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Term Limits

Term limits restrict the number of terms of office and lawmaker may hold. They have been a feature of democratic systems of government since Ancient Athens and the Roman Republic.

The Issue

The United States Constitution did not contain mandatory term limits for elected officials at the national level until the ratification in 1951 of the 22nd Amendment, which limited the presidency to two terms.

Our Stance

With incumbency rates hovering between 80 and 90 percent, a movement to bring term limits to the U.S. Congress began late in the twentieth century. Those efforts have been unsuccessful to date, but 38 states have passed some form of gubernatorial term limits, and 15 states limit the terms of state legislators.