The 14the Amendment Citizen
An erronous argument dispelled...
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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
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. (SCAN 14A)
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
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
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 Doctionary,
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
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
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, (SCAN PREAMBLE)
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
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
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
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) (SCAN 221) 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. (SCAN 762 and 763) 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 (SCAN DEF_CIT) 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
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 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. (SCAN
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. (SCAN MI)
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, (SCAN COLGATE) 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. (SCAN YICKWO - HIBBEN - MUNN - SCOTT) 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. (SCAN MARBURY)
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.
(((Do not confuse jurisdiction by the United States
government as a burden of citizenship with jurisdiction to
an entity legally defined as the "United States" as
established by some body of law for some extemporaneous
purpose. Title 26 is a prime example... Congress has never
passed a law or statute with the intent to impose
jurisdiction (of the United States) on U.S. citizens for the
purpose of income taxation. With regard to Income tax, there
simply is no statute imposing such requirements, but, that
does not mean that jurisidiction cannot, and is not, imposed
in those legitimate areas where you have a burden, duty, and
an obligation as a citizen. Therefore the two statements are
not manifestly incompatible.)))
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
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 (SCAN MH) 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)
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) 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
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.
SIDEBAR ON ANNOTATED CONSTITUTION
LET'S GET IT RIGHT!
The Annotated Constitution was first published in 1915 in
the form of a 150 page pamphlet. It was so popular that the
same year another volume was published with over 1000 pages
and it has been reprinted every decade since, except during
the war. The Annotated Constitution lists all of the
pertinent Court decisions and historical notes as they
relate to various sections, clauses, amendments etc. It is
indispensible to Constitutional research because it saves
many hours of work that have already been done by others.
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