George Washington and the First Electoral College

It’s worth considering the astonishing contrast between 21st-century presidential elections and those contemplated by the 18th-century authors of the Constitution. By Craig Dimitri Everyone at the 1787 Federal Convention knew that Virginia delegate George Washington – who presided over the assembly – would be the first executive.  The challenge would be in determining how to[…]

James Madison on Slavery and the Electoral College

The Electoral College may not have been expressly designed only to protect African slavery, but based on Madison’s notes, it was the mode most preferred by pro-slavery forces. Sean Wilentz, Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor of the American Revolutionary Era at Princeton University, just announced in a New York Times op-ed that he retracted his earlier opinion[…]

Electoral Debate: The Election and Presidency of John Quincy Adams

In the 1820s, political leaders and parties rose to popularity by championing the will of the people. By Dr. P. Scott CorbettProfessor of HistoryVentura College Introduction The most extraordinary political development in the years before the Civil War was the rise of American democracy. Whereas the founders envisioned the United States as a republic, not a[…]

The Three-Fifths Compromise and the Origins of the Electoral College

The 1787 debate over how slaves would be counted when determining a state’s total population for legislative representation and taxes. Introduction The Three-Fifths Compromise was a compromise reached among state delegates during the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention. Whether, and if so, how, slaves would be counted when determining a state’s total population for legislative representation and taxing purposes was important,[…]