CONSTITUTION: Qualifications for Office

When our founders drafted our Constitution, they understood our new Government would only be as JUST as the people who held office were ENLIGHTENED.

Much thought was given to the QUALIFICATIONS, or prerequisites, required of the those that would be eligible to hold office.  Contrary to our general understanding today, NOT just anyone would be eligible to serve OUR people.

Compare and Contrast the differences.  What are the categories?

  • Age
  • Citizen /”Natural Born Citizen” / “Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution”
  • “Inhabitant of that State” / “Resident within the United States”  (for this essay, I am going to ignore Inhabitant & Residence)

Congressional Representatives: Article I. Section 2.

No person SHALL be a Representative who SHALL not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been SEVEN Years a CITIZEN of the United States, and who SHALL not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Senators: Article I. Section 3.

No person SHALL be a Senator who SHALL not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been NINE Years a CITIZEN of the United States, and who SHALL not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he SHALL be chosen.

The President: Article II. Section 1.

No Person EXCEPT a NATURAL BORN CITIZEN,     OR,     a CITIZEN of the United States, AT THE TIME OF THE ADOPTION OF THIS CONSTITUTION,     SHALL be eligible to the Office of President, neither SHALL any Person be eligible to that Office who SHALL not have attained to  the Age of thirty five Years, and been FOURTEEN Years a RESIDENT WITHIN the United States.

The Judges:  Article III.  Section 1.

The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, SHALL hold their Offices during good BEHAVIOUR, and SHALL, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.


Why the different ages?  25 for a Representative.  35 for a Senator and President.  None for Judges.  Representatives only serve for 2 years, and there are more of them.  Senator’s terms are 6 years, and there are only 2 per State.  Difficult to keep one “bad apple” under control with fewer numbers and longer terms.  A Senator has “numerically” much “better odds”, justifying the term Senators have “more power”.  The President, he is the head of an entire branch of Government and is Commander in Chief.  Judges?  No description? Judges are picked by the President and confirmed by the Senate.  I argue the founders believed, our Servants in Government would do the Right thing and carefully consider who was appointed to serve, so no qualifications were thought necessary to restrain the President and the Senate.

Citizen / “Natural Born Citizen” / “Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution”

This is important.  Look at each one of these qualifications individually in the quotes.  Each one is a “term of art”.  You cannot divide the IN QUOTE phrase above !


Are you paying attention?  Congress was given exclusive POWER to determine WHO was/is a CITIZEN.  Not the Judiciary / Not the Supreme Court.

Article I. Section 8.

The Congress SHALL have Power To . . .  To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization

Congress has the SOLE authority for Power to write laws to determine who ought, or ought not, be a Citizen.  Congress can control her own destiny by changing the definition of “Citizen”.  Congress does NOT have the power (without a future Constitutional Amendment) to change the definition of  “Natural Born Citizen” which is a “term of art”.  The  Executive and Judiciary do not have the power to determine who a “citizen” is, or who a “natural born citizen” is. Those POWERS are already given to other branches, or defined by the Constitution.   The Judiciary may only determine whether a Congressional Law is clear or unclear as to definition, and whether that law, OR the President’s actions, conflict with some other branch of Government’s Power, or Constitutional LIMITATION.   Congress and the Judiciary, CANNOT affect the QUALIFICATION for office of the PRESIDENT.  Only CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT can affect or change the qualifications.

If Congress or the Judiciary, could determine the qualifications for President, then Congress, or the Supreme Court would be MORE POWERFUL than the executive branch, one of the 3 branches of Government.  NOPE, Natta, Ain’t Right, Just Can’t Be FOLKS.

Assume the “Age” and “Residency” requirements have been met.

There are two (2) different ways to Qualify for the Office of the President of the United States:  First, the Second way:

“Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution”

These people are all dead now.  Self explanatory.  (I ask you to compare and contrast the phrase “natural born citizen” with “Citizen” phrases.)  If a person was ALIVE in 1789, in order to be eligible to be President, that person only needed to be a CITIZEN in 1789, as defined by CONGRESS.  That person would not have to be a Natural Born Citizen.  ONLY a CITIZEN.  Now, assume, a person was born in 1775, but was naturalized as a Citizen in 1810, that person would NEVER be qualified to be President unless a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT were passed changing the qualifications for the Executive.

