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Atlanta Civic Circle Democracy

City council term limits are a popular idea. But would they result in better representation?

In December 1783, George Washington announced he would not seek a third term as president of the fledging United States. “Having now finished the work assigned me,” he told Congress, “I retire from the great theatre of Action.”

Washington’s resignation set an unofficial two-term precedent for the presidency (later enshrined as the 22nd Amendment), and sparked a debate about American democracy that still endures: Does limiting elected officials’ tenure make them better representatives of the people who elect them?

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