Abstract Title

Creating an Oligarchy: An Intellectual History of the Electoral College

Abstract

An intellectual history of the Electoral College seeks to identify all major motivations of the Framers in creating the structure of the Electoral College so that some of the historical debate can be more inclusive and settled while providing a political lens as well. For contemporary politics, the academia and elected officials would benefit from a better understanding of the Electoral College in order to circumvent some of the challenges it has posed since. In order to understand the minds of the delegates at the Constitutional Convention, the methodology included collecting existing letters and correspondence, meeting minutes, and publications from the major delegates. The Federalist Papers, Antifederalist Papers, and several others directly state the published opinions of some delegates; whereas, others make reference to Patrick Henry, John Locke and the Treatise on Government, the Magna Carta, and Greek and Roman antiquity. This research found that the Founders were not necessarily ideologues but rather forced to compromise under the duress of time posed by the Articles of Convention, citizen unrest, and massive debt. Instead, the Founders were influenced to create the Electoral College by the culmination of debate through the entire convention to appease demographic, political, and cultural concerns. Thus, representation for the people and states, as well as the willingness to preserve slavery for greater political power.

Modified Abstract

An intellectual history of the Electoral College seeks to identify all major motivations of the Framers in creating the structure of the Electoral College so that some of the historical debate can be more inclusive and settled while providing a political lens as well. For contemporary politics, the academia and elected officials would benefit from a better understanding of the Electoral College in order to circumvent some of the challenges it has posed since.

Research Category

Political Sciences/Philosophy/History

Author Information

Madison NewinghamFollow

Primary Author's Major

History

Mentor #1 Information

Dr. Matthew

Crawford

Start Date

April 2019

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Apr 9th, 1:00 PM

Creating an Oligarchy: An Intellectual History of the Electoral College

An intellectual history of the Electoral College seeks to identify all major motivations of the Framers in creating the structure of the Electoral College so that some of the historical debate can be more inclusive and settled while providing a political lens as well. For contemporary politics, the academia and elected officials would benefit from a better understanding of the Electoral College in order to circumvent some of the challenges it has posed since. In order to understand the minds of the delegates at the Constitutional Convention, the methodology included collecting existing letters and correspondence, meeting minutes, and publications from the major delegates. The Federalist Papers, Antifederalist Papers, and several others directly state the published opinions of some delegates; whereas, others make reference to Patrick Henry, John Locke and the Treatise on Government, the Magna Carta, and Greek and Roman antiquity. This research found that the Founders were not necessarily ideologues but rather forced to compromise under the duress of time posed by the Articles of Convention, citizen unrest, and massive debt. Instead, the Founders were influenced to create the Electoral College by the culmination of debate through the entire convention to appease demographic, political, and cultural concerns. Thus, representation for the people and states, as well as the willingness to preserve slavery for greater political power.