aid. Because our community shapes our identity, our sense ofnwho we are, it may indeed seem natural to feel that one belongsnin one’s country and owes it allegiance in a way thatncan never be entirely extinguished. Many also feel that the nationnshould take responsibility for all those who, through nonfault of their own, depend upon it in their most vulnerablenyears. Indifference to the needs of infants is obviously cruel,nand the ascriptive view promises protection to all those thus situated.nOn a more mundane level, ascription appears to providenclear, simple rules that avoid many complicated questionsnof nationality and allegiance.nBut for all this, the ascriptive view entails several seriousnproblems. First, it significantly constrains individual freedom,nhowever one defines that concept. Birth binds one irrevocablynto a particular community of allegiance. According to mostnmodern notions of political freedom, it seems morally wrong tonascribe to an infant inescapable obligations that may, for example,neventually require him to violate his conscience orneven jeopardize his life by participating in a war he thinks unjust.nSecond, ascription signihcantly constrains governmentalncontrol over membership and can compel the state to providenprotection to those, most notably illegal aliens, whose entranceninto the country it has actively endeavored to prevent.nFinally, the formulations of the ascriptive principle provided bynCoke create multiple allegiances. Coke explicitly permitsnweaker, more consensual, but still valid allegiances to coexistnwith the fundamental obligation to the sovereign who providednprotection in one’s infancy. When conflicts arise, the ascriptivenview cannot resolve them. In Calvin’s Case, for example,na sovereign wished to assert the primacy of naturalnsubjectship, but in other circumstances he would have favoredna different priority, emphasizing instead his claims to the overridingnallegiance of children born of his subjects abroad, ofnnaturalized subjects, or of resident aliens. Today, this problemnpersists in the ambiguous and inconsistent relationships creatednby dual citizenship.nThe assaults on the medieval wodd of Coke that producednpolitical and ideological revolutions in England andnAmerica challenged not only governmental absolutism but alsonpatriarchal supremacy. That dual focus was necessary becausenpaternal and political rule were both defended as ordainednby nature, and apologists for autocracy often relied onnthe more apparently natural authority of fathers to buttressnmonarchical claims, especially the claim to the perpetualnbirthright allegiance of native-born subjects. Consequently,nwhen Enlightenment proponents of limited, consensual governmentnsought to challenge absolutist views, they had to reconsidernthe “natural” authority of fathers over children, its implicationsnfor state power, and thus how the circumstances ofnbirth defined one’s political membership.nThis reconsideration appeared most clearly in the works ofnJohn Locke. For example, in each of his Two Treatises of Government,nLocke took as his main opponents those defenders ofnthe old order who argued that “Everyone is born a Subject tonhis Father, or his Prince, and is therefore under the perpetualntye of Subjection and Allegiance.” The historian James Kettnernviews Locke as the theorist who best exemplified the transitionnfrom ascriptive subjectship to consensual citizenship.nDespite some recent reservations about the influence ofnLocke’s Second Treatise in America, the choice is appropriate.nLocke’s familiar doctrine of government by consent, with itsn22/CHRONICLESnnnattendant right of revolution, was based on his radically newnview of the relationship of children to their parents and to thenpolity, a view that stemmed in turn from a thoroughgoing rejectionnof the medieval portrait of society as a natural, organicnhierarchy. To Locke, the most fundamental fact about childrennwas that they were creatures of God, intended to occupynthat equal and independent status that is the natural conditionnof mature, rational beings. This fact, for Locke, defined thenlimited nature of parental and political authority. Lockenagreed that the family was a natural social unit and that parentsnproperly possessed some dominion over their offspringnduring minority. He maintained, however, that this authoritynrightfully belonged to both parents, not simply to the patriarchalnfather. And he insisted, even more vehemently, that parentsnpossessed only limited, tutelary authority over their children,nand possessed this authority only while the latternremained incapable of rational self-governance.nThe state also possessed a limited jurisdiction over children,nfor its duties stemmed not only from the consensualnwill of its citizens. It also had to conform to the obligations imposednby the natural human rights that Locke held to be theninviolable and inalienable endowment of all persons. As an authorizednexecutor of the law of nature, the state thus had tonprotect the child’s rightto life, property, and education shouldnthe parents arbitrarily violate their duties to the child. A child,nhowever, could not be a government’s subject because subjectshipnmust be based on the tacit or explicit consent of an individualnwho had reached the age of rational discretion. Lockeninsisted: “A Child is born a subject of no Country and Covernment.nHe is under his Father’s Tuition and Authority, tiU hencome to Age of Discretion; and then he is a Free-man, at libertynwhat Government he will put himself under; what bodynpolitick he will unite himself to.”nLocke reveals most of the attractions and limits of the consentnprinciple. Its attractions are considerable: indeed, leadingncontemporary writers on citizenship and international law insistneven more strongly than Lockean Enlightenment and publicnlaw writers did that only consent is an appropriate basis fornpolitical membership. Consensualism encourages genuinenpersonal commitment and development, permitting affirmationnof one’s values through voluntary affiliation with others.nAt the same time, as the political philosopher Michael Walzernhas argued, permitting a democratic community the powernto shape its own destiny by granting or refusing its consent tonnew members is essential if the community is to be able tonprotect its interests, maintain harmony, and achieve a unifyingnsense of shared values. When it is combined with liberalism’snstress on universally held natural rights, moreover, thenconsent principle recognizes the aspirations and dignity of allnhumanity, urges a world in which all will be linked politicallynonly by bonds of mutual agreement. Because thesenvalues of personal autonomy and communal self-definitionnare so widely shared in American society today, a morally crediblendoctrine of civic membership must give central importancento membership based on actual, mutual consent.nBut like ascription, consent also poses serious problems.nAlthough some of these problems can be resolved or minimizednwithout great difficulty, others are more troubling.nFirst, of course, there is a problem of proof. Especially after thenfact, it will often be hard to determine who has and has notnconsented to membership in a particular regime, expressly orntacitly. Second, there is a problem of unjust exclusion. Asn