The Third-Term Tradition: Its Rise and Collapse in American Politics

The Third-Term Tradition: Its Rise and Collapse in American Politics

The Third-Term Tradition: Its Rise and Collapse in American Politics

The Third-Term Tradition: Its Rise and Collapse in American Politics

Excerpt

This work attempts to discuss at some length the role of the anti-third term tradition in American politics. The plan of the book is simple. The writer has undertaken first a critical analysis of the development of the third-term question from its earliest stage as a part of the whole general problem of the presidential office under discussion in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to its gradual establishment as a purposeful precedent in the early years of the Republic. The second part of the work comprises a detailed account of those situations in which certain of our presidents were confronted with the opportunity to challenge the tradition and especially concerns itself with those men who, in one way or another, undertook such a course. The third and final section is devoted to a discussion of the circumstances under which in 1940 the precedent was at last shattered and includes an attempt, however futile or hazardous, to foretell the results of such iconoclasm upon the American way of life in the future.

The writer is gravely aware of the many flaws and inadequacies which may easily result from a subject of so vast a scope. To deal effectively with as broad a question as the third term involves, naturally, an historical survey of rather extensive proportions. Obviously, both people and ideas differed considerably in 1880 from what they were in 1790, or in 1940 from what they were in 1880. Any study which attempts to encompass one hundred and fifty years of growth and development in a nation must allow for the various discrepancies which existed at one time or another, as well as to provide a unifying theme to the context and orient the reader to each period as it is approached. This the writer has earnestly sought to accomplish.

Broadly speaking, the problem of the third term divides itself into . . .

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