Emolument – Definition

Cite this article as:"Emolument – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated September 10, 2019, last accessed October 23, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/emolument-definition/.


Emolument Definition

An emolument is a monetary incentive that a person receives for offering employment services or conducting office. Such compensation varies as per the time duration and the nature of the services provided, and is usually considered in a lawful matter.

Emolument is originated from the Latin term ‘emolumentum’ that stated two different meanings: effort or labor, and benefit, or profit. In the original context, it involved the amount that a miller received for offering wheat grinding services to a customer. This word is mostly used in legit subject matters.

The Emoluments Clause

The constitutional law uses the term ‘emoluments’ on a large scale, and it is included in the article I, section 9 of the U.S. constitution:

The Emoluments Clause is included in Article I, section 9 of the U.S. Constitution. It doesn’t allow U.S. officers to accept any form of gift, office, emolument, or office from other nations.

After the English Civil War (1642-1651), St. George Tucker, a famous historian, came up with the Emoluments Clause. In the Civil War, almost every official of Charles II was either the pensioner of France’s court, or deemed to be controlled by it in some manner. Alexander Hamilton stated that there was a possibility that the similar situation could take place in the United States too. Besides several benefits, republics faced a drawback of falling prey to foreign corruption.

The Articles of Confederation comprised a form of the Emoluments Clause, Article VI before the U.S. Constitution came into effect. However, Congress abandoned the law when the sovereigns from France and Spain offer luxurious presents to American officers. For instance, Benjamin Franklin received a diamond-studded portrait from Louis XVI in the year 1875. After three years, Congress was allowed to accept gifts based on the emoluments law. However, this was something that the Articles of Confederation had not mentioned. During the phase of World War II, the military officers were allowed to take foreign adornments. For instance, Christian X, the king from Denmark, gave Dwight D. Eisenhower the title of knighthood, and included him in the Order of the Elephant that was 600 years old.

Reference for “Emolument”





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