The Electoral College
The framer's intent of setting up the American government will never be known for sure, but it is gathered that they preferred a republic to a democracy. In the constitutional convention the drafters had to decide how much power they would entrust with the people of the United States, and how much should be controlled by representatives. They chose to have Congress make the laws, and congress would be selected directly by the people. But another branch of government, the executive branch, needed a sole president and the framers had to decide how to choose this president. They chose from three main systems: elect the president by congress, the people, or electors. Many debates were made over this topic in the constitutional convention and eventually the Electoral College system was chosen. The electoral college system has been in place for over 200 years and Americans are still not sure how it works or if it is the best system. Many Americans feel they go to the polls every year and vote for the president, and in the long run they are in control of the fate of our executive branch. With the 1992 election it was clear that many people have little understanding for how a president is chosen; the 1992 election came close to having no majority of electors due to Ross Perot and his third party. The electoral college is just barely surviving and is under more and more attacking all the time.
Before any debate it was assumed the best system of electing the president was to have congress do it. However, if congress was to elect the president, then the president might feel an obligation to help congress get certain laws passed by not vetoing. This would put a dent in the checks and balances system. Even with this problem the system was voted for and approved on four different occasions (Peirce 39). Not many believed in the direct vote system, but three prominent people did James Wilson, Governor Morris, and James Madison (Peirce 41). Most delegates did not think that the American democracy had matured enough to offer a direct vote. It was still an unstable government. Sure enough, the arguments that were made in favor of this system were presented for the future generations of America. Madison said, "with all [the direct election's] imperfections, "that he, "liked the best (Peirce 41)." After all the president is to guard the people from the legislature, therefore the people should select him. But most drafters believed that the people were generally misinformed and easily misled (Peirce 41). This system was voted down twice, but was helpful in seeing the pitfalls of the legislature deciding a president (Peirce 41). When they had seen the pitfalls of two systems, a third compromising system evolved, the electors.
This third system was to have electors that could not be a member of congress vote for the president. Most of the arguments made in support of the elector system were nothing more than negative arguments of the...