The Connecticut Compromise (also known as the Great Compromise of 1787 or Sherman Compromise) was an agreement that large and small states reached during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 that in part defined the legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the United States Constitution. It retained the bicameral legislature as proposed by Roger Sherman, along with proportional representation of the states in the lower house or House of Representatives, but required the upper house or Senate to be weighted equally among the states. Each state would have two representatives in the upper house.
On May 29, 1787, Edmund Randolph of the Virginia delegation proposed the creation of a bicameral legislature. Under his proposal, membership in both houses would be allocated to each state proportional to its population; however, candidates for the lower house would be nominated and elected by the people of each state. Candidates for the upper house would be nominated by the state legislatures of each state and then elected by the members of the lower house. This proposal was known as the Virginia Plan.
Less populous states like Delaware were afraid that such an arrangement would result in their voices and interests being drowned out by the larger states. Many delegates also felt that the Convention did not have the authority to completely scrap the Articles of Confederation,as the Virginia Plan would have. In response, on June 15, 1787, William Paterson of the New Jersey delegation proposed a legislature consisting of a single house. Each state was to have equal representation in this body, regardless of population. The New Jersey Plan, as it was called, would have left the Articles of Confederation in place, but would have amended them to somewhat increase Congress's powers.
At the time of the convention, the South was growing more quickly than the North, and Southern states had the most extensive Western claims. South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia were small in the 1780s, but they expected growth, and thus favored proportional representation. New York was one of the largest states at the time, but two of its three representatives (Alexander Hamilton being the exception) supported an equal representation per state, as part of their desire to see maximum autonomy for the states. However, New York's two other representatives departed the convention before the representation issue was voted upon, leaving Alexander Hamilton, and New York State, without a vote in the issue.
James Madison and Hamilton were two of the leaders of the proportional representation group. Madison argued that a conspiracy of large states against the small states was unrealistic as the large states were so different from each other. Hamilton argued that the states were artificial entities made up of individuals, and accused small state representatives of wanting power, not liberty (see History of the United States Senate).
For their part, the small state representatives argued that the states were, in fact, of a legally equal status, and that proportional representation would be unfair to their states. Gunning Bedford, Jr. of Delaware notoriously threatened on behalf of the small states, "the small ones w[ould] find some foreign ally of more honor and good faith, who will take them by the hand and do them justice".
Elbridge Gerry ridiculed the small states' claim of sovereignty, saying "that we never were independent States, were not such now, & never could be even on the principles of the Confederation. The States & the advocates for them were intoxicated with the idea of their sovereignty."
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: Describes the same compromise three times; needs to be a unified narrative that clarifies the exact sequence of events in reaching the final outcome. (December 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
On June 14, when the Convention was ready to consider the report on the Virginia plan, William Paterson of New Jersey requested an adjournment to allow certain delegations more time to prepare a substitute plan. The request was granted, and, on the next day, Paterson submitted nine resolutions embodying necessary amendments to the Articles of Confederation, which was followed by a vigorous debate. On June 19, the delegates rejected the New Jersey Plan and voted to proceed with a discussion of the Virginia Plan. The small States became increasingly discontented, and some threatened to withdraw. On July 2, the Convention was deadlocked over giving each State an equal vote in the upper house, with five States in the affirmative, five in the negative, and one divided.
The problem was referred to a committee consisting of one delegate from each State to reach a compromise. On July 5, the committee submitted its report, which became the basis for the "Great Compromise" of the Convention. The report recommended that in the upper house each State should have an equal vote, and in the lower house, each State should have one representative for every 40,000 inhabitants,counting slaves as three-fifths of an inhabitant, and that money bills should originate in the lower house (not subject to amendment by the upper chamber).
After six weeks of turmoil, North Carolina switched its vote to equal representation per state, Massachusetts abstained, and a compromise was reached, being called the "Great Compromise". In the "Great Compromise", every state was given equal representation, previously known as the New Jersey Plan, in one house of Congress, and proportional representation, known before as the Virginia Plan, in the other. Because it was considered more responsive to majority sentiment, the House of Representatives was given the power to originate all legislation dealing with the federal budget and revenues/taxation, per the Origination Clause.
Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth, both of the Connecticut delegation, created a compromise that, in a sense, blended the Virginia (large-state) and New Jersey (small-state) proposals regarding congressional apportionment. Ultimately, however, its main contribution was in determining the apportionment of the Senate. Sherman sided with the two-house national legislature of the Virginia Plan, but proposed "That the proportion of suffrage in the 1st. Branch [house] should be according to the respective numbers of free inhabitants; and that in the second branch or Senate, each State should have one vote and no more."Although Sherman was well liked and respected among the delegates, his plan failed at first. It was not until July 23 that representation was finally settled.
What was ultimately included in the constitution was a modified form of this plan, partly because the larger states disliked it. In committee, Benjamin Franklin modified Sherman's proposal to make it more acceptable to the larger states. He added the requirement that revenue bills originate in the house.
The vote on the Connecticut Compromise on July 16 left the Senate looking like the Confederation Congress. In the preceding weeks of debate, James Madison of Virginia, Rufus King of New York, and Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania each vigorously opposed the compromise for this reason.For the nationalists, the Convention's vote for the compromise was a stunning defeat. However, on July 23, they found a way to salvage their vision of an elite, independent Senate. Just before most of the convention's work was referred to the Committee of Detail, Gouverneur Morris and Rufus King moved that states' members in the Senate be given individual votes, rather than voting en bloc, as they had in the Confederation Congress. Then Oliver Ellsworth, a leading proponent of the Connecticut Compromise, supported their motion, and the Convention reached the enduring compromise. Since the Convention had early acquiesced in the Virginia Plan's proposal that senators have long terms, restoring that Plan's vision of individually powerful senators stopped the Senate from becoming a strong safeguard of federalism. State governments lost their direct say in Congress's decisions to make national laws. As the personally influential senators received terms much longer than the state legislators who elected them, they became substantially independent. The compromise continued to serve the self-interests of small-state political leaders, who were assured of access to more seats in the Senate than they might otherwise have obtained.
Senate representation was explicitly protected in Article Five of the United States Constitution:
...no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
This agreement allowed deliberations to continue and thus led to the Three-Fifths Compromise, which further complicated the issue of popular representation in the House.
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress ; the executive, consisting of the president and subordinate officers ; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Article IV, Article V and Article VI embody concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments, the states in relationship to the federal government, and the shared process of constitutional amendment. Article VII establishes the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen States to ratify it. It is regarded as the oldest written and codified national constitution in force.
The United States Electoral College is the group of presidential electors required by the Constitution to form every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president. Each state appoints electors according to its legislature, equal in number to its congressional delegation. Federal office holders cannot be electors. Of the current 538 electors, an absolute majority of 270 or more electoral votes is required to elect the president and vice president. If no candidate achieves an absolute majority there, a contingent election is held by the United States House of Representatives to elect the president, and by the United States Senate to elect the vice president.
Roger Sherman was an early American statesman and lawyer, as well as a Founding Father of the United States. He is the only person to have signed all four great state papers of the United States: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.
The Virginia Plan was a proposal to the United States Constitutional Convention for the creation of a supreme national government with three branches and a bicameral legislature. The plan was drafted by James Madison while he waited for a quorum to assemble at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
The Three-fifths Compromise was a compromise reached among state delegates during the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention. Delegates disputed whether and how slaves would be counted when determining a state's total population, as this number would determine a state's number of seats in the House of Representatives and how much it would pay in taxes. The compromise counted three out of every five slaves as people, giving the Southern states a third more seats in Congress and a third more electoral votes than if slaves had been ignored, but fewer than if slaves and free people had been counted equally. The compromise was proposed by delegate James Wilson and seconded by Charles Pinckney.
The United States Constitution has served as the supreme law of the United States since taking effect in 1789. The document was written at the 1787 Philadelphia Convention and was ratified through a series of state conventions held in 1787 and 1788. Since 1789, the Constitution has been amended twenty-seven times; particularly important amendments include the ten amendments of the United States Bill of Rights and the three Reconstruction Amendments.
Luther Martin was a politician and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, who left the Constitutional Convention early because he felt the Constitution violated states' rights. He was a leading Anti-Federalist, along with Patrick Henry and George Mason, whose actions helped passage of the Bill of Rights.
The New Jersey Plan was a proposal for the structure of the United States Government presented by William Paterson at the Constitutional Convention on June 15, 1787. The plan was created in response to the Virginia Plan, which called for two houses of Congress, both elected with apportionment according to population. The less populous states were adamantly opposed to giving most of the control of the national government to the more populous states, and so proposed an alternative plan that would have kept the one-vote-per-state representation under one legislative body from the Articles of Confederation.
