On March 1, 1951, the Administrator of General Services certified that the proposed presidential tenure amendment submitted to the states by Congress in 1947 had been ratified by thirty-six states, thus making it a part of the United States Constitution. Adoption of this proposal, which becomes the Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, disposes of an issue that has agitated American politics periodically since the establishment of the Presidency. Hereafter no person will be eligible for a third term as President if he has served two full elective terms or one full elective term plus more than one-half of another term through succession to the office. President Truman, who would otherwise be rendered ineligible for reëlection following completion of his current term, is exempted from the ban by a qualifying clause which excludes from coverage “any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the Congress.”
Hostility to long continuance in office, particularly for executive officers, has been a prominent feature of American political thinking since Revolutionary times. Seven of the original state constitutions, all of which were formulated prior to adoption of the federal Constitution, carried clauses limiting reeligibility of the state chief executive.