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22nd Amendment

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One of the most unique aspects of the United States of America government is the concept of citizen rulers. When our founding fathers set up the presidency, they attempted to correct perceived flaws and abuses of European models and refocus the center of power in government on the electorate rather than on the elected. The pilgrims and immigrants that made up this country witnessed abuses by career politicians and Kings in their homelands. Unlimited power and abuse of the people was the main reason that caused so many to flee Europe, Central Asia and other parts of the world to seek a land where it was the people who were the center of the governments will, not the arbitrary ideas of a king who was cut off from the real needs of the people he served. Throughout our history, career politicians have been disconnected from the people they serve. Here are the events that led to the passage of the 22ND amendment.

The limitation of service as President of the United States to two terms was, until the 22nd amendment, a matter of custom not law. It began when George Washington refused to run for a third term. In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President and re-elected in 1936. When it came time for the Democrats to nominate a candidate for the Presidency in 1940, two significant things happened. First, the Republicans had made great gains in Congress in the 1938 elections and war had engulfed Europe and the Pacific. A change away from Roosevelt, who led the nation through the Great Depression, did not seem wise. He was nominated for a third term, and won. It was not a landslide victory and many historians believe he would have lost the election had it not been for World War II. When 1944 rolled around, changing leaders in the middle of World War II, which the United States was now fully engaged in, seemed unwise, and Franklin D. Roosevelt ran for and was elected to, a fourth term (Spalding 2005).

Following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Harry S. Truman established the Hoover commission in 1947 to recommend administrative changes in the Federal Government of the United States. Limiting presidential terms was one of 273 recommendations submitted to Congress (Library of Congress 1957). It was one of the first items taken up when the Republicans took control of Congress following the 1946 elections. On March 21, 1947, Congress passed the 22nd Amendment; it was ratified by forty-one of forty-eight states on February 27, 1951. Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states. The 22nd amendment made permanent what had been a tradition since George Washington was sworn in as the first US President. The amendment stated:

"No person shall be elected 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

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