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The Great Compromise

In debating a new model for self-rule that would eventually become the Constitution, states’ delegates in the summer of 1787 were so intensely divided over the difficult idea of congressional representation that the very topic threatened to end the Constitutional Convention. Representatives from small states were loathe approve any plan that tampered with the equal representation they currently enjoyed under the Articles of Confederation. Representatives from large, populous states — who wanted proportional representation — thought the current system was obviously unfair. It was Connecticut’s well-respected Roger Sherman who proposed a compromise: a proportional House of Representatives and a Senate with equal representation, an idea that seems familiar to us now, but was so radical in 1787 that, at first, it was dismissed by the group. Eventually the Connecticut Compromise — known now as the Great Compromise — was adopted and the opposing sides in the debate each felt vindicated.

1787-01-01 00:00:00

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