Did you know that George Washington, the man we were taught to call our first president, was actually not eligible for the job, and in fact was not the legitimate president? According to an article quoted in the Texas Law Review, this is exactly the case:
The constitutional text explicitly restricts eligibility to those persons who were “natural born Citizen[s], or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution. ” Article VII in turn provides that “[t]he Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution.” The terms for adoption required by Article VII were satisfied when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify on June 21, 1788. Although Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island would later vote to join the new nation, the Constitution achieved full legal birth with New Hampshire’s ratification; hence, only citizens of the nine ratifying states could be denominated “citizens of the United States” as of the time of the Constitution’s adoption. Because George Washington was a citizen of Virginia, he “was not a citizen of the United States at the time the Constitution went into effect under Article VII, and hence was ineligible to be President under Article II. Q.E.D.”
The purpose of this article is not to seriously suggest that George Washington was not a legitimate president of the United States, but rather to show what silliness results from a layman’s uninformed literalist reading of the Constitution.