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Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

NUMBER: 1569
AUTHOR: Harry S. Truman (1884–1972)
QUOTATION: Shortly after I was elected, in Nineteen Hundred and Forty-eight, I made up my mind that I would not seek another term. I have seen a great many men in public life, and one of their besetting sins is to stay in office too long. Nowadays, in such organizations as the Army and the civil service and industry, there is compulsory retirement, but no such regulations prevail in politics. I decided that I would not be guilty of this common failing, and that I should make way for younger men—and the Constitutional Amendment Number twenty-two, the two-term amendment, does not apply to me. The people responsible for the 22nd amendment thought I was not worth considering and that I’d be beaten in 1948—so I was exempted.
ATTRIBUTION: HARRY S. TRUMAN, speech to the Press and Union League Club, San Francisco, California, October 25, 1956.—Transcript, p. 30. The last sentence was added in longhand to the typewritten speech.

Truman had made similar remarks at a political rally in John Hancock Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, September 29, 1956, as reported by The Boston Sunday Globe, September 30, 1956, p. 38: “There is an old girl called Anno Domini that catches up with us and she has been trying to catch up with me. It just seems to me to make sense to move on and make way for younger men. It seems to me to make sense to move out of the White House voluntarily without waiting to be carried out.”
SUBJECTS: Public service