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Term Limits: A Step in the Right Direction Essay

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Term limits, which essentially is the concept of placing limits on the time holders of political office are allowed to serve, is not a new idea. The philosophy of cycling individuals in and out of public office can be found as far back as the fourth century B.C. Aristotle, Greek philosopher and tutor of Alexander the Great, expressed his view on the subject when he wrote; “. . . that a man should not hold the same office twice, or not often, or in the case of few except military offices; that the tenure of all offices, or of as many as possible, should be brief . . .” (qtd. in Lopez 4). This indicates Aristotle believed term limits, absent from the current political process, were beneficial. Implementing term limits, rather than allowing unlimited tenure, could be an effective step to improving the legislative process; an end result most citizens should prefer.
Introduction of fresh insight and visionary solutions to national issues into the political arena is an important aspect to the success of American democracy. While there are those who advocate term limits are not a necessary component, the fact remains improvement in the governing process should be a continuing national objective.
According to Edward J. Lopez, Professor of Economics at Western Carolina University, preference for term limits is a view held by many of nation’s framers. Notables such as James Madison and George Mason actually included term limits in personally authored political documents; Madison in his Virginia Plan and Mason in the Virginia Declaration of Rights (Lopez 5).
One view of those opposing term limits is that limits weaken the legislative branch’s position as a co-equal partner in government. Representative Michael V. Saxl, Speaker of the 95th M...


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...m limit legislation.

His article provides a unique perspective from a state’s executive office, on how term limits were beneficial to the legislative process and citizens of Arkansas.

Saxl, Michael V. "Term Limits and Diminished Returns." Spectrum: Journal of State Government 74.4 (2001): 1. Business Source Complete. Web. 22 Dec. 2013.
Speaker Saxl served a full tenure of four terms in the Maine House of Representatives. First elected in 1995, he became Majority Leader in his third term and Speaker of the House in his fourth.

Speaker Saxl has first-hand experience with the effects of term limits. Like Representative Adair from Oklahoma, Speaker Saxl’s position is one not in favor of term limit provisions.

His experience with the effects of term limits being both beneficial and, in his view detrimental, adds an interesting perspective as a source for this essay.




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