George Washington: War Hero, Father of Our Country . . . Book Scofflaw

It took over two centuries, but the truth has finally caught up with George Washington. For 220 years, Washington’s dark secret laid undiscovered in a ledger of The New York Society Library, but it is now public: George Washington is a book scofflaw with overdue charges piling up for over 220 years on two books.

It turns out that Mr. “I Cannot Tell a Lie” had little difficulty in absconding with hot books. As a representative of George Washington University (a school whose original charter was paid by George Washington himself), I can only express a sense of great shame and self-loathing.

One of the books was the “Law of Nations” and the other was a volume of debates from Britain’s House of Commons. Both books were due on Nov. 2, 1789.

The selection of Law of Nations is interesting since it was an early work on international law. Recently, there has been a backlash against the Supreme Court’s application of international law rulings. The selection of the work on the House of Commons also reflects the continuing interest and reliance on English legal customs.

Notably, on April 30, 1789, George Washington took the oath of office on the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York. On April 16, 1789 Washington left Mount Vernon to go to New York City, then the nation’s capital, for his inauguration.

These particular books were checked out on October 5, 1789. Notably, Washington was in New York on October 3, 1789, when he signed a Thanksgiving Proclamation — just blocks from the library. The proclamation gives thanks for “the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge.” Was this a taunt to the librarians hot on this trail or a subconscious cry for help?

The current fine has reached $300,000 according to one article, here, or roughly $4200 according to another article, here. Either way, they were even less likely to get the overdue charges in the eighteenth century. George Washington had to borrow money to go to New York for his inauguration.

For the full story, click here.

65 thoughts on “George Washington: War Hero, Father of Our Country . . . Book Scofflaw

  1. Changing forever Henry Lee’ classic eulogy of Washington that he was: “First in war, first in peace, and last in the heart of his librarian.”

  2. Someone just posted a video about this on the Orly Taitz birther thread without explanation, but now it appears that the connection may possibly be the fact that Washington checked out the Law of Nations. The birther theory has been that the author of that treatise, Vattel, supplied the definition of “natural born citizen” that the Framers used in 1787.

    There has been an awful lot of broadband expended on this theory.

    After long discussion, it emerged that the phrase “natural born citizen” would not have appeared in George Washington’s copy, since it was not used until a later translation was published ten years later. In 1787, the translation used the word “indigenes.” It is too bad for the birthers, but I do not think that the Framers wrote in the Constitution that the Presidency was limited to indigenes of the United States.

  3. I thought that this was discharged in his bankruptcy. Did someone notify the potential list of creditors, did the trustee abandon the property. I am unsure if adversarial proceedings utilized at that time.

    I would say that he owns the books or his creditors have the right to them. We can thank Thomas Jefferson for the Automatic Stay as he lost his property to creditors that would not sell it back to him after he lost it. Although he died at Monticello he was not the titled owner of it. It was through some rather rough treatment of the creditor that the family was finally allowed to take possession of the property. This is my understanding why the States have the right of certain exemptions although Bankruptcy is exclusive federal jurisdiction/providence.

  4. Mr. Treacy is under the impression that a book is not understood until a translated copy is printed. He asserts that the 1796 version of the book would have been the first time that those words had been associated with that meaning. That would indicate that the words had some other meaning prior to that publication.

    While the conclusion of Mr. Treacy is unique and interesting, I doubt he has any historical record to demonstrate that the translation gave the words of Section 212 “New Meaning”.

  5. I heard recently that George W. still hasn’t returned “My Pet Goat” to the Booker Elementary School.

    It must have slipped his mind–seeing as he was so absorbed in reading the works of Albert Camus.

  6. Houston has a problem. A real problem.

    The meaning of “natural born” and “natural born citizen,” was derived from the common law of England, not from Vattel, and meant, at the very least, that all persons born in the United States became citizens at their birth, without regard to the citizenship of their parents. The common law excluded only the children of diplomats and hostile invading armies.

    The law of nations applied to relations between countries, not to internal laws of citizenship.

    Most of the discussion of the understanding of the Framers in 1787 is academic, because the Constitution was later amended by the Fourteenth Amendment to resolve the question.

    I do not see where I asserted that “the 1796 version of the book would have been the first time that those words had been associated with that meaning,” or that “the translation gave the words of Section 212 ‘New Meaning’.”

    Come on! This is ridiculous. It is hard enough to defend what I actually do say at this blog. This guy makes up stuff, says that I said it, and then raps me for it. Getouttahere.

    There is nothing unique about my conclusion, since there are innumerable sources available for the common law origins of the concept of “natural born.”

  7. AY–

    “You have to be able to read to know that you have a late notice.”

    That’s why he married Laura. He knew she was literate. He didn’t “misunderestimate” his better half.

  8. Elaine,

    You know, now that you mention it, Laura does have that kind of glazed over Stepford on the Brink look of a woman who has had to read “The Ugly Duckling” to lull someone to sleep one time too many.

