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The Establishment Of The Electoral College

1084 words - 4 pages

The Electoral College is the system established by the Founding Fathers to select the President of the United States. It is important that Americans have a fundamental knowledge of this system, and the obstacles overcame in its development. There were many obstacles faced by the Founding Fathers while constructing the government. America was comprised of 13 states that wanted to protect their individual rights and leery of a strong centralized government. The nation’s population lay across a vast area with limited communication capabilities. In addition, the Founders believed that a true gentleman should not campaign for office. “The office should seek the man, the man should not seek the office” was the saying. They challenged themselves with overcoming these and other obstacles in order to produce a system that would provide a stable and powerful executive branch of government.
     The Constitutional Congress set out to develop a way to select the president. One idea proposed was to have Congress elect the president. Some felt that this procedure would invite political bargaining and corruption. They felt the president might feel obligated to aid Congress in passing legislation by not vetoing. Others felt this system would upset the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches of government. In spite of its drawbacks, this system was brought to a vote on four separate occasions(Peirce 39). A second idea was to have the president elected by a direct vote system. Many people did not believe in this type of system, however three very prominent figures did: James Wilson, Gouverneur Morris, and James Madison(Peirce 41). They believed that the duty of the president was to protect the people from the legislature, and that the people should be allowed to their protector. However, most of the Founders believed that the average citizen would not have enough knowledge of the candidates to make an educated choice. They believed that the people were generally misinformed and easily misled(Peirce 41). The direct vote system also favored the larger more populated states with little regard for the people of the smaller ones. This system was voted down twice, but aided in recognizing the drawbacks of the Congress electing the president(Peirce 41). A third idea was to have the state legislatures select the president. This idea was also rejected due to the fear of political bargaining and corruption. They felt this system could possibly undermine the authority of the centralized government. The possibility also existed of the each state legislature voting for only one of their state's “favorite sons”. This could lead to no single candidate winning a majority, thus no president selected. Finally, an indirect election of the president through a College of Electors was proposed. The original idea was to have the most informed individuals from each state select the president. They were to base their decision solely on...

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