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Slavery, Jefferson, and the Electoral College.

PoliticalChic

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My pal, Weatherman, posted an interesting thread about the electoral college:

Do You Understand the Electoral College?

Let me provide an entirely different analysis....an argument against retaining the electoral college.



Know what a 'chimera' is?
"a fire-breathing female monster with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a serpent's tail."
Google

Quite an interesting mix, huh?


Well, there is a certain constitutional scholar, Akhil Reed Amar, who is just such an interesting mix in his chosen field. The guy is a rare public intellectual whose favorite is Abraham Lincoln, and he's takes a liberal “originalist” view of the Constitution, with similarities to the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s emphasis on the original meaning of the text, ...but he's also a big fan of KKKer, former Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black!

Weird, huh?
Kind of makes him one of my favorite Liberals.

Recently, due to the Trump election, Professor Amar gave an interview about the electoral college, and how it favored the institution of slavery.




1. "....state governors in all 50 states are elected by popular vote; why not do the same for the governor of all states, a.k.a. the president?"

"One Founding-era argument for the Electoral College stemmed from the fact that ordinary Americans across a vast continent would lack sufficient information to choose directly and intelligently among leading presidential candidates."


Well, perhaps this made sense early on....but once there were national parties, this was answered " by linking presidential candidates to slates of local candidates and national platforms, which explained to voters who stood for what."


Once there were national parties, the Constitution was amended.... "Twelfth Amendment. an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1804, providing for election of the president and vice president by the electoral college: should there be no majority vote for one person, the House of Representatives (one vote per state) chooses the president and the Senate the vice president."
the definition of Twelfth Amendment

The 12th was ratified in 1804, as a result of the Samuel Adams-Thomas Jefferson election, 1800-1801.




2. Wasn't the reason for the electoral college to balance the big states and the small ones?

Not at all! "...the deepest political divisions in America have always run not between big and small states, but between the north and the south, and between the coasts and the interior.

Soooo....what was the real issue behind the elections of 1787 and 1801?

Slavery.


Akhil Reed Amar explains how, and why.....next.
 

Kosh

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The far left does not like elections that they do not win.

They riot ion the streets as they are commanded to do and prove the real hatred is with them.
 
OP
PoliticalChic

PoliticalChic

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The far left does not like elections that they do not win.

They riot ion the streets as they are commanded to do and prove the real hatred is with them.


Violence has been a defining characteristic of the Left since their theoreticians...Karl Marx, Geoges Sorel, Antonio Gramsci......

They accept and encourage violence. It is a reason to fear for the safety of President Trump.

Still....it has nothing to do with the question as to whether or not the electoral college should be retained.
 

Kosh

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The far left does not like elections that they do not win.

They riot ion the streets as they are commanded to do and prove the real hatred is with them.


Violence has been a defining characteristic of the Left since their theoreticians...Karl Marx, Geoges Sorel, Antonio Gramsci......

They accept and encourage violence. It is a reason to fear for the safety of President Trump.

Still....it has nothing to do with the question as to whether or not the electoral college should be retained.

You left out the far left heroes of Hitler and Stalin.
 
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PoliticalChic

PoliticalChic

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The far left does not like elections that they do not win.

They riot ion the streets as they are commanded to do and prove the real hatred is with them.


Violence has been a defining characteristic of the Left since their theoreticians...Karl Marx, Geoges Sorel, Antonio Gramsci......

They accept and encourage violence. It is a reason to fear for the safety of President Trump.

Still....it has nothing to do with the question as to whether or not the electoral college should be retained.

You left out the far left heroes of Hitler and Stalin.

"...the far left heroes of Hitler and Stalin."

These two were students of the names I mentioned...

Georges Eugène Sorel (2 November 1847 in Cherbourg – 29 August 1922 in Boulogne-sur-Seine) was a French philosopher and theorist of revolutionary syndicalism. His notion of the power of myth in people's lives inspired Marxists and Fascists, it is, together with his defense of violence, the contribution for which he is most often remembered. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Sorel


But none of the above is related to the subject of the thread...the electoral college.
 
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PoliticalChic

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3. "At the Philadelphia convention, the visionary Pennsylvanian James Wilson proposed direct national election of the president.
.... Virginian James Madison responded that such a system would prove unacceptable to the South:

“The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.”



In other words, in a direct election system, the North would outnumber the South, whose many slaves (more than half a million in all) of course could not vote. But the Electoral College—a prototype of which Madison proposed in this same speech—instead let each southern state count its slaves,...."
Election 2016: The Real Reason the Electoral College Exists | Time.com




....slaves ... of course could not vote. But the Electoral College—a prototype of which Madison proposed in this same speech—instead let each southern state count its slaves,...."

Well...not as a full human being, due to the 'compromise'....but, still allowed the South to out-number the North in representation.