    And for those of you who don’t think that Hans Christian Anderson’s little tale isn’t pure conservative exclusionist propaganda, you haven’t read it lately. It’s 1) simpler than “My Pet Goat” and 2) in ideological line with George’s “therapy”.

  9. I’m going to wait until I hear the Tea Party take on this, though I’m inclined to think that if it’s a problem for Ms. Taitz it’s a problem for the rest of us. Her problems usually are.

  10. Elaine M.,

    Is literate what you find on the highways in Texas?
    We have people that get paid to pick up that stuff.

  11. AY–

    “Is literate what you find on the highways in Texas?”

    Rarely! But you may find “illiterate” down by Crawford. Oh, I forgot, W. moved to the big city. He’s not a country boy no more! Guess we won’t be seein’ photo ops of our ex-prez clearin’ brush in the country any longer.

  12. Nor Tom Hicks to much either. He had to sell the Ranger’s to pay off 575 million dollars worth of notes and lines of credit. Damn he caused for his friends what he caused for the rest of the country. However, the still share a heliport between the two estates in Preston Hollow, Dallas, Texas.

    Hicks would not have gotten the variance but for the Pres buying the house behind his house. Dang how somethings work.

    I am still amazed that “W” has not figured out how to make more than 750,000 a year including the 400,000 retirement from the office of President. Is he really that stupid? Not including the Nobel Obama earned more than 3.5 million.

    The Clinton’s another story.

  13. Buddha,

    I thought maybe Laura read him GOODNIGHT MOON. W. is “into” repetition. Have you read GOODNIGHT BUSH by Erich Origen & Gan Golan? It’s a parody of Margaret Wise Brown’s classic children’s book.

    Here’s how the parody begins:

    In the situation room
    There was a toy world
    And a flight costume
    And a picture of–

    A refinery plume
    And there were war profiteers giving three cheers
    A nation great
    A Church and a State

  14. Elaine,

    And here I thought I might not have to go to the book store today. 😀 Thanks! That looks like a hoot.

  15. Waiting for the Tea Party take? One tea party has already shown Orly the doorly:

    “Several California Republican political candidates, including Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina, were scheduled to share the stage this week with one of the leaders of the “birther” movement that claims President Obama was not born in this country and is thus ineligible for his elected office.

    “Orly Taitz, an Orange County attorney who has gone to court many times to try to disqualify Obama, was invited to speak Thursday at a Tax Day Tea Party rally in Pleasanton, Calif., that is expected to draw thousands of people. Late Tuesday, organizers said that they had rescinded Taitz’s invitation after questions were raised about her presence by candidates who had been contacted by The Times.

    “Bridget Melson, founder and president of the Pleasanton Tea Party, said the organization had been ‘getting calls from candidates like crazy.’

    “‘It’s not worth it,’ she said. ‘She’s too controversial. This is not what the tea party is about at this point.'”,0,2366118.story?track=rss

  16. I bet the books were part of the Washington family junk that Mary Custis (great-granddaughter of George Washington)kept in the attic at her house in Arlington. Ten to one Robert E. took them with him as he waged war against the United States of America.

  17. Blouise,

    Wage war with whom? It was just a little ole disagreement. Just because the North was the aggressor does not mean that we did not have the duty to repel the invasion. Some you win, some you lose.

    I will offer this, if Lincoln had kept his original command that was in place when the invasion started. It would have been short sweet and the Southern capitol would be in Mississippi. And you all would be stuck with what you have now.

  18. Anonymously Yours


    Wage war with whom? It was just a little ole disagreement. Just because the North was the aggressor does not mean that we did not have the duty to repel the invasion. Some you win, some you lose.

    I will offer this, if Lincoln had kept his original command that was in place when the invasion started. It would have been short sweet and the Southern capitol would be in Mississippi. And you all would be stuck with what you have now.


    Sour grapes from the Lone Star

  19. Nah, we are home to Exxon and Haliburton. Enough said….. However, I will give you one W for anything you have with the exception of Toxic Waste. If he moved any place else it is guaranteed to raise the IQ of both. Heck with his you can see where no child left behind worked.

  20. the first capitol of the confederacy was in montgomery al. and robert e lee did not attack the union, the union attacked him then stole his house.

  21. Pete and AY, Yeah, and the Union bombed Fort Sumpter to start all that “aggression” against the southern states.

    And the Americans refused to remove their Navy from Pearl Harbor and open the Pacific to peaceful occupation by the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere, so the Americans started the War of American Aggression in the Pacific on Dec. 7, 1941.

    Pathetic revisionist historical fables.

    The so-called confederacy never existed as a nation, never controlled its borders, and was never recognized by any sovereign nation. All those States remained in the Union, even though occupied by rebels, and their stars stayed on the flag.

