American History

The Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan have various similarities and differences. To begin with, it was Edmund Randolph who proposed the Virginia Plan while William Paterson presented the New Jersey Plan. The Paterson Plan was a counter-response to the Virginia Plan that was set forth in May 1787. For this reason, the New Jersey Plan was unveiled during the Constitutional Convention the following month – June 1787. While the Virginia Plan contained 19 propositions, the New Jersey Plan had only nine resolutions. The plans had a number of structural differences in terms of the number of government branches, Congress houses, and elections of congressional members as well as the length of terms of service for the Legislature. The Third Proposition of the Virginia Plan, for example, proposed a bicameral legislative system. This means that the legislative system would have two branches. On the other hand, the New Jersey Plan proposed a unicameral legislative system. Randolph proposed a new form of government. Merely amending Confederation Articles was not enough. He also argued that a republic was the most suitable polity for both large as well as small communities. Therefore, the Virginia Plan did not support the establishment of a democratic society encompassing the thirteen states.

Both plans also provided the procedures for the election of congressional members. In the Virginia Plan’s Fourth Proposition, members of the first branch were to elect representatives from those candidates that the legislative system in every state proposed. As if to make the election procedures clear, the Fifth Proposition of this plan stipulated that the members of the second branch were to elect representatives from the candidates whom the legislative system in each state proposed. The New Jersey Plan, on the contrary, proposed a new structure of the American Government. In the Virginia Plan, the Judiciary and the Executive – through a board – would veto decisions made by the Legislature.

The National Legislature, according to the Sixth Proposition of the Virginia Plan, would have jurisdiction over everything that did not fall under the responsibility of the distinctive states. For instance, it had jurisdiction over matters pertaining to the disruption of the harmony of the Union by state laws and those under the Confederation Congress purview to oppose state laws. In fact, the National Legislature could request for the utilization of force, especially to states that breached the Union representation. The National Legislature could admit a new state into the federation through a non-unanimous vote as proposed in the Tenth Amendment. Towards this end, this proposition provided the admissibility procedures or criteria of new states into the federation. While Randolph appreciated the novelty of the ideals enshrined in the Virginia Plan, he pointed out that it was possible for the Legislatures to reject them. The Virginia Plan vouched for a bicameral Legislature. On the contrary, the New Jersey provided for the creation of a unicameral Legislature with a one-vote-per-state representation system. The Legislature decisions were to be implemented by the Executive under the Virginia Plan.

It was the Seventh Proposition of the Virginia Plan that proposed the creation of a National Executive. The proposition stipulated its composition and formation. Moreover, the National Government had the responsibility of ensuring that each state had both a republic government as well as a territory. The only exception was for states that choose to merge voluntarily. In the Fourteenth Proposition, the Executive in every state would swear to implement the Union Articles. An oath would bind the Executive in each state. According to the New Jersey Plan, Congress was charged with the responsibility of electing federal Executive with varied people. Federal Executives could force non-compliant states to observe the law according to the New Jersey Plan. It also provided that a federal Executive could appoint a tribunal. Under the Virginia Plan, the Executive implements Legislature decisions.

The Virginia Plan’s Eighth Proposition suggested that some members of the Judiciary and those of the Executive could form a review board with the mandate of examining Legislature Acts prior to their enforcement. The Judiciary could have lower courts and even supreme courts according to this grand plan. More importantly, the jurisdiction of this review board could only be restricted to issues to do with captured enemies, sea crimes, national harmony, piracy, national revenue, peace and cases that involved foreigners. In the Fourteenth Proposition of the Virginia Plan, the Judiciary in every state would swear to implement the Union Articles. An oath would bind the Judiciary in every state. According to the Fifth Proposition of the New Jersey Plan, the Supreme Court did represent the federal Judiciary. Both the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey plan were proposed in 1787.

The Virginia Plan supported the creation of two Congress houses where allotment would be based upon the population of every state. States with fewer people contested the idea of states with more people controlling the National Government. The Twelfth Proposition of the Virginia Plan sought to make it clear that the Congress would retain its authority as well as privileges as far as execution of responsibilities was concerned. This was until the Union Articles were adopted. The Union Articles were amendable when necessary without the approval of the National Legislature. The Fifteenth Proposition gave Congress the power to approve the Union Acts. The representation method proposed in the Virginia Plan contravened congressional authority as well as the equality between states. This had adverse effects upon the sovereignty of states. According to the New Jersey Plan’s Second Proposition, Congress had the power to raise funds through tariffs as well as other avenues. It was the responsibility of Congress to regulate interstate trade. The Third Proposition also proposed that Congress could collect taxes, which would, in turn, depend on the number of slaves and free inhabitants in a state.

In my opinion, the Virginia Plan provided more power to the newfangled federal system. This is because the Sixth Proposition provided that every branch had the constitutional and legal right to propose legislation. Congress would retain some authority as well as privileges until the Union Articles were adopted. The federal governments had their own Executives, Legislatures, and Judiciaries. They could also finance part of their budgets through taxes More answers on your questions check at