LIMIT PRESIDENTS TO TWO TERMS

Beck, Joseph D.

Limit Presidents to Two Terms Resolution Offered in Congress to Get Expression; Nation's Great Opposed Third Term Idea By JOSEPH D. BECK (Congressman from Wisconsin) X February 10, 1927, [...

...In examining the precedents and the declarations which have been made from time to time on this momentous question, I have been led to the conclusion that the so-called third term issue is the most venerable issue in our politics, antedating the ratification of the Constitution itself, and that it applies to the 1928 election of a president as properly as it has been applied to any other election in our history...
...Yet, the intention of Abraham Lincoln to retire at the end of his second term is authenticated in a statement which has come down to us...
...Those who profess reverence for the Constitution will be interested to learn that the men who drafted that great document at one time voted by a clear majority to limit the term of the President to seven years, with a provision that he should be perpetually ineligible thereafter...
...His re-election would destroy the third term tradition of 140 years standing as completely as if it had never existed...
...Nation's Great Favored Plan INDEED, among those who voted for the resolution were Garfield of Ohio, later President, Stevenson of Hlinois, later vice president, Frye of Maine, Hoar of Mass., Hill of Georgia, Reagan of Texas, Hale of Maine, Blair of New Hampshire, all later distinguished members of the Senate, and Randall of Pennsylvania, who became Speaker of the House at ithe next session...
...Is six years in the chief office of the Republic to be spurned as a meager and unworthy bestowal of honor and power on the part of the American people...
...It was pointed out that oppression which drove people from the old world to the new came from hereditary rulers, and was inherent in hereditary monarchies, and to establish that system of Government in the New World was to subject ourselves to the very ills our forefathers had sacrificed so much to escape...
...Follows Ix>ng Precedent FOR 140 years, the chief executives of this nation...
...That, in the opinion of this House, the precedent established by Washington and other Presidents of the United States, in retiring from the presidential office after their second term, has become, by universal concurrence, a part of our republican system of -Government, and that any departure from this time-honored custom would be unwise, unpatriotic and fraught with peril to our free institutions...
...When it storms, he remains in the hive and sleeps...
...It is true that later both Grant and Roosevelt sought third terms, but...
...But, not the less for this reason, is his book, in its final impression on the reader, a tractate against war more effective than the work of a pacifist could be, a demonstration from one who loves the game, not only of the imbecility of ite aims and of its methods, but, more than this, that the imbecility is not an accidental quality of the particular players' but is inherent in it* spirit and its rules...
...Linen for Two Terms Only THE first resident elected by the Republican Part who declared he drew his political creed fm Jefferson, is not often quoted on the question of the third term...
...Jefferson for Limitation THOMAS JEFFERSON, in his autobiography, in 1821, gave a clear exposition of his own views and a recital of the action of the Constitutional Convention of 1787...
...Nor, on the other hand, does he conceal its awfulness for those who provide the raw material of these delights...
...Lincoln was with him...
...My wish was that the President should be elected for seven years, and be ineligible afterwards...
...Oelegation were present when the resolution jwas considered and voted unanimously for its Adoption, My attention was first directed to this resolution by a news dispatch appearing in the Madison (Wis...
...Both Grant and Roosevelt were defeated for the Republican nomination when they sought a third term as private citizens...
...Washington established the precedent of a two-term limit on the Presidency...
...So far as I know, it was tills article in jthe press which first directed the notice of the public to the fact that the House had adopted a resolution on the question of the third term more than 50 years ago, which might hare soma jrelevaacy to the present situation...
...The drone, however, is welcome in any hive and is permitted to take luncheon while he remains...
...And it took Abraham Lincoln only four years and one month to save the Union in its greatest crisis...
...This term I thought sufficient to enable him, with the concurrence of the Legislaturo, to cary through and establish any sys tern of impjjvement he should propose for the general good...
...A TRACTATE AGAINST WAR J. M. KEYNES, concluding a review for the New Republic of Winston Churchill's "The World Crisis," says: "Mr...
...Of this cfctyre, three states expressed their disapprobation New York, by recommending an amendme't, that the President should not be eligible a hird time, and Virginia and North Carorma that he should not be capable of serving more thJi eight, in any term of sixteen years...
...No such emergency exists, or will exist unless the present administration succeeds in dragging us into war with the Latin-American Republics...
