The Electoral College is also an example of a plan implemented by the Framers that does not always uphold the common interests of the people. While many reasons are cited as to why the Framers chose this system, two stand out as being most prominent: They were concerned about representation for small states, and they wanted a precautionary system to ensure that the official who took the oath of President was indeed able to sufficiently perform these duties. Electors were supposed to vote with the majority decision of their state, but there was no law saying they had to. The latter of the two explanations is most undemocratic, although the Electoral College system is
The history of the Electoral college goes back to 1804 to the framers of the constitution. Many of the nations founding fathers actually did not trust direct democracy and wanted to create a system that had balance between power of the people and power of the government. As James Madison described , he was worried about “ factions” in democracy. “These groups of citizens with a common interest in a proposal that would violate the right of citizens or the nation as a whole” (Joe Miller), Madison's fear which Alexis de Tocqueville later named as the “tyranny of majority”, was that these factions could become the fifty percent and win the majority. Subsequently delegates proposed a variety of different methods to elect the president in order for this to not occur. According to Joe Miller’s article the delegates voted more than 60 times before they finally chose a
The electoral college, per Wikipedia, is a mechanism set up to select the president and vice president of the United States. (The Electoral college, 2016) It was during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that the founders established Article 2. Article 2 Section 1 details the innerworkings of the executive branch of government. The constitution states, “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress”. (The Constitution of the United States, n.d.) The framers of the Constitution had many different ideas about how the selection of our president should go but ultimately
If we were listening in on the conversation going on at the table we would be able to see that there were three predominant theories on how the president should be elected. The first idea was for Congress to choose the president by voting on the candidates they saw fit. (Hendricks) The main problem with this idea was the tilt of power towards the legislative branch. If the legislative branch was given this express power of ushering in the executive not only would it tilt the balance of power towards the legislative but it would also open the door wide to corruption and bargaining. The second option on the table was the election of the president of the United States by the state legislatures (much like the Senators were first elected). (Hendricks) The biggest fear behind this idea was the possibility of an executive that was too intertwined with the state, an executive who slowly worked with the state and helped them erode the power of the central government. This would undermine the whole idea of the republic that the founding fathers were trying to build and thus was an idea that was quickly disregarded. The third and final proposal was the direct election of the president by the people, or now more famously known as the popular or national vote. (Smith) The biggest problem behind this proposition is the likeliness of the electorate to vote for a “favorite son” or a figure that they identify with personally rather than politically and
When the Framers began working on the Constitution, they wanted to create a government which could survive centuries with minimal changes. One of the most important ideas the Framers included in the Constitution was the Electoral College. They believed it to be very important because it would prevent the direct election of a president. As Hamilton explained, “the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station”(Federalist 68). This means that the Framers did not trust the people of the U.S. to make smart decisions on their own and wanted a way to control the voting. This was because the Framers feared that a charismatic leader could persuade a population of his views and end up creating a dictatorship. By using the Electoral College, the Framers believed that it would insure that a qualified person would take office. Another reason that the Framers created the Electoral College was to give smaller states more power. The Framers made it so that each state would have the same number of electoral votes as members in congress. This satisfied the smaller states. It meant that each person's’ vote in smaller states counted for more than those who lived in larger states. Overall, the Electoral college was put into place as a safety net for
One might question why the country didn't just begin to elect their presidents with a direct election system. Was the idea never suggested? On the contrary, it was suggested before that of the Electoral College. The main reason the thought wasn't taken seriously is because, "…the worry was that, in a vast country with fitful communications, ordinary citizens were likely to know next to nothing about would-be Presidents from afar. Someone in, say, Georgia 'would be unable to assess the qualifications' of an aspiring President from Massachusetts, and thus couldn't vote intelligently," (Solomon). "The prospect of a direct popular vote also upset the small states, which spent the entire Constitutional Convention trying to stop the populous, powerful states (such as Virginia, New York, and Massachusetts) from taking over. When Gouverneur Morris suggested that the President "ought to be elected by the people at large," Roger Sherman of Connecticut offered a Bronx cheer. "The people at large," he
The Electoral College was constructed to be a compromise between the different ways of selecting the president. Originally the delegates of the Constitutional Convention wanted Congress to select eh president, while others preferred the direct popular election (Schumaker 13). While the Constitutional Convention proceeded, one of the founders established a "Committee of the Eleven" to create a compromise for selecting the president (Schumaker 13). The reason for the idea of the Electoral College many opposed to the direct popular vote because people feared that the less popular vote would feel inferior to other states (Schumaker 13). This method was widely accepted there was
Our Founding Fathers had great concern over the topic of the government obtaining too much power over the people and with that in mind they constructed a system of indirect election where citizens would choose an elector. That system would distant the citizens from directly electing the president, avoiding any possibility to create tyranny. Their fears were about whether citizens could exercise the best judgement and their capability to fully understand and make good choices in voting. They did not want a group to go off in the wrong direction and take control over others. They thought that a chosen group of more educated and elite individuals elected by the people would be able to better interpret the situation and exercise better judgement. In a way, they were trying to safeguard democracy by instituting the Electoral College as the method to elect our presidents.
