Declaration of Independence

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. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Presidential Eligibility - Resident

                    The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the eligibility to hold the office of President of the United States.  In order to be eligible for this office, a person must satisfy three eligibility requirements based on age, residency, and citizenship.  Age and residency have been discussed in previous weeks.

                    Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution states, "No Person … shall be eligible to the Office of President … [shall] have been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.  This provision of the Constitution guaranteed to the American public that their President was chosen from among them and had the same American moral values.
                    "There was no member of the Constitutional Convention who was held in higher regard than Benjamin Franklin.  Nevertheless, he had been out of the country for twenty-five of the past thirty years.  The members of the Convention noted on a number of occasions that the 81-year-old patriot, who had served his country so well in foreign lands, had missed some of the latest developments in political philosophy which had emerged during the past several years of experimentation with freedom….
                    "Other examples of distinguished Americans who had lived abroad a number of years and who reflected some non-American influences led the Founders to include this provision in the Constitution."  (See W. Cleon Skousen in The Making of America - The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 529.)

                    "… Then as now, inhabitant meant being a legal domiciliary, but resident could mean either a domiciliary or a physical presence.  Perhaps the Framers desired a person as President who had actually been present in the United States for the required period and had developed an attachment to and understanding of the country, rather than one who was legally an inhabitant, but who may have lived abroad for most of his life.  On the other hand, the distinction may have been one of style rather than substance…."  (See James C. Ho in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 190).

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