Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8
[Volume 3, Page 389]
William Rawle, A View of the Constitution of the United States 119--20 1829 (2d ed.)
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States, or by any individual state. Of this there could have been but little [Volume 3, Page 390] danger. The independent spirit of republicans leads them to contemn the vanity of hereditary distinctions, but the residue of the clause is more important. No person holding any office of trust or profit under the United States shall, without the consent of congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
There cannot be too much jealousy in respect to foreign influence. The treasures of Persia were successfully distributed in Athens; and it is now known that in England a profligate prince and many of his venal courtiers were bribed into measures injurious to the nation by the gold of Louis XIV.
A salutary amendment, extending the prohibition to all citizens of the United States, and disfranchising those who infringe it, has been adopted by some of the states; but not yet by a sufficient number. The clause in the text is defective in not providing a specific penalty for a breach of it. Disfranchisement, or a deprivation of all the rights of a citizen, seems the most appropriate punishment that could be applied, since it renders the seduction useless to those who were the authors of it, and disgraceful to the person seduced.
Rawle, William. A View of the Constitution of the United States of America. 2d ed. Philadelphia, 1829. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1970.
© 1987 by The University of Chicago