Amendment XXII – Two Term Limit on President (1951)


The Twenty Second Amendment reads as follows:

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.

Prior to the Twenty Second Amendment, there was no limit to the tenure of Presidency.  The twenty second amendment to the US Constitution limited the tenure of Presidency by prohibiting re-election for a third term.  Moreover, even if a President served as President or Acting President for more than two years of a term of another President, they can still only be elected only for one more full term.

George Washington’s example in denying a third Presidential term was followed by all Presidents until 1940.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt served as President for four terms.  This led to President Harry S. Truman establishing the Hoover Commission in 1947.  The Commission made the recommendation that came into effect through the Twenty second Amendment which was adopted in 1951. 

The Amendment received some criticism from Presidents and congressmen including Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Many Representatives put forward resolutions challenging the amendment.  There have also been recommendations to modify the amendment to read that a President cannot run more than two consecutive terms instead of restricting it two distinct and absolute terms.

The Twenty Second Amendment and the Twelfth Amendment are somewhat related.  The Twelfth Amendment reads: “no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.”  Some question if this means that a President who has run two presidential terms is disqualified from seeking Vice Presidency.  This issue may be resolved when an ex-President seeks to run for Vice-President.