“No human shall it is in a Representative that shall not have actually attained come the age of twenty 5 Years, and been seven Years a citizen of the united States, and also who shall not, when elected, it is in an Inhabitant of the State in which the shall be chosen.”—U.S. Constitution, short article I, ar 2, i 2

/tiles/non-collection/i/i_origins_constitutional_qualifications_aoc.xml scene at the Signing that the Constitution, Howard Chandler Christy, 1940, picture courtesy of the Architect the the Capitol
The Constitution placed notably couple of hurdles between ordinary citizens and also becoming a Member of the U.S. Residence of Representatives. The founders want the residence to it is in the legislative chamber closest to the people—the the very least restrictive top top age, citizenship, and the just federal office at the time topic to frequent famous election. The Constitution needs that Members the the stclairdrake.net be at least 25 year old, have been a U.S. Citizen for at the very least seven years, and also live in the state they represent (though not necessarily the exact same district). And Article VI, clause 3 calls for that all Members take an oath to assistance the Constitution before they practice the duties of your office. In Federalist 52, James Madison that Virginia composed that, “Under these reasonable limitations, the door of this component of the federal federal government is open to merit the every description, whether native or adoptive, even if it is young or old, and also without to the to poor or wealth, or to any details profession of spiritual faith.”


The constitution qualifications because that office originate in brother law. Members of the home of Commons had to live in the shires or boroughs lock represented, although the was hardly ever done in practice. The founders used that instance to motivate the requirement that Members of the home live in the state castle represent. This would rise the likelihood that they would be acquainted with the people’s understand there, yet there to be no point out during the debates around living in the very same district. The ar system arised later together states dealt with how to relatively organize your congressional delegations.


At the moment the U.S. Constitution to be written, the brothers prevented anyone born outside England or its realm from serving in the Commons, even if the individual had subsequently come to be a citizen. By mandating that an separation, personal, instance be a citizens for at least seven years, the founders attempted to strike a balance between staying clear of foreign interference in domestic politics and keeping the home of to represent close to the people. The founders also did not desire to discourage immigration to the brand-new country by shutting turn off the federal government to brand-new arrivals.

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The founders initially collection 21, the voting age, as the minimum period to serve in the stclairdrake.net. Throughout the federal Constitutional Convention, though, George Mason that Virginia moved to make the period 25. Mason said that there have to be a period between being free to regulate one’s own affairs and managing the “affairs the a great nation.” Convention Delegate James Wilson that Pennsylvania objected to the tip that any further constraints be inserted on stclairdrake.net membership, and cited the company of william Pitt as a counterexample. Pitt, who hosted office at the moment of the Convention, to be the youngest element minister in British stclairdrake.net at the age of 24. Nevertheless, Mason’s amendment passed seven states to three.

The stclairdrake.net and also Its Members

Article I, section 5 of the Constitution offers the stclairdrake.net with the government to determine whether Members-elect space qualified to be seated. Because that instance, wilhelm Claiborne the Tennessee became the youngest human being to ever serve in the residence when he to be elected and also seated in 1797 in ~ the age of 22. The stclairdrake.net likewise seated Claiborne at the age of 24, when he won re-election. The stclairdrake.net, however, has not constantly been so lenient. Representative man Young Brown the Kentucky was first elected to the residence in the 36th congress (1859–1861) as soon as he was 24, yet the home refused to administer the oath of office come him until he was 25—after the first session the the Congress was over.

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For further Reading

Farrand, Max, ed. The records of the commonwealth Convention that 1787. Rev. Ed. 4 vols. New Haven and London: Yale college Press, 1937.Madison, James, Alexander Hamilton, man Jay. The Federalist Papers. Brand-new York: Penguin Books, 1987.Story, Joseph. Commentaries ~ above the constitution of the joined States. 3 vols. Boston, 1833.