Political Theory

The Electoral College, the Constitution, and Liberty


The conference addressed the claim that the Electoral College is out of line with democratic politics and therefore undermines the perception, if not the reality, of legitimacy. Conferees examined that claim by studying historical examples and various proposals for reform, beginning with earlier historical sources and concluding with the present debate.


From Liberty Fund

The Federalist

by By Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison
Edited by George W. Carey and James McClellan

The Federalist, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, constitutes a text central to the American political tradition. Written and published in newspapers in 1787 and 1788 to explain and promote ratification of the proposed Constitution for the United States, which were then bound by the Articles of Confederation,…

/ Learn More

Additional Readings

Kurland, Philip B. and Ralph Lerner, eds. The Founders' Constitution, Volume 5: Amendments I-XII, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000.

Syrett, Harold C. and Jacob E. Cooke, eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, Volumes I to XXVI. New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1961-1979.

Gregg, Gary L., eds. Securing Democracy: Why We Need the Electoral College. Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 2001.

Alder, Gary and Carolyn Alder. The Evolution and Destruction of the Original Electoral College, 3rd Edition. Cokeville, Wyoming: Advance Freedom, LLC, 2013.

Bennett, Robert W. Taming the Electoral College. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006.

Edwards, George C., III. Why the Electoral College is Bad for America. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011.

Madison, James. The Debates on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution in the Convention held in Philadelphia in 1787, in Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 5, Supplementary. Edited by Jonathan Elliot. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1845.

Michener, James A. Presidential Lottery: The Reckless Gamble In Our Electoral System. New York: The Dial Press, 2016.

Ross, Tara. Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College. Los Angeles: World Ahead Publishing, 2004.

Weston, Mark. The Runner-Up Presidency: The Elections That Defied America’s Popular Will (and How Our Democracy Remains in Danger). Guilford: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.