Monday, October 28, 2013

A Bit Of History On "Citizens Of The World"

Every once in a while, we hear someone talk about being a "citizen of the world", including a certain recent presidential candidate.  I had thought that this term was a relatively recent creation, perhaps a by-product of the establishment of various international organizations, such as NATO or the UN.  However, while studying James Madison's notes on the Convention of 1787, a.k.a. the Constitutional Convention, I read this particular note, recorded by Madison on August 9th, referring to some statements made by delegate Gouverneur Morris from Pennsylvania about "citizens of the world", where he felt uncomfortable about letting them into the federal government.  If nothing else, this would show that the term has been around for a while. In this note, the pronoun "he" refers to Mr. Morris.
As to those philosophical gentlemen, those Citizens of the World as they call themselves, He owned he did not wish to see any of them in our public Councils. He would not trust them. The men who can shake off their attachments to their own Country can never love any other. These attachments are the wholesome prejudices which uphold all Governments, Admit a Frenchman into your Senate, and he will study to increase the commerce of France: an Englishman, [FN26] he will feel an equal biass in favor of that of England. It has been said that The Legislatures will not chuse foreigners, at least improper ones. There was no knowing what Legislatures would do. Some appointments made by them, proved that every thing ought to be apprehended from the cabals practised on such occasions. He mentioned the case of a foreigner who left this State in disgrace, and worked himself into an appointment from another to Congress.
According to FN26 (footnote 26), the word "and" was inserted into the transcript.

It should be noted that Morris was never a governor, but was named Gouverneur after his mother's maiden name.  Besides signing the Constitution (for which he is often credited as being the author of its Preamble), he had previously signed the Articles of Confederation, and had served in the New York Provincial Congress, the New York State Assembly and the Continental Congress.  After failing to win re-election, he moved to Philadelphia, where he was appointed assistant superintendent of finance and worked as a merchant.  He later moved back to New York, served as Minister Plenipotentiary to France, served for three years as a U.S. Senator from New York, and was the chairman of the Erie Canal Commission.

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