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.