Next, after qualifying age, and residency for 14 years, a candidate for President MUST satisfy this qualification for President:

“Natural Born Citizen”

Recently we have all read and heard things in the news about this qualification for the first time in our lives.   Don’t leave your REASON and COMMON SENSE “at the door”.  I warn you the Statists have hijacked the Internet with incorrect and misleading definitions.

“Natural Born Citizen”  DOES NOT EQUAL “Citizen”

[6/29/2012, editor addition:  How do I KNOW that the phrases “Natural Born Citizen” does not equal “citizen”, and must mean different things?  The two different phrases would not be used, one after the other in Article II, section 1.  With “Natural Born Citizen for “all time” and “Citizen” only applying to those alive and a citizen at the time the Constitution was ratified.]

“Natural Born Citizen” is Citizen PLUS something more.  What could/would that be?  To understand, “we” must all take ourselves back to the time of our founding.  13 TINY colonies, with the world’s SUPERPOWER, ENGLAND, surrounding us and waiting for a weakness to pounce.  (Ala’ war of 1812.)  During the 18th & 19th centuries, diplomats traveled by ship, horse, buggy, or walked.  Diplomatic missions took months or years.  When a French, Spanish, or English diplomat came to America to discuss and negotiate with our new Government, that diplomat did not come alone.  The Diplomat brought his family, and/or created a new family here.  Children created in America by loyal subjects with LOYALTY to their Monarch.  When the Diplomat’s mission was concluded, the diplomat took his family home to his home country.  The offspring born in our Country with ALLEGIANCE and LOYALTY to their FATHER, and their father’s HOME COUNTRY, were citizens of the country of their father and the allegiances and loyalties their Father held.  No DUAL CITIZENSHIP.  No LOYALTIES to ANY other GOVERNING ENTITY.

A “natural born citizen” is a person who is born on American soil as a citizen,

to a father(now both parents) who was also a citizen with


WHY is this important?  What were our Founders making sure they were preventing?  Assume an English diplomat, an envoy of the Crown, came to America to negotiate “business and trade”.  That Englishman, Loyal to the Crown, would have children in America.  Under English law, the offspring of a “subject”, is by English law, a subject of the Crown also.  Now, while that child, might someday be able to renounce his loyalty and allegiance as a subject of England, and become a naturalized American citizen, the child could never be a  “Natural Born Citizen”.  Why?  Once a person becomes a “naturalized citizen”, and meets the requirements of “inhabitant”, they do qualify for the office of Representative, Senator, or Judge.  But not President.  WHY?

Think, George Washington.  No, not the man.  His offices, his duties.  COMMANDER IN CHIEF of the Armies, Marines, and Navy.  Protection from foreign invaders.  In 1787, this was an imminent and REAL THREAT.  America had just survived a 7 year war to win her Independence.  That threat was real as the future War of 1812 would show.  If a person, was a former subject, but became a naturalized citizen of America, he could still be Loyal to the Crown of England.  If that person became President (but secretly remained Loyal to the Crown, or foreign government), he/she would have the Power to command our COMMON DEFENCE to weakness so that ENGLAND, or the foreign”nation” could Conquer America once again.

(But wait you say, “the 14th Amendment, changed the definition of citizen”. Yes you are correct.  But read the 14th Amendment, it ONLY speaks to “CITIZEN” not  “Natural Born Citizen”.  I recommend you go here, for a historical and legal explanation that shows in the “legal and Congressional records” that this is true.)

The qualification “Natural Born Citizen” requires a Constitutional amendment to change.  Congress cannot change by law.  The Judiciary cannot change by “holding”.  If Congress or the Supreme Court could change the qualification for the President, they would both be more powerful than the Executive Branch.

We have 3 SEPARATE but EQUAL pillars of Government.

