At the Constitutional Convention, it was suggested that a president be limited to a single, six-year term. The idea failed; however, it reemerged at least twice in the 19th century. The following excerpts highlight some of the integral thinking on the subject.
August Glen-James, editor
A President whose political career is limited to a single election, may find no other interest than will be promoted by making it glorious to himself, and beneficial to his country.
The last amendment respects the limitation of the office of President, to a single constitutional term . . . . Upon this topic, it is superfluous to dilate. The love of power is a principle in the human heart which too often impels to the use of all practicable means to prolong its duration. The office of President has charms and attractions which operate as powerful incentives to this passion. The first and most natural exertion of a vast patronage is directed towards the security of a new election. The interest of the country, the welfare of the people, even honest fame and respect for the opinion of posterity, are secondary considerations. All the engines of intrigue; all the means of corruption, are likely to be employed for this object. A President whose political career is limited to a single election, may find no other interest than will be promoted by making it glorious to himself, and beneficial to his country. But the hope of reelection is prolific of temptations, under which these magnanimous motives are deprived of their principal force.
--Report of the Hartford Convention, 1815
The President of the United States of necessity owes his election to office to the suffrage and zealous labors of a political party, the members of which cherish with ardor and regard as of essential importance the principles of their party organization; but he should strive to be always mindful of the fact that he serves his party best who serves the country best.
In furtherance of the reform we seek, and in other important respects a change of great importance, I recommend an amendment to the Constitution prescribing a term of six years for the Presidential office and forbidding a reelection.
--Rutherford B. Hayes, Inaugural Address, March 5, 1877