2.2 Structure and Design of U.S. Government

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Application of Ideas: Requirements for U.S. Office

One of the purposes of learning about social studies is to use what you have learned. Often, you learn a general principle or idea and apply it to a specific situation. For example, arithmetic skills such as addition and subtraction can be applied to balance a checkbook or plan your food budget.

On social studies tests, you may be given some general facts, such as those in the following table, and asked to apply them to a new situation.

Requirements for U.S. Office
Office Citizenship Age Residency
President and Vice President Natural (born in the United States) At least 35 Has lived in the United States for 14 or more years
Senator U.S. citizen for 9 or more years At least 30 Lives in state where elected
Representative in Congress U.S. citizen for 7 or more years At least 25 Lives in state where elected

Read the following passage about Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President. Then use the table to check his qualifications for office.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in 1890 in Texas. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from 1911-1915. He became a professional soldier and served in the U.S. Army for many years, including World War II. He was elected president on November 4, 1952.

Use this information to see how Eisenhower fulfilled each of the three requirements listed in the row next to President.

  • Citizenship—Eisenhower was a natural citizen because he was born in the United States (in the state of Texas).
  • Age—He was at least 35 years old. Actually, he was 62 when he was elected.
  • Residency—Even though he was overseas off and on during the 14 years before his election, he had lived in the United States from his birth to his first overseas assignment in 1922 at the age of 32. The 14-year requirement does not need to be consecutive years, nor must the 14 years be those immediately before the election.

Eisenhower met all three requirements for the office of president.