Lesson Plan - Get It!
The first Related Lesson in our So, You Want to Run for Political Office? series, found in the right-hand sidebar, explores the Constitution's three requirements for running for president. This lesson explores the requirements for taking office within the legislative branch.
Since there can only be one president every four years, very few people actually get to become the U.S. president. But the legislative branch offers more than 500 positions as representatives and senators. This means that those wishing to run for political office are far more likely to find a seat on the legislative branch than the executive branch.
Let's explore the requirements for becoming a member of the House of Representatives or Senate!
Just like the presidency, the U.S. Constitution outlines requirements for becoming a member of Congress.
Article 1, Section 2 describes three requirements for being a member of the House of Representatives, and Article 1, Section 3 describes three requirements for being a member of the Senate. The requirements for each house vary slightly.
Access The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription at the National Archives. Read Article 1, Sections 2 and 3 of the Constitution and identify the requirements for becoming a House of Representatives or Senate member.
- What qualifications must a person possess to become a representative or senator?
You should have found that to be a senator, a person must be at least 30 years old, have lived in the United States for at least 9 years, and be a resident of the state that he or she wishes to represent.
To be a member of the House of Representatives, a person must be at least 25 years old, have lived in the United States for at least 7 years, and be a resident of the state that he or she wishes to represent.
- Why do you think the founding fathers established different requirements for each half of the legislative branch?
Continue on to the Got It? section when you are ready.