CREATORS OF THE 14th AMENDMENT
"I have spent my professional career defending the Constitution. I served five-and-a-half years as the Solicitor General of Texas, chief lawyer of the state of Texas in front of the Supreme Court of Texas,
and I've repeatedly defended the Constitution.
The 14th Amendment provides for birthright citizenship. I've looked at the legal arguments against it, and I will tell you as a Supreme Court litigator, those arguments are not very good.
As much as someone may dislike the policy of birthright citizenship, it's in the U.S. Constitution. And I don't like it when federal judges set aside the Constitution because their policy preferences are different."
John Bingham | A Matter of Allegiance
"To naturalize a person is to admit him to citizenship. Who are natural-born citizens but those born within the Republic? Those
born within the Republic, whether black or white, are citizens by
birth -- natural-born citizens. There is no such thing as white in your Constitution. Citizenship, therefore, does not depend upon complexion any more than it depends upon the rights of election or
of office. All from other lands, who by the terms of [congressional] laws and a compliance with their provisions become naturalized, are adopted citizens of the United States; all other persons born within the Republic, of parents owing allegiance to no other sovereignty, are natural born citizens. Gentleman can find no exception to this statement touching natural-born citizens except what is said in the Constitution relating to Indians." [Congressional Globe, House of Representatives, 37th Congress, 2nd Session]
“Every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.” [Congressional Globe, House of Representatives, 39th Congress, 1st Session]
Jacob Howard | Excluding Foreigners
"Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country." [Congressional Globe, Senate, 39th Congress, 1st Session]
James Doolittle | Questioning "Jurisdiction"
"I moved this amendment, because it seems to me very clear that there is a large mass of the Indian population who are clearly subject to the jurisdiction of the United States who ought not to be included as citizens of the United States. All the Indians upon reservations within the several States are most clearly subject to our jurisdiction, both civil and military. We appoint civil agents who have control over them in behalf of the Government. We have our Military commanders in the neighborhood of the reservations, who have complete control. For instance, there are seven or eight: thousand Navajoes at the moment under the control of General Carlton, in New Mexico, upon the Indian reservations, managed, controlled, fed at the expense of the United States, and fed by the War Department, managed by the War Department, and at a cost to this Government of almost a million and a half dollars every year. Because it is managed by the War Department, paid out of the commissary fund and out of the appropriations for quartermasters' stores, the people do not realize the enormous expense which is upon their hands. Are those six or seven thousand Navajoes to be made citizens of the United States? Go into the State of Kansas, and you find there are any number of reservations, Indians in all stages, from the wild Indian of the of the plains, who lives on nothing but the meat of the buffalo, to those Indians who are partially civilized and have partially adopted the habits of civilized life. So it is in other States. In my own State there are the Chippewas, the remnants of the Winnebagoes, and the Pottawatomies. There are tribes in the State of Minnesota and other States of the Union. Are these persons to be regarded as citizens of the United States, and by a constitutional amendment declared to be such, because they are born within the United States and subject to our jurisdiction?" [Congressional Globe, Senate, 39th Congress, 1st Session]
Lyman Trumbul | Defining "Jurisdiction"
"The provision is, that "all persons born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens." That means "subject
to the complete jurisdiction thereof." Now, does the Senator from Wisconsisn pretend to say that the Navajoe Indians are subject to the complete jurisdiction of the United States? What do we mean by "complete jurisdiction of the United States?" Not owing allegiance to anybody else. That is what it means. Can you sue a Navajoe Indian in court? Are they in any sense subject to the complete jurisdiction of
the United States? By no means. We make treaties with them, and therefore they are not subject to our jurisdiction. If they were, we would not make treaties with them." [Congressional Globe, Senate, 39th Congress, 1st Session]
Reverdy Johnson | State Citizenship Prerequisite
"The Constitution as it now stands recognizes a citizenship of the United States. It provides that no person shall be eligible to the Presidency of the United States except a natural-born citizen of the United States or one who was in the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution; it provides that no person shall be eligible to the office of the Senator who has not been a citizen of the United States for nine years; but there is no definition in the Constitution as it stands as to citizenship. Who is a citizen of the United States is an open question. The defition of the the courts and the doctrine of the commentators is, that every man who is a citizen
of a State becomes ipso facto a citizen of the United States; but there is no definition as to how citizenship can exist in the United States except through the medium of citizenship in a State." [Congressional Globe, Senate, 39th Congress, 1st Session]