Q:

What was the New Jersey Plan?

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Quick Answer

The New Jersey Plan was a proposed government for the United States developed by William Paterson in 1787. The smaller states opposed the Virginia Plan presented by James Madison because they feared that it would allow the more populous states to dominate the government. The New Jersey Plan was rejected by the Constitutional Convention, though some of its ideas were incorporated into the Constitution.

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Under the New Jersey Plan, the federal government had a unicameral legislature, rather than the bicameral legislature proposed by Madison. Each state had a single vote in the Congress to prevent larger states from gaining too much power. Congress was given the power to raise taxes and levy tariffs, and federal laws were supreme over state laws.

Instead of electing a single person to serve as head of the executive branch, Congress elected an executive council to a single four-year term. The governors of the states could petition Congress to recall members of the council. Judges were appointed to lifetime terms by the executive council.

The Constitutional Convention rejected the New Jersey Plan but used some of its ideas in the final draft of the Constitution. While the members of the House of Representatives were allocated by population, each state had equal representation in the Senate.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How did New Jersey get its nickname?

    A:

    New Jersey acquired the nickname "Garden State" following remarks made by Abraham Browning of Camden, N.J. during Jersey Day at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876. Calling New Jersey the Garden State, Browning compared the state to an enormous barrel, filled with good things to eat, open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other.

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  • Q:

    What is the summary of the New Jersey Plan of 1787?

    A:

    In the New Jersey Plan of 1787, each state was given one vote for Congress but also provided Congress with new powers that included stamp tax, trade regulation, requisition enforcement and import duty collection. The plan was created by William Patterson to counter the current existing plan, the Virginia Plan, which was created by James Madison during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787.

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  • Q:

    What are the differences between the Virginia and New Jersey plans?

    A:

    The difference between the New Jersey Plan and the Virginia Plan is the former proposed equal state representation in Congress and the latter proposed state representation be determined by population. These plans were proposed when a group of state delegates gathered at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Although it took several months, delegates eventually agreed on what is known as the Great Compromise.

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  • Q:

    Where is New Jersey?

    A:

    Located in the Northeastern United States, New Jersey shares borders with New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The northern and eastern parts of the state border New York while the southwestern part borders Delaware, and the western part borders Pennsylvania.

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