The New Jersey Plan For The Constitution

930 words - 4 pages

For five years after Revolutionary war each state basically governed themselves. Although there was national government in place, it held little power over the states. It soon became apparent that the Articles of Confederation needed to be readdressed to combat the increasing problems that were brewing in the country. The first attempt to redress was dismissed by many of the states. Nevertheless, a second attempt produced results with twelve of the states sending delegates to redress the Articles of Confederation. Several delegates submitted plans for consideration that would strengthen the national government two such plans were the Virginia and the New Jersey Plan. Despite much of Virginia’s plan being accepted, if a compromise had not been reached the New Jerseys plan would have been more workable because it offered: equal representation of the states, provided operational means to congress, and was not a radical departure from the Articles of the Confederation.
To begin with the unequal representation of the states in the Virginia Plan was of great concern and controversy while the New Jersey Plan retained equal representation of the states. Virginia proposed a bicameral legislature that included elections by the people and appointments by those elected. This system used both wealth and population as a determining factor in regards to the number of seats in both houses. New Jersey on the other hand proposed single house legislature that allow each state a single vote. Votes based on population would put small states at a disadvantage. The states that were more populated would be in control of the legislative branches, leaving small states without a voice. Concerns about who was to be counted in the population also raised questions. Were slaves considered to be part of the population or part of wealth? Would it be fair to consider them on both wealth and population? If so, this could give large slave holding states a greater voice in the legislature then smaller none slave holding states. Without equal representation it would be hard to get the states to agree on a stronger central government. Therefore, if a compromise had not been reached the New Jersey plan would have been more workable because of the population factor in the Virginia plan.
Although, both plans made the National government supreme over the states the New Jersey plan gave congress power to make it supreme, along with specific powers to finance the government. Prior to this the states voluntarily sent funds and militias requested by congress. Congress had no power to enforce compliance from the states on these issues. The Virginia plan said little about this subject; New Jersey did. New Jersey proposed use of executive force if necessary on non...

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