    When J. Davis asked Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United State of America, to negotiate about securing peace to the two countries, Lincoln responded by stating that he would negotiate “with the view to securing peace to the people of our one common country.”

    Davis caved on that one.

    So keep telling the little stories you learned at your grandpappies’ knees.

    We ain’t listening because we Americans fought to save the Union and to free the slaves, and we won.

  22. The following quote is from Robert E Lee’s Definition of a (Southern) Gentleman:

    ” … He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. …”

  23. While on a trip to New England several years ago, I made a point of stopping by the Forbes Library in Northamption, Mass. to return a copy of the “Aeneid” that I had checked out in 1966. I confess that I was not so much motivated by honesty as by a desire to find out what sort of reaction I would receive. The desk clerk looked at it and began to hand it back to me, pointing out that the library no longer used the old indexing system or the “card in the pouch” check-out method. I explained to him that he could always re-index it and place it back in circulation. It’s not like I had chewed the binder or spilled food on any of the pages. He reluctantly set it aside as though I had saddled him with a bothersome task, and had no response at all when I told him (only half-jokingly) that I had no intention of paying a fine. All in all, I might as well have kept it.

  24. Just as predicted.

    In a Petition for Reconsideration and Suggestion for Rehearing En Bank before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, petitioner solemnly notes that Washington never returned his library book:

    I am not making this up. Scroll to page 13 of the petition.

    The poor schlunk thinks that this proves that the concept of “natural born citizen” from Vattel’s treatise on the law of nations is what the founders had in mind. Sorry, (1) the edition loaned to Washington would have used the term indigenes, since the translation using “natural born citizen” did not appear until 10 years later, and (2) Washington did not borrow it until 1789, two years after the Constitutional Convention was completed.

  25. Vince,

    If your batting ability matched your prescience (and tenacity), you’d be a Hall of Famer.

  26. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive” -Sir Walter Scott

    Mr. Treacy should be recognized for his efforts to deceive the readers of this fine blawg. He truly is a representative of the kind of attorney the citizens of America have come to despise.

    In his last post, Mr. Treacy attempts to convince (great word; appropriately combining Con and Vince) the readers that the French version of Les Driot des gens “would have used the term indigenes”. Mr. Treacy conveniently left off the three words that proceeded “indigenes”.

    “Les Naturels ou indigènes font ceux qui font nés dans le pays de Parens Citoyens.”

    The words “naturels” and “indigènes” both have the same meaning. the mean “natives”.

    The Naturals or indigenes are those who are born in the country of citizens Parens.|en|font%20ceux%20qui%20font%20n%C3%A9s%20dans%20le%20pays%20de%20Parens%20Citoyens

    By nature, there has never been a question as to those who are born in a country of parents who are themselves citizens. Without the need for any positive laws, those children are citizens of that country. That is the natural way.

    Why be deceptive if the truth is on your side, Mr. Treacy?

    From the New Englander and Yale Review, Volume 3

    Citizenship of a state, manifestly implies a relation of some sort, subsisting between the state and the citizen as parties, and defined by a designation of the persons who stand in that relation, and by a statement of the rights and duties which it essentially involves.

    As used by writers on natural law, the term designates the status of an individual considered as a member of the state. It imports, on the part of the citizen, the duty of allegiance and obedience ; and on the part of the state, the correlative duty of protecting its members, by its force and its laws, in the enjoyment of essential fundamental rights. And all free persons, born within the limits of a state, or who, not being native born, have been duly admitted to equality of condition with those who are, are held to be members and citizens of that state, unless expressly excluded by its municipal

    In the intercourse of nations, and in the public law which regulates it, the term ‘ citizen’ is used with respect to our own and other republican governments wherever ‘ subject’ is used with respect to monarchies, and includes all persons under the protection of such government, as owing allegiance to it. For example, the eighth article of the treaty of 1783 stipulates that ” the navigation of the river Mississippi shall forever remain free and open to the subjects of Great Britain and the citizens of the United States.” Under such a usage, in the numerous casesof prize and capture with which, up to the close of the last war, the Federal Courts were crowded, the rights of parties in suit, under the law of nations, depended on their ciiizenship, and that on their allegiance.

    In this manner this term is used in the Constitution of the United States ; in every instance, it is believed, unless the one in dispute furnishes an exception. Thus the article defining the judicial power, declares that it shall extend ” to controversies between a state, or citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.” In all cases arising under this clause, the character of an individual, as citizen or subject, is determined by a single test, which is his allegiance ; if due to a foreign state, it constitutes him a citizen or subject of that state ; if due to the United States, it constitutes a citizen of the United States, and of his particular state. And so, too, in other clauses of the same article ; it has been settled by repeated decisions that the term ” citizen of a state” includes all persons ” resident or domiciled in a particular state, being at the same time citizens of the United States;”* which latter qualification again, as already stated, depends on allegiance to the United States, by

    • Judge Washington. See 4 Wash. Circuit Court Reports, 516.

    birth or naturalization. The expression ‘citizen of the United States’ occurs in the clauses prescribing qualifications for Representatives, for Senators, and for President. In the latter, the term ‘natural born citizen’ is used, and excludes all persons owing allegiance by birth to foreign states; in the other cases, the word ‘citizen’ is used without the adjective, and excludes persons owing allegiance to foreign states, unless naturalized under our laws. The discussions in the convention furnish no indication that there was any other distinction present in the minds of its members.

