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The length of one term in a presidency is four years, and a president can serve two terms, if they are re-elected. This equates to eight years maximum; the custom of no more than two terms was started by George Washington, who stepped aside after his second term ended, and did not try for a third. Biographers note this was because he did not want a president to become so powerful that he was considered like a king.

However, if a person was the vice-president and becomes president at the death of the president, he can still be elected for two terms provided he has not served for more than 2 years. Therefore, it is possible given the right circumstances for a person to serve for ten years. Also, there was one president--Franklin D. Roosevelt-- who was elected for a third term. This was very controversial, and after he died in the midst of that third term, the 22nd amendment was ultimately passed, stating that two terms is the most an elected president may serve.

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Q: How long can an American president be president?
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