Reply To: 14th Amendment: Language and Intent


The idea of “dual sovereignty” comes from the confused language of ratification-era Federalists, such as Hamilton and Madison in _The Federalist_, about sovereignty. They say at various points that the Federal Government has some sovereignty, that the states retain some sovereignty, that various institutions, have “sovereign power,” etc. I call this “confused” because sovereignty refers to ultimate authority, and — as John Taylor of Caroline pointed out to John Adams in their late-life correspondence — in America, no government is sovereign; it is the peoples of the states who are.

Yes, state citizenship and American citizenship are discrete.