    Did Barack Obama II owe allegiance to a foreign state at the time of his birth? The answer is undoubtedly YES.

  27. POF:

    He truly is a representative of the kind of attorney … [some of the far right] citizens of America have come to despise.


    That would be the honest kind, I suppose.

  28. I read the whole diatribe by Pants on fire only to find out that it’s just another birther rant … what a waste of time.

  29. mespo727272,

    If only “some of the far right” have a problem with deception that may explain a lot. It is evident that some on the far left encourage deceptive acts.

    Are you one to encourage deceptive acts? Are you one of those attorneys who enjoys the thrill of winning by deception?

    Your friend “Blouise” must be one of those on the far left who favors deception.

  30. Pants said “In his last post, Mr. Treacy attempts to convince (great word; appropriately combining Con and Vince) the readers that the French version of Les Driot des gens “would have used the term indigenes”.

    If anyone scrolls up, they will find that I wrote that “the edition loaned to Washington would have used the term indigenes, since the translation using “natural born citizen” did not appear until 10 years later.” The book with the English title Law of Nations would have been an English translation. I was talking about the English translation, and trying to highlight the fact that it may not have used the term “natural born citizen.” What term did it use? Native?

    I never said anything about the French version, and never asserted anything about what it would have said. It is my understanding that the translation “natural born citizen” first appeared ten years later, but I am open to any and all evidence to the contrary, in which case I will change that statement. Please include links to the translations. What, exactly, did the edition borrowed by Washington say?

    I will wait for Pants to clarify what he, she or it is talking about before investing any more time in this.

  31. “Did Barack Obama II owe allegiance to a foreign state at the time of his birth?”


    Under the United States Constitution, he was born in the United States and was subject to its jurisdiction. He was a citizen at birth. There are only two kinds or citizens, natural born and naturalized. He was not naturalized. He was born a citizen. He is therefore a natural born citizen.

    That is what our Constitution says.

    I don’t know what Constitution that the birthers are reading from, or what words in that Constitution support their position. I do not see any words in there to support them.

    No other country has or had any jurisdiction, that is power or control, over him.

    If he had returned to Kenya before age 21, he might have CHOSEN to get Kenyan citizenship through his father, and thereby become subject to Kenyan jurisdiction while in that country, but he never did.

    Kenya may have accorded him “citizenship,” but it never asserted any jurisdiction or power over him and could not have done so.

    It is clear from the common law that an infant born in the realm of the King owed allegiance to that King. It is clear from the Constitution that an infant born in the United States owes allegiance to the United States. The sole exceptions, drawn from the common law, are for children of diplomats and hostile invading Armies.

  32. He Pants, if you are going to call names and impugn someone’s name, why not have the guts to post your own name?

    Do you not realize that readers consider the source?

    An anonymous troll and possible sock puppet gets little credence around here.

  33. Doc Conspiracy exploded this Vattel myth a year ago:

    Quoting “The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens,” he noted that “Those words, however, are quoted from a translation of de Vattel that first appeared in 1797, 10 years after the Constitution’s ratification.”

    Doc concludes “how can de Vattel’s “The Law of Nations” define a term that it doesn’t even contain (except in translations a decade after the Constitution was ratified)? If the framers wanted to refer to de Vattel, then they surely would have used his words from the English translation they had, but “natives or indegenes” is not in Artile II of the Constitution.”

  34. The New Englander and Yale Review said “…the term ‘natural born citizen’ is used, and excludes all persons owing allegiance by birth to foreign states;”


    The exclusion for persons owing allegiance by birth to foreign states means persons born to diplomats with diplomatic immunity, and persons born to members of hostile military forces occupying the country.

    That is the law.

  35. Vince Treacy will look straight into your eyes and tell you a lie!

    I asked “Did Barack Obama II owe allegiance to a foreign state at the time of his birth?”

    Vince Treacy responded; “No.” Vince Treacy then went on to try to convince (there’s that Con and Vince again) readers that he was telling them the truth. and Obama’s own “Fight the smears” campaign site disagree with Vince Treacy
    “In other words, at the time of his birth, Barack Obama Jr. was both a U.S. citizen (by virtue of being born in Hawaii) and a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (or the UKC) by virtue of being born to a father who was a citizen of the UKC.”

    Fight the smears:
    “When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children.

    Since Sen. Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya, his Kenyan citizenship automatically expired on Aug. 4,1982.”

