The Electoral College was created in the United States in 1787. Its creation was the result of a compromise between the small and large states over how to elect the president. Some delegates wanted Congress to pick the president, while others favored the nationwide popular vote. The Electoral College was a way to ensure that each state would receive proportional votes and two senators, regardless of size. The Electoral College was also designed to protect the smaller states.
The Electoral College is made up of electors chosen by the state legislatures. Originally, electors were elected in districts, but party competition and popular voting led to winner-take-all allocation in 1836. Only Maine and Nebraska bucked this trend. This has had a direct impact on presidential campaigns. Candidates often target swing states to garner their electoral votes. Electoral college elections are a significant part of the presidential election process, and they can make or break an election.
During the founding era, the House and the Senate were the two bodies to elect the president. The founders of the United States hoped that a majority of electors would decide between the two candidates. The Electoral College was a compromise to this problem. The idea behind the Electoral College is that it protects democracy by preventing the biggest states from dominating presidential elections. It is an important piece of the American democracy, but arguably not the only one.