Tag Archive | Constitution

Electoral College has roots in slavery


Did you know the Electoral College has its roots in slavery? When crafting the Constitution, northern states wanted direct representation elections based on majority vote (white, adult male landowners). Southern states objected because they didn’t have as large a population as the North. Their slaves obviously couldn’t vote. Slaves were considered property, not people. The South could never win.

Thus they came up with the idea of a bicameral legislature. The Senate represents each state, rural or urban, with equal voting power (currently two senators for each state.) The House of Representatives gives larger populations more voting power through proportional representation. The two bodies together, Senate and House, make up our Congress.

The Electoral College was instituted to elect the President and Vice President. White, adult male landowners voted. But the Electoral College decided the vote. They created a patriarchy of educated men who would directly represent the results of the popular voting in an orderly fashion. This was thought necessary when it became law in 1780. Why? Because the voting regions were vast, most people had little or no education, and crime was mostly unchecked. The integrity of the popular vote could not be assured, nor could the judgment of the common man be relied upon. This was the thinking, which allowed Electoral College representatives to vote their conscience rather than directly representing their constituency. The 12th Amendment codified the Electoral College with the following deal:

A Bicameral legislature didn’t satisfy the South. Why? Because they still didn’t have the population to vote in their candidates. Now, if they counted their slaves as full people as the north wanted, they’d have the population but their federal tax load would be higher because their population was higher. But if slaves were counted strictly as property, there would be no voting advantage. They wouldn’t join the union without a deal. The North was so eager to complete the union that they agreed to count each slave as 3/5’s of a person. The South got a lower tax burden. And there was no change in the way slaves were considered property. And because there were half a million slaves in the South at the time, they ALSO got higher representation in the House and a greater number of Electoral College representatives.

Southern candidates thus had the advantage of additional representation in the Electoral College based on their “larger” population. The pro-slavery compromise resulted in the slave-owning South winning 32 of the first 36 years of the new presidency.

So if someone tells you that the Electoral College helps prevent the majority from tyrannizing the minority and that was its original intent, you can tell them that they’ve whitewashed history; that our country was built on the backs of slaves.


Shock and awe


I feel so down. I believe my country is being destroyed. Every day, something new. Something awful every day. Posting on Facebook does nothing to help. I’ve found those who believe in most of the same things I believe in, and I’ve discovered those who think I’m a ‘hater’ or a loudmouth or ignorant of the facts or simply stupid for protesting. No matter how much back and forth we carry on, I haven’t changed my mind on any issue, and neither has anyone else.

Some people say, just ignore the news and get back to the fun stuff, the puppies and kittens and cute babies. While I agree that one can’t be consumed with anger all the time and survive, still, how can we be silent? I think that is what went wrong in Nazi Germany. Otherwise good folks were silent, they looked away. It’s too hard to be angry all the time, and besides, it can get you noticed and then people start calling you a ‘hater’ or a ‘n##ger lover’ or a ‘Commie’ or a ‘Jew’ (in the ugliest sense) or a ‘witch’ or any other derogatory label the mob comes up with to stifle your voice.

I believe in freedom. I believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I also believe that with these freedoms comes responsibility. To try to be the best one can be. To educate oneself and to be proud of being educated. To protect the weakest of us, even the ignorant, from the mean, bullying, cruel strong. To do whatever we can to ensure that everyone enjoys the same freedoms. To treat ourselves with respect, and to give that respect to others, to other nations, and to the earth. To leave no one behind, even if that means some personal sacrifice on our part. Isn’t this what the Constitution stands for? Isn’t this what we fought the Revolution for, the Civil War for, WWI and most significantly, WWII for? To stand up and declare what is right? To protest what is wrong and fight if necessary for what is right? Why did my father and mother endure the sacrifices of war, if not to fight to guarantee our freedoms for all of us? What has happened to that noble spirit?

I don’t know. All I know is that day after day, there is more news that tears down and cuts through what progress has been made to give everyone in our country equality and freedom. There are so many strikes coming so often, I feel overwhelmed and sad in the extreme. I guess that’s the strategy – shock and awe. But this time, it’s not bombs and it’s not in a foreign land. It’s shock and awe right in our own country, targeted at the psyches of those who dared to believe that, someday soon, the only thing that could hold one back in this great country of ours would be the content of one’s character.