    Uncle Ernie was right to tell me to keep an eye on Vince Treacy.

  36. Pants is totally confused, legally.

    Citizenship. Citizenship. Citizenship.

    Not one of the sources cites stated that Obama “owed allegiance” to Kenya or any other country other than the United States.


    They discussed “citizenship.”

    Allegiance is the obligation of fidelity and obedience owed by a person to a government in consideration for the protection that government gives, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, 4th Ed, 1968. It is not the same as citizenship. Noncitizens who are subjects of a country (like immigrants awaiting citizenship) can owe it allegiance without being citizens.

    A citizen is “a member of the political community, owing allegiance and being entitled to the enjoyment of full civil rights.” Black’s Law Dictionary, 4th Ed, 1968. She must be a member of the political community AND owe allegiance. Obama never owed allegiance to Kenya.

    He was a potential, conditional “citizen” of Kenya, because that country would have accorded citizenship to him because of his birth to his Kenyan father in America, if he ever returned and claimed it, which he never did, ever.

    Obama never owed any obligation of fidelity or obedience to Kenya, because Kenya never afforded him ANY protection and never had ANY jurisdiction, power or authority over him.

    Many colonial countries, former colonial countries, and poor countries accord this conditional, potential citizenship to children born to their citizens overseas. It is not full citizenship. The children only become citizens if they return and claim their citizenship.

    They may hope that their people, like Obama senior, may return someday when economic conditions are better. They want to assure them that their children, IF THEY RETURN, will be eligible for citizenship without the burden of naturalization. That is the reason for it. They wanted to keep families together if the parent returned to the home country. That is how it works.

    If the children born outside Kenya and similar countries never return, then they do not regain or reclaim or retain that citizenship. They remain citizens of their country of birth. Their allegiance to the birth country is exclusive and continuing and unbroken.

    What is so hard about this?

    The child born in the US has no “allegiance” to Kenya or any other country. His “allegiance” is to the United States of America. Legally. Totally. Exclusively.

    Everyone, look at Pant’s citations. He, she or it cannot even read. They did not say anything about allegiance. Nothing.

    One more time. Citizenship. Allegiance.

    This is getting boring.

    What is really maddening is that this troll won’t even answer the information I posted about Vattel. Doc Conspiracy actually displays the exact images of the translations available in America in 1787. They never translated Vattel’s words as “natural born citizen.” How could they be the source of the Constitution?

    Not a peep out of Pants on that one.

  37. Pants cannot even read its own stuff: Obama has neither renounced his U.S. citizenship nor sworn an oath of allegiance to Kenya.”

    Never sworn allegiance to Kenya.

    No allegiance to Kenya.


  38. From Obama’s own “Fight the Smears” website:

    “Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children.”

    As a British subject by birth, Obama was subject to the protection of England as well as the United States. His character was one of dual nationality from the time of his birth.

    Let’s look at a SCOTUS ruling regarding one who is born with dual citizenship.

    Kawakita v. U.S., 343 U.S. 717 (1952)
    Tomoya Kawakita was a dual US/Japanese citizen (born in the US to Japanese parents). He was in Japan when World War II broke out, and because of the war was unable to return to the US. During the war, he actively supported the Japanese cause and abused US prisoners of war who had been forced to work under him. After the war, he returned to the US on a US passport, and shortly thereafter he was charged with (and convicted of) treason for his wartime activities.

    Kawakita claimed that he had lost his US citizenship by registering in Japan as a Japanese national during the war, and as a result he could not be found guilty of treason against the US. Presumably, the reason Kawakita fought so tenaciously not to be considered a US citizen was that he saw this as the only way to escape a death sentence for his treason conviction.

    However, the Supreme Court ruled that since Kawakita had dual nationality by birth, when he registered himself as Japanese, he was simply reaffirming an already existing fact and was not actually acquiring Japanese citizenship or renouncing his US citizenship.

    Obama has admitted that he had dual citizenship at birth.

    Do I need to provide court cases in which a person with dual citizenship at birth can appeal to the nation of their choice for protection? Maybe I should just let Vince Treacy continue to bury himself.

    It really doesn’t matter if Obama’s dual citizenship was to the United Kingdom or Kenya, and the United States. It was plural citizenship at birth, and that’s all that matters.

  39. From the Oxford Dictionary of Law (Fifth Edition-2001)

    allegiance n. The duty of obedience owed to a head of state in return for his protection. It is due from all citizens of that state and its dependencies and also from any alien present in the state.

    Vince Treacy likes to cite as his source.


    “When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.’s children:

    British Nationality Act of 1948 (Part II, Section 5): Subject to the provisions of this section, a person born after the commencement of this Act shall be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent if his father is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at the time of the birth.

    In other words, at the time of his birth, Barack Obama Jr. was both a U.S. citizen (by virtue of being born in Hawaii) and a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies (or the UKC) by virtue of being born to a father who was a citizen of the UKC.

