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The Virginia Plan: Period One

Group Members and Roles


  • Alexa: Speech Writer and Giver
  • Christian: Television Ad
  • Camille: Writer, Position Paper, Radio Ad
  • Saydie: Photographer
  • Jane: Radio Ad, Video Journal, Graphical Artist
  • Natalie: Webpage, Wiki, Brochure, Graphical Artist
  • Myha: Debater and Print journalist

Group Slogan


"More people get say; it’s the logical way!"

W
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"More people get say; it’s the logical way!"
hat Your Group Wants -- Plan for New Constitution

The Virginia Plan offers a democratic solution to the problems of disunity facing our current society. It is absolutely necessary to have a strong central government under which all of the People of America can stand strong and unified. Powerful state governments lead to a weak nation. Therefore, for our nation to be viewed as a prominent world power, a central government is essential.

We also advocate for a legislature with three branches: an executive, judicial, and a bicameral legislative branch. This ensures that no one branch gains more influence than another. In addition, proportional representation based upon population is emphasized. Larger colonies accommodate larger amounts of differing opinions and views; therefore, it is only natural that these opinions and views be represented accurately and fairly within the legislature. This also reduces the frightening prospect of minorities cancelling whole laws that pertain to the general welfare of our nation.

Bullet Points of Your Plan


  • Our country must be unified under a strong central government
  • A government with judicial, executive, and legislative branches is emphasized to quell fears of power over* indulgence.
  • Proportional representation in the legislative branch ensures that a greater variety of opinions are represented in legislature.
  • Proportional delegation prevents minorities from refusing laws that benefit the general welfare of our country.

Orator: Text of Your Speech










The Virginia Plan

My fellow Americans, we stand here today teetering on the precipice of either success or doom, and the choices made here today will determine our fate. Our past thirteen years have been riddled with violence and our own internecine strife. And now, we see the potential of ever* bickering states turning into individual rival countries. Our sense of unity experienced from our Revolution is falling into a state of disregard. The selfish views of powerful state governments are the root of our current dilemma, and therefore, our weakness is the direct result of lacking a strong, central government.

The existing disunity revealed by the independent mindset of state governments must be abolished. Differing tariffs and navigation laws;

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Virginia Plan Brochure Page 1

tax quotas set by Congress that are never met; competition for western lands: all of these illustrate the incompetence of state governments that hold more power than federal governments. What is more, how can this country function when laws benefiting the general welfare of our nation can be cancelled by a miniscule minority? How can this country function with a Congress that can only beg reluctant states for capital? The weakness of America is reflected in the weakness of Congress. A strong leadership in the form of Congress is essential in creating a government that is based on the interests of our country as a whole instead of a government that is based upon selfish, local affairs.

The one stroke of brilliance in this period under the Articles of Confederation was the Land Ordinance of 1785. As you know, gentlemen,
this praiseworthy negotiation was conceptualized by Congress to quell rivalry between individual state governments for western land. This ordinance carefully laid out territorial areas and set laws for new states, such as the forbiddance of slavery. My countrymen, we all see how a central government has the interests of the nation as a whole in mind; consequently, a strong central government is required for our country to reach its full potential.

Succinctly, our country is falling into a state of irremediable disunity under the power of state bureaucracies. Therefore, a strong central government is vital for our country to function.

What our country needs is the Virginia Plan. Advocating for a strong central government, the Virginia Plan is designed to promote national unity and democratic, proportional representation. A central government composed of the judicial, executive, and legislative branches will divvy up the concentration of power, allowing none to fear a monarchy akin to King George III’s. Naturally, the bicameral legislative branch should hold the most power, for it is the voice of the people. Consequently, the voice of the people deserves to be accurately represented, therefore creating the need for legislative representation proportional to population. We, the advocates of the Virginia Plan, have anticipated dissent from those of the New Jersey Plan. As one of the first colonies of our nation, Virginia has the most experience with self* government, and it is our founded belief that proportional representation is the most democratic form of delegation. Regions home to more citizens encompass a greater variety of opinions and views. In addition, we cannot allow our country to suffer in the future from the way minorities have the power to cancel entire laws currently. Our country cannot function with a government that allows, say, Rhode Islan
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Virginia Brochure Page 2

d or New Jersey, to dictate what laws are passed. Therefore, more people get more say: it’s the logical way.

Our nation needs to unite under an established central government. Our nation needs to be democratically orientated to stay together as one country, instead of splintering into weak factions. Our nation needs to have its variety of opinions embodied in the form of proportional representation. Our nation needs to be strong and unified in common goals, and against common foes. Our nation needs the Virginia Plan.

~Alexa /James Madison

Debater: Possible Objections to Plan and Your Replies

Alexa,

Please feel free to edit some of my points and/or add more. I am unsure whether we will be debating about our ideas for the 3 branches of government and our ideas on slavery. Perhaps you might know our stance on that and quickly summarize a few points?

Myha ,

It's great! Our stance on slavery is that it is a debate that would cause discord among the colonies of America, so a secure, united government should be instituted first before the issue of slavery is brought up. It's "an issue for another time". The three branch system is basically balance of powers, which we can use against those of New Jersey who are paranoid of power :)

Here it is:

My fellow Americans, lend me your ears. There is no denying that Virginia is a large state and a representation of an assortment of proud Virginians and nationalistic Americans. Virginia needs more representatives to voice the opinions of an array of citizens. We need fair representation for every single man. No man should have his voice or opinion neglected or underrepresented, and with the New Jersey plan, it would do just that. The so called “small state” plan would grant greater representation to its citizens of such a modest size. The Virginia plan would give each American equal representation regardless of state or size.

