Skip to main content

Breaking and Mending the Two-Term Precedent

Lesson Purpose

This set of five lessons analyze the debate over term limits in the Constitutional Convention, George Washington’s establishment of the two-term precedent for the presidency, and the connection between that precedent and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s breaking of that precedent nearly 150 years later.


There are five different lesson plan options in this collection:

  • Term Limits at the Constitutional Convention
  • Term Limits in the Constitution
  • George Washington’s Two Terms
  • George Washington and FDR
  • Debate: Two Term Precedents?


  • Students will evaluate the practice of term limits for the American presidency
  • Students will compare and contrast Constitutional provisions for the presidency with debates during the Constitutional Convention and real life applications to the presidency
  • Students will use context clues to determine the meaning of academic vocabulary in a primary source
  • Students will analyze the content and message of a political cartoon
  • Students will debate the merits of presidential term limits

Related Standards

  • Reading and Writing Literacy in History/Social Studies
  • Integrate and Evaluate Content in Diverse Formats.
  • Writing Standards
  • Speaking and Listening
  • Principles of Democracy
  • Power, Authority, and Governance
  • Time, Continuity, and Change


Click each link to download individual lesson plan. To download all, click the small "download" button at the bottom of the page.


Download Term Limits at the Convention

Download Term limits in the constitution

Download george washington's two terms

Download geroge washington and fdr

Download debate: two term precedents?