...But the practice adopted, I thin...
...Like Resolve of 187.r...
...Cleveland and Wilson, in this same limited period did their work and passed from the public stage...
...Years afterward Mrs...
...He wrote: "The re-eligibility of the President for life (in the new Constitution) I quite disapproved...
...Their last great crop destroying raid in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa was in 1878...
...When they increase so rapidly that there is no food left, they fly high into the air when an easterly wind comes along and it carries them hundreds of miles to the prairie region...
...The bias of emphasis is on vhe grand decisions and high arguments...
...anu' power alter the victory of the Union Arms, I commend as worthy of emulation by even his most illustrious successors...
...but the war is over, and with God's blessing we may hope for four years of peace and happiness, and then we will go back to Illinois, and pass the rest of our lives in quiet...
...During flight, if a vforker bee enters a strange hive, the guards throw her out...
...This resolution was offered by Representative "William M. Springer, a Democrat, then serving his first term from Springfield, Illinois, a district formerly represented in the House by Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln...
...Already Served Two Terms NUMEROUS statements have appeared in the press in recent months advancing the argument that since the present occupant of the White House will have served only six years on March 4, 1929, the third term tradition should not be raised as a bar to his re-election in 1928, The complete answer to this argument i3 found in this indisputable fact: if re-elected in 1928, President Coolidge will serve until March 4, 1933, or ten years from the time he first took the oath of office and assumed the Presidency in August, 1923...
...A compromise" was reached limiting the term to four years, but making it possible for a President to succeed himself in case an emergency such as war or similar dangers should arise...
...in each case another term had intervened since retirement to private life...
...Out of 252 vote3 cast, only 18 rotes were in opposition, all the Democrats and .70 out of 88 Republicans present voting in the affirmative...
...Capital Times, and in other newspapers, on February 5 and subsequent slates...
...It was adopted, I believe, as a declaration of this House on a great non-partisan, fundamental question of government upon which there was very little difference o£ opinion among the eminent of that day...
...Lincoln related what she remembered of Mr...
...Federalists, Democrats, Whigs and Republicans have uniformly observed the tradition of retiring at the end of two terms in the White House...
...He never works a tap but the hive provides him with abundant foot...
...The father of his country set this wise precedent by announcing in the Farewell Address that he would not accept a third term...
...THE WAYS OF BEES Frank C. Pellett, author of bee books, saya that the drone has a gorgeous time of it...
...Only Mrs...
...I will open a law office at Springfield or Chicago, and practice law, and at least do enough to help give us a livelihood.'" These humble words of the great Emancipator, uttered at a time when he was at the Jwgrh.* in"ihs" jnestige...
...While I did not hope to get this resolution through the House at this session, I have hopes of getting it before the House at the next session, because, judging from the letters I am getting from all over the Country, and from every walk of life that public sentiment is so strong against a third term that the '"leaders'' in the House will not be able to resist the pressure to bring this resolution before the House unless the present occupant of the White-House should make it clear that he will not accept a third term...
...To launch the ship of state on an even keel in the perilous first voyage, it took George Washington but eight years in office...
...When the weather is fine, the drone flies around and enjoys the scenery...
...during all his life...
...Now Coolidge's Second Term TT7-HEN President Coolidge completes his V V second term of office March 4, 1929, he will have served six years, or longer than all our Presidents save nine and within two years of those who served two full terms...
...In Tarbell's Life of Lincoln, Volume II, page 235, and in other standard biographies, we find the following: "In the afternoon of April 14, 1865, the President went for his usual drive...
...Others proposed limiting the term to four years and making a President ineligible to succeed himself...
...But even the attempt to gain a third term THERE were those in the original Constitutional- Convention who advocated making the Presidency hereditary...
...FARMERS' AVAR ON GRASSHOPPERS Although there still are grasshoppers in the United States, their numbers are nothing com-j>ared to hordes that used to fly...
...Under the rules of the House, as they now stand, it is impossible to bring up a bill or resolution for a vote, or even for discussion, without the personal approval of three men, the Speaker, the Floor Leader of the Majority, and the Chairman of the Rules Committee...
...The term was later shortened to foiir years, for the very reason that our revolutionary fathers were so jealous of their liberties that they feared yielding into the hands of any man the great powers of the executive office, beyond a term of four years, without an intervening election...
