Why Was the Electoral College Established?

electoral-college-mapThere were many reasons why the Electoral College was created. Not everyone is familiar with them, and knowing the facts will help clear some misapprehensions about the system.

To Avoid Tyranny of the Majority

The Founding Fathers believed that by voting for representatives rather than the President, tyranny could be avoided. It was their belief that the masses could be easily swept away by a cunning speaker.

Alexander Hamilton and the others felt the people wouldn’t be able to make the right choices. By voting for able and qualified group of individuals, crowd manipulation will be avoided.

The group wasn’t meant to rob the people of their right to choose. Rather it would be set up to protect them. The reason why the Electoral College was created was to keep the people safe. Not only would dictatorships be avoided, but also manipulation by foreign countries.

Compromise between the States

Another reason is that it promotes equality among the states. Under the law they set up, every state’s electoral vote was equal to their Congressional representatives. The numbers are adjusted as the population increases. Under this system, all the states get equal representation when it comes to choosing the President.

Promoting Federalism

This system was also a good way to promote the idea of federalism. The system meant the state and national governments would share power evenly. One reason why the Electoral College was created was to balance the state and the national government. The Founding Fathers didn’t want the US to end up like a tyrannical state, but their initial attempt proved ineffective.

These were the Articles of the Confederation. Under these rules the states were given too much power. Under the revised Constitution, the problems were worked out. The establishment of this collegiate group was another example of this.

Representative Democracy

Under this setup, it becomes possible for a candidate to win in the popular vote but lose in the electoral vote. To many people this practice seems undemocratic, and this is what critics of the system point out.

Those who believe in it counter that it is a form of representative democracy. This means the people elect representatives to perform certain tasks like choosing Presidents. The reason why the Electoral College was created was to implement this system. This is opposed to direct democracy wherein people vote directly to choose the President.

America is a representative democracy. As stated the Founding Fathers knew that letting the people vote directly would produce dangers. Some delegates felt that the masses were ignorant of the true facts and could be manipulated easily.

It is also argued that because the members of the group are selected by the people, it is still democracy in action. The members of the College are subject to reelection so people can replace them if they want.

The reason why the Electoral College was created and if it’s the right system will always be subject to debate. Until proposed changes are accepted, it still remains the method by which the President of the US is chosen.

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