    Obama’s British citizenship was short-lived. On Dec. 12, 1963, Kenya formally gained its independence from the United Kingdom. Chapter VI, Section 87 of the Kenyan Constitution specifies that:

    1. Every person who, having been born in Kenya, is on 11th December, 1963 a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies or a British protected person shall become a citizen of Kenya on 12th December, 1963…

    2. Every person who, having been born outside Kenya, is on 11th December, 1963 a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies or a British protected person shall, if his father becomes, or would but for his death have become, a citizen of Kenya by virtue of subsection (1), become a citizen of Kenya on 12th December, 1963.

    As a citizen of the UKC who was born in Kenya, Obama’s father automatically received Kenyan citizenship via subsection (1). So given that Obama qualified for citizen of the UKC status at birth and given that Obama’s father became a Kenyan citizen via subsection (1), it follows that Obama did in fact have Kenyan citizenship after 1963. So The Rocky Mountain News was at least partially correct.

  40. allegiance n. The duty of obedience owed to a head of state in return for his protection. It is due from all citizens of that state and its dependencies and also from any alien present in the state.

    Obama was never in Kenya to appeal to that nation for protection. You have to be in a nation to get its protection.

    Not in the country. No protection.

  41. Vince Treacy,

    Are you really going to come into a legal blawg and claim that the foreign-born child of U.S. citizens would be provided no protection from, let’s say, attack on the high seas until such time as the child sets foot for the first time on U.S. soil? Are you claiming that the U.S. would have no duty to protect that minor child?

  42. The diplomatic protection of citizens abroad by Edwin Montefiore Borchard (1915)

    § 258. Foreign-born American Citizens.

    According to §1993 of the Revised Statutes “all children . . . born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, whose fathers were or may be at the time of their birth citizens thereof, are declared to be citizens of the United States; but the rights of citizenship shall not descend to children whose fathers never resided in the United States.”

    When such foreign-born children of American citizens are born in a country by whose laws they become its subjects jure soti, a case of dual nationality also arises.2 While passports may be and are frequently issued to such foreign-born minors,3 their efficacy is qualified by the fact, unreservedly admitted, that it is not competent for the United States by its municipal legislation to interfere with the rights, obligations and duties which may attach to them under the laws of the country in which they were born and in which they continue to reside.4 In third countries no such limitation would apply.

    The question is frequently presented whether the foreign-born minor child of a naturalized citizen is entitled to American protection. If born prior to the naturalization of the father and never resident in this country, the child of course never became a citizen of this country. If born after the naturalization of the father, it becomes first necessary to determine whether the father had expatriated himself, at the time of the child’s birth. If so, the child is born an alien, and is not entitled to American protection. As already observed, if the father renounced or forfeited his American citizenship subsequent to the birth of the child and acquired a new nationality, this has been held to operate not as a renunciation, but merely as a suspension of the child’s right to American protection against a conflicting claim of the country of residence, notwithstanding the general rule that the minor child follows the status of the father. A passport may be issued to such a child until he attains majority, and becomes competent to elect his nationality. The American citizenship of such a minor may, however, be divested by his continued residence abroad after reaching the age of majority. So that, while protected as a minor, he must, in order to conserve his American citizenship and right to protection, manifest his election to assume the rights and duties of American citizenship, for upon reaching majority his citizenship is no longer derivative, but is a matter of personal election. When, therefore, the foreign-born child of an American citizen or the American-born child of foreign parents continues to reside abroad after reaching the age of majority, his right to American protection depends upon his having elected American citizenship in accordance with the law of the United States.

    As we can see, those born abroad, even those who acquire dual citizenship, are provided protection even though they had never set foot on U.S. soil.

    The author of the cited book received his LL.B. from New York Law School in 1905.

    Vince Treacy is either ignorant or he has no shame.

  43. Edwin Montefiore Borchard.

    Nice name.

    Sounds like a Ray Bradbury story title, like “Icarus Montgolfier Wright.”

    I looked Borchard up to see what he had to say about citizenship at birth. Here is the link (scroll to section 269 on page 606):


    § 269. Citizenship at Birth.

    It is not within the purview of this work to discuss the municipal law of citizenship. Nevertheless, inasmuch as the international aspects of citizenship are often necessarily involved in the matter of diplomatic protection, it seems desirable briefly to notice some of the principal features connected with the acquisition of American citizenship and title to protection.

    Citizenship is acquired by birth or naturalization. Citizenship by birth may be acquired either by birth in the United States or by birth abroad to American citizens. The effects of a conflict with the law of other countries by which dual nationality ensues have already been, to some extent, considered.

    According to the civil rights Act of April 9, 1866,2 “all persons born in the United States, and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are declared to be citizens of the United States,” and according to the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1868, “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.” These two definitions appear to be declaratory of the common law.