Please explore for yourself.   LEARN, ENJOY, RESPECT.  MARVEL at the true GENIUS of our Constitution.

(Disclaimer: This is not legal advice or opinion. This essay is not intended to be legal advice or opinion and should not be considered as such.)

34 thoughts on “CONSTITUTION: Qualifications for Office

  1. “Congress has the SOLE authority for Power to write laws to determine who ought, or ought not, be a Citizen.”
    Then why does OWEbozo think he can make any illegals into legal citizens just by his saying so?

  2. Great post.

    The two greatest steps back to the federalist ideal of the Founders would be to repeal the 17th Amendment to return the Senatorial choice to the state legislatures, making the state elections relevant to the federal governance and to repeal the Current Tax Payment Act of 1943 to return the power of the purse to the American people.

    • Thank you Sir. The country should have demanded term limits for Representatives, Senators, and Judges when the XXII Amendment, Term limits for the President was passed on 27 February 1951. Roosevelt’s “Justices” ran off the reservation, denied the language and spirit of our Constitution, and the previous 100+ years of judicial precedent, and began the “Commerce Clause” and “War Powers” justify anything Federal Government wants to do.

      • The problem, of course, in the case of Senators and Representatives is that we keep re-electing them instead of booting them out. And aside from the fact that term limits are inherently non-democratic, in a system where Congress is largely run by lobbyists and Congressional staffers, I fear that would only worsen with term limits. I can’t help but wonder how “enlightened” the Congressional pool would be if it completely turned over every few years. And of course the founders weren’t considering most black people or Indians to be among their “natural born citizens.”

        • Read the Declaration of Independence. Do you know what actually happened to the MEN who signed the Declaration of Independence?

          Read the actual writings of our founders to each other on what their HOPES for humankind were. Never mind the “author”, Thomas Jefferson, of our Declaration of Independence included in the rough drafts of the Declaration of Independence to FREE the SLAVES. Never mind Thomas Jefferson warned what SLAVERY would do to our Nation. Don’t allow for the reality that our Founders lived in a different world and only so much was possible. Our founders created a foundation and framework, which allowed a people to extinguish slavery in America, and then attempt to extinguish slavery throughout the world 150 years later.

          Indians were considered citizens of a different Nation, and they are still citizens of their own “nations”

          Your statement assumes bad or evil intentions upon our American Founders. You are apparently not able to divorce yourself from the indoctrinated “modern day” view our founders were EVIL because of what they did to the American Indians and held Slaves. Never mind Slaves were allowed to become free through fighting for freedom and liberty from England. Never mind that thoughout Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Europe/Russia, and yes, here in America, women, and girls, and young boys are kidnapped and/or sold into slavery for sex. Which could lead us into the issue of ISLAM, women and everyone else are not Equals.

          Does everyone here realize most questions and most statements are colored with Mr. McPherson’s judgment of wrong…?

          Here is an example that might illustrate:
          Police officer is investigating domestic violence call. Police officer asks male “When did you stop beating your wife?”
          The question pre-supposes a guilty answer.

          You Sir, are tiresome…

          • “Don’t allow for the reality that our Founders lived in a different world.”

            Gee, keep that talk up and you’ll lose your “originalist” credentials. Funny how the “different world” only matters sometimes.

            And of course the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (which is what the original post was about) were two separate documents, however much some “originalists” would like to run them together.

            “Your statement assumes bad or evil intentions upon our American Founders.”

            Untrue. I just don’t assume they were perfect or always right, as some folks here like to imply.

            • I do not confuse our founders as G-ds or Angels. They were Men. As men, they were all flawed. Just as I admit, I am flawed.

              But the words and the ideals and the dreams, espoused in the Declaration of Independence speak for themselves. The men who wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence proved with the loss of their lives, their families, and their fortunes their characters were hopeful for all mankind.

          • “Does everyone here realize most questions and most statements are colored with Mr. McPherson’s judgment of wrong…?”

            Though your example has no relevance to any statement I’ve made, the question might be answered simply: “Duh.”

