Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Monroe, James, 1758-1831; Madison, James, 1751-1836; Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933; Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826; Grant, Ulysses S. (Ulysses Simpson), 1822-1885; Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924; Roosevelt, Theodore, 1858-1919; Washington, George, 1732-1799; Jack
Presidents; Constitutional amendments

Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, April 16, 1950. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

Written 4/16/50

I am not a candidate for nomination by the Democratic Convention.

My first election to public office took place in November 1922. I served two years in the armed forces in World War I, ten years in the Senate, two months and 20 days as Vice President and President of the Senate. I have been in public service well over thirty years, having been President of the United States almost two complete terms.

Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Madison, Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson as well as Calvin Coolidge stood by the precedent of two terms. Only Grant, Theodore Roosevelt and F.D.R. made the attempt to break that precedent. F.D.R. succeeded.

In my opinion eight years as President is enough and sometimes too much for any man to serve in that capacity.

There is a lure in power. It can get into a man's blood just as gambling and lust for money have been known to do.

This is a Republic. The greatest in the history of the world. I want this country to continue as a Republic. Cincinnatus and Washington pointed the way. When Rome forgot Cincinnatus its downfall began. When we forget the examples of such men as Washington, Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, all of whom could have had a continuation in the office, then will we start down the road to dictatorship and ruin. I know I could be elected again and continue to break the old precedent as it was broken by F.D.R. It should not be done. That precedent should continue-not by a Constitutional amendment but by custom based on the honor of the man in the office.

Therefore to reestablish that custom, although by a quibble I could say I've only had one term. I am not a candidate and will not accept the nomination for another term.


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