The American people have learned much about the Electoral College since the November election. Much has been learned about the origins, evolution and contemporary functioning of our system of presidential elections. We have debated the merits of our system versus allowing a simple national popular vote. We have seen an unprecedented campaign to try to get electors to vote against their pledge. And some have tried to instruct us on the nuances of the Founding environment that created our unique electoral system.
But among all the good information and honest debates have arisen a misleading half-truth aimed at undermining the Electoral College.
Law professor Paul Finkelman ominously opines that Americans would be “disgusted” if they knew the real origin of the Electoral College was in protecting slavery.
"The true object of a great statesman," Gouverneur Morris wrote to William Carmichael in Madrid in November 1792, "is to give to any particular nation the kind of laws which is suitable to them and the best constitution which they are capable of." He wrote those words in Paris in the midst of the escalating chaos of the French Revolution; in less than two months, Louis XVI, America's "great friend" to its own Revolution, would lose his head on the guillotine. The event would be no surprise to Morris, who had predicted the derailing of the Revolution within a very…