Citizenship of the G1 Transformers

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by Longitudinalwave, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. Longitudinalwave

    Longitudinalwave A Big Fan of (Sound/Shock)wave

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    Obviously, the original show takes place in a bizarre cartoon universe where the geopolitical situation is not identical to our own. But, assuming that the laws of the United States remained the same until the Transformers woke up, what exactly would the status of the Transformers be, as far as citizenship is concerned? Obviously, they're not human, but, under the assumption that any aliens advanced enough to have cultures nigh-identical to those on Earth would be recognized as human-equivalent, what would their legal status be, exactly?

    According to the G1 cartoon and G1 Marvel Comics, the Autobots and Decepticons crashlanded into what the comics identified as the land that would become the state of Oregon roughly 4 million years ago. (The cartoon was more vague, but definitely seemed to imply that they'd crash landed somewhere in America.) Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Prowl, Jazz, Mirage, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Bluestreak, Hound, Bumblebee, Wheeljack, Ratchet, Gears, Huffer, Brawn, Windcharger, Cliffjumper, Trailbreaker, Megatron, Soundwave, 5 cassettes, 3 Seekers, and (in the cartoon) 3 Reflectors were definitely on the Ark when it crashed; and it's possible that Season 2 guys like Hoist and Dirge were on the Ark as well (again, as far as the cartoon is concerned).

    The Transformers in the crashed Ark were on the Ark, in what would eventually become the territory of the United States, in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed and America became its own country. They were also still in the Ark when the American Revolutionary War ended with the United States as its own country. From what I understand, everyone in the United States when this happened was, in theory, granted citizenship in the United States, even if they had been born elsewhere. This excluded most Native American groups and pretty much all people of African descent, due to the differing cultural values and, frankly, the racism of the time period, but in theory, should have applied to anyone alive in the country at the time, which would technically include the Transformers.

    So, the question is, would the United States consider the 18+ Autobots and 13+ Decepticons who were on the crashlanded Ark citizens because they were living in the country before the American Revolutionary War? (That is, from a purely legal standpoint, would that be the logical conclusion?) Could Optimus Prime run for President?

    And how about the G1 cartoon Dinobots? They were effectively born on Earth, and applying the "any-sufficiently-advanced alien=human" clause (we don't necessarily have to), they would definitely qualify as citizens (at least in theory) because they came into being on American soil.

    And if you want a real headache, what about the G1 Stunticons? Their bodies came from Earth (and presumably America), but they weren't technically alive until they reached Cybertron.

    Feel free to correct me on any of the historical/legal points. I actually posted this question primarily because I'm not entirely sure how this would work!
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
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  2. Primeultra

    Primeultra Well-Known Member

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    I’m the last person to correct anybody’s grammar, but the way that post it is an entire wall of text and a bit difficult to read through

    Breaking it up into a few paragraphs might make it easier
     
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  3. Longitudinalwave

    Longitudinalwave A Big Fan of (Sound/Shock)wave

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    Will do! Thanks. :) 
     
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  4. Novaburnhilde

    Novaburnhilde シン・ブリュンヒルド

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    [​IMG]

    This is actually a really interesting thing to ponder which reminds me of the discussion regarding what Superman's 'home' really is, i.e. he was born on Krypton yet raised since infancy on Earth so that would make Earth his home moreso than Krypton.

    I'm curious how well a towering metal giant would do running for the oval office, let alone if humans would even entertain the idea to begin with. I think technically you could make a case for their citizenship given how long they've been on the planet. Also in a context where they are recognized as sentient beings and are welcome on Earth, I'm sure they could definitely apply for citizenship. Then again (and understandably) I can see humans being skeptical and / or concerned about giving giant machines that can easily (even by accident) kill someone these types of rights and so forth.
     
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  5. Longitudinalwave

    Longitudinalwave A Big Fan of (Sound/Shock)wave

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    Yeah, they definitely wouldn't be automatically accepted by everyone.
     
