Myth of the Month 9: The US Constitution and the Origins of the Senate and Electoral College (Episode #72)

Why does our government work the way it does? Is it supposed to represents citizens, or states? We consider the origins of the U. S. Constitution, particularly the creation of the controversial bodies (Senate and Electoral College) that represent the public in skewed and disproportionate ways. We dispel the false notion that these bodies were created in order to protect small states, tracing instead the Framers’ quest to tamp down the “excess of democracy” of the 1780s, wrest control over monetary policy away from the poor majority, and strike a careful balance between slave and non-slave states. Suggested further reading: Woody Holton, “Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution”; Charles Beard, “An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States”; Michael Klarman, “The Framers’ Coup”; Max Edling, “A Revolution in Favor of Government,” Robert Brown, “Charles Beard and the Constitution”; Irwin Polishook, “Rhode Island and the Union,”; Hillman Metcalf Bishop, “Why Rhode Island Opposed the Federal Constitution”; Gordon Wood, “Ideological Origins of the American Revolution” and “Creation of the American Republic”

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Things You Don’t Know

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