The word "person" is used in many laws. If you don't know what the term means, you might think that you are one of these.

American Law and Procedure, Vol 13, page 137, 1910:

"This word `person' and its scope and bearing in the law, involving, as it does, legal fictions and also apparently natural beings, it is difficult to understand; but it is absolutely necessary to grasp, at whatever cost, a true and proper understanding to the word in all the phases of its proper use ... A person is here not a physical or individual person, but the status or condition with which he is invested... not an individual or physical person, but the status, condition or character borne by physical persons... The law of persons is the law of status or condition."

Natural (biological) people are not "persons" in most statutes.

26 U.S.C. §7701(a)(1)

TITLE 26 > Subtitle F > CHAPTER 79 > Sec. 7701.

Sec. 7701. - Definitions

(a) When used in this title, where not otherwise distinctly expressed or manifestly incompatible with the intent thereof -

(1) Person

The term ''person'' shall be construed to mean and include [throughout the Internal Revenue Code] an individual, a trust, estate, partnership, association, company or corporation.

26 U.S.C. §7343

TITLE 26 > Subtitle F > CHAPTER 75 > Subchapter D > Sec. 7343.

Sec. 7343. - Definition of term ''person''

The term ''person'' as used in this chapter [Chapter 75] includes an officer or employee of a corporation, or a member or employee of a partnership, who as such officer, employee, or member is under a duty to perform the act in respect of which the violation occurs

[NOTE: This is the "person" for the purposes of some of the miscellaneous penalties under the Internal Revenue Code]

16 U.S.C. §5502

TITLE 16 > CHAPTER 75 > Sec. 5502.

Sec. 5502. - Definitions

As used in this chapter -

(7)  The term ''person'' means any individual (whether or not a citizen or national of the United States), any corporation, partnership, association, or other entity (whether or not organized or existing under the laws of any State), and any Federal, State, local, or foreign government or any entity of any such government.

26 C.F.R. 301.6671-1 Rules for application of assessable penalties

[Code of Federal Regulations]

[Title 26, Volume 17, Parts 300 to 499]

[Revised as of April 1, 2000]

From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access

[CITE: 26CFR301.6671-1]

[Page 402]


Additions to the Tax and Additional Amounts--Table of Contents

Sec. 301.6671-1 Rules for application of assessable penalties.

(b) Person defined. For purposes of subchapter B of chapter 68, the term ``person'' includes an officer or employee of a corporation, or a member or employee of a partnership, who as such officer, employee, or member is under a duty to perform the act in respect of which the violation occurs.

[NOTE: This is the "person" for the purposes of MOST penalties under the ENTIRE Internal Revenue Code]

26 C.F.R. 301.7701-6 Definitions; person, fiduciary

Title 26: Internal Revenue


301.7701-6   Definitions; person, fiduciary.

(a) Person. The term person includes an individual, a corporation, a partnership, a trust or estate, a joint-stock company, an association, or a syndicate, group, pool, joint venture, or other unincorporated organization or group. The term also includes a guardian, committee, trustee, executor, administrator, trustee in bankruptcy, receiver, assignee for the benefit of creditors, conservator, or any person acting in a fiduciary capacity.

Black's Law Dictionary, 4th Edition, p 1300

A person is such, not because he is human, but because rights and duties are ascribed to him. The person is the legal subject or substance of which the rights and duties are attributes. An individual human being considered as having such attributes is what lawyers call a "natural person." Pollock, First Book of Jurispr. 110. Gray, Nature and Sources of Law, ch. II.

[Black's Law Dictionary, 4th Edition, p 1300]

Black's Law Dictionary, 4th Ed., p 1300

A county is a person in a legal sense, Lancaster Co. v. Trimble, 34 Neb. 752, 52 N.W. 711; but a sovereign is not; In re Fox, 52 N.Y. 535, 11 Am.Rep. 751; U.S. v. Fox 94 U.S. 315, 24 L.Ed. 192 ....

[Black's Law Dictionary, 4th Ed., p 1300]

Spooner v. McConnell, 22 F 939 @ 943:

"The sovereignty of a state does not reside in the persons who fill the different departments of its government, but in the People, from whom the government emanated; and they may change it at their discretion. Sovereignty, then in this country, abides with the constituency, and not with the agent; and this remark is true, both in reference to the federal and state government."

