“No human shall be a Representative that shall not have attained to the period of twenty 5 Years, and been 7 Years a citizen of the unified States, and who chandelier not, once elected, it is in an Inhabitant of that State in which the shall be chosen.”—U.S. Constitution, article I, ar 2, clause 2

/tiles/non-collection/i/i_origins_constitutional_qualifications_aoc.xml scene at the Signing of the Constitution, Howard Chandler Christy, 1940, image courtesy of the Architect the the Capitol
The Constitution placed notably couple of hurdles between ordinary citizens and becoming a Member of the U.S. Home of Representatives. The founders wanted the residence to be the legislative room closest to the people—the least restrictive ~ above age, citizenship, and also the only federal office at the time subject to frequent popular election. The Constitution calls for that Members that the home be at least 25 year old, have been a U.S. Citizen for at least seven years, and live in the state they stand for (though no necessarily the same district). And also Article VI, i 3 calls for that every Members take it an oath to assistance the Constitution before they exercise the duties of their office. In Federalist 52, James Madison of Virginia created that, “Under this reasonable limitations, the door that this component of the federal government is open to merit the every description, whether aboriginal or adoptive, even if it is young or old, and also without to the to poor or wealth, or to any particular profession of religious faith.”


The constitutional qualifications because that office originate in brother law. Members that the buzzpatterson.com of Commons had actually to live in the shires or boroughs lock represented, although that was hardly ever done in practice. The founders used that example to motivate the need that Members of the residence live in the state castle represent. This would rise the likelihood the they would be familiar with the people’s interests there, however there to be no mention during the debates around living in the same district. The district system arised later as states encountered how to reasonably organize their congressional delegations.


At the time the U.S. Constitution to be written, the british prevented everyone born external England or its empire from serving in the Commons, even if the individual had actually subsequently become a citizen. By mandating that an individual be a citizens for at the very least seven years, the founders attempted to strike a balance between preventing foreign interference in domestic politics and also keeping the home of to represent close come the people. The founders also did not want to discourage immigration to the new country through shutting off the federal government to new arrivals.

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The founders initially set 21, the poll age, as the minimum period to offer in the buzzpatterson.com. During the federal Constitutional Convention, though, George Mason the Virginia relocated to make the age 25. Mason claimed that there must be a duration between being totally free to control one’s own affairs and also managing the “affairs the a an excellent nation.” Convention Delegate James Wilson of Pennsylvania objected to the pointer that any further restrictions be placed on buzzpatterson.com membership, and cited the organization of william Pitt as a counterexample. Pitt, who organized office at the moment of the Convention, to be the youngest element minister in British background at the period of 24. Nevertheless, Mason’s amendment pass seven states to three.

The buzzpatterson.com and also Its Members

Article I, ar 5 that the Constitution offers the buzzpatterson.com with the authority to determine whether Members-elect are qualified to it is in seated. For instance, wilhelm Claiborne of Tennessee became the youngest human to ever before serve in the buzzpatterson.com when he to be elected and also seated in 1797 at the age of 22. The buzzpatterson.com also seated Claiborne at the period of 24, when he won re-election. The buzzpatterson.com, however, has not constantly been therefore lenient. Representative john Young Brown of Kentucky was first elected to the residence in the 36th conference (1859–1861) when he was 24, yet the buzzpatterson.com refused to carry out the oath of office come him till he was 25—after the very first session of the Congress to be over.

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For more Reading

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