On this day in 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is nominated for an unprecedented third term as president. He was on his way to a record four terms.
Previously, it was customary that no U.S. president serve more than two terms. In 1796, the first president, George Washington, declined to run for a third term.
It was not until 1951 that the 22nd Amendment was ratified. It states: “No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice.”
Thus, Roosevelt is the only U.S President to serve more than two terms.
Interestingly, Roosevelt quoted Washington as he closed his third inaugural address in January, 1941:
“The destiny of America was proclaimed in words of prophecy spoken by our first President in his first inaugural in 1789—words almost directed, it would seem, to this year of 1941: “The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered … deeply,… finally, staked on the experiment intrusted to the hands of the American people.”
If we lose that sacred fire—if we let it be smothered with doubt and fear—then we shall reject the destiny which Washington strove so valiantly and so triumphantly to establish. The preservation of the spirit and faith of the Nation does, and will, furnish the highest justification for every sacrifice that we may make in the cause of national defense.
In the face of great perils never before encountered, our strong purpose is to protect and to perpetuate the integrity of democracy.
For this we muster the spirit of America, and the faith of America.
We do not retreat. We are not content to stand still. As Americans, we go forward, in the service of our country, by the will of God.”
It was another quote from George Washington’s first inaugural address that inspired one of Our shirts, available here: