The Virginia Plan

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Comparing and Contrasting the Two Plans


American History


What became popularly known as "The Virginia Plan" or "The Randolph Plan" was proposed by Virginia representative Edmund Randolph barely a few days before June 13, 1787. The document was primarily written by another Virginian known as James Madison, and principally intended to trace the key plans of what would actually become the Constitution of the United States of America. On the other hand, "The New Jersey Plan", also popularly known as "The Peterson Plan", was proposed by William Peterson at one of the country's Constitutional Treaty on June 15, 1787. The Peterson Plan was decisively proposed to counter the Virginia Plan. As a result, Edmund Randolph and James Madison (the advocates of the Virginia Plan) disparagingly opposed it.

Comparing and Contrasting the Two Plans

According to the primary documents, the two plans had clear-cut structural differences.

While the Virginia Plan recommended a national government comprising of three divisions with checks and balances to eliminate any chances of power abuse, the New Jersey Plan majorly advocated for the enactment of the Articles of Confederation and added more powers to the Congress, which would now acquire the power to raise funds through tariffs and other avenues, and control both local and international trade. This also presentes the precise difference in the Congressional powers according to the two plans. However, in its revised form, the Virginia Plan presents Madison's notions for a legislature. It fundamentally pronounces two houses. One of the houses consists of members voted by the public to serve for three-year terms while the other comprises of older members voted by elected representatives to serve for a period of seven years each.

According to the Virginia...