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During the drafting of the United States Constitution a major dilemma arose over how best to ensure that the smaller states (Delaware, Georgia, New Hampshire) had an equal voice with the larger states (Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia) when the time arrived to elect a chief executive officer for the country as a whole. The dilemma involved an issue that emerged when it became clear that, if left unresolved, the larger states could easily dominate the process though their use of electoral votes. Although a procedure had been proposed that would have properly addressed this issue, it was rejected in favor of an alternative that permitted the opposite to occur thereby enabling the larger states to prevail in many of the early presidential elections.


An abbreviated version of this article will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of the American Revolution.