Early and Often: Voting in America
Although the memory of hanging chads still clouds the electoral mood, elections have come a long way. But how effective is our current system? Does it accurately register the will of the People? And why did America’s founders opt out of direct democracy? With the help of callers, the History Guys provide the backstory on voting rights, mechanisms, and manipulations. Historian Mark Summers describes some of the hijinks common in Gilded Age politics, and historian Alexander Keyssar helps make sense of the Electoral College.
What the Heck is the Electoral College?
Historian Alexander Keyssar explains what the Founders were thinking when they designed the electoral college, and why the system has persisted even though so many Americans object to it.
When Voting was Fun!
Historian Mark Summers tells 19th Century History Guy Ed Ayers about voting in the days before the secret ballot, when party came before the man, and vote-buying, intimidation and 112% voter turnout were par for the course.
- Read Alexander Keyssar’s case against the Electoral College.
- Watch Lyndon Johnson’s speech at the signing of the Voting Rights Act.
- Learn more about the long and colorful history of electoral fraud.
- Find out how Americans voted before the chad.
- Solve the mysteries of the Electoral College!
- Voting in the Past from Colonial Williamsburg
- Tuesday in November, a U.S. Office of War propaganda film from 1945