After hearing the opinion that "people" and "citizens" are two different classes of beings, I started looking for differences in the law. The belief by some is that the "people" referred to in the constitutions are the people who have natural rights and citizens only have "civil" rights and are subject to the jurisdictions of those political entities of which they are citizens.
So naturally, the first thing I thought I should do is look up the legal definitions of each, since the legal definition is the one that would apply in law and constitutions are law.
According even to the 8th edition of Black's Law Dictionary, (I say "even" because they have been ridding it of common law since about the 4th edition in favor of government and to the detriment of "people") the definition makes it very clear.
citizen n, 1. A person who, by either birth or naturalization, is a member of a political community, owing allegiance to the community and being entitled to enjoy all its civil rights and protections; a member of the civil state, entitled to all its privileges. Cf. RESIDENT, DOMICILIARY
citizen by naturalization. See naturalized citizen.
federal citizen. A citizen of the United States.
natural-born citizen. A person born within the jurisdiction of a national government.
naturalized citizen. A foreign born person who attains citizenship by law.
2. For diversity-jurisdiction purposes, a corporation that was incorporated within a state or has its prm going to have to look up several other definitions incipal place of business there. 28 USC § 1332(c)(1)
So let us compare that to "people".
people. (usu. cap.) The citizens of a state as represented by the prosecution in a criminal case.
What? Is that what was meant by we the people? I guess we have to go back further for a real definition of people. So let's dig deeper. If we look to the court, it clarifies things for us.
In Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253 (1967) the court opined,
In our country the people are sovereign.....
And in Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886)
Sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to law (emphasis added), for it is the author and source of law; but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the agencies of government, sovereignty itself remains with the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts.
So, although I have yet to find a proper definition of the word "people" we do know that "people" are sovereign and sovereigns are "not subject to law". Let's think about that. If people are sovereign, as in there is no higher authority, and we are all equal under this republican form of government, then none of us are subject to laws passed by government. Politicians running for office do not want you to know this and many of them, most likely, do not know this. The laws they passed only effect citizens who fall under their jurisdiction. Government operates at the whim of the people and citizens function at the whim of government.
Hmm. What does that word "person" mean? It is important to know the meaning of every single word, because the term "person" does not refer to a human being. People are not persons and excluded from status that employ the term person or persons.
"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." -- American Law and Procedure, Vol 13, page 137, 1910.
The following case citation declares the undisputed distinction in fact and at law of the distinction between the term “persons,” which is the plural form of the term “person,” and the word “People” which is NOT the plural form of the term “person.” The above-mentioned “real party in interest” is NOT a subordinate “person,” “subject,” or “agent,” but is a “constituent,” in whom sovereignty abides, a member of the “Posterity of We, the People,” in whom sovereignty resides, and from whom the government has emanated:
So, let's take a look at a constitution in a state that claims a different form of law than the other 49 states of the union, Louisiana. There seems to be a differentiation between "people" and "citizens" in the Louisiana constitution as well. Note the preamble which states in part,
We, the people of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political, economic, and religious liberties we enjoy, and desiring to protect individual rights to life, liberty, and property; afford opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; assure equality of rights; promote the health, safety, education, and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; ensure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and justice to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.
Then again in the "Declaration of Rights"
Section 1. All government, of right, originates with the people, is founded on their will alone, and is instituted to protect the rights of the individual and for the good of the whole. Its only legitimate ends are to secure justice for all, preserve peace, protect the rights, and promote the happiness and general welfare of the people. The rights enumerated in this Article are inalienable by the state and shall be preserved inviolate by the state.
For the definition of "citizen" please read Are You a People of a Citizen.