Constitution, but when it came time to discuss the manner of electing the President,
the two sides had little to argue about. As
Alexander Hamilton stated in Federalist
No. 68: “The mode of appointment of the
Chief Magistrate of the United States is almost the only part of the system, of any
consequence, which has escaped without
severe censure. . . . I venture somewhat
further, and hesitate not to affirm, that if
Our Founding Fathers
. . . . knew that a pure
eventually allow a few
scheming men to seize
power and tyrannize
the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least
2 The Federalists agreed that “it
was desirable that the sense of the people
should operate in the choice of the person
to whom so important a trust was to be
3 The concept of the Electoral
College was to have “a small number of
persons, selected by their fellow citizens
from the general mass, [who] will be most
likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such a complicated
4 The Framers doubted that
the common man would have enough
information available to choose the best
President, so they devised a plan where
good men (voters) would choose better
men (electors), who would then choose
the best man (the President).
5 This system
would allow the people’s voice to be heard
and would give each state the power to express their will in electing the President.
The Framers devised a system that
called for the people to select trusted men
from their states to “form an intermedi-
ate body of electors”
6 to elect a President.
Each state would have electors equal to
the number of Senators ( 2) plus the num-
ber of Congressional representatives. For
example, California has fifty-five elec-
tors: fifty-three Congressional represen-
tatives, plus two for their Senators. Elec-
tors meet together in their own states to
“vote for some fit person as president.”
Since the electors are chosen in their state
and meet in their state to vote for the
President, even the small states have an
important role in the process. The Fra-
mers noted that unless the small states
were important to the electoral system,
the Presidential candidates would tend to
ignore the needs of the citizens in those
small states and concern themselves only
with the needs and opinions of the large
states. This would tend to cause regional
tensions and a sense that the President
didn’t represent the entire union of states.
The current system forces candidates to
run separate campaigns in each state.
Lynn Schott is a fourteen-year homeschool
veteran who taught her own three children from elementary through high school
graduation. She is passionate about helping young people understand and embrace
Constitutional liberty and free market
economic thought. Founders Academy
specializes in teaching live, online Government and Economics classes and engaging
and exciting enrichment classes for ages 5
1. Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers,
(New York, Bantam Dell, 2003), p.413.
2. Ibid., p. 414.
3. Ibid., p. 414.
4. Andrews, The Guide, p. 145.
5. Ibid., p. 414.
6. Ibid., p. 416.
7. Hamilton, Federalist No. 68, p. 414.
8. Ibid., p. 414–415.