Let’s talk Constitution, because there’s a big elephant in the room in this regard : Legal definition of ‘natural born citizens’.
Preamble to the Constitution : “We the People” … a collective, a nation, one might say a collective bargaining agreement enshrining the concept of nationalism.
But what type of nationalism?
If we were going to mention the US Constitution, we can’t do this without mention of the actual Law that defined Citizenship, thus allowing people to claim the rights agreed upon in the US Constitution ratified less than 2 years earlier :
Naturalization Act of 1790
The original United States Naturalization Law of March 26, 1790 (1 Stat. 103) provided the first rules to be followed by the United States in the granting of national citizenship. This law limited naturalization to immigrants who were free White persons of good character. It thus excluded American Indians, indentured servants, slaves, free blacks and later Asians although free blacks were allowed citizenship at the state level in certain states. It also provided for citizenship for the children of U.S. citizens born abroad, stating that such children “shall be considered as natural born citizens,” the only US statute ever to use the term. It specified that the right of citizenship did “not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States.”
Thus, one could argue that true paleo-conservatism was racial from the first instance it legally applied to citizens covered by this definition. Of course, times change, but by the times of Lincoln, the father of the GOP, his own interpretations were not very different :
Lincoln Speech, Sept. 18, 1858.
“While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white people. While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the black and white races – that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making VOTERS or jurors of negroes, NOR OF QUALIFYING THEM HOLD OFFICE, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any of her man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”
History is history. We must accept it, and definitely learn from it, but not disrespect the opinions of learned and important leaders of this day, for they perhaps knew something we don’t about human nature. Perhaps we are fooling ourselves on many matters. Perhaps they understood that certain biological constraints inherent in non-white races would lead them to resent whites, destroying the core demographic which the US Founders and men like Lincoln obviously considered to be the agency responsible for maintaining and transmitting the particular character of this nationalism down into the present day.
I can say, in all honesty, these men were obviously wiser and more pure in their intentions to create a strong, resilient nationalism, than politicians of the modern day (demagogues and clowns).