What parts of the New Jersey plan would come to be reflected in the United States Constitution?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The concept of the modern day senate is what is reflected in the Constitution that owes itself to the New Jersey Plan.  Governor Paterson's conception of each state having a fixed number of representation helped to equalize the disproportionate population gap between larger states like Virginia and the smaller ones, like New Jersey.  The idea of fixed representation is something that can be seen in the Senate, where each state has two senators that lies outside of population or state size.  This has become part of the American political landscape and owes much of its existence to the New Jersey Plan proposed at the Constitutional Convention.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The main part of the New Jersey Plan to be included in the Constitution was the part about small states being equally represented in the Congress.  The plan was not completely adopted, but it was, of course, adopted for the Senate where all states have two senators.

Some other parts of the Plan werea lso adopted.  The Plan proposed that Congress should have the power to levy taxes and to regulate commerce.  It got both of those.  The New Jersey Plan also proposed a Supreme Court, which the Constitution included as well.

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Drafting the US Constitution in May 1787 took much compromising. Governor Edmund Randolph introduced the Virginia Plan under which representation was to be apportioned to the states on the basis of population. It proposed a two-house legislature—the lower house elected by the populace and the upper by the lower, an executive chosen by the national legislature, and a judiciary or Supreme Court, also chosen by the national legislature. Randolph proposed the plan but James Madison authored it.

Another plan, the New Jersey Plan, was introduced by William Paterson. It proposed a single legislative body in which states would be equally represented, an executive committee, chosen by the legislature, and a national judiciary. The Great or Connecticut Compromise embodied the final structure of the new government. There was to be a two-house legislature with the lower house representing the states according to population, and the upper house based on equal representation. All revenue bills would originate in the lower house. The Connecticut Compromise also provided for an executive and a judiciary.

There were other compromises such as the Three-Fifths Compromise, providing that the slave population would be counted three-fifths in regard to direct tax apportionment and representation in the House. Also, the assembly agreed that the external slave trade, not slavery, would end in 1820.

The assembly established checks and balances that were designed to prevent any one branch from trampling on the liberties of the people, arguing that the people were ultimately sovereign, not the states or the Congress. Madison persuaded the convention to call for ratification of the government by specially elected state convention, with the document becoming the law of the land after nine states had approved it. After five months of secret deliberation, the final document enumerating the compromises was signed.

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