The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

The 22nd Amendment of the United States of America should be repealed

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,856 times Debate No: 53161
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




I will be arguing pro; first round is for acceptance, second round is for presenting arguments, and the third and fourth rounds will be for the rebuttals and negative cross examinations.

The 22nd Amendment reads as follows:

22nd Amendment
Amendment XXIISection 1.

No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Section 2.

This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states by the Congress.[A]

Put simply:
[the 22nd Amendment is] an amendment to the U.S. constitution, ratified in 1951, limiting presidential terms to two for any one person, or to one elected term if the person has completed more than two years of another's term.[B]

A -
B -



I accept the challenge and await pro's response.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting this challenge - now onward to the arguments:

1. Lack of Political Incentive:

If you've ever seen a really good movie, you may notice that it's usually the first one, not the second one. The reason being, the movie producers are able to coast on the popularity of the first movie in order to make easy bucks off of the sequel, which is usually not up to par with the success of the first movie.

In the same way, with a two term limit on the presidency, the president has no incentive to do a good job as a president in the second term as he/she does in the first. In the first term, the president is more focused on the needs and wants of the citizens of the United States so that he might have the chance to successfully run for president again for the next term.

This is all a phenomenon referred to by political analysts as the "second-term curse".

"Respect for the tradition set by Washington aside, it is time to reopen the discussion of the merits of the 22nd Amendment in light of the 50 years of political turmoil it has created.

"The record of Presidential second terms since the ratification of the 22nd Amendment is a dreary one. Johnson declined to run for a second term due to the political fallout of the Vietnam War. Nixon resigned under threat of impeachment. Reagan was mired down with the Iran Contra Affair. And, Clinton was hobbled by his numerous personal and political scandals, which led to his eventual impeachment. Now, continuing the new American Presidential tradition, President Bush is caught up in his own series of embarrassments and scandals that might end his second term political agenda before it actually begins."(2005)[1]

Therefore, the 22nd Amendment encourages presidents to act on their preferences for the United States, rather than actually representing the people of the United States.

2. US Citizens' Freedom to Vote Hindered:

With the 22nd Amendment in effect, US citizens cannot vote a single president into office more than two times, even if a significant majority of the US voted for him/her. In the case of Theodore Roosevelt, arguably one of the United States' greatest presidents, more than two terms were served in office as a result of the popular vote of US citizens; the 22nd Amendment, an Amendment following soon after, was a grab for political security which, at the time, was based more on idealism than any valid evidences or reasons. Whatever reasons there may be, they could not possibly outweigh the consequences of the 22nd Amendment's infringement upon the US citizens' freedom to vote, and the Second-Term Curse which has been affiliated with creation of the 22nd Amendment.

3. The Lack of the 22nd Amendment Does Not Make Corrupt Presidents:

Other factors in the past have decided whether or not a president will be corrupt. In the case of Andrew Jackson, it was an anti-Native American prejudice which motivated him to start what we call today "the Trail of Tears". None of the presidents prior to the Civil War ended slavery until Abraham Lincoln's "Emancipation Proclaimation" which was brought about mid-war out of necessity, not out of compassion, for the enslaved. Corruption lies in the character of the president, not the length of the term. (to clarify, the 22nd Amendment has the potential to be an exception to this, causing corruption in the second term by taking away the imperative of a president to heed and represent the wants and needs of the US people).

[1] -



Thank you pro, here are my arguments.

1.The 22nd Amendment protects against Historically proven corruption

The 22nd Amendment keeps the President from becoming a King, or a dictator. Historically, we all must remember that the poster boy of Fascism was elected, that is, Adolf Hitler. Hitler was elected in 1933, in the greatest crisis Germany had ever seen. They were being harshly persecuted and what money they earned went to paying of exuberant reparations – consequences for losing WW1.

At the risk of appearing to talk nonsense I tell you that the National Socialist movement will go on for 1,000 years! ... Don't forget how people laughed at me 15 years ago when I declared that one day I would govern Germany. They laugh now, just as foolishly, when I declare that I shall remain in power!

