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title:“James Madison to Henry Lee”
authors:James Madison
date written:1825-1-14

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:04 a.m. UTC
retrieved:May 6, 2021, 7:07 a.m. UTC

Madison, James. "Letter to Henry Lee." The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Vol. 3. Ed. Max Farrand. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911. Print.

James Madison to Henry Lee (January 14, 1825)

Montpellier, January 14, 1825.
In our complex system of polity, the public will, as a source of authority, may be the will of the people as composing one nation; or the will of the States in their distinct and independent capacities; or the federal will, as viewed, for example, through the Presidential electors, representing, in a certain proportion, both the nation and the States. If, in the eventual choice of a President, the same proportional rule had been preferred, a joint ballot by the two houses of Congress would have been substituted for the mode which gives an equal vote to every State, however unequal in size. As the Constitution stands, and is regarded as the result of a compromise between the larger and smaller States, giving to the latter the advantage in selecting a President from the candidates, in consideration of the advantage possessed by the former in selecting the candidates from the people, it cannot be denied, whatever may be thought of the constitutional provision, that there is, in making the eventual choice, no other control on the votes to be given, whether by the representatives of the smaller or larger States, but their attention to the views of their respective constituents and their regard for the public good.

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