There was a need for the Electoral College in 1791. This new grand experiment of government by the people hinged on electing educated, intelligent gentry to run the new government. Thus, a compromise was reached whereby Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution (the Electoral College provisions) provided each state legislature an opportunity to select their electors in voting for the President and Vice-President. In so doing, they indeed would most likely select educated, intelligent gentry as their electors, rather than leaving it up to the general population of that state.
Below are some additional reasons why our Founding Fathers established the Electoral College.
- Remember, most people in America in 1791 could not read or write. Ultimately, this meant famous illiterate back-woodsmen could be elected President / Vice-President through a popular vote (Graebner 216). As such, managing the federal government with no knowledge of history, politics, or economics could be disastrous.
- In addition, a famous popular President could wield dangerous amounts of political power. This was unacceptable to the Founding Fathers. Most likely, that scenario reminded them too much of England’s political system with a king (Roos).
- Such a popular President would also have a tremendous political backing. Such popular support could steer the country in the wrong direction which could be disastrous for such a young country (Roos).
- Also, the writers of the U.S. Constitution were perhaps, concerned that people might only vote for a candidate from their state since they knew little about anyone else because most of the general population was illiterate.
- By creating the Electoral College, our Founding Fathers “sought to reconcile differing state interests. In addition, it provided a degree of popular participation in the election, short of a popular vote. Simply put, creating the Electoral College gave less populous states some additional leverage in the process of electing the President (Electoral College).”
For the most part, it worked well for many years. Today, most of these reasons no longer exist. In fact, over the years, the Electoral College has given smaller states with less population an opportunity for votes, seemingly to be weighted a bit more than votes from other more populated states. How is that fair to people who live in a state with major metropolitan areas? Why should people who choose to live in the beautiful state of Wyoming have their votes carry more weight than people who live in the beautiful state of California?
Also, almost everyone today in the United States has either a public education degree or a private education degree. Furthermore, nearly every middle and secondary school teaches courses on U.S. History, Basic Economics, and American Government. Most everyone can read today and is capable of reviewing candidates to make an intelligent decision on voting for one candidate or the other.
So, do we still need an Electoral College? In the past twenty-some years, two candidates have come to the Presidency via the Electoral College, both losing the popular vote. In the modern world, this is hard for people to accept since no other major industrialized democracy in the world has an Electoral College. In almost all of those countries, whoever wins the popular vote, becomes the next leader of their country. Also, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled state electors must vote the way their state votes in the popular election. So again, why do we need an Electoral College today?
Perhaps if we modernized the U.S. Constitution and eliminate the Electoral College, there could be other ways to provide smaller states with less population more benefits to help their citizens. The following change should be made to the United States Constitution as soon as possible.
• Article II. Section I., of the United States Constitution, must be changed. Eliminate the Electoral College. In its place should be wording that allows for whoever wins the popular vote nationwide, becomes the next President and Vice-President of the United States of America.
That is what we think. What do you think? Do you have any better ideas? If so, what are they?
“Electoral College,” History. Web. Updated September 19, 2019. Original : Jan 12, 2010. 2019.
Graebner, Norman A., Gilbert C. Fite, Philip I. White, A History of the American People. McGraw Hill Book Company New. York York, 1970.
Roos, Dave. “Why Was the Electoral College Created?” History. Web. Updated July 10, 2020. Original: July 15, 2019.