  6. LockdownTF

    LockdownTF Well-Known Member

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    considering the native americans had their land stolen off of them intially I'd have to say no(Since transformers technically occuppied the land before native americans it could be argued it is rightfully there's and they certainly got the means to defend their national borders). People would have a hard time accepting robot citizens taking american jobs (just imagine a cab or school bus driver who actually IS a cab or bus). My guesses would be the autobots(specifically Optimus since he's their leader) might be awarded honory citizenship status as a mark of friendship but equally the Autobots as a whole might be too much to be truly accepted since they bought a frickin giant robot war to our doorstep with evil robots that want all our energy resources and to kill/enslave us. Plus allot of people will be either unable or unwilling to differeniate autobot from decepticon and label them all has bad bots
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
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  7. Subdurmal

    Subdurmal Well-Known Member

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    How is the declaration of independence worded about dead people when it took effect. They were all off line aka dead in 1776.

    I'm guessing a lawyer would use that as a point of argument if ever in court over it.
     
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  8. Longitudinalwave

    Longitudinalwave A Big Fan of (Sound/Shock)wave

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    Were they dead? I always assumed they were just unconscious. Normally, you can't repair dead individuals back to life...but I could definitely see someone potentially bringing the "offline" argument up in court.
     
  9. Subdurmal

    Subdurmal Well-Known Member

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    If I was a lawyer that'd probably be my stand point. Is offline (unconscious) the same as dead. If I take a blown engine out of a car and intall a working one is the car alive now?
    I think the general feeling of people would still come down to a machine is a machine.
    Then there is also to whole argument of A.I.
    Since transformers have personalities and are aware of their own existence are they alive?
    It would definitely be a big on going argument.
     
  10. SPLIT LIP

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

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    I would assume, given their history and contributions, the Autobots would be given honorary citizenship. The Decepticons likely would not have, and probably would've refused it if they were, but the Autobots lived peacefully with humans and were sophisticated and civilized enough to be considered legal aliens. No doubt special circumstances would be decided by the US Government, and thus it probably wouldn't apply to any alien who came to Earth.

    It's a shame this issue isn't tackled more often, as it could be addressed quickly and without much length into most stories and offer a lot more in the way of creative freedom. I think that's what pissed me off so much about the Bay movies and AOE, as exactly what the Autobots are as far as the law is concerned is never brought up or explored. (except in, surprisingly, when Galloway mentions how Optimus just up an invited more aliens without even asking the US Government)

    Normally you can't remain unconscious for four million years. :lol 

    "Death" wasn't really a concrete concept in G1 so much as general destruction and deactivation. Whatever offlined a Transformer "killed" them, whether or not the damage was reversible or not, because they were machines. If the circumstances of their deactivation could be reversed, they could be "revived," but if the damage was too severe or there was nothing left to repair, that's pretty much it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
  11. Longitudinalwave

    Longitudinalwave A Big Fan of (Sound/Shock)wave

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    Very good point; death tends to be frustratingly nebulous in the original G1 continuities.

    You are definitely correct. Their being machines would make things much, much more complicated.

    Agreed on all points. You'd think that this would be something a lot of writers would use, but it really hasn't come up all that much. Of course, if done poorly, it could become a quagmire, but if it was done well, it could provide a lot of interesting character drama.

    Very good points.
    On a side note, while it isn't unrealistic, I find stories where all humans hate all Transformers equally to be kind of frustrating sometimes; if only because it always makes at least the humans, and often both the humans and the Autobots, come across as either rather dull or as unsympathetic jerks. The best example of this is probably the IDW comics set immediately after All Hail Megatron. The humans came across as jerks, the Autobots came across as either rather dim or jerks as well, and the Decepticons were of course the villains, so virtually NOBODY was likeable.
     
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  12. Tonkatsu

    Tonkatsu Haver of Bad Opinions

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    Grimlock 2020. He'll take a bite out of the competition.

    Dunno if it's been done before, but an Autobot school bus driver would actually be kind of adorable.
     
