John Bingham

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Bingham in 1859

John Armor Bingham (January 21, 1815 – March 19, 1900) was an American Republican representative from Ohio, an assistant Judge Advocate General in the trial of the Abraham Lincoln assassination and a prosecutor in the impeachment trials of U.S. President Andrew Johnson. He was also the principal framer of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.


  • Those born within the Republic, whether black or white, are citizens by birth - natural born citizens.
    There is no such word as white in your Constitution.
    Citizenship, therefore, does not depend upon complexion any more than it depends upon the rights of election or of office.
    All from other lands, who by the terms of your laws and a compliance with their provisions become naturalized, are adopted citizens of the United States;
    all other persons born within the Republic, of parents owing allegiance to no other sovereignty, are natural born citizens.
    • 1862, page 1639 of The Congressional Globe, Volume 2; Volume 37
  • I repel the suggestion made here in the heat of debate, that the committee or any of its members who favor this proposition seek in any form to mar the Constitution of the country, or take away from any State any right that belongs to it, or from any citizen of any State any right that belongs to him under that Constitution.
    • 1866, page 1088 of The Congressional Globe, Volume 2; Volume 39
  • I find no fault with the introductory clause, which is simply declaratory of what is written in the Constitution, that every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural-born citizen; but, sir, I may be allowed to say further that I deny that the Congress of the United States ever had the power, or color of power to say that any man born within the jurisdiction of the United States, not owing a foreign allegiance, is not and shall not be a citizen of the United States.
    • 8 March 1866, Cong. Globe, 39th, 1st Sess., 1291 (1866), Sec. 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes

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