Constitutional Convention

By Savannah Leaton

What is the Constitutional Convention?

After it became apparent the Articles of Confederation was failing, 12 out of the 13 states met in Philadelphia to make changes in the government. While discussing the changes being made, it was then established that they were creating a new government. The Constitution was debated and created from May 25 to September 17, 1787.

Problems at the Convention

After meeting in Philadelphia for the convention, many debates arose from differing view points. Larger states supported the Virginia Plan while smaller states supported the New Jersey Plan. The delegates at the convention debated how representation would take place: either by population or equal representation. In addition, the delegates debated as to if slavery would be legal and if slaves would count toward population. After the delegates came to compromise, the Constitution was created. Then the people were divided again. Many of the delegates believed the Constitution did not protect the people or the states; therefore, the Bill of Rights was created.

The Virginia Plan

What is the Virginia Plan?

The Virginia Plan, also known as the Randolph Plan, was written by James Madison and proposed by Virginia delegate Edmund Randolph on May 29, 1787. The plan included details of a three branch government with checks and balances. One of the branches was split into a bicameral legislature. One house would have the representatives elected by the people and would serve a 3 year term. The other would have representatives elected by the state government and would serve a seven year term. Both of the houses would be based on population.

Who supported the Virginia Plan?

James Madison

James Madison wrote the Virginia Plan after arriving to the Constitutional Convention. Madison was a delegate from Virginia which was one of the bigger states; therefore, he supported representation based on population. Today he is known as the "Father of the Constitution".

Edmund Randolph

Edmund Randolph proposed the Virginia Plan at the Constitutional Convention. Randolph studied law and practiced it in Virginia. He served as the first Attorney General of the United States.

The New Jersey Plan

What is the New Jersey Plan?

The New Jersey Plan was a plan written by William Patterson and supported by small states. The plan included that the government would be set up as a three branch system, but was very similar to the Articles of Confederation. Representation was not based on population, so every state had one vote in the unicameral legislature.

Who Supported the New Jersey Plan?

Gunning Bedford

Bedford was a delegate from Delaware who supported small states' rights. He studied law with James Madison and practiced law in Delaware. Bedford was an active delegate in the Constitutional convention and spoke often. He is now known for helping in the Great Compromise.

Luther Martin

Luther Martin was a delegate from the state of Maryland. Martin was an early advocate for the revolution from Great Britain. He voted against the Virginia Plan due to him believing in equal representation. Later in the convention, he supported the compromise of equal representation in one house and representation based on population in the other.

Works Cited

"A Biography of Gunning Bedford, Jr. 1747-1812." GMW, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2016. <>.

"Delegates to the Constitutional Convention: Luther Martin." Delegates to the Constitutional Convention: Luther Martin. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2016. <>.

"Edmund Jennings Randolph - People - Department History - Office of the Historian." U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2016. <>.

"James Madison, Father of the U.S. Constitution." James Madison. Oak Hill Publishing Company, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016. <>.

Standards, By. "National Constitution Center." – N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016. <>.

"Virginia Plan (1787)." Our Documents. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2016. <>.