The Electoral College system has been in place for over 200 years and Americans are still not sure how it works or if it is the best system. Many Americans feel they go to the polls every year and vote for the president, and in the long run they are in control of the fate of our executive branch. With the 1992 election it was clear that many people had little understanding for how a president is chosen; the 1992 election came close to having no majority of electors due to Ross Perot and his third party. However, after this last debacle over the presidency, many people are crying "foul" even though they still understand little or nothing about the benefits of the Electoral College. We have grown into a society that no longer needs a reason…we just respond to sensationalist propaganda as if it's fact.
Before any debate it was assumed the best system of electing the president was to have congress do it. However, if congress was to elect the president, then the president might feel an obligation to help congress get certain laws passed by not vetoing. This would put a dent in the checks and balances system. Even with this problem the system was voted for and approved on four different occasions (Peirce 39).
Not many believed in the direct vote system, but three prominent people did; James Wilson, Gouverneur Morris, and James Madison (Peirce 41). Most delegates did not think that the American democracy had matured enough to offer a direct vote. It was still an unstable government and most drafters believed that the people were generally misinformed and easily misled (Peirce 41). Hence, this system of direct representation was voted down, but was helpful in seeing the pitfa...
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... to solve an entirely different set of problems is a tribute to the genius of the Founding Fathers.
Berns, Walter (ed.) After the People Vote: Steps in Choosing the President. Washington: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1983.
"Electoral College." Congressional Digest Oct 1992: 226,256.
Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections (2nd ed). Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly, 1985.
Glennon, Michael J. When No Majority Rules. Washington: Congressional Quarterly Inc, 1992.
Peirce, Neal R. The People's President. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968.
Reichley, James A., ed. Elections American Style. Washington: Brookings Institution, 1987.
Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr. (Ed.) History of Presidential Elections 1789-1968. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1971.
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