Twenty-Second Amendment: Historical Background

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Amdt22.1 Twenty-Second Amendment: Historical Background

Twenty-Second Amendment:

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

“By reason of the lack of a positive expression upon the subject of the tenure of the office of President, and by reason of a well-defined custom which has risen in the past that no President should have more than two terms in that office, much discussion has resulted upon this subject. Hence it is the purpose of this . . . [proposal] . . . to submit this question to the people so they, by and through the recognized processes, may express their views upon this question, and if they shall so elect, they may . . . thereby set at rest this problem.” 1 This characterization of the issue, of course, followed soon after the people had expressed their views by electing Franklin D. Roosevelt to unprecedented third and fourth terms of office, in 1940 and 1944, respectively.

Footnotes
1
H.R. Rep. No. 17, 80th Cong., 1st Sess. at 2 (1947). back

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