The Constitution: Representative Requirements

We noted that Congress is divided into two houses which are to balance each other before any mention of other governmental powers: the Senate and the House of the Representatives. These two form one portion of the powers granted to the government. In this section, it’s great seeing how they’re elected.

Section 2 – The House. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

Every 2 years, the people of the states pick their representatives via voting. What’s huge about this is that these representatives are going to serve the entire country and not merely the state. These representatives become, together, the House of Representatives. This stipulation is also important because it means that Representatives aren’t voted in for life: they are truly subject to the will of the People. In Congress, this house of representatives will have more people than the other house (the Senate).

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives have to have certain qualification—but surprisingly very little others: at least 25 years old, been a citizen of the US for at least seven years, and have been an inhabitant of the State in which he is chosen.

So this means that a person who is an inhabitant of another state can’t be a Representative, people who are citizens for less than 7 years (or non-citizens at all), and if they’re under 25.

But one doesn’t have to be royalty, a noble, come from a family of money, own a lot of land—none of that. Not even a level of intelligence is stipulated here. Which is all awesome. It means I am able to be a representative.

3 thoughts on “The Constitution: Representative Requirements”

  1. What about “and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen”? Does that really say that the representatives aren’t supposed to be from the state they represent? What happened to change that, then? Now you do have to be from the state you represent.

  2. Real quick, since I’m running around right now I think it’s because the framers loved double negatives. {No Person} who is {Not from the State} –> Shall Be A Representative.

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