What were the features of the New Jersey plan and the Virginia plan? How were the differences of those plans resolved ?

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corinnedolci eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In 1787, the Framers of the Constitution met in Philadelphia to address the failures of the Articles of Confederation and to build a framework for a stronger central government. However, the Framers didn't agree as to how to best structure the legislative branch of government. Some argued that states should have equal representation in government, while others argued that representation should be based on population.

James Madison put forward the Virginia Plan, suggesting a two-house (bicameral) legislature with each state's number of representatives being based on population. Smaller states, like New Jersey, strongly objected. These states feared they would be overshadowed by larger, more populous states. Delegates from these smaller states put forward the New Jersey Plan, which held each state would have one delegate with one vote in a one-house legislature.

After much debate, the Framers decided to blend the two plans in what was called the Connecticut Compromise or The Great Compromise. The Framers adopted a two-house legislature with an upper-house, the Senate, where each state has two representatives and a lower-house, the House of Representatives, where representation is based on population.

dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The New Jersey and Virginia Plans were created in order to address the issue of representation in the Congress during the 1787 convention in Philadelphia. Referred to as the 'Great Compromise' the features of the New Jersey plan included a unicameral legislature (one house) with equal number of representatives from each state. The Virginia plan set up a bicameral legislature with the lower house being in proportion to the people, excluding slaves. The upper house would be decided by the lower from a list of people offered by the state.

After significant debate the final compromise was:

1. a bicameral legislature

2. equal number of representatives in the Senate (2) from each state (upper house)

3. the lower house of representatives would be based upon population. (until the 1929 Apportionment Act which limits the #to 435)

4. for every 5 slaves, 3 would be counted for taxation as well as representation with regard to Congressional legislation

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