  13. SG Roadbuster

    SG Roadbuster SG Wrecker

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    so, the dinobots were built and brought online in the USA, which would probably qualify them as "native born" and would make them US citizens.

    soooo, does that mean another autobot could marry Grimlock and get a Green Card?
     
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  14. Longitudinalwave

    Longitudinalwave A Big Fan of (Sound/Shock)wave

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    :lol 
    I guess the answer to that would be yes, technically. I'm not sure anyone would WANT to, though.
     
  15. Chaos Muffin

    Chaos Muffin Misadventure Veteran

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    Given our history with corrupt politics & minorities, they wouldve been used in every way including corps getting in on that reverse engineering for their products. Then buisness competition would run the tech into the ground until someone started cloning them entirely.

    Those would eventually get weaponized for the military, until most of our wars are fought with them with other countries reverse engineering our tech. Theyd become smarter & smarter until going sentient.
    By then theyll start wiping us out.
    After that they will find earth unsuitable for their comfort and begin terraforming the planet into a Cybertron. Even farming the moon since they need no oxygen.

    After awhile theyll need better transportation since their own creations and industries have drained the planet dry. So they figure out a way to morph their bodies into their own vehicles to use their fusion cores for power since the fuel will be scarce. They would simply adopt the transforming idea from the few original transformers that started it all.
     
  16. Alph

    Alph Well-Known Member

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    They definitely weren't the "deadest dead", I.E. a point after which a transformer can't be revived at all. And we know this state exists, because the Quintesson that revived Optimus Prime said as much.
     
  17. Primeultra

    Primeultra Well-Known Member

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    But wouldn’t that be relative to their expected lifespan in this case?

    I remember hearing about 2 persons that woke up from nearly 20 year comas
     
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  18. Macross7

    Macross7 Well-Known Member

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    I'd say they are Native Americans since they were there before humans even existed. OG Native Americans. Decepticons (ones on the Ark) as well since they were also there. Doesn't matter if they are villains. Nobody says Joker or Lex Luther should lose their citizenships because they became villains.
     
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  19. Longitudinalwave

    Longitudinalwave A Big Fan of (Sound/Shock)wave

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    Good point... although Joker and Lex Luthor are humans, so it would be a lot harder for the government to argue that they aren't citizens.
     
  20. Mobb One

    Mobb One Godmaster

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    From a legality standpoint probably the best corollary are native Americans... though the declaration of independence had zero impact on the transformers since the ark was not in colonial territory at the onset and the u.s. wouldn't expand towards the west coast until after the Louisiana purchase several decades later.

    The Purchase had its own legality at play as the u.s. should have been buying the land from the various native tribes north of new Orleans, who were in possession of the land (as the adage goes, possession is nine tenths of the law). So instead it was buy the entire territory from the counterparty they were familiar with (Europeans in general, France in specific). This became a situation where they bought land the seller didn't really own, and as we know the country expanded regardless of whose land they took.

    So the automatic citizenship doesn't apply to the ark TFs.

    What is probable, is that the autobots were either granted honorary as well as functional citizenship at some point, or if not the U.N surely gave them amnesty, with clear U.S. backing.

    There are a few episodes in season 2 where there's a throwaway line that various governments of the world were supplying the autobots with energon. The Decepticons clearly didn't have the same arrangement, as shown with their constant need to scavenge all over the world.

    I think the biggest evidence for some sort of citizenship and global political recognition is the full blown presence of Autobot City in "the year 2005." Now whether it's part of the U.S. at that time or its own sovereign country within the U.S. (like Vatican city inside of Italy) it's unclear. But from season 3 onwards it's clear the autobots have a lot of political weight...earth has started spacefaring travel enough to warrant the creation of the Earth Defense Command which is a joint military body with the Autobots.

    Rodimus and ultra Magnus act as chairs for the galactic peace conference to which earth is just an invitee. Also by this time the autobots have regained cybertron...so it's very much within the U.S.' best interest to formally recognize them in some capacity, and that is indeed what happened.
     
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