Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Stevenson, Adlai Ewing, 1835-1914; Clark, Champ, 1850-1921; Reed, Thomas Brackett; Marshall, Thomas Riley
Legislators; Resolutions, Legislative; Constitutional amendments

Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, Not dated. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

The Congress has passed a resolution for a Constitutional Amendment limiting the terms of the President to two. That resolution should have also contained a provision for two terms for Senators-12 years, and for members of the House-12 years. It should have contained a provision that House members should have a period of service of four years. That is the House of Representatives should be elected with the President for a four year term of service. Then the country would be able to vote into or out of power a President, a legislative majority and one third of the Senate at every general election.

The twelve year limitation for members of the House and Senate would prevent the focalization of the key Committees. At present the Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs committees of the House and Senate have chairman who live in day before yesterday or back before the first world war. The appropriations committees of the House and Senate are aged and decrepit men, who if they think at all think of the time Champ Clark was Speaker of the House and "five cent cigar" Tom Marshall was Vice President. The Ways and Means Committee of the House and the Finance Committee of the Senate have Chairman who look a little beyond Tom Marshall and Champ Clark-they even go to Thomas B. Reed and Adlai Stevenson in their backward thinking. There are old time Senators who even make Louis XIV of France and George I of England look like shining liberals.

A two term, twelve year service would remedy this. Twelve years of Washington is enough for any man. After twelve years of service no President, Senator or member of the House of Representatives should be eligible for reelection.

We'd help to cure senility, and seniority-both terrible legislative diseases nationally if twelve years were the limit of service for President, Senator and Congressman.


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