    Yet on several occasions the courts and the Department of State appear to have misinterpreted the clauses “not subject to any foreign power” and “subject to the jurisdiction” by construing them so as to exclude from citizenship the children born in this country of alien parents, according to whose national law their children became subjects jure sanguinis.3 The uniform construction of the law at the present time confers citizenship upon all persons (not tribal Indians) born in the United States, even of aliens, permanently or temporarily here resident,4 and interprets the clause “subject to the jurisdiction,” as excluding merely children born in places enjoying exterritoriality, such as foreign legations or public vessels.5


    2 R. S., § 1992.

    3 Dicta in Slaughter-House Cases, 16 Wall. 73, and in Elk v. Wilkins, 112 U. S. 99, briefly discussed by Van Dyne, op. cit., 12-15. See also Hausding’s case, For. Rel., 1885, 394, and Greisser’s case, For. Rel., 1885, 814. An account of the development of the American law of citizenship by birth in the TJ. S. is given by Van Dyne, 3 “. teq.

    4 Lynch t>. Clark, 1 Sandf. Ch. 583; McCreery v. Somerville, 9 Wheat. 354; In re Look Tin Sing, 10 Sawyer, 353, 21 Fed. 905, and the great case of U. S. v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), 169 U. S. 649. See Report of Citizenship Board, 73-74; Van Dyne, 17-24; and Moore’s Dig. IlI, 280.

    5 Geofroy v. Riggs, 133 U. S. 258, 264; Act’g Sec’y Wharton in For. Rel., 1891, 21.


    So there is the quote and the link. It confirms what I have written since 2008.

    He says that the uniform construction confers citizenship at birth upon all persons born in the United States, even to aliens temporarily in the country. The doctrine is founded on the common law. The provision excluding persons not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States is very limited. The law was “misconstrued” to exclude the children of aliens whose home country made them “subjects jure sanguinis.” He relies on the “great case” of Wong Kim Ark.

    So I think that Edwin Montefiore Borchard supports me, not the birthers.

    [Add on. The link to the book is a new product of google. It is terrific. The entire book is there with a photo of each page, and an option for text. It is indexed, and the index entries are linked to the text. I think this is the ground floor of a revolution in scholarship.]

  44. Top of the afternoon Mr. Treacy.

    Mr. Treacy I ran across an article a few days ago and was wondering if you are the Vince Treacy that is written about.

    From the 1996 Congressional Record

    “Now, Mr. President, there was reference made to the CRS. I am just amazed. I thought they always had a pretty good record. They ought to give the fellow who works over there for the Congressional Research Service weekend leave. And the reason I say that, they have a guy named Vince Treacy, legislative attorney, and he was asked on September 27, just a few days ago, to give an opinion with respect to the coverage, the Railway Labor Act coverage of Federal Express as an express company.

    “Now we see who comes in in the middle of the game trying to change the rules of the road. We see now who is trying to pull rugs out from under people. And they are using every gimmick in the book. This fellow will be looking for a job if I have anything to do with it, I can tell you that”.

    Page 10

    Those are some pretty strong words coming from a democratic member.

    Are you the Vince Treacy who Mr. Hollings is referring to?

  45. Also was wondering if you had the chance to verify that richcares lives in Oregon. Maybe you could get Dr. C to get in touch with him if you haven’t already, seeing how he is your source and commenter on your blog.

  46. That was me, everybody.

    That wrinkled old senile racist redneck Hollings then went on to say that he’d like to wring my neck.

    He should have been careful about his empty threats. He might have found his own skinny little neck wrung right back.

    It was no problem for me then, and it is no problem for me now. I was doing my job, and doing it right.

    I told the truth and got the law right back then.

    He did not like it, so he flamed out intemperately (with full speech debate immunity).

    I’m telling the truth and getting the law right now.

    If a Senator could not scare me, why should I worry about a lot of anonymous trolls and sock puppets?

  47. What makes you think that I don’t already know what the answer is Mr. Treacy. You know what they say, never ask a question that you don’t know the answer to.

  48. Hi, Vince. Anyone who pisses off Fritz Hollings can’t be all bad. BTW, why is it that not a single solitary birther who has fouled this site over the past two years has had the courage to stand behind his or her assertions with an actual name? That’s why I decided some time ago not to respond to the gutless wonders who pop up time and again to angrily repeat false statements supported by incoherent legal arguments cribbed from equally clueless and equally anonymous third parties. I would enjoy a rational discussion with at least one birther who was willing to take off the white hood and speak in his own name (excluding Orly Taitz). But that is as likely to happen as BVM’s coup d’etat.

  49. Thanks, Mike, I appreciate it.

    The real names have been scarce here, and are even scarcer over at Doc Conspiracy and Native and Natural Born Citizen Explored. The trolls and sock puppets get rolled so effectively that it gets painful sometimes

    BTW, “sock puppet” is the term for the anonymous posters who keep popping up under difference nicknames. One, like Duh disappears, then Les comes and goes, and then we had Integrity. They all sound alike.

