⌛ The Four Branches Of The Electoral College

Tuesday, September 21, 2021 2:53:54 AM

The Four Branches Of The Electoral College



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The Electoral College, explained

The nation's fourth presidential election was the first time candidates campaigned, though the campaigning was very subdued by modern standards. The contest was also noteworthy for intensifying political and personal animosity between two men tragically linked in history, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. When Washington announced that he would not run for a third term, Adams, his vice president, ran and was elected president in Adams became increasingly unpopular during his four years in office, especially for the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts, repressive legislation designed to stifle freedom of the press. As the election approached, Adams was determined to run for a second term, though his chances weren't promising.

Hamilton had been born on the island of Nevis in the Caribbean Sea. While he was technically eligible to be president under the Constitution, having been a citizen when it was ratified, he was such a controversial figure that a run for high office never seemed feasible. However, he had played a formidable role in Washington's administration, serving as the first secretary of the treasury. Over time he came to be an enemy of Adams, though they were both members of the Federalist Party. He had tried to ensure the defeat of Adams in the election of and hoped to see Adams defeated in his run. Hamilton didn't hold governmental office in the late s when he was practicing law in New York City.

Yet he built a Federalist political machine in New York and could exert considerable influence in political matters. Burr, a prominent New York political figure, was opposed to the Federalists continuing their rule and also hoped to see Adams denied a second term. A constant rival to Hamilton, Burr had built a political machine centered on Tammany Hall , which rivaled Hamilton's Federalist organization. For the election, Burr threw his support behind Jefferson. Burr ran with Jefferson on the same ticket as the vice presidential candidate. Jefferson had served as Washington's secretary of state and ran a close second to Adams in the election of As a critic of the Adams presidency, Jefferson was an obvious candidate on the Democratic-Republican ticket to oppose the Federalists.

While it is true that the election marked the first time that candidates campaigned, the campaigning mostly consisted of writing letters and articles expressing their intentions. Adams did make trips to Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania that were construed as political visits, and Burr, on behalf of the Democratic-Republican ticket, visited towns throughout New England. In that early period, the electors from the states were generally chosen by state legislatures, not by popular vote.

In some cases, the elections for state legislatures were essentially substitutes for the presidential election, so any campaigning took place at the local level. The obvious problem with these proposals is that they would create an axis between the president and the electing body. If the states elected the president, then the larger, wealthier, and more populous states would receive greater attention and more favorable treatment by the executive branch than would the smaller, less populous states. A similar imbalance of power would occur were the president chosen by the House or the Senate. Thus, the mechanics of electing the chief executive required balancing various interests to give the executive branch the requisite independence from other political bodies, while maintaining co-equality.

These electors were appointed for the sole purpose of electing the president, and a simple majority of their votes would decide the election. This created another means by which the spheres of Congress and the federal government were balanced and divided from that of the states. The Constitutional Convention viewed electors as not necessarily aligned with a faction, but as citizens of honesty, integrity, and political acumen. Originally, electors voted for two people; the person with the most electoral votes became president, and the runner-up became vice-president.

Flaws in this system became evident with the presidential election of , when John Adams was elected as president and his archrival, if not nemesis, Thomas Jefferson, was elected vice president. Four years later, Jefferson and Aaron Burr received the same number of electoral votes—neither had the required majority. This unworkable situation was remedied by the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, which prescribed that electors would separately vote for a president and vice president on the same ballot. Later, state legislatures, as they were constitutionally permitted and as the two-party system grew, allowed electors to run as proxies for the presidential and vice presidential party nominee. For at least the first years, the system worked well, and, other than the 12th Amendment, no major attempts were made to alter the process of electing the president and vice president.

Several times, the election was submitted to the House of Representatives after the electors failed to achieve a majority vote for president. For example, in , the election was submitted to the House, where power plays resulted in the election of John Quincy Adams, though Andrew Jackson won significantly more of the popular and the electoral vote. Rutherford B. Hayes, a Republican, lost the popular vote to Samuel Tilden, a Democrat, but became president because he had prevailed in the electoral vote, though voter fraud in some jurisdictions seemed certain. Many Democratic candidates running for federal office embraced the idea of abolishing the Electoral College, not least Sam Rayburn, who, in his first congressional election in , advocated electing the president by popular vote.

If there was any momentum for this aspect of the Progressive movement, it lost steam as other, more critical issues advanced. Today, the constitutional method for electing the president is under siege. The result of the election — with Donald Trump winning the presidency despite losing the popular vote — led pundits and politicians to call for the presidential election to be based on the popular, not electoral, vote. But lamenting results that saw two presidents in recent memory fail to win the popular vote obscures the effect that abolishing the Electoral College would have on a national campaign.

This urban-centric strategy would silence the political voice of most regions of the country. The Electoral College guarantees that successful presidential candidates will appeal to large swaths of the American landscape, and that the president himself will reflect the diversity of various regional ideas. It orchestrates the American chorus so that every section of the country will be heard by a serious presidential candidate. We might not always like the outcome; it is always frustrating when your candidate loses, especially if he or she won the popular vote. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention in argued over a lot of things, but one of their biggest debates was over how the United States should elect its president.

Some among the Founding Fathers believed that direct nationwide election by the people would be the most On September 18, , the U. House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming to 70 to send a constitutional amendment to the Senate that would have dismantled the Electoral College, the indirect system by which Americans elect the president and vice president. The Great Compromise was forged in a heated dispute during the Constitutional Convention: States with larger populations wanted congressional representation based on population, while smaller states demanded equal representation.

To keep the convention from dissolving into Five times in history, presidential candidates have won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. This has led some to question why Americans use this system to elect their presidents in the first place. Among the many thorny questions debated by the delegates to the On five occasions, the winner of the popular vote did not capture the presidency. In the multi-candidate race of , Andrew Jackson received the most popular votes, but with no man winning a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives chose John Quincy Adams to Departing from the monarchical tradition of Britain, the founding fathers of the United States created a system in which the American people had the power and responsibility to select their leader.

Article II, Section 1 of the U. Constitution establishes the Executive Branch of For example, when Donald Trump was named the 45th president, he was really only the 44th president because Grover Cleveland is counted twice. And with The race for the U. Donald Trump became the fifth president to win despite losing the popular vote in , joining the ranks of Live TV. This Day In History. History Vault. How the Electoral College Works. Recommended for you. Knights of Labor. Electoral College. America What is the Electoral College? The Electoral College. How the Great Compromise and the Electoral College Affects Politics Today The Great Compromise was forged in a heated dispute during the Constitutional Convention: States with larger populations wanted congressional representation based on population, while smaller states demanded equal representation.

Why Was the Electoral College Created? Presidential Elections Departing from the monarchical tradition of Britain, the founding fathers of the United States created a system in which the American people had the power and responsibility to select their leader. Memorable Elections The race for the U. See More.

Arguments Against The Holocaust a critic of the Adams presidency, Jefferson was an obvious candidate The Four Branches Of The Electoral College the Democratic-Republican ticket to oppose The Four Branches Of The Electoral College Federalists. As the Supreme The Four Branches Of The Electoral College wrote in Why Should Catcher In The Rye Be Banned The Four Branches Of The Electoral College. Today, all presidential electors are chosen by voters, but in the early republic, more than half the states chose electors in their legislatures, thus eliminating any direct involvement by The Four Branches Of The Electoral College Segregation Forever Analysis public in the election.

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