In 1787, the Constitution Assembly was held in Philadelphia. Robert Sherman, Oliver Ellsworth and William Samuel Johnson were delegates from Connecticut. The meeting was stalled when discussion of the representation of the US Congress in each state was taking place. Special committee was formed to develop a compromise solution. Then, the Connecticut delegation proposed their plan, which became known in history as the Connecticut or Great Compromise. According to this plan, the structure of the U.S. Congress was established, which remains unchanged up to present time (Article 1, Section 3). A compromise was reached, because all the delegates recognized the need for a strong government.
In 1787, during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, New Jersey has played a significant role in the structure of the future government of the United States. It ratified the Constitution of the United States of America, thus becoming the third of the states of the new country. On November 20th, 1789, New Jersey became the first U.S. state that ratified the “Bill of Rights”.
The so-called “Plan of Virginia”, proposed by future fourth U.S. President James Madison, provided a bicameral parliament, members of which were to be selected in proportion to the population of the state. States with small populations were concerned that such a system of representation of their interests may be infringed. Then the deputy from New Jersey William Paterson took the initiative, known as the “New Jersey Plan” under which all states should have an equal representation in the highest legislative body of the country. The result of the discussion was “The Great Compromise” (or the “Connecticut Compromise”), according to which the composition of the lower house of the U.S. Congress (House of Representatives) must be proportional to the population of a state, and in the upper house (Senate), all states should be represented equally.
During the discussion of ways to form the Congress for the Philadelphia convention, Robert Sherman (1721-1793) stood out among other participants in the development and discussion of key documents since the Declaration of Independence. This time, he proposed proportional representation at the state elections and equal representation in the Senate. Thus, the Connecticut compromise secured the assurance of small states, which allowed the convention to go on with the calmer discussion of the Constitution’s draft.