History of the Electoral College

While debating the creation of the new government during the Constitutional Convention in 1787, delegates quickly discovered that the vast regional, geographical and diverse population of the nation would require two major compromises in order to adequately represent the concerns of the entire nation. One was the creation of the House and Senate as the legislative body. The House of Representatives would be selected by popular votes from equally populated districts, meaning states with larger populations would have more representatives than states with smaller populations. The Senate would have two senators for each state, providing equal representation per state. The second major compromise was how to select the president. Several systems were proposed, ranging from allowing the House of Representatives to choose to allowing the governors of the states to make the selection. Had the decision been made to select the president by popular vote, it was believed the Constitution would not be ratified since many states would not have the population to have a role in the selection. They also believed that their regional concerns would become secondary to the concerns of large population districts, where rural concerns and needs would be dismissed for urban concerns. This concern plays itself out today within states, where major investments are made for infrastructure in cities while rural infrastructure receives little consideration. Had the decision been made to allow one vote per state, it is also unlikely the Constitution would have been ratified, because larger states believed that wouldn’t be fair to their populations. The genius of the Founding Fathers can be found in the development of the Electoral College, where each states would receive electoral votes based on population, a vote for every representative in the House, and statehood, with two votes per state for each senator. Voters would select electors to the Electoral College who would then cast their ballots for president. With this compromise, the concerns of large and small states were balanced, and both were more willing to vote yes for the new Constitution. Alexander Hamilton described this system by saying, "if it is not perfect, it is at least excellent."

About Save The Electoral College

Save the Electoral College is dedicated to the education and preservation of the Electoral College and its importance to the relationship between the people and the states that create the United States of America.