What did the Framers of the Citizenship Clause say about citizenship in U.S. territories?


Senator Lyman Trumbull, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during the time the Citizenship Clause was being debated in Congress, explained that “the first section [of the Fourteenth Amendment] refers to persons everywhere, whether in the States or in the Territories or in the District of Columbia.” 


During debates over a similar citizenship provision in the 1866 Civil Rights Act, House Judiciary Committee Chairman James F. Wilson expressed the understanding that “Every person born within the United States, its Territories, or districts . . . is a natural-born citizen in the sense of the Constitution, and entitled to all the rights and privileges appertaining to that capacity.”

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