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U.S. Congressional Term Limits Essay

2105 words - 8 pages

Turner 1

History tells us that America’s founding fathers set forth to create a government that represented its people, with separation of powers within the government, and an election process by which the people would have a voice in that government. Term limits can restore the voice of the people in Congress, by ending the era of the “career” politician, and stop the abuse of power.
The word incumbent is a noun. The online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as: 1) the holder of an office, or ecclesiastical benefice, or 2) one that occupies a particular position or place. They go on to give examples, such as, because the statehouse now determines voting districts, the current map generally ensures that incumbents face minimal challenges to re-election. (Terry McCarthy – Time, 20 December 2004.)
Term limits are not a new idea. The Articles of the Confederation was the first governing document of this country. In Article 5 it read “No state shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor by more than seven members; and no person shall be capable of being delegate for more than three years, in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate be capable of holding any office for his benefit, receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.” In 1789, the present day Constitution did not include this wording, as it was considered too much detail for a short document. At that time, term limits were self imposed as part of America’s public service. Today, it is a way of life.
The founders of this Nation knew that absolute power could only lead to tyranny so they constructed a democratic process by which the people would be the voice of power, not just a few men. There are 3 branches of government. The Executive, the Judicial, and the Legislative are those branches. Government was set up this way as a system of checks and balances, to ensure that no one branch had too much power. However, the Legislative branch is the most powerful, and yet the Executive branch is the only one with a limit on how many terms can be served in a lifetime.

Turner 2
Congress contains the House of Representatives and the Senate. Their job is to pass laws, set up and finance departments of government, regulate commerce and trade, ratify international treaties, to raise and support the country’s armed forces, and declaring war. The House has 435 members. The Senate has 100 members. The members are elected every 2 years. So, why are term limits needed if there are elections so often? One would think that frequent elections would serve the same purpose, and they used to, in the days when serving limited terms was self imposed, and not considered a right.
Lee H. Hamilton writes that “Congress is the “First Branch” of the federal government, and that is it is set up to be the most connected and responsive to the needs, desires, and aspirations of the American People.” (Hamilton) Today it seems that Congress is an entity...

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