    Finally, I do not condemn the anonymous posters in general. A friend had to post that way because his job required him to be nonpartisan. I think Kevin is wise to use a penname, because he is a scientist. Word searches should only lead to professional papers.

    But these birthtrolla never give any good reason, and love to attack real name posters personally … and dabble in some cyberstalking.

  50. You pissed off Fritz Hollings?

    That gets you two gold stars, Vince. One for a job well done and one for outstanding community service.

  51. For Pants.

    From NNBCE


    Educating the Confused – Allegiance, protection and territorial limits

    Thanks to Dragging Canoe at Dr C’s blog we have another great reference:

    [quote]The municipal laws of most nations establish the rights of perpetual allegiance, but not of universal allegiance. Allegiance in fact is limited by space, and not by time. The power of a government is only co-extensive with its territorial limits, and the extension of its territorial power. Beyond these it can neither enforce duties nor extend protection. Now, the basis of allegiance is protection; and all legal duties must suppose, at least in theory and in the nature of things, an ability to enforce them: but beyond the territorial limits and the extension of the territorial power of a government, neither of these exist, no can, in the nature of things, exist; and, of course, beyond these, allegiance must cease. Out of these dominions the citizen cannot be subject to a power which in its nature can only exist within them. [unquote]

    There are some who ‘argue’ that since President Obama was born to a father who held a non-US citizenship, that Obama thus had conflicting allegiances. This is based on a flawed understanding of the concept of allegiance. Allegiance, as the above quote shows, depends on protection. While within the territorial limits of the United States, Obama is fully bound by the laws and protection of the United States and thus owes allegiance to the United States. Since the country of Obama’s father’s citizenship holds no rights over the United States, Obama is therefor outside its territorial limits and thus does not owe allegiance to this foreign country. In other words, President Obama was born under full jurisdiction of and owing full allegiance to the United States. As such he was born on United States soil, and under its jurisdiction and therefor not just a citizen, but a natural born citizen.


    “…the basis of allegiance is protection…. “ “…beyond the territorial limits…allegiance must cease.”

  52. The worst thing is that the American history books are written in such a fashion they perpetually extol any “virute” os Americas wars….feeding into the false axioms that have perculated through our history for too long. Cetainly not what I want to teach my child. The “war hero” oxymoron is cited throughout our history books. Like there is such thing? May as well extol the “Mafia hero” and the rapist hero………any other crime hero. If that is what you choose to cintinue to believe, please be sure your own kids fight some future useless American war…..daughters first since there seems to be a bit of gender discrimination out there.

  53. “The “war hero” oxymoron is cited throughout our history books. Like there is such thing?”

    Yes, there is such a thing. War is a terrible thing. It is the worst endeavor humans can engage in as a group (although arguably not as individuals). Unfortunately wars are sometimes necessary. But sometimes people do truly heroic things in a horrific situations. Selfless acts that save lives of compatriots and/or non-combatants.

    The problem is really to whom the title is applied.

    Example: It is commonly taught George Custer was a war hero for his actions at Little Big Horn. But the reality is that any heroics he did were during the Civil War. In fact, he was anything but a hero when it came to the Indians. He should be a footnote of a hero and it should be a footnote with a caveat.

    Example #2: U.S. Grant is considered a hero because of his winning record when the reality he was a drunkard and a mediocre tactician who would have had his ass kicked by Robert E. Lee (a far superior tactician) had the South had the benefits of industrialization that the North had during the Civil War. As a bonus, he was also a crap President. But hero? Hardly. And his compatriot Gen. Sherman, often characterized as a hero was well, was simply a war criminal.

    As was Curtis LeMay – the man responsible for the firebombing of Dresden.

    But contrast them with King Leonidas of Sparta and his actions at the Battle of Thermopylae. His story is heroic legend because it deserves to be. He took 300 men and held off the greatest standing army in the world at that time.

    Or Douglas Bader, an RAF pilot who took down 22 Luftwaffe aircraft despite being a double amputee. A man who save countless civilian lives when he could have just as easily stayed out of the war altogether.

    Or Oskar Schindler who risked his own life and the lives of his family to save 1,200 Jews during WWII.

    There are real heroes in war sometime. It’s just a label that shouldn’t be applied easily or often and rarely to leaders or generals.

    There are many war heroes through out history. Most of them are buried in unmarked graves and the only legacy they left is the people they saved by their selfless acts.

  54. “Or Douglas Bader, an RAF pilot who took down 22 Luftwaffe aircraft despite being a double amputee. A man who save countless civilian lives when he could have just as easily stayed out of the war altogether.”


    Bader was heroic if only for coining this famous line, oft cited by WSC:

    “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.”

    I agree with you Buddha. Heroism (or more properly “courage”) comes in all manner of endeavors, and is particularly admired in times of extreme stress. Hemingway owns the classic definition, “Grace under pressure.”

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