Limitation of the President's Tenure

December 28, 1936

Report Outline
New Proposals for a Single-Term Presidency
Contest in the Constitutional Convention
Establishment of Third-Term Tradition
Repeated Proposals for Change Since 1860

New Proposals for a Single-Term Presidency

Franklin D. Roosevelt will be inaugurated for his second term as President on January 20, 1937. At the same time a determined drive will be underway in the 75th Congress, which convenes January 5, to impose restrictions on the tenure of office of future Presidents. Senator Burke (D., Neb.) announced, December 5, that he would sponsor a constitutional amendment to limit the presidential tenure to one term of six years and to prohibit reelection. Bipartisan support for the proposal was indicated by the announcement of Rep. Tinkham (R., Mass.), December 25, that he would offer a similar amendment in the House of Representatives.

Some 200 amendments for limitation of the service of any one man as President have been offered in Congress since adoption of the Constitution. Most of these have contemplated establishment of a single six-year term. Two such amendments were brought forward in the 74th Congress. A resolution by Rep. Crowther (R., N. Y.), offered on April 18, 1935, proposed an amendment establishing a six-year term and providing that no person elected to the presidential office should again be eligible. A resolution offered on the first day of the 1936 session by Rep. Fletcher, chairman of the House Committee on Elections, proposed an amendment fixing a six-year term and providing that “no President, nor Vice-President, either by election or succession, shall be eligible for reelection,”

Outlook for Favorable Action on Proposed Amendment

Quick action would be sought on his amendment, Senator Burke said in his statement of December 5—for “this appears to be a very favorable time.” Frank R. Kent, in his syndicated newspaper column, December 16, wrote that: “There is among the politicians much more interest in the proposal than ever before. It is regarded this time as real and not merely academic.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Executive Powers and the Presidency
Feb. 24, 2006  Presidential Power
Nov. 15, 2002  Presidential Power
Feb. 02, 2001  The Bush Presidency
Jun. 20, 1997  Line-Item Veto
Jun. 14, 1996  First Ladies
Oct. 21, 1988  Dangers in Presidential Transitions
Jun. 10, 1988  The Quandary of Being Vice President
Jan. 06, 1984  Presidential Advisory Commissions
Jul. 28, 1978  Presidential Popularity
Feb. 13, 1976  Evaluating Presidential Performance
Dec. 12, 1975  Presidential Protection
Jul. 11, 1973  Presidential Reorganization
Mar. 07, 1973  Presidential Accountability
Sep. 24, 1971  Presidential Diplomacy
Nov. 11, 1970  Vice Presidency
Oct. 02, 1968  Presidential Power
Mar. 14, 1966  War Powers of the President
Nov. 23, 1960  Transfer of Executive Power
Apr. 04, 1956  Vice Presidency
Oct. 15, 1952  Change of Presidents
Jun. 09, 1950  President and Mid-Term Elections
Oct. 20, 1948  Federal Patronage
Mar. 24, 1948  The South and the Presidency
Dec. 05, 1947  Military Leaders and the Presidency
Apr. 16, 1947  Veto Power of the President
Sep. 20, 1945  Succession to the Presidency
Sep. 12, 1940  The War Powers of the President
Feb. 11, 1938  Emergency Powers of the President
Jan. 06, 1938  The Power to Declare War
Dec. 28, 1937  Extension of the Veto Power
Dec. 28, 1936  Limitation of the President's Tenure
Mar. 12, 1935  The President and the Congress
Dec. 16, 1932  The Veto Power of the President
May 28, 1931  Presidential Commissions
Oct. 23, 1928  Presidential Appointments and the Senate
Mar. 21, 1928  Business Conditions in Presidential Years
Jan. 20, 1927  The Monroe Doctrine
Mar. 18, 1925  The President's Power of Appointment
Sep. 10, 1923  The President's Position on Patronage
Term Limits