Constitutional Convention

Virginia Plan vs New Jersey Plan

Constitutional Convention

  • May 25, 1787
  • 12/13 states represented
  • Rhode Island was not represented
  • Delegates drafted the framework of a new government
  • Meetings were in secret and excluded the public as well as the press
  • Delegates originally met in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation, but a totally new government was agreed upon in the end

The Virginia Plan

  • One of two major plans from the Constitutional Convention
  • Ideas borrowed from James Madison
  • This plan wanted to split the government into three branches: legislative, judicial, and executive
  • Each branch would have to power to check the others
  • This plan wanted a strong national government that could override state laws, control interstate commerce, levy taxes, and have the power to make laws.
  • Additionally, this plan wanted a bicameral legislature with membership depending upon state population
  • Lower house members would be elected directly by the people and upper house members would be selected by state legislatures

Supporters of the Virginia Plan

The New Jersey Plan

  • This plan rivaled the Virginia Plan
  • Smaller states were concerned the Virginia Plan would place too much power in the hands of the larger states
  • This plan supported a strong central government comprised of three branches
  • The concept was for this plan to remain close to the Articles of Confederation
  • Unicameral legislature
  • Each state would have one vote
  • Each state would be equally represented and population would not matter
  • Support came from primarily small states
  • The plan was rejected at the Convention

Supporters of the New Jersey Plan

Convention Problems

  • The New Jersey Plan was rejected but the Virginia Plan wasn't necessarily agreed upon
  • The Convention was stuck in a standstill for a bit
  • Tempers were out of control
  • It seemed as though the entire event would fall apart and be for nought
  • The saving grace of this convention was compromises