University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
[Clear Hits]

expand sectionA. 
expand sectionB. 
expand sectionC. 
expand sectionD. 
expand sectionE. 
expand sectionF. 
expand sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
expand sectionL. 
expand sectionM. 
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
expand sectionP. 
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
expand sectionS. 
collapse sectionT. 
8427. THIRD TERM, Dangers of.—
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
expand sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 
3 occurrences of jefferson cyclopedia
[Clear Hits]

8427. THIRD TERM, Dangers of.—

opinion originally was that the President of
the United States should have been elected
for seven years, and forever ineligible afterwards.
I have since become sensible that
seven years is too long to be irremovable, and
that there should be a peaceable way of withdrawing
a man in midway who is doing
wrong. The service for eight years, with a
power to remove at the end of the first four,
comes nearly to my principle as corrected by
experience; and it is in adherence to that, that
I determine to withdraw at the end of my
second term. The danger is that the indulgence
and attachments of the people will keep
a man in the chair after he becomes a dotard,
that reelection through life shall become habitual,
and election for life follow that. General
Washington set the example of voluntary
retirement after eight years. I shall follow
it. And a few more precedents will oppose
the obstacle of habit to any one after awhile
who shall endeavor to extend his term. Perhaps
it may beget a disposition to establish it
by an amendment of the Constitution. I believe
I am doing right, therefore, in pursuing
my principle. I had determined to declare my
intention, but I have consented to be silent
on the opinion of friends, who think it best
not to put a continuance out of my power
in defiance of all circumstances. There is,
however, but one circumstance which could
engage my acquiescence in another election;
to wit, such a division about a successor, as
might bring in a monarchist. But that circumstance
is impossible.—
To John Taylor. Washington ed. iv, 565. Ford ed., viii, 339.
(W. Jan. 1805)