The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the eligibility to hold the office of President of the
. 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. United States
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
Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 529.) America
"… 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
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). United States