What country historical had an electoral college first?

Ideally I would like to determine the origin of the first electoral college system came from but that might be better for another question.

  • 2
    Depending on your definitions, probably the Holy Roman Empire, where the Holy Roman Emperor was elected by a college of 'prince-electors' from about the 13th century iirc. Oct 31 '20 at 2:13

There was the Electoral College of the Holy Roman Empire from about AD 1200.

I believe that eventually, in 1268, the rules for electing the Doge of Venice became incredibly complex, with several different bodies of electors which could be called electoral colleges, each body chosen by a previous body.

  • How could this predate India's?
    – Bob
    Oct 31 '20 at 23:38
  • @Bob If you are talking about an electoral college of the Republic of India, a nation that became independent in 1947, the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire is roughly 750 yers earlier. Are you talking about some electoral college in medieval or ancient India? If so, you sould mention it,perhaps in an aswer of yourown.
    – MAGolding
    Dec 18 '20 at 17:51
  • Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, in 1796 and 1800 the US electoral college system was multitiered. Tennessee's counties were grouped into districts. Each county elected one electoral delegate by popular vote. The electoral delegates from a district then chose the elector for that district.
    – C Monsour
    Dec 24 '20 at 3:19

This depends on what you define as an electoral college.

For instance, in ancient Rome the king was to be elected by the Curiate Assembly (on the suggestion of Senate). Later, Roman consuls and emperors were elected by the senate.

The most of ancient states were governed by the councils of elders or representatives of the constituent tribes.

In 332 BC Alexander the Great was elected hegemon of the League of Corinth by the Second Corinth Congress...

  • 1
    I believe the details of this claim are, at least partly, incorrect. For instance my understanding is that Consuls were elected by the Comitia Centuriata, or Centuriate Assembly, a legislative body rather than anything properly identified as an electoral college. No upvote from me until this is tidied up. Oct 31 '20 at 10:55
  • The Centuriate Assembly, which elected a Roman consul, also served many other important tasks (legislative, electoral, and judicial). It was part of the Roman system of direct democracy. Since an electoral college, serves only one purpose, it shouldn't be considered equivalent in its function to that of the Centuriate Assembly. Oct 31 '20 at 13:53
  • @MarkJohnson his depends on what the OP has in mind
    – Anixx
    Oct 31 '20 at 14:10
  • 2
    The general definition of a Electoral college is: An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to particular offices. Unless the OP states otherwise, this definition should be assumed. Oct 31 '20 at 14:22
  • @MarkJohnson I think most people would take "electoral college" to mean a body with no other function but to elect leaders. So the Centuriate Assembly wouldn't count (even though it's other functions were infrequently exercised as time went on), but the College of Cardinals and the College of Prince-Electors would count, as would a cathedral chapter (which is what the College of Cardinals is). It's a group of people who come together for the purpose of electing--that's the plain English meaning and there's no presumption they themselves have been elected (and even in the US were not always.)
    – C Monsour
    Dec 24 '20 at 15:49

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