CNN Student Worksheet: Founding Fathers ‘did not trust the ability of the common voter’

CNN Student Worksheet: Founding Fathers ‘did not trust the ability of the common voter’

A “CNN Student News One-Sheet” found in a lesson plan for 6th to 8th graders posted at Illuminations, a project of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) reads in part,

“Some of the Constitution’s authors did not trust the ability of the common voter to make the ‘right’ decision, so they devised the Electoral College as one way of lessening the power of the popular vote.”

The statement is infuriating because it completely misrepresents the founding father’s views. It is devastating that the radical experiment of self governance, which indeed trusts the individual over the government, has been disregarded in the portrayal of the founding fathers generally.

Although this phrase was previously highlighted at Liberty Unyielding, CNN has not updated their worksheet.

The discussion of the founder’s intent when devising America’s voting system should not take place without the phrase, “tyranny of the majority.” Additionally, the CNN worksheet does not bother to point the reader to the Federalist Papers, where the electoral college was discussed in detail.

Nowhere in the Federalist Papers can it be found that that the founding fathers’ ” did not trust the ability of the common voter to make the ‘right’ decision…”

Indeed, the founding fathers were acutely aware of the potential for tyranny in governments and the governmental structure they devised was built around this one truth. This is the sole purpose for America’s system of checks and balances, which has been relabeled as “obstructionism.”

In Federalist #10, James Madison explains,

“Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith, and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.” [Emphasis added]

Alexander Hamilton described the Electoral College in Federalist #68 as “excellent.”

A good discussion can be found by Tara Ross at about the founding father’s distaste for a pure democracy.

She writes in part,

“Contrary to modern perceptions, the founding generation did not intend to create a direct democracy. To the contrary, the Founders deliberately created a republic — or, arguably, a republican democracy — that would incorporate a spirit of compromise and deliberation into decision-making. Such a form of government, the Founders believed, would allow them to achieve two potentially conflicting objectives: avoiding the “tyranny of the majority” inherent in pure democratic systems, while allowing the “sense of the people” to be reflected in the new American government.”


Pearson’s Online Learning Exchange (OLE), described at their website as “a web- and mobile-ready platform where high-quality content combined with flexible tools enables teachers and students to exchange ideas, collaborate, and enhance the learning experience,” describes the founders’ intent is devising the electoral college this way:

“The framers of the Constitution devised the Electoral College in the 1780s because few Americans at the time could read and communication from place to place was poor. The framers also hoped that electors would be chosen from the best-educated people in each state—this was a time when advanced education was rare.”

Not surprisingly, Pearson left out the Federalist Papers and the “Tyranny of the Majority,” as well.

If students are not taught the true history and intent of the founding fathers, they will not appreciate America’s unique and revolutionary system of self-governance. Similarly, if parents are not vigilant, these lessons will continue to misrepresent the intent of the founding fathers. Unfortunately, these lessons and others like it reflect a clear agenda.

Renee Nal

Renee Nal

Renee Nal is a co-founder of, a news and political commentary site founded by former Glenn Beck interns. She is also the National Conservative Examiner. Renee is an associate producer for Trevor Loudon's political documentary, 'The Enemies Within.'


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