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Becoming President: Natural-Born Citizens Only or All Citiz

Uploaded by zqtwp on Dec 14, 2005

Becoming President: Natural-Born Citizens Only or All Citizens?
Article II, Section I of the Constitution states, “No person except a natural-born citizen, or citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president.” This means, according to the 2000 census, that roughly ten percent of the population of Americans are ineligible to run for president, as they are naturalized citizens, not natural-born. This issue has emerged quite a few times in Congress. For instance, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) presented House Joint Resolution 68 in 2000, which would allow naturalized citizens to become president. This concept has never gotten off the ground partly because of the popular public opinion. A national poll in 2003 found that 64% of Americans were against the idea of having naturalized citizens become eligible for presidency (Rourke).
Forrest McDonald is an advocate of the Natural-Born only policy. He explains that the reason this was an issue was deemed a necessary inclusion was fear of foreign influence. In fact, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts wanted to take the issue so far as to stop foreigners from becoming citizens at all, claiming that the naturalized citizens would always have divided loyalties both to their home land and to America. John Jay, Superintendent of Foreign Affairs (the predecessor of today’s office of Secretary of State), claimed that it would be “wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the
admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Command in chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen.” Pierce Butler, an Irish-born delegate from South Carolina, developed an intense plan that would defeat all objections arising against earlier proposals for electing the president. However, given the doubts concerning divided loyalties that Elbridge Gerry, John Jay, and others expressed, Butler’s proposal also included what became Article II, Section I of the Constitution. It is evident that the writers had a clear reason to fear conspiracy and divided loyalties, but the
question is whether this clause is still necessary today. McDonald feels that the caution of the framers should indeed be continued today. He gives an example of money. Potential presidential candidates spend millions of dollars on their...

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Uploaded by:   zqtwp

Date:   12/14/2005

Category:   Contemporary

Length:   6 pages (1,265 words)

Views:   11347

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