You Don’t Need to Be USA Born To Be 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.

Now, let me give you a small English class refresher course. A comma is primarly used to either give a small pause in a sentence, or to seperate items that are being listed. In the latter case, you are able to take out the items listed and make several smaller sentences from them. For example…
Jane went to the store to get bread, milk, eggs and soda.
Now, going by the rules of English… you can make several smaller sentences from the above example.
For example….
Jane went to the store to get bread.
Jane went to the store to get milk.
Jane went to the store to get eggs.
Jane went to the store to get soda.
Now, with this in mind, let’s get to the constitution, 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;
With the rules of English, we can make this into two seperate sentences:
1. No person except a natural born citizen at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president;
(Note: the comma after the word constitution is a “pause” comma as it isn’t listing anything)
2. No person except a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall be eligible to the office of president;
Well, well…. looks like you can either be a natural born citizen OR a citizen. And to further explain that a person NOT naturally born here can be president, look at the rest of the paragraph. It states:
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.

Now if you are a NATURAL born citizen, and can’t be president until your 35, aren’t you already a resident for 14 years by then? Of course you are! So then why say… and been fourteen years a resident within the United States? Because what was intended was that a CITIZEN could become president, but must have been a resident for at least 14 years in the USA before s/he could run for office.

Before you say, well they are talking about natural born citizens who have lived outside of America for many years. No, they weren’t! Remember the TIME in which this was written. There were no planes, no cars, just horses & buggys and boats. And most couldn’t even afford life here, nevermind the cost of travelling! (And it was also VERY dangerous as well! They had no way of knowing about the comfortable improvements in travel means that 200 years in the future would come about!) They weren’t even thinking about travel outside of America for extended periods of time. Also, they were building a new country, so they knew there would be many more immigrants to come here and who would want to stay and become true Americans. Should they not too be able to give their talents & skills to help run this new country if they are able? If they have stayed here, in this new and harsh world for as long as fourteen years, and became a citizen here, then they have shown enough loyality to become eligible to even become president!

So, maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger will run in 2012? Hey, as stated in our own regulations in the constitution, he sure is eligible to do so!

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12 Comments »

  1. Wayne Leach Said:

    Good interpretation, and I agree somewhat in principle, though probably not in your selection for 2012. However, I pause slightly at the possible validity of this because the “pause” (2nd) comma after “States” might pertain only to the clause immediately preceding it, (or to both, but it cannot be left out entirely because it is not one within the “list” of Citizens, but a defining, timeline prepositional phrase) in order to enable such a “Citizen” of the time (not a future time), to attain to the office so long as s/he were qualified as to the rest of the qualifications following the semicolon.
    I would offer a slight English grammar lesson, also. The plural noun “items” would require the use of “are” as a verb in your clause:
    “…, or to seperate items that is being listed.”

    • Debby Reagan Said:

      LOL… didn’t say I would vote for him, Wayne; just that he could run! The comma after states is there to seperate the list (there are 2 items in this list, the natural born citizen, and the citizen of the US) so naturally, the comma has to be there. Just like the one after milk in my example. But you are correct, it can be left after the word citizen or States, just before the word “at” in each new sentence, to give a slight pause. I just chose not to keep it.
      And yes, I caught that “is” instead of “are” just before you wrote your comment and changed it! LOL But tyvm for pointing it out! 🙂

      • Wayne Leach Said:

        So, can both the 1st and 2nd clauses and the prepositional phrase “at the time…”, or either one of the three, be left out at the readers discretion? I suggest that either of the clauses can be eliminated in deference to the other, but that the prepositional phrase must remain, and is inseperable from the sentence because it pertains to both as a phrase describing the “Citizen” as of the time when the Constitution was drafted ONLY, as stated in the previous post. Why bother to include that phrase at all if it was to pertain to all times, including the future?

      • Debby Reagan Said:

        No, just the comma can… the phrase “at the time…” isn’t part of “the list” (or a clause) and must remain as you say. Only the two clauses can be interchangable and one removed. But the COMMA after the word citizen or States doesn’t need to be put in when you take one of those clauses out, is what I meant Wayne.

  2. Wayne Leach Said:

    So, that would make both clauses pertinent to the phrase denoting the “time of adoption”, and neither clause would pertain to NOW, and the only requirements would be those which come after the semicolon – age of 35 years, and 14 years a resident? Seems doubtful to me, so what am I misinterpreting – or missing? Maybe that the timing phrase could be eliminated after its usefulness as to the time of adoption? When considering the resulting sentences, one would conclude, I believe, that BOTH requirements would apply – for you say that the comma could be dropped, which would eliminate the need for “or”. I suggest that to do so, would require the addition of “and” in its stead. I think one cannot merely subtract, or delete either clause in favor of the other. They are both there for a reason.

  3. Debby Reagan Said:

    Ahhh.. I see now what you are trying to say. I think that the time line “at the time of this adoption”… was to clarify that the natural born or US citizenship had to already be in extistance at that time. I don’t believe it was to say that this was for ONLY then. The reason for this is because they further described and added two more conditions… the age AND the amount of years needed for US Citizenship. They wanted to be sure that no one NEW could run as they didn’t know what side of the fence (or ocean in this case) they’d be on and whether the crown was trying to pull a fast one. Chances are, if they had been born here or gone through the horrors of the past 14 years and were still there, then they were a patriotic American! So, it was to give THEM the assurance to add that timeline, and NOT to limit it to JUST that time.

    • Peter Giardini Said:

      Well said..Perhaps we should go to the press!

    • Peter Giardini Said:

      Also, In defining the term “Citizen” is one whom is born- or naturalized in one of the states.

    • Peter Giardini Said:

      The key word is “OR” a citizen. There are two essences there. Natural born or a citizen…

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by peter giardini and peter giardini. peter giardini said: You Don't Need to Be USA Born To Be President!: http://t.co/nCXJ4a3 […]

  5. Wayne Leach Said:

    This raises another issue: Some claim that the United States (as defined) is now a corporation, not a union of states as originally formed. The United States has also been described as contained within the boundaries of Washington, D.C. and other “federally owned” territories & properties. So, does the Constitution even apply if that is true? I will not claim to be on either side of this issue – yet, esp. here. Apologies for taking a “side road” here.

  6. Nancy Said:

    Wayne Leach..
    That is not a “side-road” it is a major issue.
    The “United States of America” is (singular) a private corporation, as is the “U.S.” (singular entity) .. the “United States” (singular entity).
    The States united of America are (plural / all together) is quite a different matter.
    And there is a difference between Citizen… and “citizen”..

    The small “c” citizen referenced in this excerpt related to the corporate United States and not to the Republic of the States united.
    Therefore, Barry Soetoro the fraud that calls himself “Obama” can certainly be elected to be what is actually the CEO of the corporation known as the United States of America (title/singular).. he would be elected by the “U.S. citizens” who are collectively the collateral for the corportion, aka “human resources’….

    But is he the President of the Republic of the united States of America? No.


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