Congress mandating

A total of 8 presidents served two full terms and declined a third and three presidents served one full term and refused a second. "Homesteading," or securing a lifelong career in Congress, was made possible by reelection rates that approached 100% by the end of the 20th century.After World War II, however, an officeholder class had developed to the point that congressional tenure rivaled that of the U. The concept of homesteading brought about a popular movement known as the "term-limits movement".advised limits on reelection to the Senate and to the Presidency, because said Mason, "nothing is so essential to the preservation of a Republican government as a periodic rotation".

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Beginning about the 1830s, Jacksonian democracy introduced a less idealistic twist to the practice of limiting terms. House of Representatives—the prizes—became a key element of payoffs to the party faithful.

Rotation in office came to mean taking turns in the distribution of political prizes. The leading lights in the local party machinery came to regard a nomination for the House as "salary" for political services rendered.

In district nominating conventions local leaders could negotiate and enforce agreements to pass the nominations around among themselves.

Abraham Lincoln was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1846 under such a bargain, and he returned home to Springfield after a single congressional term because, he wrote, "to enter myself as a competitor of another, or to authorize anyone so to enter me, is what my word and honor forbid".

The fifth Article stated that "no person shall be capable of being a delegate [to the continental congress] for more than three years in any term of six years". However, when the states ratified the Constitution (1787–88), several leading statesmen regarded the lack of mandatory limits to tenure as a dangerous defect, especially, they thought, as regards the presidency and the Senate.

In contrast to the Articles of Confederation, the federal constitution convention at Philadelphia omitted mandatory term limits from the second national frame of government, i.e. Richard Henry Lee viewed the absence of legal limits to tenure, together with certain other features of the Constitution, as "most highly and dangerously oligarchic".See also his Treatise on Twelve Lights, chapter six, "Rotation in History".Consult also, James Young's The Washington Community, 1800–1828.It took a generation or so before the direct primary system, civil service reforms, and the ethic of professionalism worked to eliminate rotation in office as a common political practice.By the turn of the 20th century the era of incumbency was coming into full swing.For a detailed study of the 19th-century concepts of rotation, consult Political Science Quarterly, vol.

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