Under the longstanding English common-law principle of jus soli , persons born within the territory of the sovereign (other than children of enemy aliens or foreign diplomats) are citizens from birth. Thus, those persons born within the United States are "natural born citizens" and eligible to be President. Much less certain, however, is whether children born abroad of United States citizens are "natural born citizens" eligible to serve as President. As early as 1350, the British Parliament approved statutes recognizing the rule of jus sanguinis , under which citizens may pass their citizenship by descent to their children at birth, regardless of place. Similarly, in its first naturalization statute, Congress declared that "the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond the sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens." 1 Stat. 104 (1790). The "natural born" terminology was dropped shortly thereafter. See, . , 8 . § 1401(c). But the question remains whether the term "natural born Citizen" used in Article II includes the parliamentary rule of jus sanguinis in addition to the common law principle of jus soli . In United States v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), the Supreme Court relied on English common law regarding jus soli to inform the meaning of "citizen" in the Fourteenth Amendment as well as the natural-born–citizenship requirement of Article II, and noted that any right to citizenship though jus sanguinis was available only by statute, and not through the Constitution. Notwithstanding the Supreme Court's discussion in Wong Kim Ark , a majority of commentators today argue that the Presidential Eligibility Clause incorporates both the common-law and English statutory principles, and that therefore, Michigan Governor George Romney, who was born to American parents outside of the United States, was eligible to seek the Presidency in 1968.
I was looking through the comments, and I don’t believe anyone mentioned Gary Wills’ “Nixon Agonistes.” The only biographies I’ve read have been of Nixon (my favorite President), and this was my first. I noticed it wasn’t on your list, so I thought I’d mention it. It’s rather short at 602 pages, but highly compelling. It came out DURING Nixon’s administration (1970), and Wills was subsequently blacklisted–how many biographers can claim that? I actually thought it was an even-handed approach to Nixon’s early Presidentcy (it came out pre-Watergate), and it touches on events heavy in the political atmosphere of the late sixties. It really is more a work of political philosophy, beautifully written in a style akin to John Updike rather than a regular historian. It is, ultimately, critical of Nixon, casting him–as the title suggests–as a mythologically tragic figure, destined to fail, but it ends up being prescient about politics today, which is what the best histories often are. Thanks for the blog, and I can’t wait for you to get to Nixon.
An essential feature of religious experience across many cultures is the intuitive feeling of God's presence. More than any rituals or doctrines, it is this experience that anchors religious faith, yet it has been largely ignored in the scientific literature on religion.
"... [Dr. Wathey's] book delves into the biological origins of this compelling feeling, attributing it to innate neural circuitry that evolved to promote the mother-child bond...[He] argues that evolution has programmed the infant brain to expect the presence of a loving being who responds to the child's needs. As the infant grows into adulthood, this innate feeling is eventually transferred to the realm of religion, where it is reactivated through the symbols, imagery, and rituals of worship. The author interprets our various conceptions of God in biological terms as illusory supernormal stimuli that fill an emotional and cognitive vacuum left over from infancy.
These insights shed new light on some of the most vexing puzzles of religion, like: