The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

President of the USA - place of birth

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/2/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,310 times Debate No: 5610
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Resolution: "The requirement that in order for a person to be President of the USA he or she must be born in the USA is fair, just and reasonable"

I am against this resolution. I will let my opponent formulate his argument first.


Assertion: The "Natural Born Citizen" requirement in the constitution is absolutely necessary. It is reasonable and just.

Lets look at the purpose behind this clause. The purpose is to safegaurd American politics from foreign influence.

In the United States, we have laws in place to insure that foreign influence on the US political system is kept to minimum. Laws such as the the one that prohibits election donations from foreign origins, or the natural born citizen clause.

Now lets dispell any idea that I am being intolerant and unfair to those who are not natural born citizens. I am not intolerant of them at all and i certainly agree that there are some who would serve faithfully and serve the purposes of America and not a foreign nation, however, there are some who will not.

So lets lock in contention one.

1. Opening up the highest office in this nation to those who are not natural born citizens, opens the floodgate to possible foreign influence on the oval office.

Next, a minor point but a point none the less. A natural born citizen will be inherently more qualified to president 8 out of 10 times simply based on their experiences as an American. I dont want a president who understands how life can be difficult in Somolia. I want a president who knows how life can be hard here in America. I want a president who knows what being an American citizen is all about. I want a president who recited the pledge of allegence every morning at school. This president would be a man I could relate to. This president would be a man that the majority of Americans could relate to.

So lets toss out contention number two:
2. An unnatural born citizen would likely not be as qualified to represent mainstream America.

Lastly, foreign sympathy...
Lets say that Daoud Nour is running for president. Nour is a natural born African, but a naturalized citizen. Nour wins the election and is the next president of the United States. Imagine for a moment the unfair and possibly harmful sympathy Nour would have for African affairs. He would undoubtedly be unable to hold a clear American viewpoint in conflicts and diplomacy with many African nations. When Nour would sit down with African leaders, he would speak as an African...not an American. He is, after all, African!
This sympathy would be harmful in two ways.
a. he would make unnecessary decisions regarding Africa. Perhaps he would spend too much on African aid. He may increase tension with African nations that have traditionally been an enemy to his own people. He would focus more on conflicts in Africa then he might focus on conflicts in the Middle East.
b. He could quite possibly make decisions that are in the interest of other nations and not our own. Perhaps his native Nigeria would like American troop support for peacekeeping operations. The American government doesnt have the money, the troops, or the peoples support to deploy these troops, but Nour does anyway out of foreign sympathy. Perhaps he does it even out of his own heartfelt obligation. Either way, this is harmful to America because foreign influence has penetrated the white house.
Nour loves America. He is very happy here, he has lived here for 35 years and he has served America well as governor of his home state. He is not purposefully biased and he doesnt intend to undermind American foreign policy, but he will. Unintentionally, he will by holding his unavoidable and understandable sympathy and foreign bias.

So, Contention 3:
Any unnatural citizen would have too much harmful sympathy to their foreign place of origins own causes.

I look forward to a great debate!
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for his prompt reply.

Firstly, I absolutely agree that the laws of the USA, as those of any country, must be such as to ensure that foreign influence is indeed kept to a minimum.

There is not, nor will there be (unless my opponent asserts something extraordinary indeed in R2) any contention that my opponent is being intolerant or unfair.

My opponent has put the following two propositions:

1. "Opening up the highest office in this nation to those who are not natural born citizens, opens the floodgate to possible foreign influence on the oval office."

2. "An unnatural born citizen would likely not be as qualified to represent mainstream America."

I will now address them both in a single argument.

I contend that the place of a person's birth does not bear on where the person's loyalty lies, nor does it bear on the person's ability and qualifications to represent mainstream America. As things stand at present, a person who was born outside of America but arrived in America at 2 days of age cannot ever be President, irrespective of how otherwise suitable a candidate he or she may be. Consider the two hypothetical scenarios:

1. Joe Smith. Both Joe's mother was born in the USA and lived there her whole life. She was a true patriot, completely devoted to her country. Joe's father was a Canadian citizen who lived in the USA since 10. In the 1970's they went on a weekend trip from their home in Altadena CA to Mexico. Joe's mother went into labor and gave birth to Joe on the Sunday. They remained in Mexico for another week, until she was well enough to travel back. Joe's father and mother divorced when Joe was 3 years old. Since then he was raised by his mother only. Since a every young age, Joe has been a model citizen, his loyalty undividied, a true American, as patriotic as his mother.

Joe Smith will never be President.

