United States of America

  • Thomas T. Mackie
  • Richard Rose


The American Constitution of 1787 created the office of President, who was to be elected by an electoral college in which each state is entitled to as many electors as it has members of Congress. If no candidate receives a majority the election falls to the House of Representatives, where each state delegation has a single vote; this procedure was used in 1801 and 1825. The Constitution allows each state to decide how its electors are chosen. Initially, in a majority of the states electors were chosen by the state legislature. In a few states there was a popular election, with electors chosen by plurality, either in districts or by the state as a whole. In the latter case, the list of electors that won a plurality obtained all the state’s electoral college votes, a procedure known as the unit rule. Although the Constitution did not anticipate the formation of political parties, voting in the electoral college soon occurred along partisan lines.


Presidential Candidate Republican Party Electoral College Congressional Election Vote Vote 
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Copyright information

© Thomas T. Mackie and Richard Rose 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas T. Mackie
    • 1
  • Richard Rose
    • 1
  1. 1.University of StrathclydeUK

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