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  #11  
Old 03-05-2010, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DNA-1842 View Post
Just out of curiosity: Why does it matter that much? If a person seems like the right person for the job, and keeps the interests of your country in mind etc... Then why should he get that discrimination. Again, I'm just being curious.
The simplest answer is article 2, section 1 clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution which states that (among other things) a person must be a natural born citizen or a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution in order to be president.The other qualifications are 35 years of age and a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.

I suspect there might have been concerns about the potential of such a person perhaps getting the US involved in overseas situations that the US would otherwise not be involved in. Basically the concern of the framers of the Constitution might have had less to deal with loyalty to the nation, but more to do with potential conflicts of interest in foreign affairs. For example, in the years following the American Civil War, specifically 1866-1871, the US was in a bit of a situation with Canada. The Fenian Brotherhood based in the US, organized raids into Canada, such as the Battle of Ridgeway in 1866. The idea was to pressure England to leave Northern Ireland. Given the number of Irish immigrants that served in the US army, both volunteers and draftees, it's no surprise that the Fenian Brotherhood had quite a few battle hardened Civil War veterans in the ranks of their army. Now to be fair, the US government wasn't particularly disposed to act immediately to stop the Fenian Brotherhood because there was resentment in the US regarding England's support of the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Fenian Brotherhood is probably one of the more extreme examples in US history.

A more contemporary and perhaps less extreme example might be the Cuban-American lobby.

It's not necessarily a question of loyalty, but some might say a question of conflict of interest. My mother came from Taiwan and I would consider her a loyal US citizen. However, when it comes to the situation between China and Taiwan her views might not be all that objective. I personally am not quite as attached to Taiwan, in fact I've never even met most of my relatives there and there's probably a bunch of relatives there that I don't even know about.

Anyway, I suspect that's the reason why that restriction was placed in the Constitution. Especially early on when the nation was just founded, there was very little that held it together. By the time George Washington left office, there was already a great deal of internal political conflict between people who supported England and people who supported France and there had already been one rebellion which the Federal government put down known as Shays' Rebellion. And remember, the question of whether or not a state could secede from the union wouldn't be addressed for roughly another 70 years.

Whether or not the restriction is applicable today or even intended to be applicable after all this time in the first place is probably something that will be debated by students of Constitutional law for some time. One can probably question if the restriction even serves its purpose to begin with.
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Last edited by Akula2ssn : 03-05-2010 at 10:52 PM.
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  #12  
Old 03-06-2010, 02:18 PM
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The simplest answer is article 2, section 1 clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution which states that (among other things) a person must be a natural born citizen or a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution in order to be president.The other qualifications are 35 years of age and a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.

I suspect there might have been concerns about the potential of such a person perhaps getting the US involved in overseas situations that the US would otherwise not be involved in. Basically the concern of the framers of the Constitution might have had less to deal with loyalty to the nation, but more to do with potential conflicts of interest in foreign affairs. For example, in the years following the American Civil War, specifically 1866-1871, the US was in a bit of a situation with Canada. The Fenian Brotherhood based in the US, organized raids into Canada, such as the Battle of Ridgeway in 1866. The idea was to pressure England to leave Northern Ireland. Given the number of Irish immigrants that served in the US army, both volunteers and draftees, it's no surprise that the Fenian Brotherhood had quite a few battle hardened Civil War veterans in the ranks of their army. Now to be fair, the US government wasn't particularly disposed to act immediately to stop the Fenian Brotherhood because there was resentment in the US regarding England's support of the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Fenian Brotherhood is probably one of the more extreme examples in US history.

A more contemporary and perhaps less extreme example might be the Cuban-American lobby.

It's not necessarily a question of loyalty, but some might say a question of conflict of interest. My mother came from Taiwan and I would consider her a loyal US citizen. However, when it comes to the situation between China and Taiwan her views might not be all that objective. I personally am not quite as attached to Taiwan, in fact I've never even met most of my relatives there and there's probably a bunch of relatives there that I don't even know about.

Anyway, I suspect that's the reason why that restriction was placed in the Constitution. Especially early on when the nation was just founded, there was very little that held it together. By the time George Washington left office, there was already a great deal of internal political conflict between people who supported England and people who supported France and there had already been one rebellion which the Federal government put down known as Shays' Rebellion. And remember, the question of whether or not a state could secede from the union wouldn't be addressed for roughly another 70 years.

Whether or not the restriction is applicable today or even intended to be applicable after all this time in the first place is probably something that will be debated by students of Constitutional law for some time. One can probably question if the restriction even serves its purpose to begin with.
Thank you very much! That was most enlightening!


From my perspective though, nowadays you shouldn't need to be a pure-bred American, as long as you are a trusted one. The having lived in America for x number of years sounds perfectly reasonable though. But what do I know, I'm just Scottish.

But, one niggle: You did that thing, the thing that Americans tend to do a lot (I have been to America), but when you say ''England'' I think you mean ''Britain''. We Scots and our fellow insular Celts, the Welsh and the Nor'n Irish, tend to feel a little left out...
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  #13  
Old 03-06-2010, 03:55 PM
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But, one niggle: You did that thing, the thing that Americans tend to do a lot (I have been to America), but when you say ''England'' I think you mean ''Britain''. We Scots and our fellow insular Celts, the Welsh and the Nor'n Irish, tend to feel a little left out...
You're right, I keep forgetting that there are actually four countries that make up the United Kingdom. Similarly, Russia and the USSR were often interchanged in daily conversation during the Cold War days as well as today. Even during the Cold War, Russia had its own president that was separate from the Soviet head of state.

But yes, I think generally in today's United States, there's probably a greater willingness to accept the idea of a non-native born president. It might still be controversial, but I can imagine that eventually it wouldn't matter as much. There's always the option to move for a constitutional amendment as well. Of course amendments are very slow to pass. Generally democracies are slow and inefficient by nature. For those that want immediate change, I tend to send them to the dictatorships on isle three top shelf. For example, the Equal Rights Amendment which was supposed to guarantee that equal rights couldn't be denied base on gender has yet to the ratified. It was proposed back in 1972 but failed to be ratified. There's a whole line of debates regarding the amendment which I won't go into but I think you get the picture. I think the Child Labor amendment is another pending amendment which dates back to I think circa 1920.
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