The North would never win on any issue that divided the two areas if slaves were counted for representation.....as a full person.

Soooo......the compromise arrived at was each slave was counted "albeit with a two-fifths discount, in computing" representatives in Congress.


And was the electoral college a factor in this?
You betcha....
And who did it favor?
 
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Redfish

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3. "At the Philadelphia convention, the visionary Pennsylvanian James Wilson proposed direct national election of the president.
.... Virginian James Madison responded that such a system would prove unacceptable to the South:

“The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.”



In other words, in a direct election system, the North would outnumber the South, whose many slaves (more than half a million in all) of course could not vote. But the Electoral College—a prototype of which Madison proposed in this same speech—instead let each southern state count its slaves,...." Election 2016: The Real Reason the Electoral College Exists | Time.com




....slaves ... of course could not vote. But the Electoral College—a prototype of which Madison proposed in this same speech—instead let each southern state count its slaves,...."

Well...not as a full human being, due to the 'compromise'....but, still allowed the South to out-number the North in representation.





The North would never win on any issue that divided the two areas if slaves were counted for representation.

Soooo......the compromise arrived at was each slave was counted "albeit with a two-fifths discount, in computing" representatives in Congress.


And was the electoral college a factor in this?
You betcha....
And who did it favor?


good history lesson. Today the EC prevents our 4 or 5 largest cities from electing our presidents. It gives a voice to states like Idaho, Mississippi, and Alaska,
 
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PoliticalChic

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4. While we'd like to either idealize our early Americans, or demonize them, depending on a political perspective about this nation, in truth, they were politicians.....and this observation applied then, as now:

"It's been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first."
Ronald Reagan




While the Founders... usually, the ‘Founders’ refers to these six: Madison, Jefferson and Washington, Adams, Hamilton, and Franklin.
...the three northerners worked tirelessly in manumission associations...ending slavery....and the three Southerners worked to end slavery..

.....to the extent that it didn't hurt their political careers.

The existence of slavery was a boon to his candidacy for President....and his attitude toward slavery seems to have been similar to this:

"Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet." attributed to St. Augustine.

He would free his slaves...but the institution worked to his advantage.


"....Jefferson, for example, won the election of 1800-01 against Northerner John Adams in a race where the slavery-skew of the electoral college was the decisive margin of victory: without the extra electoral college votes generated by slavery, the mostly southern states that supported Jefferson would not have sufficed to give him a majority. As pointed observers remarked at the time, Thomas Jefferson metaphorically rode into the executive mansion on the backs of slaves.


For 32 of the Constitution’s first 36 years, a white slaveholding Virginian occupied the presidency."
Election 2016: The Real Reason the Electoral College Exists | Time.com


Sans any electoral college, the South would have had to either grant blacks their freedom and voting rights.....or been overpowered by the North's superior numbers.....without a war.
 
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PoliticalChic

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5. According to Akhil Reed Amar's explanation....what is the reason for the electoral college?

"Slavery.

In a direct-election system, the South would have lost every time because a huge proportion of its population — slaves — could not vote.


The electoral college enabled each slave state to count its slaves (albeit at a discount, under the Constitution’s three-fifths clause) in the electoral college apportionment. The big winner early on was Virginia — a large state with lots of slaves. Indeed, eight of the first nine presidential elections were won by Virginians.


Pennsylvania in 1800 had more free persons, but Virginia got more electoral votes that year.


Thomas Jefferson would have lost the race against John Adams in 1800 but for the fact that the Southern states that backed Jefferson, a Southerner, got a dozen extra electoral votes because of their enslaved population. After 1800, the South refused to make any change that might weaken its inside track."
Ten questions, and answers, about the electoral college




Today there is neither slavery, nor any institutional bias in America.

What is the reason of the electoral college, vs. direct election as is done for every other office?
 
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PoliticalChic

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6. So the electoral college, as described by Amar, worked as a tool by southern politicians to maintain office and power.
But it also represented a weakness by northern politicians when it came to confronting what they knew to be wrong.


"The 1796 contest between Adams and Jefferson had featured an even sharper division between northern states and southern states. Thus, at the time the Twelfth Amendment tinkered with the Electoral College system rather than tossing it, the system’s pro-slavery bias was hardly a secret.


Indeed, in the floor debate over the amendment in late 1803, Massachusetts Congressman Samuel Thatcher complained that “The representation of slaves adds thirteen members to this House in the present Congress, and eighteen Electors of President and Vice President at the next election.”


But Thatcher’s complaint went unredressed. Once again, the North caved to the South by refusing to insist on direct national election."
Election 2016: The Real Reason the Electoral College Exists | Time.com


It took half a century and a war to redress.



Therefore, as recounted by constitutional scholar Akhil Reed Amar, the electoral college remains as an anachronism.

There is no reason to deny direct election of the President.
 

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