            After all, other than to look like an obsequious cheerleader, why would anyone bother to respond to something s/he considered to be correct, unless there was some additional insight to contribute to the conversation? Even if I had the time to do so, I wouldn’t answer most things written here or elsewhere–either because I figure folks on both sides have made their points, because I agree with what has been written, or because what has been written is obviously so stupid that I don’t think any thinking person would be misled by it. Obviously, I make occasional exceptions.

            And if you’re “tired,” I encourage you to feel free to simply skip over my future comments.

            • Guilty ! I am guilty of being a “cheerleader” for the foundations of the only society to realize “all men are created equal”. For the only society to care more about the rights of all men/women regardless of race, color or creed. For the only society to endeavor to help other peoples become free, and spill their blood and spend our treasure.

              I know personally, and professionally these things are true. I have seen men walk out of prison after being wrongfully convicted for a crime they did not commit. THANK YOU- US CONSTITUTION !

              I have seen victims begin to try and piece their lives back together with the help of the American Criminal Justice System. THANK YOU – US CONSTITUTION !

              I have seen men, who abused their authority, be held accountable. THANK YOU – US CONSTITUTION !

              YOU BETCHA, I AM a CHEERLEADER ! Our National Education Association lead schools aren’t teaching our children and our society why our country is GREAT. Yes, I personally know as I have followed my children’s education through graduation.

              The majority of the MEDIA continues to misrepresent WHY this country is the BEST on earth right now.

              If people like me don’t cheerlead, then Our Country will continue down the road of despotism due to unanswered LIES.

              ARE there problems? OF COURSE. I don’t deny that. But THIS AMERICAN EXPERIMENT is the only Country that has the FOUNDATION to continually improve and get better.

              Thank you for the complement. You are correct. I will always be a Cheerleader for TRUTH AND JUSTICE for ALL, including YOU, if you ever need it.

              • I’m glad you’re a cheerleader for things that are obviously good. But of course you missed the point, yet again. I was writing about there being no need to write simply to suck up to whoever wrote the previous post or other comments. If there’s something to add to the conversation–positive or negative–that’s great. If you’re just repeating what’s already been said, or going “Ooh, me too!” that’s simply boring and not really worth the time or effort to write.

                • ORIGINAL, NEW? This original Essay, which I drafted and posted, speaks for itself. The quotes are linked and footnoted so others can read and see for themselves. I hope others will read the US Constitution for themselves, instead of listening to some pundit always telling them, no no, the US Constitution says “what I tell you it says.” Read for yourself. EVERYONE.

                • Although you may consider yourself to be the center of the universe–a common problem with Randians, I’ve found, which is why Rand herself found it impossible to be a Christian–if you read my comment about there being no need to be an “obsequious” cheerleader you’ll see that I said nothing about you. Perhaps you have a guilty conscience that led you to infer that it was about you?

                  I simply pointed out why whatever I write here tends to be negative or, as you put it, “colored with Mr. McPherson’s judgment of wrong”–because there’s no need for me to write simply to agree with what someone else has already written. If I want an echo chamber, I’ll watch Fox News or msnbc, listen to talk radio, or talk into a 55-gallon drum. I go to blogs in hopes of discussion. And thanks for stimulating some with this post.

          • Up until this point, Tex, you were doing good. Then you just had to attack Mr McPherson for making a quite intelligent comment about term limits. The good professor said nothing to prompt such a childish response, but right-wingers cannot seem to help themselves; when they feel the least bit threatened with an intelligent disagreement, they fire all their guns at once in am attempt to destroy the messenger. Libs do it as well, but we are talking about you, Tex, not anyone else. All the talk about morality on this site, and the high ground remains unclaimed.

            Term limits are anti-American; they take our choice away from us and, as McPherson has implied, term limits solidify the power of lobbyists to control the passage of legislation and regulation.

        • This ignorant and deliberately deceitful commenter does not want you to know what the founders REALLY thought of the Indians and blacks, so you should start by looking up the ORIGINAL draft of the Declaration – WHERE JEFFERSON LISTED FORCING SLAVERY ON THE COLONIES AS A GRIEVANCE AGAINST THE CROWN!!! Then research how involved Jefferson was in supporting missionaries to convert the Indians and bring them into the society of the colonies.

