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Constitutional Connection: Electing the President

20 min

To provide an introductory overview of the unit, show the five-minute thematic documentary, The Electors Shall Meet: Electing the President, available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl4Pb5Ypbho.

Distribute Handout A: Constitutional Connection: Electing the President.

Have students read the excerpts from Article II and Federalist No. 68.

Go over the questions as a large group, and then conduct a large group discussion to answer these questions:

  • Look at the map on the Handout. How is the number of electoral votes from each state determined?
  • How does the Electoral College reflect the nature of the United States, which James Madison described as “partly national” and “partly federal”?
  • Today, all states choose electors by popular vote, though the people vote for electors who are pledged to vote for a certain candidate. How does this process differ from the one imagined by the Founders?
  • If the Electoral College were eliminated and the President were elected by a direct popular election, how, if all, would each of the following change?
    • Campaigns
    • Candidates
    • Outcomes
    • The nature of the Union