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What is an emolument?

Emolument is generally used in a legal context, which stands for compensation based on time, length of activity, the income or benefits that one gets from working or holding a position; that which is paid or given in return for one's services or which is attached to the office as wages, fees, and allowances. Any extra advantage, income, or gain from having an office.


Emolument explained

The origin of the word "emolument" can be traced back to the Latin word "emolumentum," which had two meanings. One was "to produce by grinding," as in grinding corn at a mill. The other was "advantage, benefit, or profit." This may have come from the idea of the fee paid to the miller for his service. 

Emoluments can differ depending on the type and duration of the service performed. The word is outdated and rarely used today, except in legal situations. 

How Emolument came into existence?

The Emoluments Clause aims to stop certain people, mainly those who hold a government office, from gaining personal benefits from their special and high status in society.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause is meant to block foreign interference in the U.S. government and any other dishonesty. It comes from the tradition of giving gifts that European officials used to do when meeting foreign leaders. In this way, the prohibition of accepting a gift or any other payment removes any sway on the potential recipient of the gift.

The goal of the Domestic Emoluments Clause is to protect the independence of the President, and similarly, eliminate any influence on them by the ability to change their salary.

The Ineligibility Emoluments Clause serves a similar purpose, mainly to separate the powers of the branches, and to prevent Presidential influence on the legislature