It shows that the right to vote was actually never a constitutional guarantee and though the Arc of the right to vote does eventually bend toward full suffrage, it went through some back alleys first. The arguments against womens suffrage were the most hilarious. And of course the constant efforts at black disenfranchisement were unbelievable and totally unsurprising. For better treatment of that, read Give us the Ballot, which is much more focused and interesting.
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Table of Contents With every presidential election, Americans puzzle over the peculiar mechanism of the Electoral College. The author of the Pulitzer finalist The Right to Vote explains the enduring problem of this controversial institution. Every four years, millions of Americans wonder why they choose their presidents through the Electoral College, an arcane institution that permits the loser of the popular vote to become president and narrows campaigns to swing states. Most Americans have long preferred a national popular vote, and Congress has attempted on many occasions to alter or scuttle the Electoral College.
Several of these efforts—one as recently as —came very close to winning approval. Yet this controversial system remains. Alexander Keyssar explains its persistence. The commonly voiced explanation that small states have blocked reform for fear of losing influence proves to have been true only occasionally.
Keyssar examines why reform of the Electoral College has received so little attention from Congress for the last forty years, and considers alternatives to congressional action such as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact and state efforts to eliminate winner-take-all. In analyzing the reasons for past failures while showing how close the nation has come to abolishing the institution, Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?
Ann Arbor: May Keyssar directly challenges the "Whig interpretation" of the history of the right to vote, with its "triumphalist presumption" of a steady, inexorable, "unidirectional" enlargement of the franchise. By Alexander Keyssar. New York: Basic Books. In the election for our most important public office--our only truly national officer1 --the candidate who received the most popular votes was declared the loser while his second place opponent, who had received some , fewer votes, was the winner.
Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College?