John Armor Bingham

John Armor Bingham (January 21, 1815 – March 19, 1900) was an American Republican congressman from the U.S. state of Ohio, judge advocate in the trial of the Abraham Lincoln assassination and a prosecutor in the impeachment trials of Andrew Johnson. He is also the principal framer of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

With little to doubt John Armor Bingham knew exactly what each class of citizen meant. Let us look at some of his work and what he said while helping to write the 14th Amendment.

The Constitution states the Congress shall only have the power to determine a ‘naturalization process’ for citizens and who will be classified under the process as U.S. Citizens. In order to determine who would be eligible to become naturalized U.S. Citizens, the House of Representatives had to define what a ‘natural born citizen’ was.

In 1862 During the 37th Congressional Debate on the 14th Amendment, Ohio Representative John Bingham, known as the Chief Architect and Father of the 14th Amendment stated: “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.” (Cong. Globe, 37th, 2nd Sess., 1639 (1862))

In 1866, during 14th Amendment House debates, Ohio Representative John Bingham, stated: “I find no fault with the introductory clause, which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that 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; but, sir, I may be allowed to say further, that I deny that the Congress of the United States ever had the power or color of power to say that any man born within the jurisdiction of the United States, and not owing a foreign allegiance, is not and shall not be a citizen of the United States.” John A. Bingham, (R-Ohio) US Congressman, Architect of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment, March 9, 1866, Cong. Globe, 39th, 1st Sess., 1291 (1866), Sec. 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes (1866), Cf. U.S. Const. XIVth Amend.

The 14th was passed unanimously. No one disputed or objected or raised any concern what so ever to Bingham`s House floor speech on the definition of being a Natural Born Citizen. No one!

Additionally in 1872, Bingham again defined ‘natural-born citizen’ during a House Floor hearing regarding the status of U.S. citizenship of Dr. Houard, who had been incarcerated in Spain. Here he clearly states 2 requirements for being natural born…born to parents (mother and father) and within the jurisdiction of the United States:
“As to the question of citizenship I am willing to resolve all doubts in favor of a citizen of the United States. That Dr. Houard is a natural-born citizen of the United States there is not room for the shadow of a doubt. He was born of naturalized parents within the jurisdiction of the United States, and by the express words of the Constitution, as amended to-day, he is declared to all the world to be a citizen of the United States by birth.” (The term “to-day”, as used by Bingham, means “to date”.

Obviously, the Constitution had not been amended on April 25, 1872.)
Congressional Globe, 1st Session, 39th Congress, pt. 4, p. 2893. Senator Reverdy Johnson said in the debate: “Now, all this amendment provides is, that all persons born in the United States and not subject to some foreign Power–for that, no doubt, is the meaning of the committee who have brought the matter before us–shall be considered as citizens of the United States…If there are to be citizens of the United States entitled everywhere to the character of citizens of the United States, there should be some certain definition of what citizenship is, what has created the character of citizen as between himself and the United States, and the amendment says citizenship may depend upon birth, and I know of no better way to give rise to citizenship than the fact of birth within the territory of the United States, born of parents who at the time were subject to the authority of the United States.”

In this Rep. Bingham and Senator Johnson cite 3 factors that declares Dr. Houard to be a “natural-born citizen”: born of citizen “parents” (plural not singular therefore requiring you to have 2 U.S. Citizen parents for this status) AND born within the ‘jurisdiction of the United States and owing allegiance to no other country.

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