Mini-Rumination: A U.S. President Born in a Foreign Country?

Think the argument that President Obama isn’t qualified to serve as President because he was born in another country is unique?

Think again.

It’s happened before.

Chester Alan Arthur came to Washington, D.C. as the ultimate political hack; he had never been elected to any public office and was fired from the one and only government job he ever held amid allegations of corruption.  When President James Garfield lay dying from an assassin’s bullet, many Americans despaired at the thought of Arthur, his Vice President, taking his place.

In her book Destiny of the Republic:  A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, Candice Millard writes that

Enraged by the very idea of Arthur taking over the presidency, Americans across the country readied themselves as if for battle.  Some took a tactical approach, frantically trying to revive the rumor, started during the campaign, that the vice president had been born in Canada, and so was constitutionally prohibited from becoming president.

So it looks like The Donald and all those tea party fools not only were wrong but also weren’t even original.

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  • Scott  On January 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

    The Curmudgeon has had a good run this week. Loved the Marlton update…and this tidbit about the Arthur controversy may prove to be useful in a future Jeopardy game. I’ve been unable to beat my 23-year old son the last few nights (I KNEW I should have taken those art history and 19th century English Literature courses in college!)…it’s only a matter of time before a VP category pops up. I’m ready!!!

  • foureyedcurmudgeon  On January 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Thanks for the kind words. As for beating your kids at knowledge games, well, it’s your own fault that you have such bright kids! And English literature – please, I’d prefer a trip to the dentist, or even attending a soccer game, to a semester of English literature.

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