In Response to the John Quincy Adams Evidence and Cruz’s Presidential Eligibility
Two of Doug Johnson’s recent articles make the claim that John Quincy Adams (JQA) acknowledged that his firstborn son, George Washington Adams (GWA), did not qualify as a “natural born citizen” as required of all current presidential candidates in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution since his eldest was not born on American soil.
This purported historical nugget is supposed to once-and-for-all settle the matter on Senator Ted Cruz’s eligibility to run for commander-in-chief.
Johnson’s ultimate conclusion: “If he [GWA] was not natural born [and therefore ineligible], then there’s no way Cruz could be considered natural born [and is likewise ineligible].”
However, if he really wants to convince his readers of this point, then where’s a single, bone fide JQA quotation to that effect? Where are any biographical excerpts in which JQA, or anyone else closely associated with a founder, is directly cited as telling GWA that he’s not permitted to run for president because he is not a natural born citizen (never mind the fact that he died of a probable suicide before reaching the mandatory age of 35, so the whole point is moot)?
Johnson’s articles provide neither of these types of factual evidence, or anything remotely of the sort, to back up the main linchpin of his argument. Furthermore, it is pure speculation by Mr. Johnson that John Adams – an actual first generation founding father – and his son, JQA, would have agreed with one another on the assessment of GWA’s constitutional qualifications, or lack thereof, to occupy the White House.
Historical evidence, in fact, reveals that they couldn’t even agree on the choice of a name for JQA’s first son. John Adams took great umbrage with his grandson being named after the first president instead of himself. So maybe, just maybe, they would have also disagreed on the more substantive issue of GWA’s presidential eligibility. And Johnson undoubtedly disqualifies himself as an impartial commentator on the subject when he levels palpably antagonistic and personal attacks against Cruz and his integrity, calling him “immature and foolish,” for example. (Full disclosure, I am a Cruz supporter, but I will avoid any ad hominem attacks. Rather, I will only be raising key questions about the content of the material that Mr. Johnson presented.)
In the main source that Johnson links to in his article, historian Doug Wead merely states: “Their correspondence [between John Quincy Adams and his wife, Louisa Catherine] reveals their belief that the Constitution did not allow him to be president because of his birth in Germany.”
Once again, I ask, where’s an actual, direct quote from their correspondence? Wead takes the time to include, and to supposedly hammer his point home by concluding his article with, the quoted opinion of J.J. Perling on the question at hand, but avoids producing any word-for-word documentation from a primary source (from either JQA or Louisa themselves)!
Why such a glaring omission?
What’s more, Perling erroneously conflates natural and native born as though they’re exactly the same thing – but they’re not. Wead does make a general reference to his book, All the President’s Children, in an effort to substantiate his case, but would it really have been that difficult to provide us with just one citation from the letters that he vaguely alludes to. That is, if his book actually contains a verbatim quote from either of the Adamses, the readers of his article would greatly benefit from an opportunity to scrutinize such a thing.
I’m not categorically denying the existence of any such correspondence between JQA and Louisa, but it would really be nice to be able to evaluate the specific context and language so that we can objectively decide for ourselves. Otherwise, we can only assume it to be hearsay at best, fictional at worst. A healthy amount of skepticism is always in order when we’re in the midst of a politically supercharged election cycle.
Therefore, in an effort to get to the truth and unearth any potentially related facts, I did the following:
1. Read through every book (four of them) on JQA at my local library, taking particular note of every single mention of GWA.
2. Purchased and read the Kindle version of Doug Wead’s book, All the President’s Children, which he assures us contains “the story [about GWA’s ineligibility] in its full detail.”
3. Spent numerous hours in additional research on the internet.
After reviewing each of the above sources, what did I find when it comes to a direct citation from an actual primary source? Absolutely nothing! There is nary a word that is directly attributable to JQA or his wife as pertains to their eldest son not being a “natural born citizen,” and until these details are produced, I’m not buying what the Cruz opponents are selling.
Interestingly, Wead does note in his book:
The first two sons of John Quincy Adams died. They were sons and grandsons of presidents, and namesakes of presidents, as well. There would be no third President Adams. The chain was broken, and no chief executive’s offspring would ever again be elected president until the year 2000.
If only one of JQA’s sons, and that being his second child named John Adams II, was able to be elected to our nation’s highest office, then why does he refer to both of their deaths as breaking the chain of presidential succession. Wead also identifies GWA as the tragic “heir apparent” who died of a “likely suicide.”
What was GWA the heir apparent to, if not the presidency? Wouldn’t anything less be considered a disappointment to someone of the Adams’ pedigree? As a matter of fact, despite serving in the Massachusetts state legislature, Wead himself admits that GWA was still viewed as somewhat of a heartbreaking failure to both of his parents during his lifetime.
I also took the additional effort to reach out to Mr. Wead, asking him for a link or a website or any other source for verification. And even though I know for certain that he received my inquiry, Wead has yet to respond to my request. To convince his readers of Cruz’s presidential ineligibility, he’s going to need to provide people with something more significant than just his uncorroborated, anecdotal generalizations about historical events. Let’s likewise never forget that making grandiose appeals to obscure correspondences of the founders is precisely what the fundamental secularists do when they ill-intentionally misappropriate Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation”/Danbury Baptists letter to the Constitution.
