Tell me, are you a Roman?
Saint Paul’s affirmative response to the Roman guard’s question as recorded in Acts is one of the earliest recorded discussions regarding citizenship in existence.
Roman citizenship in the ancient world was coveted because citizenship had its benefits (in this case saving Paul’s life). And the Romans guarded it jealously. Sovereign nations do that kind of thing.
Two thousand years later a debate rages over the citizenship status of children born to non-Americans, particularly illegal immigrants, on American soil. We feel that this phrase here is just a tad not properly representative to what is happening in the U.S.A., with regards to the Citizenship Clause as put forth in the 14 Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
First, as one looks back into the culture of Roman lineage, the example given — of a child born to illegal immigrants — would most likely face the most unjustified life imaginable, if any life at all. Second, the parents of said child would have been most likely not granted slavery, prostitution, or that said, there’s something to defining any other life at all — meaning they would most likely would have been executed.
The debate within the paradigm of the Fourteenth Amendment since the Constitution nowhere else defines citizenship. A person needs to know the circumstances in which the Amendment was written and ratified. And with that portion in respect let’s mention post Civil War — Reconstruction America.
At the end of the War Between the States, Congress had to address the citizenship status of the newly freed slaves. This was complicated by the ante bellum Dred Scott Supreme Court decision which declared that slaves were “property” and could not, therefore, be citizens.
The answer was the Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868.