The Electoral College


The U.S. Constitution was designed to deal with the failings of the human condition. The Founders had many fears of the excesses of human nature, notably the desire to control and accumulate ever increasing power. This is why they put so many checks and balances into the system. Everything the Founders did was intended to disperse power so as to create consensus among all the participants of our representative government. 

One of the issues at the Constitution Convention was the fear by smaller population states that the populus states would run the country for themselves and the smaller population states would have no say. To create a balance of power between the large and small states, the Founders created the Senate which would have two Senators from each state regardless of population while the House of Representatives would be based on population. This “great compromise” was intended to create a consensus between the large population states and small population states when legislation is passed in Congress.

Creating the Electoral College for the election of the President was a continuation of the idea that brought about the creation of the US Senate. Electing the president through the Electoral College was a compromise between those who wanted election of the President by a vote in Congress and those that wanted election of the President by popular vote. This is another method of keeping a balance between smaller population states and large population states.  

Some people want to eliminate the Electoral College. This is not only a bad idea but a very dangerous one. Eliminating the Electoral College would be a severe blow to the ideals of our Republic. 

The Founders considered a Republic a much more stable form of government then a democracy, which is essentially mob rule. In a Republic, government power is designed to protect the rights of individuals and keep the majority from abusing the minority. 

In a democracy the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. As in a monarchy, the law is whatever the government wants it to be and can ignore its own constitution. Checks and balances can be abolished. John Adams said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” Chief Justice John Marshall observed, “Between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.” 

Consider the situation in America today. We have two Americas growing increasingly divisive with the other. What would happen if we did away with the various checks and balances in our Republic and allowed a majority to do what it pleased? This majority would create a permanent hold on power to control and rule over the detested minority. Those in the majority would do so under the claim that they were simply advancing the national interest. 

Many people today don’t recognize the brilliance of the US Constitution. They argue that it is outdated and inadequate to govern a modern nation in the 21st century.  The truth is the Constitution is as relevant today as it was back when it was written in 1787. The principles and concepts in our Constitution are timeless and as long as humans are prone to a lust for power and control, they will continue to be timeless and applicable to any nation that values individual liberty.

The United States Constitution was the most brilliant founding document ever written and is the oldest constitution in the world today. The Electoral College was and still is a brilliant idea!!!

Additional reading:
Jan 2019

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"Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51% of the people may take away the rights of the other 49%."(1) Thomas Jefferson