College
Posted: 10 November 2012 01:18 AM   [ Ignore ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3073
Joined  2007-02-26

The Electoral College is not a college in any sense I’m familiar with. Are there any other examples of ‘college’ being used in this way?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 November 2012 04:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4712
Joined  2007-01-03

OED definition:

An organized society of persons performing certain common functions and possessing special rights and privileges; a body of colleagues, a guild, fellowship, association

Examples: college of cardinals, college of physicians

Use of electoral college predates the United States constitution. It’s first use was in the late seventeenth century to describe the body of prince-electors who chose the Holy Roman Emperor.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 November 2012 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2820
Joined  2007-01-31

Use of electoral college predates the United States constitution.

And the phrase is not, in fact, used in the US constitution.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 November 2012 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4712
Joined  2007-01-03

So it isn’t. I just assumed it was. Wikipedia says early nineteenth century for the use of electoral college in a US context, but doesn’t provide anything specific.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 November 2012 01:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4712
Joined  2007-01-03

I can’t find any eighteenth century uses of electoral college in a US context in Eighteenth Century Collections Online. I tried Google Books, but there are so many misdated books that I gave up looking.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 November 2012 03:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3073
Joined  2007-02-26

Thanks, all. I was not aware of all that.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 November 2012 12:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2000
Joined  2007-02-19

Webster’s dictionary (1828), accessible on-line at onelook.com, gives a very extensive list of meanings for “college”. The only US usages specifically mentioned, however, are “college of physicians” and “college of surgeons”. The same goes for Webster 1913 (available at the same invaluable website) - nothing about any US electoral college (though Webster 1828 does mention the college of Imperial Electors, which by 1828 had passed into history).

Profile