Also, Wead posits that it was their belief … but based on what?
The reader is simply left in the dark because any and all historical references are conspicuously and suspiciously absent. This represents nothing more than an obviously failed example of circular citations in which one secondary source parrots another secondary source and so on (from Perling to Wead and finally to Johnson, but any and all original material is strikingly nowhere to be found.)
Moreover, a belief is a far cry from a legal opinion based upon enacted legislation or case law/court precedent or English common law or Blackstone’s Commentaries or anything of the sort. In this so-called supporting article, as Wead himself describes the murky details, it actually sounds more like GWA’s parents were simply engaging in a little wishful thinking in the hopes of sparing their eldest son the stresses and struggles associated with the nation’s highest office since GWA was a very emotionally unstable individual. It’s doubtful at best that JQA was actually intending to make any kind of legal, official or in-depth statement regarding his interpretive approach to the Constitution as it related to their troubled son.
Johnson further discusses how we need to pursue either a lower court or a Supreme Court decision to resolve this matter, and I’m like, oh yeah, right, especially since they’ve been doing such a bang up job at interpreting the Constitution as of late (i.e.: Obergefell). The last thing this nation needs is our rogue judiciary engaging in any more of their “helpful,” Leftist distortions of the Constitution.
Mr. Johnson may have faith in these black-robed tyrants and their out-of-control decrees, but most true conservatives know better than to blindly accept what a handful of unaccountable, activist jurists can conjure up. The vast majority of the court’s recent renderings have served only to undermine what the framers originally intended when they drafted our nation’s foundational document.
In Wead’s article, he further notes that the Senate issued a non-binding resolution declaring McCain’s eligibility in 2008 (Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama co-sponsored it, and that ought to tell you something too). So, basically what he’s asserting is that as long as you play the political games and get your establishment buddies to back you by abandoning one’s campaign promises and core principles, then voila, you’re eligible. But since Cruz didn’t go along with the Senate syndicate, he “has no such congressional protection.” So, which is it, do we need the “protection” of the Washington cartel, as Cruz so aptly identifies it, to approve his legal suitability or should we go with the theoretical viewpoint that’s ostensibly found in John Quincy Adams’ private letters to his wife? Hmmm?
Johnson also commends and points to Ann Coulter in order to buttress his viewpoint regarding Cruz’s illegitimacy, but she has long ago sold out on any semblance of objectivity and become little more than a blushing Trump surrogate, spinning the wild conspiracy theories of her latest, favorite faux conservative (sorry Chris Christie, Ann’s found a new political beau).
For starters, Coulter’s article loses all credibility right from the get-go when it opens with an appeal to the whole bogus Obama birther issue. According to the Naturalization Act of 1790, signed by none other than President George Washington himself, “The children of citizens of the United States that may be born beyond Sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born Citizens.” It’s true that just five years later the original naturalization act was superseded by the Naturalization Act of 1795, but this new law did not directly address the “natural born citizen” issue, and no legislation since 1790 ever has specifically dealt with this.
This fact alone is certainly much more substantive to the current discussion than any unconvincing letter from the son of a founder to his wife. The 1795 act also does not negate the fact that the only time the founders actually did specifically address the meaning of the “natural born citizen” verbiage, they made it abundantly clear what they meant when they first penned those particular words – and Senator Ted Cruz definitely fits the bill.
As for the latest rumblings coming out of the McCain and Rand Paul camps, these can all be easily dismissed as your typical politically motivated allegations. The aforementioned Doug Wead happens to be a closeted Rand Paul supporter, by the way.
If you’re truly interested in a more thorough and fair examination of this whole issue, you’ll instead need to refer to John Eastman’s definitive, historical review of the facts and relevant information. Even political commentator Guy Benson, a homosexual and absolutely no supporter of Ted Cruz with regards to counterfeit “gay marriage,” has ardently and persuasively agreed on numerous occasions in various columns, like this one and this one. And arriving at the same conclusion from two different vantage points lends a lot more credence to their shared contention.
Better still, an excellent Conservative Review article, written just two days ago, provides an air-tight rebuttal to Trump’s mean-spirited and baseless attacks on Cruz’s constitutional qualifications. It seems that Lawrence Tribe, the Harvard legal expert whom Trump has been repeatedly heralding in order to make his threadbare case, has been conveniently flip-flopping on his views with the ever-changing political winds.
In Johnson, Wead, and Coulter, I smell some political subterfuge coming from those with an anti-Cruz axe to grind! Their articles reek of desperation. The fact is, though, the last thing we need in this country is a candidate who is complicit with the backroom sellouts and engages in the typical partisan posturing – a.k.a. politics as usual.
All I can say is that Cruz has definitely put the fear of God in many of the entrenched politicos and deal-makers inside the beltway. He certainly threatens the status quo and the consultant and donor class stranglehold on Washington. The numerous and strong stands that Cruz has taken in the past are proof positive that he definitely will not cave under the intense D.C. pressure.
And if the ruling class Republicans hate him, that’s all the more reason to vote for Cruz, the only rock-ribbed conservative in the race, in the primaries and caucuses and when November rolls around!
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