Amendment 22

Annie69 By Annie69, 25th Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>History

It seems that every time a President gets half-way through his second term someone brings up Amendment 22. A look back reveals how the American people handled term limits before the 22nd Amendment, and when and why Amendment 22 came to be.

President Washington's tradition

George Washington was elected America's first president in the 1788-1789 election. He was re-elected for a second term in 1792. In 1796 there was talk of Washington running for a third term, but Washington had a different idea. First, he was tired and wanted to go home. Second, he didn't think his leadership was necessary for the nation's survival.

Although there was nothing in the Constitution prohibiting a third presidential term, Washington created a tradition that lasted until 1876.

Four attempts at a third term

Washington's tradition of a two-term limit for the President was challenged in the 1876 election when Ulysses S. Grant ran for a third term. He was not re-elected. Again in 1896, Grover Cleveland attempted a third term but he was defeated by William McKinley.

Two more attempts for a third term occurred in the early 1900s. Theodore Roosevelt was Vice President when William McKinley was assassinated in 1901. Roosevelt served 3-½ years of McKinley's term before being elected in 1904 in his own right. While his run for the Presidency in 1908 was actually only his second attempt as President, he had for all practical purposes been in office two terms and William Howard Taft won the election.

The next attempt was in 1920. Woodrow Wilson was elected in 1912 and again in 1916, but he suffered defeat in 1920 when he ran against Warren G. Harding.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in 1932 and re-elected in 1936. In 1940, he did what no man had done before—he successfully ran for a third term as President of the United States.

World War II had begun in 1939, but the US remained neutral until the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. There's a saying: "Don't change horses in the middle of a stream." That saying held true during the 1944 Presidential election and, because of WWII, FDR was elected to a fourth term.

FDR died in office and Vice President Harry Truman assumed the Presidency on April 12, 1945. Truman finished FDR's fourth term and was elected in his own right in 1948.

The 22nd Amendment

After Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to his fourth term, Congress, in 1947, passed the 22nd Amendment which limited the President to two terms plus no more than half of someone else's term.

The Amendment was ratified in 1951.


Amendment 22, Fdr, Term Limits

Meet the author

author avatar Annie69
History column appears weekly in local newspaper. Also news, human interest, and pictures. My fiction and poems have appeared in literary anthologies and I've written 3 novels

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
25th Sep 2015 (#)

interesting post and hopefully this amendment doesn't get changed for nothing!

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author avatar Annie69
25th Sep 2015 (#)

Thanks for reading. I don't think it should be repealed either. We need term limits for Congress and I'm not sure I'd be against term limits for the Supreme Court. Thanks for reading.

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author avatar M G Singh
27th Sep 2015 (#)

Personally two terms is too less for a great leader.

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author avatar Annie69
28th Sep 2015 (#)

While I tend to agree, it gives too much control to a bad leader. We need only look at Congress and the Supreme Court to see that. Thanks for your input.

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