[Spooner v. McConnell, 22 F 939 @ 943]

Glass v. Sloop Betsey, 3 Dall. (U.S.) 6 (1794):

"... Our government is founded upon compact. Sovereignty was, and is, in the people"

[Glass v. Sloop Betsey, 3 Dall. (U.S.) 6 (1794)]

Lansing v. Smith, 4 Wend (N. Y.) 9 (1829), 21 Am.Dec. 89:

"People of a state are entitled to all rights which formerly belong to the King, by his prerogative."

[Lansing v. Smith, 4 Wend (N. Y.) 9 (1829), 21 Am.Dec. 89]

4 Wheat 402:

"The United States, as a whole, emanates from the people... The people, in their capacity as sovereigns, made and adopted the Constitution..."

[4 Wheat 402]

Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886), page 370:

"While sovereign powers are delegated to ... the government, sovereignty itself remains with the people.."

Yick Wo is a powerful anti-discrimination case. You might get the impression that the legislature can write perfectly legal laws, yet the laws cannot be enforced contrary to the intent of the people. It's as if servants do not make rules for their masters. It's as if the Citizens who created government were their masters. It's as if civil servants were to obey the higher authority. You are the higher authority of Romans 13:1. You as ruler are not a terror to good works per Romans 13:3. Imagine that! Isn't it a shame that your government was surrendered to those who are a terror to good works? Isn't it a shame that you enlisted to obey them?

[Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886)]

Julliard v. Greenman: 110 U.S. 421 (1884):

"There is no such thing as a power of inherent sovereignty in the government of the United States .... In this country sovereignty resides in the people, and Congress can exercise no power which they have not, by their Constitution entrusted to it: All else is withheld."

[Julliard v. Greenman: 110 U.S. 421 (1884):]

Wilson v. Omaha Indian Tribe 442 U.S. 653, 667 (1979):

"In common usage, the term 'person' does not include the sovereign, and statutes employing the word are ordinarily construed to exclude it."

[Wilson v. Omaha Indian Tribe 442 U.S. 653, 667 (1979)]

U.S. v. Cooper, 312 U.S. 600,604, 61 S.Ct 742 (1941):

"Since in common usage the term `person' does not include the sovereign, statutes employing that term are ordinarily construed to exclude it."

[U.S. v. Cooper, 312 U.S. 600,604, 61 S.Ct 742 (1941)]

U.S. v. United Mine Workers of America, 330 U.S. 258 67 S.Ct 677 (1947):

"In common usage, the term `person' does not include the sovereign and statutes employing it will ordinarily not be construed to do so."

[U.S. v. Cooper, 312 U.S. 600,604, 61 S.Ct 742 (1941)]

U.S. v. General Motors Corporation, D.C. Ill, 2 F.R.D. 528, 530:

"In common usage the word `person' does not include the sovereign, and statutes employing the word are generally construed to exclude the sovereign."

[U.S. v. General Motors Corporation, D.C. Ill, 2 F.R.D. 528, 530]

Church of Scientology v. US Department of Justice (1979) 612 F2d 417 @425:

"the word `person' in legal terminology is perceived as a general word which normally includes in its scope a variety of entities other than human beings., see e.g. 1, U.S.C. para 1."

[Church of Scientology v. US Department of Justice (1979) 612 F2d 417 @425]

Perry v. US, 294 U.S. 330 (1935):

"In United States, sovereignty resides in people... the Congress cannot invoke the sovereign power of the People to override their will as thus declared.",

Black’s Law Dictionary, Second Edition (A. D.1910), p. 577)

Homo vocabulum est naturae; persona juris civillis.  Man (homo) is a term of nature; person (persona) of civil law.

[Black’s Law Dictionary, Second Edition (A. D.1910), p. 577)]

1 U.S.C. 8 : "Person"


8. “Person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual” as including born-alive infant

(a) In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words “person”, “human being”, “child”, and “individual”, shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.

(b) As used in this section, the term “born alive”, with respect to a member of the species homo sapiens, means the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother of that member, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being “born alive” as defined in this section.

