What law should be referenced regarding when and how a natural person becomes a juridical person in the US?

According to Wikipedia:

While human beings acquire legal personhood when they are born, juridical persons do so when they are incorporated in accordance with law.

How does this incorporation tie into citizenship and in what ways is the contract legally binding under commercial or common law?

2 Answers 2


Natural persons are not and cannot become juridical persons. Juridical persons are entities that are not natural persons, but which it's necessary or convenient to treat in many respects as though they were natural persons. The categories are mutually exclusive. There is no "contract" involved in citizenship from a legal standpoint (there's a concept of a "social contract," but that's a philosophical justification for government and not an actual legally binding agreement with specific terms); citizenship is not subject to commercial law in any way. Incorporation has nothing whatsoever to do with citizenship; a natural person is not incorporated, and is a citizen as a natural person. That citizenship is the ordinary notion of citizenship.

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    Thank you for helping me understand, @cpast. Is that is to say that if citizenship is not a contractual agreement, then it is mandatory allegiance? What function of law allows for a natural person to enter into commercial contracts with corporations (correct me if mistaken, I presume the U.S. is a corporation, too.) I'm hoping to learn where nations derive their authority from and why people seem to be precluded into citizenship before an age of consent.
    – irth
    Jun 8, 2015 at 22:44
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    The US isn't a corporation as the term is typically used; it's a sovereign state. You nailed it on "citizenship is mandatory allegiance" -- if you're a citizen from birth, you owe allegiance to the country because the country says so. In most countries the allegiance doesn't have to be permanent (you can renounce it, possibly under the condition that you are a citizen elsewhere).
    – cpast
    Jun 8, 2015 at 23:18
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    @irth No one except a US citizen has a right to be admitted to the United States or to reside there. You can be tried for treason if you're a citizen from birth because you owe allegiance to the United States; the fact that you never explicitly agreed to be a citizen is not relevant. You don't have to explicitly consent to allegiance to owe allegiance, just like you don't have to consent to any other law to be bound by it.
    – cpast
    Jun 10, 2015 at 20:35
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    The thing confusing you is the idea of "freedom to contract/freedom to choose;" that does not exist in the context of citizenship. Citizenship is not a contract. It has nothing to do with contracts. Purge your mind of any ideas based around actual legal contracts (again, "social contract" is relevant but it's a philosophical idea and not a legal document) before you think of citizenship, or of the general relationship between people and sovereign states. It is completely irrelevant to that relationship.
    – cpast
    Jun 10, 2015 at 20:41
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    @irth If you look at it historically, yes, it is force. The sovereign was the strongest warlord. Similarly, we are compelled to obey the laws of the US because it has the power to enforce them. Freedom is available in varying degrees, but nobody is truly completely free of all obligations, except perhaps dictatorial rulers.
    – phoog
    Jul 1, 2015 at 17:06

The question seems to rely on a misunderstanding of the nature of citizenship, as cpast has already pointed out. But, bearing that in mind, the question you really seem to be asking is, is there some way for a natural-born citizen of the United States to keep living in the United States, but "opt out" of the jurisdiction of the United States government.

The answer is no.

This kind of shell game of "natural persons," "juridical persons," "incorporated legal persons," and so on, is used frequently by people who want to convince you that they have found a magic loophole in the legal system that means that you are not subject to government control unless you affirmatively take certain steps, or that you can escape the jurisdiction of the country you live in by taking certain steps. The term usually used is "sovereign citizen."

Let me be perfectly clear: all of these theories are absolutely, positively, 100% wrong. None of them make a damn bit of sense to any serious student of the law--and more importantly, none of them have ever been used successfully in any U.S. court.

A person of legal age is entirely free to decide not to be subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. You do this by leaving the United States, renouncing your citizenship, and then not coming into, or doing business with, the United States. Otherwise, if you remain in the country, taking advantage of the public infrastructure and services, you are subject to U.S. jurisdiction (as the citizen of any country would be).

  • thank you. would that mean that a person born in the US, who renounces their US citizenship, would immediately lose their right to reside within the US? What laws would be referenced by any serious student of law to show this?
    – irth
    Jun 10, 2015 at 20:16
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    @irth Under what logic would any non-citizen have the right to reside in the US? The fact that a non-citizen has no right to enter or reside is a consequence of sovereignty; it is considered a human right for citizens to be able to enter their own country, but it is not and never has been considered a right for noncitizens to enter a country (a country has no particular obligation to a noncitizen to allow them to enter; citizenship is a dual obligation, giving the citizen an obligation to the state and a state an obligation to the citizen).
    – cpast
    Jun 10, 2015 at 21:09
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    @irth Why the fixation on a law that specifically says otherwise? These concepts don't need a statutory law saying otherwise, because there has never in the history of ever been any support for the idea that a sovereign state does not have the authority to control who may and may not become a citizen, or whether non-citizens may reside there. Do you have any support for your idea that there's a right for people who are not citizens of a state to enter and reside in that state?
    – cpast
    Jun 10, 2015 at 21:49
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    @irth Now we get into the philosophical issues around the justification for government. At this point, it's past "what's the law" and even "why is the law this way" and all the way to "why is there law in the first place," which I think is off-topic here.
    – cpast
    Jun 10, 2015 at 22:05
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    @irth "a person should be allowed to reside where they were born" is an idealised concept but not borne out by events from the last century. Off hand, North and South Korea, East and West Germany, India and Pakistan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Israel and Palestine, China and Taiwan, and China and the Dalai Lama are all examples of mass displacement or change of political control preventing thousands from living where they were born. What is the basis of the assertion?
    – user662852
    Jun 13, 2015 at 12:16

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