We often debate the merits of the Electoral College with no mention of the provision’s origin. Most delegates to the constitutional convention wanted an unbroken map for the new country including all 13 former colonies. Ratification was not for certain. 

As an inducement, several compromises were offered. They included the “great compromise,” which allowed a bicameral legislative system. It formed the House to represent the people and the Senate to represent the new states. 

The Electoral College was also offered as an inducement. It gave a nod to the smaller states, which feared being overwhelmed in the new system by the much more populous states such as New York and Massachusetts. It gave a known slight advantage in the selection of a president. 

While it was relatively easy for the states to ratify and join the union after the agreement in Philadelphia, we learned in 1865 that it was much more difficult to get out of the union.

Every state that later entered the union ratified the same agreement. Wyoming, for example, got two senators and at least three Electoral College electors in the bargain. A deal was a deal.

To renege on those promises now wouldn’t be right unless the states were allowed to rescind their part of the agreement as well. South Carolina or Wyoming might not choose to remain in the union.

Dennis Willoughby