Ryan Kennedy Quotes John Locke On Birthright Citizenship
April 25, 2011, 05:00 AM
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Re: Matthew Slater's letter An English Reader Gives Us A "Birthright" History Lesson

From: Ryan Kennedy (e-mail him)

Regarding reader Matthew Slater's letter regarding the history (or lack thereof) of birthright citizenship, he leaves out John Locke's thoughts on the matter.

In Locke's Government, Chap. VII, he wrote

 "But, 'tis plain, Governments themselves understand it otherwise; they claim no Power over the Son, because of that they had over the Father; nor look on Children as being their Subjects, by their Fathers being so. If a Subject of England have a Child by an English Woman in France, whose Subject is he? Not the King of England's; for he must have leave to be admitted to the Privileges of it. Nor the King of France's; for how then has his Father a liberty to bring him away, and breed him as he pleases? And who ever was judged as a Traytor or Deserter, if he left, or warr'd against a Country, for being barely born in it of Parents that were Aliens there? 'Tis plain then, by the Practice of Governments themselves, as well as by the law of right Reason, that a child is born a Subject of no Country or Government."

Locke's thoughts are important because his writing influenced great swaths of American government and law.

Ryan Kennedy (email him) has written us many letters and articles. He lives in Anchorage, Alaska.