Founding Era Article II Eligibility

Article II, Section 1, Clause 5, Constitution of the United States

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.

Diagram of Native, Natural, and Naturalized Citizens during the Founding Era

Case 1

A British Subject in and Citizen of one of the Thirteen Colonies becomes, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, an American Citizen. At the Time of Adoption this American Citizen is eligible to the Office of President provided:

• they are at least thirty-five years old
• have been fourteen years a resident within the United States

Case 2

A British Subject in and Citizen of one of the Thirteen Colonies has a child after the Declaration of Independence. The parents become, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, American Citizens. The child, born from American Citizen parents, is a natural born Citizen. This natural born American Citizen is eligible to the Office of President provided:

• they are at least thirty-five years old
• have been fourteen years a resident within the United States

Case 3

A British Subject in and Citizen of one of the Thirteen Colonies has a child prior to the Declaration of Independence. This child is a British Subject and a native born Citizen of the Colony. At the signing of the Declaration of Independence this British Subject becomes an American Citizen. At the Time of Adoption this American Citizen is eligible to the Office of President provided:

• they are at least thirty-five years old
• have been fourteen years a resident within the United States

Case 4

An Alien naturalizes and becomes a British Subject in and Citizen of one of the Thirteen Colonies. Upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence, he becomes an American Citizen. At the Time of Adoption this American Citizen is eligible to the Office of President provided:

• they are at least thirty-five years old
• have been fourteen years a resident within the United States

Case 5

An Alien naturalizes and becomes a Citizen of one of the Thirteen States. At the Time of Adoption this American Citizen is eligible to the Office of President provided:

• they are at least thirty-five years old
• have been fourteen years a resident within the United States

Case 6

An Alien naturalizes after the Adoption and becomes a Citizen of the United States. This Citizen is not eligible to the Office of President, they were not a Citizen at the Adoption nor are they a natural born Citizen.

A PDF copy is available.

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