By Inez Privette, 7th Grade Student at Asheville Catholic School
The 22nd Amendment was put in place on February 26, 1951 and is about term limits on the US presidency (“1951 22nd Amendment”). It was originally passed by congress in 1947 but was not passed by the states until 1951 (Bomboy). It was thought about and brought about through debates and in Congress due to Franklin D. Roosevelt serving over three terms in presidency (Feuerherd). The main point of the 22nd amendment was to protect the rights of the people and guard society from a socialist or communist government due to a lasting president. This was heavily influenced by FDR and has been debated a lot. It exemplifies the democratic society that the US is known for and represents by alternating presidents.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was originally elected in 1935 to be the US president (Feuerherd). He was, for the first time ever, elected as president for a third term. He made the claim that the US needed a stable and experienced president to lead them through World War II and the Great Depression. This made people trust him and so they voted for him. Not only was Roosevelt elected for a third term but he also won a fourth before he passed away in 1945 (Feuerherd). He received many opposing votes and doubts because people believed that if he continued his streak as a president, the government would start becoming socialist (Kennedy). People also opposed the idea of a third term due to the unwritten legacy started by the first president, George Washington. They felt that Roosevelt was breaking tradition and that it was wrong to exceed two terms in office. Yet still, with all the negativity surrounding the situation, he won clearly by a moderate amount beating out his competitors. Sadly, Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945 during his fourth term as president (Kennedy).
Term limits, before the amendment was passed and ratified, were not a new idea (Bomboy). They were thought of when the constitution was being created, in 1788, and later in 1803 and 1808. At one point in 1824, the Senate approved of the amendment but it fell through in the House. Finally, Roosevelt’s presidency brought up the idea again, one hundred and twenty five years later (Bomboy). The 22nd amendment was idealized in 1944 (Kennedy). Though the entire movement of term limits in 1944 was mainly led largely by republicans, many democrats agreed with the idea (Kennedy). The Senate approved their version of the 22nd amendment on March 12, 1947 (“1951 22nd Amendment”). It was put into effect on February 27, 1951 being passed by the House (“1951 22nd Amendment”). However, it took a lot to get the amendment passed. Over two-hundred versions of the amendment were presented before it was finally approved (Bomboy). It was in agreement that both Democrats and Republicans wanted term limits. When it came down to the choice between two propositions about the amendment, one limiting a president to only six years in office and the other limiting the president to two terms of four years, the two terms amendment was picked and passed (Bomboy).
In conclusion, the 22nd amendment was created due to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four term record. It was put in place to secure the freedom of the people. This was to ensure that a socialist or communist government wouldn’t form due to dictator-like presidents in office for long periods of time. Roosevelt’s influence on the 22nd amendment was very important. Without his stability during a stressful and scary time, that led to him being elected for a fourth term, the amendment would not have been thought about and it would have taken longer to be passed and ratified.
Bomboy, Scott. “How the 22nd Amendment Came into Existence.” Constitution Daily, 5 April 2019, https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/how-the-22nd-amendment-came-into-existence. Feuerherd, Peter. “How FDR’s Presidency Inspired Term Limits.” JSTOR Daily, ITHAKA, 12 April 2018, https://daily.jstor.org/how-fdrs-presidency-inspired-term-limits/. Kennedy, Lesley. “How FDR Became the First—And Only—President to Serve Four Terms.” History, 2021 A&E Television Networks, LLC, 16 October 2019,
“1951 22nd Amendment Passed.” History Central,