The presidential birth requirements in the U.S. Constitution require anyone elected to serve as U.S. president or vice president be a “natural born citizen.” What that means is only those people who are U.S. citizens at birth and did not have to go through the naturalization process are eligible to serve in the highest office in the land. It does not mean that a president must have been born on U.S. soil to serve, even though there has never been a U.S. president born outside one of the 50 U.S. states.
The confusion over presidential birth requirements centers on two terms: natural -born citizen and native -born citizen. Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t say anything about being a native-born citizen, but instead 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.”
There is no similar requirement, however, to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, in either chamber of Congress or in the president’s cabinet. Some believe the provision on presidential birth requirements was an attempt to foreign dominance of U.S. government, particularly the military and the position of commander-in-chief, which had not yet been merged with presidency at the time the Constitution was being drafted.