22nd Amendment

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Amendment XXII

Section 1. 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.

Section 2. 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.

George Washington established an unwritten tradition that no President would serve or seek more than two four-year terms. Franklin Delano Roosevelt broke this tradition, however, when he sought and won his third and then fourth terms in 1940 and 1944. Congress, eager to contain the possibility of an imperial Presidency but leery of change during World War Two waited until its conclusion to pass the 22nd amendment to the Constitution. Specifically excepting Harry S. Truman (who assumed the presidency at Franklin Roosevelt's death in 1945) from its provisions, the 22nd Amendment passed Congress on March 21, 1947. After Truman won a second term in 1948, it was ratified on February 27, 1951.

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