- Adolf Hitler

Post WW1 Germany is shockingly similar to our current situation. We have a middle class squeeze, we owe everybody, we have a corrupt elite that keeps our Government unhealthy, and we are all waiting for a middle class hero to rise up. Hitler was that hero for the Germans, and they ate him up. Hitler came in, won the vote, but only the minority, so he passed the enabling act, and was supported, with some pushing and prodding The act gave him full legislative power, but for only four years, just enough to rebuild.

He was so popular, and did such a great job; economically reforming Germany, filling the people with hope, restructuring, and so on, the people gladly accepted his quiet passing of numerous bills and amendments making him a dictator by giving him more and more powers, outlawing the idea of presidency, which, by the way, was 90% supported, then outlawing Communists, for Burning the Reichstag (which they did not do), then outlawing his political opponents, then, infamously outlawing Jews for destroying the economy (which, obviously, they did not do either). We know the rest of the story.

2.Historically, few Presidents have wanted to, or actually could, take a third term

Only President Roosevelt served more than two terms in 225 years’ worth of Presidents. Roosevelt suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died the following year after his 1944 election. Thomas Jefferson wrote that he supported the idea of two term presidency, and only President Grant, some 60 years later would try and run for a consecutive third term, but his political support had dried up, and he wasn't even chosen as a candidate. Even Harry Truman, who was the last President to have the power to take a third term, decided he did not want one. Regan is considered one of the few Presidents who could have easily run for a third term in terms of popularity, however, by the time he was in his second term he was already into the latter parts of his seventies, and wore hearing aids, leaving office in ’89 with budding Alzheimer’s disease.

3.The Amendment keeps the human element at bay

Well we may think a President is doing a great job, in reality, he could have plans of his own, even if they aren’t as grandiose as a Hitler-type. This is one of those Amendments we think is archaic, or restrictive, when in reality, it keeps our emotional, ignorant, spur of the moment, perspective-free human brains from making a bad choice.


Debate Round No. 2


1. "The 22nd Amendment protects against historically proven corruption."

This contention actully confirms what I mentioned in my third argument; that corruption is directly related to a character flaw in the president, not the length of the term. In the case of Adolf Hitler, it was his own inner character flaws which made him to be the notorious leader of whom we compare perceived evil government officials to date.

Secondly, comparing German politics to US politics is comparing apples to oranges; Germany runs politics differently from the way the US runs politics. And, the scenario that Germany faced post WW1 is by no means similar to the scenario the US faces today. "The terms of the Treaty of Versailles ordered that Germany had to pay huge sums in reparations to the Allies. In 1921, as Germany could not pay, French and Belgian troops invaded and occupied the Ruhr to take goods and raw materials. During 1923 Germany printed more money to pay striking workers. Hyperinflation resulted, wiping out the value of savings."[1].
In the US, there is only a recession, which, historically, happens about every few decades (I believe the last one was in the 70's). To say that because the US is in a recession again means that any president running for a third term will become a next-generation Adolf Hitler is a little extreme, if not arguably rediculous, to say the least. Even through the Great Depression in the United States, when the 22nd Amendment was not ratified, no such dictator came to power in the United States at all (not to mention the Great Depression was far, far worse than the economic state of the US today).

2. Historically, few Presidents have wanted to, or actually could, take a third term.

This is a tad irrelevant; whether or not the President wants to run for a third term is not so much the point. The point is, if the President wants to run for a third term, and US citizens use their US freedom to vote the said president into the third term, then the President ought to be capable of continuing his/her Presidency. If the President does not want run again, then that's that. But if the former, then yes, the President ought to run for President again and the US citizens ought to have the right to vote him/her into office.

3. The Amendment keeps the human element at bay.

I'm glad my opponent brought this up. On a well-intededly sarcastic note, I might add that the 22nd Amendment sure didn't keep the human element at bay for Richard Nixon, but I digress.
Although still a good point, I would like to extend my argument that corruption is not so much the result of the length of the Presidential term, but moreso the character of the President him/herself. Another point I'd like to add is that, in the event that the President did go awry, there are checks and balances in the US government which would solve the problem. Article ll, Section 4 of the US Constitution states that:

"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."[2]

And in the case of Richard Nixon, we had the press, which kept the government in check - so all which would be necessary is for there to be a freedom of the press. And, lo and behold:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."(First Amendment of the US Constitution)[3]

[1] -
[2] -
[3] -



Thank you pro, I’ll present my rebuttal.

