Following the Democratic Party’s nomination of President Franklin D. Roosevelt for a third term, anti-FDR politicians began the “No Third Term” banner. They argued that the founding fathers intended that a president should only serve two terms.
On Oct. 23, 1940, Los Angeles observed “No Third Term Day.” The Los Angeles Times reported the next morning:
More than 1,100 decorated automobiles parading from city to city, hundreds of volunteers distributing literature, buttons and stickers, speakers addressing mass meetings and a number of novel demonstrations were included in yesterday’s observation of No-Third-Term Day in Los Angeles County.
The highlight of the day was the broadcast of Wendell Willkie’s address on the third-term issue last night. ...
“Paul Revere” and a party of cowgirls rode the streets of the city warning against breaking the third-term tradition. Sound trucks, calliopes and bands called the attention to the necessity for preserving that democratic safeguard. “Minute Men and Women of 1940" called from door to door to warn citizens of the danger of totalitarianism should the third-term tradition be scrapped.
FDR’s supporters cited World War II as a reason for breaking the two-term tradition. Roosevelt won reelection with nearly 55% of the popular vote.
Following Roosevelt’s 1944 reelection to a fourth term, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1951, setting a firm two-term limit.
This post originally was published on Oct. 25, 2012.