At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the Founding Fathers could not decide if the president should be elected by Congress or elected by a popular vote, so they decided to create the Electoral College (“US Electoral College”). The Founding Fathers did not trust the people to vote on the right presidential candidate, so they decided that an indirect election was the best method (Becker). The Electoral College is a group of individuals who elect the president and vice president in the United States of America (TED-Ed). The number of electors that are given to each state is stated in Article II,
When the system of government was finally decided on, our founding fathers understood the importance of the balance of power within the three branches of the government. They called this system checks and balances. This system was set up to ensure that the government would remain loyal to the people and loyal to their states (Hamilton). In The Federalist Papers, No. 68, Alexander Hamilton discusses the importance of having the president elected by the Electoral College. He said that in order to ensure that we do not end up with the same problems that America had with the monarch of England, it was important that the balance of power was spread throughout the government and that no one portion have too much power.
One of the biggest proponents of the direct vote was future President James Madison, who, despite his concerns over unfairness to the underpopulated southern states, felt that since one of the President’s jobs was to guard the people from the legislature, he should be elected by the people he is guarding. (Pierce 41). It was generally believed, however, that the people were essentially misinformed and easily confused and misled. Despite being voted down on two separate occasions, the direct vote system did demonstrate the hazards of the legislature selecting the president. (Pierce 41)
Regardless of who had the ability to vote, the process of the election of the presidents itself would not be very efficient had a structure not been established early into the years after the formation of the United States. The framers of the Constitution had originally designed what was to be known as the Electoral College, a system that established how the president and vice president were to be elected, along with the hope that political parties wouldn’t arise and that candidacy was chosen solely on who was the “best [man]” (Levinson). Electors, people who
While he agreed that “the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the [president],” he made clear the importance of “afford[ing] as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder.” This would require the will of the people to be tempered by “an intermediate body of electors.” Not only would this be a compromise between the competing ideas in the Constitutional Convention, it would prevent any one group from having undue discretion when it came to electing the most powerful person in government. Of these competing ideas, two are prominently reflected in the Electoral College. The first is democracy, an idea largely advanced by Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America. Democracy, loosely defined as the direct representation of people in government, seems the most logical way to conduct an election. The second is federalism. Understanding how this could become problematic, the founders decided to include states in the election process. According to Federalist 68, this would allow “the people of each State [to] choose a number of persons as electors…who shall assemble…and vote for some fit person as President.” This balance of individual and state discretion would soon be codified in Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution.
James Madison wanted to insure that all branches of government are independent to assure independency for each of the states. Madison didn’t want to give a specific branch to much power, so Madison believed that conflicts of interest were inherent in human nature. Meaning that Madison thought no matter what the issue is, there will be conflict on whether or not it is constitutional. Therefore Madison didn’t want a specific branch of government to control society. Madison also didn’t want each branch to be completely dependent on each other. But Madison and the other framers did not want to make all of the branches elective because it might have practical difficulties.
When the direct election of a national leader was first posed at a national convention in Philadelphia, the father of the Constitution, James Madison denied the request. He said in his justification, “The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.” In plain language if a direct democracy was put in place, the North would outnumber the South, because slaves, who were roughly half of the South couldn’t vote. Though the electoral college, allowed for southern states to count its forty percent of their slaves, in the calculation of its population, hence its electors. Essentially, the electoral college is a dated, non-functional system designed for a time in the United