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Why does the US Consitution Require That The US President Must Be A Natural Born Citizen?

Posted by pwl on August 20, 2013

The Constitutional Meaning Of “Natural Born Citizen”
by Alan Lovejoy

The Constitution requires that the President of the United States must be a natural born citizen:

Article II, section 1, clause 5: “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.”

If “natural born citizen” is a synonym for “citizen,” then there is no reason for adding the exception “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution.” None at all. Being a citizen is not sufficient, unless you happened to be alive when the Constitution was adopted.

So what, then, is a “natural born citizen”? To answer that question definitively will require a full examination of the concepts and history of citizenship.

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Posted in Constitutional Law, Definition of Terms, History, History and Semantics of Citizenship, Law, Natural Born Citizen, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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