National Constitution CenterCenturies of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline Exhibit
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1931-1946: We meet crisis in the Depression, and again in World War II

July 15, 1940
FDR seeks an uprecedented third term...and starts a national debate

FDR at campaign rally

It’s an old tradition: presidents don’t serve more than two terms. George Washington established the custom in 1797.

But FDR has broken with the past. With war threatening, the Democrats have nominated the enormously popular Roosevelt for a third term.

Tuesday, February 27, 1951

When Roosevelt won a third term and then a fourth, we wondered: is it a good idea to have any one person—no matter how able or popular—stay in power so long? Congress put the issue to the people.

Today, we ratified the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution. It says:

“No person shall be elected to the office
of the President more than twice.”

Read about it in the New York times

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