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Representation and the Electoral College$
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Robert M. Alexander

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190939427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190939427.001.0001

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The Founding and Evolution of the Electoral College

The Founding and Evolution of the Electoral College

Chapter:
(p.45) 3 The Founding and Evolution of the Electoral College
Source:
Representation and the Electoral College
Author(s):

Robert M. Alexander

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190939427.003.0003

This chapter examines the formulation and evolution of the Electoral College. Determining how the chief executive would be selected was among the most difficult tasks facing the Framers. They sought to balance geographic interests with concerns over popular sovereignty and legitimacy. Delegates debated whether the president should be selected by the legislature, by popular vote, or by state legislatures. Consensus rather than political principle drove much of the deliberation regarding the presidential selection process. Once established, the Electoral College changed considerably in a short while. The emergence of political parties (and party tickets) necessitated the passage of the 12th Amendment. This also changed the role of electors from one of independence to one of obedience. The widespread use of the unit rule further altered how the Electoral College functioned. Recognizing whether one is discussing the original body or the evolved body is essential in order to properly debate the institution.

Keywords:   Constitutional Convention, Philadelphia Convention, 12th Amendment, Committee on Unfinished Parts, Federalist Papers

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