Are Presidents Really Only Allowed Two Terms In Office?

( Everyone knows that American presidents are restricted to serving only two terms, but do you know why? The fact is that it hasn’t always been the case, and while it is mandated by law, there has been a president who served more than two terms before – and it wasn’t hundreds of years ago!

The only president who ever served more than two terms was Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Democratic president won the 1944 presidential election and was elected to the highest office in the land for the fourth time. It was just a handful of months into that fourth term, however, that he suddenly died. Roosevelt, had he lived, would have served 16 years as President of the United States – something that seems unimaginable today.

So What Changed?

Well, FDR presided over the United States during a time of great uncertainty and turmoil. There was the Second World War, the depression, and FDR was a strong leader who the country rallied behind.

However, the discussion of whether presidents should be allowed to run for more than two terms started during the 1944 election campaign. The Hoover Commission was proposed by President Harry S. Truman in 1947, which then recommended that presidents should not be allowed to serve more than eight years in office. It was argued that allowing presidents to remain in office for so long would create some new form of monarchy.

The 22nd Amendment

It resulted in the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution. The amendment was passed in 1947 and ratified by 1951, and since then, no president has ever served more than two terms.

There are two sections to the amendments.

Section 1 reads:

“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 President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by 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.”

Section 2 reads:

“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.”

Will A President Ever Serve More Than Two Terms Again?

Nobody can predict the future, but for a president to ever serve more than two terms, it will require an amendment to the Constitution.

Amendments to the Constitution can be proposed by Congress with a majority of two-thirds. This must take place in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The proposed amendment must also be ratified by the states.