What was the Framers' rationale for the Electoral College?
I am probably the least knowledgable Ricochet member when it comes to the Constitution, but it has recently struck me how much our manner of electing a president has changed from what was intended by the Framers.
From what I understand, the original intention of the Electoral College was that electors would be selected by state legislatures, but would cast their votes independently, followed by a possible vote in the House of Representatives. How did the Framers envision this process affecting what type of candidate was elected? I assume that the idea of a popular vote was also discussed, so why was this option rejected? What type of President could we expect in today's political climate were these original intentions to be followed? Is there any argument for reverting to this method of election?
And finally, can anyone direct me to the relevant primary sources? Thanks in advance.
Answer by Ottoman Umpire
The Electoral College is directly related to the Founder's preference for Federalism:
The states were ceding sovereignty to a central, national government. Why would they cede this sovereignty without some assurance that they should be treated fairly?
This loss of control was of particular concern to the smaller states:
(The Electoral College) provided at least two reasonable concessions to the minority. First, a presidential candidate cannot be elected simply by gaining a majority in a handful of states. Instead, the presidential candidate must garner support across the nation to have a reasonable probability of being elected. Second, the minority is provided with several methods by which it may amplify its voice, allowing it to make a statement that would otherwise go unnoticed in a direct popular vote.
Source: Chapter three of Tara Ross, Enlightened Democracy: The Case For the Electoral College, Colonial Press, 2004.