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Term Limits were included in the ideal of Liberal Self-Government, as originally expressed by George Mason in his first draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. This was a means to achieve and maintain representation of the People. Mr. Mason foresaw that without term-limits, a political elite would come into being, with representatives permanently residing in a distant capital being distant from their constituents and close to those who would improperly influence them. Mr. Mason was unable to get term limits included in either the US Constitution or Bill of rights, but the idea remains as a liberal goal, and is perhaps more important today than when it was originally proposed.
"That the legislative and executive Powers of the State shoud be seperate and distinct from the judicative; and that the Members of the two first may be restraind from Oppression, by feeling and participating the Burthens they may lay upon the People; they should, at fixed Periods be reduced to a private Station, and returned, by frequent, certain and regular Elections, into that Body from which they were taken".
George Mason IV, original draft Virginia Declaration of Rights, May 1776
Term Limits Today
Term limits is an idea which has more appeal as our perception of corrupt corporatism grows. If we believe that our representatives are more concerned with re-election than with serving their constituents, Term limits may be a quick and easy way of limiting that behavior.