In his Essay Original Citizenship,
Josh Blackman asks what the Constitution means when it refers to “citizen[s]
of the United States.” Acknowledging the lack of guidance on the
topic, Blackman looks to contemporary notions of citizenship, including
the theories of birthright citizenship and “citizenship by election,”
for help. In concluding that one could only become a citizen of
the United States as of the Declaration of Independence, Blackman tracks
early case law at critical points in the nation's early history.
He looks to treason cases, contested elections, and interpretations
of Jay's Treaty to determine that the only logical starting point
for “original” citizenship must be the Declaration. Blackman's piece is a much‐needed contribution to a sparse area of
scholarship and helps to lay the groundwork for future work on the implications
of his findings.