University Professor and professor of history at George Mason University, Rosemarie Zagarri is the author of Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (2007), The Politics of Size: Representation in the United States, 1776-1850 (1987), and A Woman's Dilemma: Mercy Otis Warren and the American Revolution (1995), and the editor of David Humphreys' "Life of General Washington" with George Washington's "Remarks" (1991). A past president of Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, she has also served as a member of the Council of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. She has appeared as an on-camera historian on C-SPAN's "Morning Journal," PBS's "George Washington: The Man Who Wouldn't Be King," and the Fairfax Television Network's "The Real Martha Washington." She is currently working on a book entitled "Liberty or Oppression?: Thomas Law and Enlightenment Imperialism in Colonial British India and the Early American Republic."
This talk discusses the origins of the electoral college in the US Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention. It also explores how subsequent changes in US politics, such as the rise of political parties and winner-take-all elections, changed the significance of the electoral college. Finally, the talk weighs the pros and cons of abolishing the electoral college.