The Assassination of Chester A. Arthur

Obama Citizenship Denial folks say Barack Obama can’t be president because his father was a British citizen, not an American citizen. That particular presidential requirement was a new one on me! I speculated that surely there could be among all of the Presidents of the United States ONE who didn’t have both parents as US citizens.

It turns out that there is one, Chester A. Arthur. Who knew?

So given this historical precedent, will the anti-Obama crowd drop their demand for citizen-only parentage (which was just a fringe view anyway)? No. In a perverse consistency, they are claiming that Chester A. Arthur wasn’t a legitimate president either. This appears on Leo C. Donofrio’s Natural Born Citizen site.

Donofrio says: Because Chester Arthur covered up his British citizenship, any precedent he might have set that the country has had a President born of an alien father is nullified completely as Chester Arthur was a usurper to the Presidency. He wouldn’t have been on the ticket if it was public knowledge. Nobody knew Arthur was a British subject because nobody looked in the right place for the truth.

Arthur did not cover up the fact that his father was Irish, and he never claimed that his father was naturalized before Arthur was born. To say that “he wouldn’t have been on the ticket” had his father’s citizenship status been known is pure speculation. The fact that there was a furor over WHERE Arthur was born argues that his father’s status WAS known. If investigators at the time believed that Arthur was the son of two US Citizens, then why would his being born in Canada matter? Rather than say the investigators failed to discover the father’s citizenship status, it makes more sense that they didn’t think it mattered. After all, most people believe (and I think rightly) that natural-born just means “born a citizen”. And however you spin Wong Arthur was born a citizen.

The New York Times carried a biography of candidate Arthur on June 9, 1880 which began:

Gen. Chester A. Arthur was born in Franklin county Vt., Oct. 5, 1830. He is the oldest son of a family of two sons and five daughters. His father was the Rev. Dr. William Arthur,  a baptist clergyman, who emigrated to this country from County Antrim, Ireland in his eighteenth year and died Oct. 27, 1875, in Newtonville, near Albany.

There was no secret where Arthur’s father came from, and no assertion in this biography that he ever became a citizen. Nonetheless, while there were accusations that Arthur was born in Canada, no one seemed interested in his father’s citizenship status.

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Just an old guy with opinions that I like to bounce off other people.
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9 Responses to The Assassination of Chester A. Arthur

  1. Kevin says:

    Salon.com published a very informative article about Obama Citizenship and the psychology of conspiracy theories at: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/12/05/birth_certificate/

  2. Truth says:

    I got $500 that says I can guess correct who Alex Koppelman voted for. Hows come when it is a positive article for Obama it IS informative. He has done nothing more than speculate the opposite direction FOR his candidate, then attempt to back it up with a nice story about conspiracy theory. Steven Speilberg writes good stuff also.

  3. Kevin says:

    Truth, are you saying?

    The article is pro-Obama
    therefore the article is by someone who voted for Obama
    therefore the article lacks value due to its pro-Obama bias.

    That is logically equivalent to every pro-Obama statement is biased!

    Such a view reminds me of a letter I got once in response to my criticism of a Soviet reference book: “only Marxist-Leninist philosophy is objective and scientific”.

    What I find most interesting in the article is the connections of particular anti-Obama conspiracy theorists to other conspiracy theories. I had no idea that Jerome Corsi was tied up in other conspiracy theories–I thought he just never got over the Vietnam War protests.

  4. Truth says:

    Hey, every now and then I have stoop down to democratic levels to make a point. I apologize, I’ll behave for a while longer now. But no, I know every pro-Obama statement is not biased. It still doesn’t change the fact every pro-Obama article you read is this informative piece of good writing, and each anti-Obama article is a conspirator blowing smoke out their pie hole. BUT, I’m ok with that, that is human nature…you like the person and see things through a different shade of glasses than I. That doesn’t make you bad, or wrong, just different.

  5. Kevin says:

    I usually dislike web sites dedicated to trashing someone (whoever it is) and I am generally well disposed to those who defend others unfairly attacked. If all I’m reading about is “Obama Birth Certificate” hits on Google, then I’m very likely to make the kind of comments that Truth observes.

    There is a lot more to me that that.

  6. TRUTH says:

    Careful patting yourself on the back you might pull something, and while you pointing that finger look at your hand, there are three more fingers pointing back at you.

  7. Kevin says:

    I have yet to see any site challenging Obama’s qualifications for President that does not have significant misinformation on it. A Google search for obama citizenship yields over 2.2 million hits–meaning I have not read all of them.

  8. Jasper James says:

    I found the Senate Resolution on NBC for McCain which I will leave for people to check out.

    http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200804/041008c.html

    Its pretty clear that congress understands the term to mean Children Born of American Citizens. It could be that perhaps you wish to maintain your perspective for your own reasons.

    Even Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), says “Based on the understanding of the pertinent sources of constitutional meaning, it is widely believed that if someone is born to American citizens anywhere in the world they are natural born citizens. ” He did not say – “born of a Foreign Father and An American Citizen”. He said – “born to American Citizens”. Notice American Citizens is Plural.

    Further he said “Because he was born to American citizens, there is no doubt in my mind that Senator McCain is a natural born citizen”. Again – American Citizens phrase. I think the case of Obama is doubtful because his father was not an American Citizen.

  9. Kevin says:

    Jasper, I completely agree with your interpretation of the Senate Resolution as referencing two citizen parents and “if someone is born to American citizens anywhere in the world they are natural born citizens.”

    However I do not think this resolution was meant to exclude persons born in the states, regardless of their parentage, from natural born status.

    To take “if someone is born to American citizens anywhere in the world they are natural born citizens” and turn it around to say “if they are natural born citizens then they are born to American citizens anywhere in the world” would be the formal logical fallacy of “affirming the consequent”.

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