The Theory of the Common Law, James M. Walker, 1852, pp. 17-20


The state is represented in the person of its chief magistrate, who is at the same time a member of it. Thus the king or president possesses two kinds of rights, a university of rights as a corporation [PUBLIC rights], and individual rights [PRIVATE rights] as a man. As the former become more and more confounded with the latter, so government advances towards some form of monarchy. A bishop also is a sole corporation, but the man holding the office has also his individual rights. The word person neither according to its accurate meaning nor in law is identical with man. A man may possess at the same time different classes of rights. On the other hand, two or more men may form only one legal person, and have one estate, as partners or corporators. Upon this difference of rights between the person and the man, the individual and the partner, corporator, tenant in common, and joint tenant, depends the whole law of these several classes. The same person has perfect power of alienation, of forming contracts, of disposing by last will and testament of his individual estate, but not of the corporate, nor of his own share in it, unless such power be expressed or implied in the contract by which the university of rights and duties is created. The same distinction divides all public from private property, and distinguishes the cases in which the corporation or civil person may sue from those in which the individual alone can be the party ; - although there are instances in which the injury complained of may, in reference to the difference of character, be such as to authorize the suit to be instituted either by the civil person or the individual, or by both. Thus, violence to the person may be punished either as a wrong to the state or to the individual.

The true meaning of the word person is also exemplified in the matter of contracts. It is said, generally, that all persons may contract; but that is not true in the sense that all human beings may contract. Thus, a married woman, an infant, a lunatic, cannot contract. Again, a slave of mature age, sound intellect, with the consent of his master, cannot make a contract binding on himself, although as an agent he may bind his master. These matters are important only as they serve clearly to show that the civil person may have rights distinct from those which he possesses as an individual ;- and that his rights or duties as an individual may consequently become opposed to his rights and duties as a civil person. Thus, a partnership of three persons may own, for example, a moiety of a ship, and one of them the other moiety. In case of a difference between them as to its use, the rights of the one as a partner, and his right as an individual owner of another moiety, are directly opposed. In order, therefore, in any case, to perceive the application of a rule of law, it must be considered whether the person or the individual, or both, is the possessor of the right. For it may be asserted as absolutely true, that the rights of the man are not recognized by that law which is termed the municipal. It recognizes them only as they grow out of, or are consistent with, his character as a civil person. In other words, this is the distinction between the Common Law and the law of nature. Nor is this a fanciful distinction, inasmuch as the rudest tribes, as well as the most civilized nations, have always distinguished between the rights and duties of their members, and of those who were not members of the body politic. Even after the philosophical jurists of antiquity had polished and improved the jurisprudence of aristocratic republican Rome by the philosophy of the Portico, Cicero, statesman, philosopher, and jurisconsult, exclaims with indignation against the confusion of rights of person that the age witnessed: " In urbem nostrum est infusa peregrinitas; nunc vero etiam braccatis et transalpinis nationibus ut nullum veteris leporis vestigium appareat."

The Common Law, as well as the Civil, recognizes as a person an unborn child, when it concerns its interests either as to life or property. " Qui in utero est perinde ac si in rebus humanis esset, custoditur, quotiens de commodis ipsius partus queeritur." And both systems provide the same remedies to protect the child and those with whom its birth may interfere. In case of a limitation to the child of which a woman is now pregnant, if twins should be born, the Common Law gives the estate to the first-born; by our law, they would take moieties. Now, as these rights are acquired before the birth of the child or children, there is a double fiction ; not only in considering the unborn as born, but in distinguishing under the Common Law the eldest from the youngest born. Whilst, therefore, the law regards the unborn as born, yet, to transmit the estate, he must be born as a man, alive and capable of living. The law does not presume the life or death of an individual; when his existence has been established, his death also must be proved. * But the birth of an individual and the commencement of his character as a person do not necessarily concur. Thus, an alien of any age is not a person, in relation to a contract concerning lands, nor in any case is an infant ; so a woman marrying before she attains her legal maturity may die of old age without having become a person. On the other hand, a person may suffer civil death before physical death; totally, where he becomes a monk; partially, as a penalty for the commission of an infamous crime; and perpetually or temporarily, as in case of outlawry. * Where a person has not been heard of for seven years, and under circumstances which contradict the probability of his being alive, a court may consider this sufficient proof of death (Stark. Ev. 4 pl. 457). The presumptions which arise in such cases do not concern the death of the person., but the time of his death, as where several die by one shipwreck or other casualty. On this point the rules are, - 1st. In case of parents and children, that children below the age of puberty died before, and adult children after, their parents. 2d. Persons not being parents and children, and the rights of one being dependent upon the previous death of the other, this precedent condition must be proved. 3d. If a grant is to be delleated by the act of the gramntor, as in case of a don anio inter virun tt uxorem, or a donatio ,ortis causa, the donor is presumed, in the absence of testimony, to have died first. (See Pothier, Obligations, by Evans, Vol. II. p. 300.)

[The Theory of the Common Law, James M. Walker, 1852, pp. 17-20]