2. Abu Ahdir Maka
Abu's situation is almost the opposite to Joe's. His parents were from a hypothetical Middle Eastern country. In 1965 they went on a two week trip to Hawaii. This is where Abu's mother gave birth. Abu spent his entire youth hating America and everything she stands for. He was a member of an ultra-fundamental sect of a hypothetical religious sect that interprets its religious dogma in a way dictating the destruction of the Western culture, focussing on the USA. In 1995 he migrated to the USA, gave up his foreign citizenship, became a US citizen.

As of 2009 Abu Ahdir Maka will be able to run for President.

I doubt that my opponent would suggest that Abu Ahdir Maka is more likely to be qualified to represent mainstream America than Joe Smith is. I also doubt that he would further argue that Abu Ahdir Maka is less likely to bring foreign influence into the office if elected President than would Joe Smith (if he were able to run for President).

These are extreme examples, I agree. They are here to illustrate a point. A point that place of birth, in today's climante of cheap and fast international travel, place of birth means little to nothing. There are scores of people born from an American parent and who have always lived in the USA with the exception of the first few days or weeks of their lives. They can never be leaders of their country. I contend that is not fair and not reasonable. There are also scores of people who were born from immigrant parents shortly prior to their arrival in the USA and who have lived in the USA ever since their arrival and yet can never be President. I again contend that this is not fair and not reasonable.

When it comes to the question of loyalty or ability to represent the interests of mainstream Americans, the question of place of birth is simply of such minute relevance that it should not even be given consideration.

At present, to qualify to run for President, a person must be born in the USA, be 35 years of age and must have resided in the USA for at least 14 years with a permanent resident status. At the minimum therefore it must be a person who has resided in the USA just under one half of his or her life. They are allowed to have lived in another country for a whole 16 (at minimum, if they are 35) years previously. They are allowed to have been a permanent resident of that other country, to have served in its Defence Forces (in some countries), to have held political and diplomatic positions of that country (of course this would only apply to those older than 35 at the present time), to have been educated in that country, to have children who are born and bred in that country.

The question to be asked is then: Is it really the position that we are trying to minimise foreign influence? After all, the present situation allows ENORMOUS foreign influence and outside loyalty. All that a candidate has to be is born in the USA. If the true intention behind this restriction were indeed to minimise foreign influence and maximise the ability to represent mainstream America, would it not be more restrictive? Of course it would. A person born overseas, and having lived in the USA for 30 years (at present 35 years old) should arguably be considered infinitely better qualified for the Office than a person who was born in the USA, has lived overseas for 30 years and then again moved to the USA and lived there for 15 years.

I would further contend that a President who has a foreign wife would be much more likely to be subject to foreign influence than one who was born overseas and yet lived his entire life (with the exception of a few months) in the USA. And yet we do not see a prohibition against presidents marrying foreigners.

I conclude this round by saying that while the reasons are right, the measure is not. Perhaps it made more sense when it was originally implemented. However, in today's world it simply does not.


JTSmith forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


I see that my opponent has forfeited his round even though he has been online within the last 22 hours.

I will now briefly summarise this debate.

My contention is that disallowing non-American born citizens of the USA from being President is not fair, just or reasonable. I have presented my arguments for it above.

My opponent's argument relied on two contentions. Firstly, he argued that without the said restriction, the Oval Office would be open to foreign influence. Secondly, he claimed that US-born Americans are better qualified to represent the interests of mainstream Americans than those born elsewhere.

I have demonstrated in my rebuttal that the candidate's place of birth has little to none bearing on his or her likelihood of being influenced by foreign interests. It may be a factor to be taken into account when determining such an issue. However, it cannot be of itself decisive. There are many examples (some shown above in my arguments) of non-American born citizens who would arguably perform better in terms of the said criteria.

Please note that I have not contended that President of the USA should not be carefully screened so as to ensure that (s)he is not committed to foreign interests. That was never my contention. My contention was simply that place of birth is not a criterion that can be reasonably used to decide that question. Other methods should be employed.

As for a candidate's ability to deal with mainstream issues, I can only add that this quality in a candidate is quite well screened out in the campaigning process. In the end, it is the people of America who (albeit indirectly) decide who will be their President.

Ladies and gentlemen. Please bear in mind that you are to judge this debate based on the merits of what is said within it and not on any external reasoning or evidence.

I submit that I have rebutted my opponent's argument and that he then did not even address that rebuttal. Rather, he forfeited his round.

I conclude this by saying that I have disproven the resolution and that you should vote Con.

Thank you


JTSmith forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Lightkeeper 9 years ago
rofl :)
Posted by brian_eggleston 9 years ago
A two word argument is enough to settle this debate: Arnold Schwazenneger!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by JBlake 9 years ago
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