Under the Constitution of the United States, those with political ambitions who aspire to serve in the federal government must be at least twenty-five to qualify for membership in the House of Representatives, thirty to run for the Senate, and thirty-five to become president. What is the justification for these age thresholds, and is it time to consider changing them? In this book, I present the case for a constitutional amendment to lower the age barrier to eighteen, the same age at which citizens become eligible to vote. I divide this argument into three sections. In a historical chapter, I trace the way in which the age qualifications became incorporated in the Constitution in the first place. In a theoretical chapter, I analyze the normative arguments for office eligibility as a democratic right and liberty. And in a political chapter, I ruminate about the real-world consequences of passing such an amendment and the prospects for its passage. Finally, in a postscript, I argue that younger citizens in particular ought to be exposed to this fundamental issue in civics.
This blog, I hope, will further the conversation. Thank you. — John Seery