...insomuch, that should a Present consent to be a candidate for a third electit, I trust he would be rejected, on this demonstition of ambitious views.-' There we he the opinion of the author of the Declaratn of Independence and the founder of onof our great political parties...
...Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Cleveland and Wilson kept faith with this unwritten law of the Republic, retiring at the end of two terms to resume their respective stations in the ranks of private citizenship...
...Churchill does not dissemble his own delight in the intense experiences of conducting warfare on the grand scale which those can enjoy who make the decisions...
...Since then, the pioneer farmers of their plateau breeding places have been plowing up their eggs and crushing and burning the young hoppers, so that not 10 per cent of their old population is left...
...J'Cannonism" in its palmiest days was an infant compared with Boss Control of the present House...
...and pthough this amendment has not been made inform, yet practice seems to have established it "The examde of four Presidents Voluntarily leiiiiug at i: trim' oi' their eighth year, and the progress f public opinion, that the principle is salutry, has given it in practice the form of preclent and usage...
...Are we to be told today that we are so bankrupt in statesmanship that only one man in either party has the patriotism and the ability to serve his country as President, and that his undertakings and achievements in the public interest are so vast as to require ten years for their performance...
...He would occupy the first office in our governmental establishment, clothed with greater powers than have ever attached to it in all our history, two years longer than the nine great Presidents who have heretofore served two terms and more than twice as long as nineteen other Presidents who have served single terms...
...after an interim of private life had intervened was frowned upon by the Republican Party and by the American people in 1880 and 1912...
...This opinion was confirmed by th( House so lat as July 26, referred to the Committee of Dtail, and changed to the present form by fina vote (September 6...
...That 'is continuance should be restrain ed to seven 'ears, was the opinion of the (Con stitutional) Convention at an earlier stage oi its session, vhen it voted that term, by a ma jority of ei;ht against two, and by a simph majority thrf he should be ineligible a seconc time...
...It is Interesting to note in bassing that 10 of the 11 members of the Mass...
...Lincoln's words that day: 'Mary', he said, 'we have had a hard time of it since we came to Washington...
...I make this statement in order to show-the difficulties in the way of getting action on bills or resolutions in the House of Representatives...
...In a similar period of but two terms, Jefferson laid the foundations of genuine democracy and added an empire to our domain...
...At the end of his present term President Coolidge will have served longer than this average tenure...
...Jackson broke the grip of the private banking power on the young Republic and put down nullification...
...THE resolution I have offered is identical with a resolution adopted by the House on December 15, 1875, as follows: "Resolved...
...Of the twenty-nine great Americans who have occupied the presidential office in all our history, the average tenure has been less than five years...
...To this number of our great Presidents who observed the precedent set by Washington may be added Grant and Roosevelt, for neither of them sought more than two terms of continu-out incumbency of the presidential office...
...Nation's Great Opposed Third Term Idea By JOSEPH D. BECK (Congressman from Wisconsin) X February 10, 1927, [ introduced i resolution in the House of Representatives for the purpose of getting an-expression from the people of the United States, through their Representatives in Congress as to the attitude of the people toward a third term for President of the United States...
...is better, alcwing his continuance for eighi years, with ; liability to be dropped at half waj of the term making that a period of proba tion...
...In the event we are dragged into a war with these Republics, the President proves himself unworthy of another term...
...A member cannot even speak, in general debate, oh a bill before the House without the approval of the chairman of the committee or minority leader...
...The House adopted the Springer resolution by an almost unanimous vote, regardless of party affiliations...
...Finally, when the workers kill him, at the first sign of frost, he dies a happy- death in that he escapes the agonies of winter...
...That Lincoln respected the third term tradition and planned to retire at the end of his second term cannot be disputed...
...The grasshoppers breed on the eastern plateau of the Rocky Mountains...
...Neither Grant nor Roosevelt is justly chargeable in history with seeking as an active candidate to secure renomination for a period beyond the traditional two terms, through the enormous power, patronage, and influence of the Presidential Office...

Vol. 19 • April 1927 • No. 4


 
Developed by
Kanda Sofware
  Kanda Software, Inc.