          Do that and this charlatan’s words will hold no weight with you anymore. Just be sure to go read what JEFFERSON wrote, not what professors like this propagandist have been telling you for the past 100 years.

          • Yes, it’s pitiful how those poor weak white colonists were forced to subjugate black folks, separate black families, etc. Regardless, are you now using Jefferson to represent all of the slave-holding Founding Fathers? Seems like yet another case of overgeneralization here.

            But I would agree–people should do a little more research. Maybe even a little less namecalling, though that might be asking too much of the folks here.

          • What I wrote above goes double for you, B. Using TJ as paragon of anti-slavery is silly. Jefferson freed two slaves during his lifetime, two of his concubine Sally Hemming’s brothers. He allowed two more to ‘escape’, but his will only provided for the freedom of 3 older men. He was the executor of Tadeus Kosciusko’s estate in the US, and it was understood that his slaves were to be given their freedom. But Jefferson never carried out his friend’s wishes(

            Jefferson authorized the whipping of slaves who ran away from Monticello, and as President, refused to recognize Haiti, a country brought into being through a slave rebellion.

          • I never said otherwise–but most people think of it as having many democratic principles. Remember the whole “one man-one vote” decision by the Supreme Court? No, you probably don’t, come to think of it–and probably think only special people should vote, anyway.

    • Utah, I agree with your suggestion also. The Statist’s attempts to change our Republic to a Democracy, is another reason for all our problems

        • Nicely illustrated, though at least a couple of these folks probably hate Reagan, too. He was more of a liberal than Clinton, and probably more than Obama will turn out to be.

          • Reagan more Liberal than Clinton and Obama? I know not !

            Reagan quotes:
            “I don’t believe in a government that protects us from ourselves.”

            “How do you tell a communist? Well, it’s someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It’s someone who understands Marx and Lenin.”

            “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.”

          • Oops, I’m sorry James, Reagan was more of a TRUE liberal than Clinton and Obama, Reagan was more of a classical liberal, in the meaning of the original and TRUE term of liberal.

            So, James, you were correct in your first statement after all.

    • We also need to return to the original method for electing the President. There was a check-and-balance built into that original process. Look it up, you may be surprised to find out what you find.

  3. The Declaration of Independence is the “WHY”, the Constitution drafted in 1787 and adopted in 1789 is the “HOW”.

    Our Founding Fathers intended for The Declaration of Independence to always be held above, and kept in mind, while reading and using the Constitution adopted in 1789.

    The Declaration of Independence is “the soul” of America. A “JUST and RIGHT’ soul. A COLORBLIND soul.

    This is why America has been blessed with such prosperity for more than 2 centuries. This is why Americans lay their own lives on the line to free other men, never asking or taking “treasure”, or requesting repayment for the lives and treasure expended, in the attempt to free other peoples in the name of liberty.

    HERE FOLKS, is what is wrong with the modern day Statist/Progressive/liberal/Democrat: They do not believe in:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    STATISTS believe they know what is best for everyone else. They believe they are smarter than the rest of us, know what is best, and must tell others what to do. Ergo, all men and women are not entitled to be free and “self-determined”.

    “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”; is self determination, is anti-thetical to the foundation of what “STATISTS” believe.

  4. Mr. McPherson never discusses the actual issues or points. He is very good at namecalling and accusing others of being things. Such as accusing me, of possibly thinking I’m the center of the Universe, or considering myself a Randian. I think this has been a very good learning experience for those that wish to see how one can be lead astray of the points of the post.

  5. [6/29/2012, editor addition: How do I KNOW that the phrases “Natural Born Citizen” does not equal “citizen”, and must mean different things? The two different phrases would not be used, one after the other in Article II, section 1. With “Natural Born Citizen for “all time” and “Citizen” only applying to those alive and a citizen at the time the Constitution was ratified.]

  6. Pingback: Constitution: Natural Born Citizen does NOT equal Citizen | The Rio Norte Line

Talk Amongst Yourselves:

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.