The Great Compromise: Solving the Debate Between Large States and Small States

What was the main issue between large states and small states during the drafting of the United States Constitution? The main issue between large states and small states during the drafting of the United States Constitution was the representation in the legislature. Large states wanted representation based on the size of their population, while small states wanted equal representation regardless of population size.

During the Constitutional Convention in 1787, delegates from large states and small states were divided on how representation in the legislature should be determined. The large states, such as Virginia, supported the Virginia Plan which proposed representation based on the size of the state's population. This means that states with larger populations would have more representatives in the legislature.

On the other hand, small states like New Jersey supported the New Jersey Plan which advocated for equal representation for each state in the legislature, regardless of population size. This meant that smaller states would have the same number of representatives as larger states, giving them equal power in decision-making.

The debate between large and small states threatened to derail the entire Constitutional Convention as neither side was willing to compromise on the issue of representation. It was crucial to find a solution that would satisfy both sides and ensure the unity of the new nation.

The Great Compromise

To resolve the impasse between large and small states, a compromise known as the Great Compromise was proposed by Roger Sherman. The Great Compromise combined elements of both the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan to create a bicameral legislature.

The lower house of the legislature, the House of Representatives, would be based on proportional representation according to the state's population, satisfying the large states. Meanwhile, the upper house, the Senate, would have equal representation with two senators from each state, appeasing the small states.

By adopting the Great Compromise, the delegates were able to bridge the gap between large and small states and ensure that both interests were represented in the new government. This compromise laid the foundation for the structure of the United States Congress that we have today.

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