Reviewed by Vineeth | Updated on Jul 30, 2021



The compensation which is based on the length and time of activity for employment, holding office, or services in the legal context is referred to as the emolument. It may vary on the basis of the kind and length of service being offered.

Understanding Emolument

The term emolument is drawn from ‘Emolumentum’, a Latin term, which has two meanings: i) it refers to the profit, gain, or benefit ii) it refers to the labour or efforts being put in by an individual

It initially meant the amount being paid to millers for grinding the wheat of a customer. This term is not used much today and is generally used in the legal context.

History of Emolument

As per St. George Tucker, a famous historian in the late 18th century and early 19th century the emoluments clause dates back to the implications of the English Civil War, after which most officers of the state became the pensioners of the France Court or went under it’s direct or indirect influence from the emolument clause.

Alexander Hamilton was of the opinion that a similar situation might arise in the United States of America, which was newly formed. He felt that the U.S. had a weak aspect of republics—they may see the inflow of funds from an overseas source as corruption.

Before drafting the constitution, the confederation of articles had a version of clauses of emoluments (Article VI). This law was waived when the French and Spanish monarch gifted lavish and fancy items to the diplomats of the United States. During World War II, a law was passed by the Congress which allowed the military members to receive gifts given by the foreigners.

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