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Hamilton, In Fiction And History, Is Key To Understanding The Electoral College


Promoter of the college

Hamilton's word meant something in an election dispute in 1800 and 1801 in part because he had promoted and defended the idea of the Electoral College, when he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and in the fight to ratify it.

It was part of the marathon presentation Hamilton made in June 1787, just a few weeks after the convention began. In the Broadway show, Miranda's script includes a passing reference to the six-hour length of this speech but does not dwell on the content, which might not play well with contemporary audiences.

Hamilton's construct of a new state reflected his deep distrust of popular voting.

"It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder," the real Hamilton wrote, referring to the "mischief" that might done among the general electorate.

Those phrases appeared in an essay Hamilton wrote nearly a year later, part of a series urging ratification of the Constitution. It was No. 68 in the collection published as The Federalist.

"The sense of the people" should be part of the process, Hamilton wrote. But it would be taken as an "advisement" by the Electoral College, composed of "men most capable of analyzing the qualities" needed for the supreme office, educated and discerning gentlemen who would meet "under circumstances favorable to deliberation."

A more elitist perspective is hard to imagine.


Read entire article at NPR