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Why the Electoral College Is Bad for AmericaThird Edition$
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George C. Edwards

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300243888

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300243888.001.0001

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The Origins of the Electoral College

The Origins of the Electoral College

(p.101) Chapter 5 The Origins of the Electoral College
Why the Electoral College Is Bad for America

George C. Edwards III

Yale University Press

This chapter traces the origins of the electoral college. The Constitution's framers chose a unique and complex method of selecting the president—one that clearly violates fundamental tenets of political equality and majority rule. As such, this chapter considers the historical motivations behind the founding of electoral colleges, such as slavery, legislative intrigue, population differences, and voter parochialism. Afterward, it argues that most of the motivations behind the creation of the electoral college are irrelevant today and can be easily dismissed. In addition, the broad thrust of constitutional revision over the past two centuries has been in the direction of democratization and majority rule.

Keywords:   U.S. Constitution, historical motivations, electoral colleges, constitutional revision, majority rule, political equality

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