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?
- The nature of the Union
Elections have consequences. They decide who holds power and therefore the laws that we live under. But they also reflect principles of federalism and consent of the governed, as well as the complexity of the American system.
The Electoral College | Homework Help from the Bill of Rights Institute
In this Homework Help narrative, learn about the origins and functions of the Electoral College. This constitutional institution has long been the subject of intense debate and scrutiny, and this video challenges students to think about it for themselves.
Appraising the Electoral College
How does the Electoral College work and why did the framers decide this was the best way to elect the country’s chief executive? This lesson explores these fundamental questions and asks students to debate pros and cons of keeping the Electoral College.