if he had been born among us.

    Q: How old must a person be before he can be chosen a Senator of the United States?
    A: Thirty years old.

    Q: Can he be chosen if he has not been born in the United States?
    A: Yes, if he has become a citizen by being naturalized, and has been a citizen for nine years.

    Q: May any person be chosen President of the United States?
    A: Not every person; none may be chosen unless he has been born in the United States, or was a citizen when the Constitution was agreed to, nor can such a one be chosen if he is less than thirty-five years old, or if he has not resided within the United States for forteen years.

    The age and citizenship requirements increase from Representative to Senator, and again from Senator to President. Standbury made it clear that someone who is a subject of some other country (that means, who is bound to obey the laws of some other country) is NOT eligible to be a Representative. If they are not eligible to be a Representative then they are not eligible to be a Senator, and they are not eligible to be President.

    The Obama campaign quoted FactCheck.org on their “Fight the Smears” web site, admitting that Obama’s “citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948“.

    Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children.

    You continued:

    But more importantly I would point out, for example, that Thomas Jefferson was elected president TWICE while being a naturalized French citizen, making such an interpretation highly unlikely.

    Jefferson was a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, so he was covered by that “grandfather clause”, as were several other early Presidents. The oldest natural born citizens would be those born immediately after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and they would have been only 11 years old at the time of the Constitution’s adoption. The “grandfather clause” was necessary for that reason.

  17. On 2010/06/16 at 10:44 pm, in a comment on a different thread, I said:

    Do you understand the concept of sovereignty? Do you understand that in 18th century England, the King (or Queen) was sovereign, and the people were subjects? Do you understand that in the United States, We the People are sovereign citizens, and the government is subject to the citizens?

    I have said this many, many times before, but you refuse to listen. You cannot equate subjects and citizens. They are two very different things. And you cannot equate “natural born subject” with “natural born citizen”.

    And now this is in the news…

    Many words were crossed out and replaced in the draft, but only one was obliterated.

    Over the smudge, Jefferson then wrote the word “citizens.”

    No longer subjects to the crown, the colonists became something different: a people whose allegiance was to one another, not to a faraway monarch. [Ed: The people were no longer subjects, they were now sovereign citizens.]

    Scholars of the revolution have long speculated about the “citizens” smear — wondering whether the erased word was “patriots” or “residents” — but now the Library of Congress has determined that the change was far more dramatic.

    Using a modified version of the kind of spectral imaging technology developed for the military and for monitoring agriculture, research scientists teased apart the mystery and reconstructed the word that Jefferson banished in 1776.

    “Seldom can we re-create a moment in history in such a dramatic and living way,” Library of Congress preservation director Dianne van der Reyden said at Friday’s announcement of the discovery.

    It’s almost like we can see him write ‘subjects’ and then quickly decide that’s not what he wanted to say at all, that he didn’t even want a record of it,” she said. “Really, it sends chills down the spine.”

    I have said this many, many times before, and I’ll say it again:
    You cannot equate “subjects” and “citizens”. They are two very different things.

    And you cannot equate “natural born subject” with “natural born citizen”. They are two very different things.

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