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States. Like its counterpart, the Senate was established by the United States Constitution and convened for its first meeting on March 4, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City. The history of the institution begins prior to that date, at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, in James Madison's Virginia Plan, which proposed a bicameral national legislature, and in the Connecticut Compromise, an agreement reached between delegates from small-population states and those from large-population states that in part defined the structure and representation that each state would have in the new Congress.
The Constitutional Convention took place from May 25 to September 17, 1787, in the old Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia. Although the convention was intended to revise the league of states and first system of government under the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset of many of its proponents, chief among them James Madison of Virginia and Alexander Hamilton of New York, was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one. The delegates elected George Washington of Virginia, former commanding general of the Continental Army in the late American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) and proponent of a stronger national government, to become President of the convention. The result of the convention was the creation of the Constitution of the United States, placing the Convention among the most significant events in American history.
Federalist Paper No. 54 is an essay by James Madison, the fifty-fourth of The Federalist Papers. It was published on February 12, 1788 under the pseudonym Publius, the name under which all The Federalist papers were published. This paper discusses the way in which the seats in the United States House of Representatives are apportioned among the states. It is titled "The Apportionment of Members Among the States". The essay was erroneously attributed to John Jay in Alexander Hamilton's enumeration of the authors of the various Federalist Papers.
Federalist No. 68 is the 68th essay of The Federalist Papers, and was published on March 12, 1788. It is probably written by Alexander Hamilton under the pseudonym "Publius", the name under which all of the Federalist Papers were published. Since all of them were written under this pseudonym, who wrote what cannot be verified with certainty. Titled "The Mode of Electing the President", No. 68 describes a perspective on the process of selecting the Chief Executive of the United States. In writing this essay, the author sought to convince the people of New York of the merits of the proposed Constitution. Number 68 is the second in a series of 11 essays discussing the powers and limitations of the Executive branch and the only one to describe the method of selecting the president.
The United States House of Representatives, commonly known as the lower chamber of the United States Congress, along with the United States Senate, commonly known as the upper chamber, are the two parts of the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States. Like its counterpart, the House was established by the United States Constitution and convened for its first meeting on March 4, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City. The history of this institution begins several years prior to that date, at the dawn of the American Revolutionary War.
Apportionment is the process by which seats in a legislative body are distributed among administrative divisions entitled to representation.
The drafting of the Constitution of the United States began on May 25, 1787, when the Constitutional Convention met for the first time with a quorum at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to revise the Articles of Confederation, and ended on September 17, 1787, the day the Constitution drafted by the convention's delegates to replace the Articles was adopted and signed. The ratification process for the Constitution began that day, and ended when the final state, Rhode Island, ratified it on May 29, 1790. In addition to key events during the Constitutional Convention and afterward while the Constitution was before the states for their ratification, this timeline includes important events that occurred during the run-up to the convention and during the nation's transition from government under the Articles of Confederation to government under the Constitution, and concludes with the unique ratification vote of Vermont, which at the time was a sovereign state outside the Union. The time span covered is 5 years, 9 months, from March 25, 1785 to January 10, 1791.
The Congressional Apportionment Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that addresses the number of seats in the House of Representatives. It was proposed by Congress on September 25, 1789, but was never ratified by the requisite number of state legislatures. As Congress did not set a time limit for its ratification, the Congressional Apportionment Amendment is still pending before the states.
The Confederation Period was the era of United States history in the 1780s after the American Revolution and prior to the ratification of the United States Constitution. In 1781, the United States ratified the Articles of Confederation and prevailed in the Battle of Yorktown, the last major land battle between British and American forces in the American Revolutionary War. American independence was confirmed with the 1783 signing of the Treaty of Paris. The fledgling United States faced several challenges, many of which stemmed from the lack of a strong national government and unified political culture. The period ended in 1789 following the ratification of the United States Constitution, which established a new, more powerful, national government.
The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, with the Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national bicameral legislature of the United States.
The Committee of Detail was a committee established by the United States Constitutional Convention on July 24, 1787 to put down a draft text reflecting the agreements made by the Convention up to that point, including the Virginia Plan's 15 resolutions. The Convention adjourned from July 26 to August 6 to await their report. Much of what was contained in the final document was present in this draft.
Oliver Ellsworth was an American lawyer, judge, politician, and diplomat. He was a framer of the United States Constitution, a United States Senator from Connecticut, and the third Chief Justice of the United States. Additionally, Ellsworth received 11 electoral votes in the 1796 presidential election.