Electoral College - Origins of Electoral Colleges

Origins of Electoral Colleges

Early Germanic law stated that the German king led only with the support of his nobles. Thus, Pelayo needed to be elected by his Visigothic nobles before becoming king of Asturias, and so did Pepin the Short by Frankish nobles in order to become the first Carolingian king. While most other Germanic nations had developed a strictly hereditary system by the end of the first millennium, the Holy Roman Empire did not, and the King of the Romans, who would become Holy Roman Emperor or at least Emperor-elect, was selected by the college of prince-electors from the late Middle Ages until 1806 (the last election actually took place in 1792).

Church, both the clergy and laity, elected the bishop or presiding presbyter. However, for various reasons, such as, perhaps, a desire to reduce the influence of the state or the laity in ecclesiastical matters, electoral power became restricted to the clergy and, in the case of the Church in the West, exclusively to a college of the canons of the cathedral church. In the Pope's case, the system of people and clergy was eventually replaced by a college of the important clergy of Rome, which eventually became known as the College of Cardinals. Since 1059, it has had exclusive authority over papal selection.

In the 19th century and beyond, it was usual in many countries that voters did not directly vote the members of parliament. In Prussia for example, in 1849–1918 the voters were Urwähler (original voters), appointing with their vote a Wahlmann (elector). The group of electors in a district elected the deputy for the Prussian House of Representatives. Such indirect suffrage was a means to steer the voting, to make sure that the electors were "able" persons. For electors, the requirements were usually higher than for the original voters. The left wing opposition was very much opposed against the indirect suffrage, though.

Even today in the Netherlands, the deputies of the First Chamber are elected by the provincial parliaments. Those provincial parliaments form the electoral colleges for the First Chamber elections; the lists of candidates are national.

Read more about this topic:  Electoral College

Famous quotes containing the words origins of, origins, electoral and/or colleges:

    The origins of clothing are not practical. They are mystical and erotic. The primitive man in the wolf-pelt was not keeping dry; he was saying: “Look what I killed. Aren’t I the best?”
    Katharine Hamnett (b. 1948)

    Lucretius
    Sings his great theory of natural origins and of wise conduct; Plato
    smiling carves dreams, bright cells
    Of incorruptible wax to hive the Greek honey.
    Robinson Jeffers (1887–1962)

    Power is action; the electoral principle is discussion. No political action is possible when discussion is permanently established.
    Honoré De Balzac (1799–1850)

    The present century has not dealt kindly with the farmer. His legends are all but obsolete, and his beliefs have been pared away by the professors at colleges of agriculture. Even the farm- bred bards who twang guitars before radio microphones prefer “I’m Headin’ for the Last Roundup” to “Turkey in the Straw” or “Father Put the Cows Away.”
    —For the State of Kansas, U.S. public relief program (1935-1943)