1. Lack of Political Incentive

The President is almost never focused on the needs of the people, especially if he is worrying about getting elected, for any term, be it third, fourth, fifth, or tenth. The so-called “needs of the people” have never been addressed unless it threatened the very foundations of the Government. Take, for example, the battle over African-American civil rights, and how long that took, or the battle over Vietnam at home. The Government rarely listens to the people at all. Obama, for a more modern example, loves to speak about equality and gay rights, but Guantanamo Bay remains open, and we are still in the Middle East.

If we want to talk idealistic Democracy, then a good leader won’t taper off towards the end of his Presidency, because a good leader isn’t in it for the money, power, or the popularity contest. But, of course, he is in it for those reasons—thus, the eternal problem with our current state of Democracy continues.

2. US Citizens’ Freedom to Vote Hindered/Your Rebuttal on my points

It is not irrelevant that Presidents historically haven’t wanted to or could have taken a third term. It is very relevant. How can you vote in a President who has Alzheimer’s, or who is, frankly, completely tired out. I haven’t tried to be President, but I have a feeling it’s not just about dodging shoes and sleeping at the ranch (unless you’re George Bush). It’s a very stressful, tiring job. It might be the most stressful job there is. Most Presidents are just done after a two terms. Your argument is therefore hamstrung by the fact that almost no president has ever wanted to run again. So what are you fighting for? That would be 225 years of Presidents, both great Presidents, and bad ones.

3. The Lack of the 22nd Amendment Does Not Make Corrupt Presidents

You have no historical proof to back this point up, and little logic. You say “Corruption lies in the character of the president, not the length of the term”, yet we can all say with certainty that we have voted in a President who said he would change things, and when the time came to vote for another President, we found that the last President didn’t actually change much of anything, therefore, proving that the President we thought was without corruption must have had some corruption from the beginning.

You ignore the fact that Presidents have two identities, a public one, say, Obama playing basketball, or singing Al Green, or passing easy-to-pass laws that make him look good. Then there the other side, the one that keeps Guantanamo open, or the one who continues to dodge economic problems, who continues to stomp on liberties, ie: Snowden, intervention in Libya without congress, hires former Wall St. criminals, ie: Broderick Johnson.

The transparent President is the impossible President.

Other Rebuttals:

The 22nd Amendment is not about Democratic checks and balances, those died a long time ago. It is about keeping an individual President from continuing to make bad decisions behind our back, or alternatively, keeping him from getting too big of an ego and doing something truly terrible, either with us knowing, or without.

1930s German politics provide a possible outcome for current American politics. The Weimer Republic was a Government that made things worse and worse, Hitler was a man who promised things would get better, and he came from the people, not from the establishment. He was also a leader who kept a public demeanor that promised revolution and change, but also kept a private demeanor of harsh racism. His private beliefs were kept hidden from the world until it was much too late.

I wouldn’t mind a leader who cleaned up the broken political system, but my want for a new leader must be tempered, because a man like Hitler could easily become a man like Hitler, if you get what I mean, which is why he must be restricted.

Last Point:

You seem to be assuming that the length of a Presidents rule is not related to his corruption, which is just illogical. The more one stays in office, the more connections he is bound to make, he is bound to sink deeper into his commitments, and he is bound to be met with more and more chances to take the "easy path" and become corrupt, and once a man makes a single choice to take say, a small politcal donation in exchange for some kind of favor, he'll be more and more ready to do it more.

Debate Round No. 3


Impact94 forfeited this round.


I would seem that pro has accidently forfeited, and I have nothing else to say, so I'll end it by restating some of my points.

1.The 22nd Amendment protects against historically proven corruption

2.Historically, few Presidents have wanted to, or actually could, take a third term

3.The Amendment keeps the human element at bay

Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Impact94 2 years ago
Oh no, I missed the fourth round >_< dangit dangit dangit
Posted by TN05 2 years ago
Interesting debate concept... I'm looking forward to seeing the arguments that will be made. I happen to oppose term limits for everything but the executive.
Posted by whiteflame 2 years ago
Interesting topic, sadly I agree with Pro, so I'll just follow this one.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by TN05 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Con gets points for forfeit.