The Great Compromise, also known as the Connecticut Compromise of 1787, was an agreement reached between the large and small states of the United States that led to the formation of the Senate and the House of Representatives. When the compromise was reached, a new era in politics was formed that indirectly affected every law brought into being in the United States. This combination of the New Jersey Plan and the Virginia Plan also helped to ensure the formation of the United States.
Senate and House of Representatives
The compromise, proposed by Connecticut delegate Roger Sherman, led to the creation of two houses in the legislative branch of the United States government. The Senate was made up of equal representation (two senators) from each state in the country. The House of Representatives was directly tied in with population (one representative for each 40,000 people at the time); thus the more populated states received more representation. This bicameral form of legislative government has stayed intact since that Congressional Congress back in 1787.
Signing of the Constitution
The reason the compromise was called The Great Compromise was because it was the most contentious of all the issues discussed during the Congressional Congress. If the compromise had not been reached, the United States may not have been able to come together in agreement as a nation. The Great Compromise directly led to the creation of the Constitution, which was officially ratified in 1790. Without the Great Compromise, the Constitution may have never reached its final draft.
The Three-Fifths Compromise was one of the first major decisions reached after the Great Compromise was made. In order to avoid taxation, states would frequently undervalue their land to avoid additional fees. The solution to this problem was to tax states based on their population and the question was brought up as to whether or not slaves counted among that population. The compromise was met that slaves counted as 3/5 of a person for both taxation and representation purposes. This gave the South, which had many more slaves than the North, a large boost for representation in the House of Representatives.
The Executive Branch
One of the last issues decided upon at the Congressional Congress was how the states would determine the position that would become the Presidency. The Electoral College was created at that time, which gave each state a number of electors equal to the amount of senators and the amount of representatives it had. Later on, the current system of having the people vote for the President was adapted, but the concept of an Electoral College based on representation stayed. As a result, the creation of the Executive Branch of the United States government owes its creation to the Great Compromise.
- capitol image by Andrew Breeden from Fotolia.com