When the founders wrote the Constitution, they had no need to consider issues such as dual citizenship, because it didn’t exist back then. Citizenship flowed naturally from the father, so when they wrote the Natural Born Clause, there was no need to worry about the baby momma’s citizenship. She was irrelevant to citizenship.
Chronologically, I suppose this is where we discuss the formation of the United States Navy as a way to fend off Barbary Pirates, who’s favourite pastime included kidnapping and ransoming American merchant sailors. We’ll see if this tidbit is relevant later, maybe.
All of that changed with the women’s suffrage movement, apparently. Now, countries of a certain political system that wanted to preserve the chastity of their daughters could send their men abroad to taint the chastity of the daughters of other countries, and spread their influence. According to the laws of this political system, men could have multiple wives, and women, well, they were supposed to stay chaste. Whereas when the Natural Born Clause was written, citizenship came from the father, after womens’ suffrage, people began to interpret citizenship being passed down from either parent. And lo, and behold, Men who had no intention of becoming United States citizens came on student visas to the United States and started marrying multiple college age American women, in addition to their wives in their home countries. In the case of our current “president”, his father was deported when they got wind of his multiple marriages, but many academics interpret his children are still natural born citizens.
So, let’s backtrack. I hear a lot of people say “gosh, it’s too bad they didn’t define what they meant by “natural born citizen” in the Constitution. In 1787, citizenship followed naturally after the father. There was no such thing as dual citizenship. So when they tried to ensure that foreign influence did not attain the highest office in government, they meant children born to citizen fathers. There is no ambiguity here. They didn’t foresee citizenship as following the mother, the way far too many scholars interpret it. When people say well, we have to interpret what they meant, because they didn’t define it, they’re just not trying very hard, or they’re trying to B.S. you. It is perfectly clear what they meant. What has changed is how people decided to reinterpret the constitution after the women’s movement. But let me say it again. It is perfectly clear what they intended, that only children born to citizens were natural born.
The reason this is important, is because once we consider the children of both parents when speaking of citizenship, we introduce the concept of dual citizenship. This did not exist when citizenship only followed one parent, who happened to be the father. The founders were trying to limit foreign influence to high office. Now we have a president born of a citizen mother to a foreign father with many wives, some foreign, some domestic, with all of his assorted half brothers and sisters, mostly, it appears, foreign.
It is pretty clear to me, that if you’d asked the founders “hey, by Natural Born Citizen, did you mean child born of a deported British subject?”, that they would agree that that did not fit the meaning, or satisfied the intent of the clause.
Edit: With the recent worldwide marches post Trump’s inaugeration, I thought I’d update this.