The Virginia Plan and Other Prominent Documents, Free Essay in American History

Published: 2022-02-23
The Virginia Plan and Other Prominent Documents, Free Essay in American History
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  James Madison American history
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 642 words
6 min read

The Virginia Plan

The Virginia plan was started by Virginia delegates and drafted by James Madison as he was waiting for an assembly at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. The plan is noted for its importance in setting an agenda for the debate in the convention as well as the population-weighted representation in the state. It was a set of fifteen proposals that the governor presented to the delegates in the assembly that outlined a reformed government more vibrant in law enforcement and tax collection. In its proposals, a finite vote count from individual states would be presented in the Congress, and they would be a result of population contrary to the individual state having a single vote (Transcription, n.d). It was made to maintain the demands of large states in the new federally stable government. The people would be governed in a federal system of government through the plan by both the national and state governments. The framework provided in the Virginia Plan was practical and reviewed after several developments, expansions, compromise, and debates before it was made the Constitution of the United States.

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The New Jersey Plan

The New Jersey plan was proposed by William Paterson to restructure the United States government at the constitutional convention of 1787. Its contents can be perceived as an answer to the Virginia Plan that called for two elected houses of the Congress. This was a form of separating powers into the executive, legislature, and judicial branches. Elections were previously determined by a population where the less populated states were opposed to giving most control of the national government to their higher populated counterparts (It Happened Here, n.d).). A one-house legislature was proposed, which would lead to all states having equal numbers of votes from similar numbers of representatives in the government. The rationale of the plan was that it was unfair having states of less power just because they had smaller populations in them. The New Jersey Plan was aimed at keeping one-vote-per-state representation under a single legislative body from Confederation Articles. The plan can be perceived as an expression of the supremacy of the federal law, which comprises the state laws that countered federal statutes.

The Connecticut/Great Compromise

The Great Compromise was a form of agreement drafted during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that reached both large and small states. The agreement would define the legislative structure and position of a state in the Constitution of the United States. The agreement was the result of the dispute that states with higher populations demanded congressional representations based on a population whereas smaller states demanded equality of representation (Teaching foundations project, n.d). The agreement can be perceived as the modern system of congressional representation that influences most activities including counting of votes during elections. Roger Sherman drafted it when the debate heated up among delegates on how each state could be represented in the Congress. He could find some cases that would be related to slavery by the upper house for the lower house, letting him propose equal numbers of representatives in the lower and upper chambers. Furthermore, delegates from the smaller states would argue that their states had legal status to that of upper states regardless of their populations. The results of the agreement were a disregard of proportional representation and a two-chambered congress as well as a house of representative which is attributed by the population of a state. The American government was reshaped by the agreement as a balance was stricken between the highly and lowly populous states.


It Happened Here. (n.d). The New Jersey Plan.

Teaching foundations project. (n.d). Great Compromise of 1787. Arizona Geographical Alliance

Transcription. (n.d). Virginia Plan, May 29, 1787: Copy of the original plan for a New Government as given in the Convention by the State of Virginia. Library of Virginia, Education and Outreach Division.

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