After seven weeks of hard work during the summer of 1787, the Constitutional Conventional was in serious jeopardy of concluding without a document that would replace the ineffective Articles of Confederation. Delegates of the convention were threatening to withdraw from the proceedings if their voices were not heard on one important issue. This issue was fiercely debated for two weeks and had polarized the delegates to the point of frustration. The issue at stake was the apportionment of members to the legislative branch of the newly formed United States. The parties at odds were delegates of less populated states and those from states with robust populations.
The smaller states insisted that representation in the legislative branch have equal suffrage for each state. They felt that larger states would become tyrannical and abuse their advantage at the cost of small states. The plan they proposed was known as the New Jersey Plan.
The heavily populated states, on the other hand, felt that they would be contributing more revenue for the maintenance of the nation and should have more representation than smaller states. Their plan, the Virginia Plan, would base representation in the houses of Congress entirely on population.
With the future of the convention in a tenuous position, it was decided that a committee needed to be established to arrive at a compromise. As a result of the committee proceedings, Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth drafted a brilliant solution that would be called the Connecticut Compromise. Their proposal would allow for apportionment to the lower house be dependent on the population of the states while the upper house would have equal representation per state. To further assuage the concerns of the smaller states, further concessions were made in terms of the powers the lower house would be granted. As an example, spending and revenue bills are proposed by the lower house and cannot be amended by the upper house.
The Connecticut Compromise, or the Great Compromise of 1787, effectively saved the Constitutional Convention. While a bicameral legislature in itself offers countless benefits in terms of separating powers, the Founding Fathers chose this route to allow convention proceedings to continue. This allowed for the ultimate intent of the Convention: the creation of a more perfect union.