James Madison, in 1823, Wanted to Change Electoral College System

See this interesting article at Fairvote, about a letter written by former President James Madison in 1823, suggesting a different way to choose the president. The article has a link to Madison’s letter. Madison wanted to give each congressional district one electoral vote. Also he wanted to end the system under which, when no one gets a majority of the electoral college vote, the House elects the President, with one vote per state.

Madison wanted to change the electoral college to give each elector two votes for President, a first choice and a second choice. And he believed that if no one got a majority, with either the first or second choice votes, then the entire Congress should choose the President, with each member of each house of Congress having one vote.


  1. Demo Rep · · Reply

    Madison is fortunate NOT to be seeing the high tech ANTI-Democracy gerrymander computers at work — INSTANT schemes to have control for 10 more years in States having 2 or more U.S.A. Reps.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  2. Jim Riley · · Reply

    Mandating the popular election of presidential electors by electoral districts had been proposed at least as early as 1800.

    The use of congressional districts for the election of presidential electors is very much a modern practice, based on that of Maine and Nebraska. As Rob Richie, being from Maryland, should know, the use of electoral districts for all electors was more prevalent. This perhaps was somewhat behind the switch to at-large elections, since for larger States delineation of such districts for limited purposes required quite a bit of effort.

    I think the claims that the electoral college is due to slavery is historical revisionism. Similar claims have been made that the electoral college is sexist! The premise is that if States could gain more political power by expanding the franchise to non-property owners, paupers, illiterates, women, and minors that they would have done so. The more likely outcome is that popular election of the president would have resulted in setting of a federal franchise, which might have been more limited, and not subject to experimentation which led to female suffrage in the West 30 years prior to the rest of the country.

  3. Baronscarpia · · Reply

    2 –

    I agree with the first sentence of your third paragraph. (Yes, I do, believe it or not).

    Richie says “the Electoral College was created to reflect the political realities associated with accommodating the institution of slavery into our electoral system.” However he gives no evidence to support his hypothesis.

    It seems he is employing the same faulty logic that others use to explain the EC in a way which advances their particular political views. The “logic” goes as follows: because the composition of the EC is based on that of the Legislature, and because the composition of the Legislature arose out of the “Connecticut Compromise,” then therefore the EC must have been created to address the same issues that gave rise to the “Connecticut Compromise,” i.e., the balance of power among large versus small states, slave versus free states, urban American versus rural America, etc.

    Madison’s notes to the constitution, one of the few direct sources of information we have to rely upon, clearly indicate that the major concerns among the delegates to the ConCon regarding the election of the Executive were the independence of the Executive from the Legislature, and the prevention of what they called “cabal” or “intrigue.” By delegating the responsibility of electing the Executive to the state legislatures, the delegates to the ConCon felt they had best met that concern.

    It’s also worth noting that the debate over how to elect the Executive occurred weeks after the debate over the Virginia and New Jersey plans, and the eventual adoption of the Sherman Compromise. These two decisions did not arise out of the same debates.

  4. Demo Rep · · Reply

    How about looking at the Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 edited by Max Farrand — mostly Madison’s notes of the various robot party hack machinations — motions, speeches, with some Madison editorial comments.

    The M work was published in 1840 — repeat 1840 — just as the freedom vs. slavery issue was getting really hot for the next 20 years until 1859 (John Brown Raid)-1865.

    NO NATIONAL definition of Elector-Voter in the 1787 top secret Fed. Convention for OBVIOUS reasons –

    SLAVERY (what about FREE blacks ???) and different property ownership stuff in the States — see the EVIL in RI voter qualification stuff continuing until Dorr’s War in the early 1840s in RI (about BOTH elector qualifications and OLD gerrymanders).

    i.e. the robot party hacks slammed the 1787 Const together – with just enough fixes to have the Free States and Slave States barely get along until 1861.

    3/5 clause for Reps, 2 Senators per State, Electoral College — ALL EVIL ANTI-Democracy gerrymander stuff.

    ONLY the 3/5 got wiped out by the 13th Amdt – with the 14th Amdt, Sec. 2 attempted fix.

    Going on and on and on — UNTIL THE Crisis happens — i.e. in Nov. 2012 ??? Duh.

  5. TrueFoe · · Reply

    4 –

    What are you having for supper tonight?

  6. Demo Rep · · Reply

    # 5 Good Democracy food (like every night) — in an EVIL insane regime of ANTI-Democracy gerrymander monsters –

    Every member of the U.S.A. gerrymander Congress since 1789, the gerrymander State legislatures since 1776, many local gerrymander regimes since 1776 and of course EVERY U.S.A. Prez since 1789 due to the gerrymander Electoral College — NO exceptions – not even G. Washington.

    When will the New Age monsters start WW III using some economic excuse ???
    Note the OIL econ stuff in causing both WW I and WW II.

    Europe monsters are even more powermad due to the parliamentary regimes in Europe – the same robot party hack MORONS having both major legislative and executive powers. NOTHING learned from WW I and WW II ???

    The brain dead econ media only worries about nonstop growth and stimulus — i.e deficit / debt MADNESS

    — see the end of the movie – Bridge on the River Kwai (circa 1958).

    End of Mar 2012 — a mere $$$ 54.6 TRILLION in mere private and public FIXED debt (aka credit market instruments) – NOT including future private and public liabilities.

    2012Q1 GDP — a mere $$$ 15.5 Trillion.

    Do the ratio math — getting worse and worse since 1945.

    FedResSys – Flow of Funds 7 June 2012 Tables L.1 (CMI) and F.6 (GDP)

    Math means nothing to the EVIL New Age gerrymander monsters in govts and the brain dead econ media — UNTIL Dollar Judgment Day.
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

  7. TrueFoe · · Reply

    6 –

    And…for dessert?

  8. Demo Rep · · Reply

    # 7 Democracy Apple Pie.

  9. TrueFoe · · Reply

    8 –

    With P.R.aline and App.le V.anilla ice cream?

  10. Demo Rep · · Reply

    #9 Only if fresh and not infected by Anti-Democracy gerrymander folks.

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