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James Madison makes a point...


Why our plan is good:


  • Please refer to our slogan: More people should get more say, it’s the logical way. We have a larger population; therefore it is only fair that larger states have more representation. It maintains equal representation for all, regardless of state or size.

  • If every state has the same number of representatives, some states would be underrepresented or overrepresented, which presents unfair advantages and disadvantages. This new nation we are attempting to establish should be based on equality of voice and representation.

  • Fairness would be representation based on the people, not on the land.

  • Such as size varies, ideas and views vary, too. Proportionate representation is the only reasonable choice, because it allows for more people to be able to have a voice in the government.

  • The minority and majority should both have equal representation; therefore the only logical choice is proportional representation that would be adjusted to accommodate the statistics of citizens and their representation.

  • To the small states that fear being overtaken, please know that we are brothers, we fought together, suffered together, rebelled together against the British in the American Revolution, do you not remember? We would never dream of utilizing our number to maliciously over take you. Virginia has the best interests of the union in mind.

  • To the small states that fear our plan will take away equal suffrage, when the final tallies are being counted, the idea at question will be fairly decided by the MAJORITY of the country, and all states must abide by the decision, is that not the ideal of democracy?
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Virginia Plan mailer

  • To the small states that threaten to break away and/or join England again, do not menace us with these threats. After everything the 13 colonies have been through, through the ups and downs, the spirit of ’76, suffering cold winters and lack of supplies during the revolution, the American way of life, are you going to throw all that away? Go ahead and try, but before you do, think long and hard about whether that is for the best or worst for this nation we are trying to build.

  • If we allow ourselves to be blinded by the soil we live upon and disregard the voices of our brothers, then this will never be the nation we were meant to fight for.

Why the other plan is bad:

  • There are more smaller states than big ones, and all the small states could band together, overshadow and outvote the bigger states. If representation was based on population, this fear would not be a reality.
In addition to being completely unfair,

  • The New Jersey plan would completely unravel all the progress of our new union. Granting small states fair representation while denying it to larger states will only anger the big states. The last time an issue was seen as unrightful, it sparked rebellions and was a prelude to the revolution.

  • Surely, this plan will set up a weak federal government. Citizens will simply disregard this and turn back to local and state governments, completely undoing all the unity and progress we have so far achieved.

Last thoughts:

  • To those who promote a compromise, America is about choices. Here, we are presenting a choice for our brothers. Must we stoop so low as to appease every side of the argument? Will this not present big issues and dilemmas in the future?

  • Virginia is the most experienced. We were the first colony, and we have one of the oldest experiences with democracy in running our own local institutions and affairs. We know how to fight for our rights, and demonstrated so with a significant role in the revolution.

  • Democracy cannot please everyone; it can only appeal to the needs and wants of the majority. Therefore the majority must be heard and the only way to do so is by having proportional representation!

Print Journalist: Write* Up of Convention Activity
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James Madison of the Virginia Plan

For the ''Philadelphia Gazette''

The early morning dawned and the sun rose to greet James Madison, the man of the hour at the Constitutional Convention last Thursday. Madison, in his speech, addressed the weakness of the Articles of Confederation and stressed the importance and need for a “strong central government”. He recognized the state of “irremediable disunity” among the colonies “splintering into weak factions”. He slammed the Articles of Confederation for allowing the “welfare of our nation [to] be cancelled by a miniscule minority”, while praising it for the Land Ordinance of 1785, “the one stroke of brilliance”. Mr. Madison proposed the Virginia plan, a plan that would present three branches of government: the judicial, executive, and legislative. The latter would be a bicameral house both represented proportionately. The plan would promote national unity and “democratic, proportional representation”. Throughout his speech, Madison’s preposition was well received with claps and cheers, and occasionally faced with a boo or hiss from the minority opposition.

Following Madison’s invigorating speech, William Paterson argued for a unicameral legislative branch, one that would allow all states, whether “big or small, represented equally”. He advocated a plan that “all states would uphold the same amount of power”, and thus promoting strength and unity. Paterson’s speech was received with disagreement and protests and an occasional cheer.

The tension was tangible between the four men arguing for either the “large state” or “small state” plan. The leader James Madison was accompanied by Edmund Randolph, the governor of Virginia. The two stressed that proportional representation was fair representation. When New Jersey voiced their fears that larger states would overpower and overtake them, Virginia soothingly assured they were brothers, reminding the little one of their kinship in the American Revolution, that they “had the best interests of the union in mind”. When New Jersey, in a ludicrous manner, accused its opponent of being Britain, Virginia logically pointed out the reasons they were not, it quite appearing New Jersey did not understand the arguments pouring out of its own mouths.

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Mr. Randolph declaims...

When they threatened to break away and become their separate county, Virginia responded, “Go ahead and try.”

In the middle of this, The Great Compromise advocated peace in the form of a bicameral house, the upper one having equal representatives, and the lower one being represented proportionately. It contended that America cannot be a county while states are leaving the union and there is division among colonies. Mr. Franklin, America’s famous celebrity even shared his wisdom and weaving in anecdotes about children and flies, drawing laughter from the room.


At the other end of the table, another debate was sizzling between the issue whether or not slavery should be addressed in the Constitution. The Dixiecrat bloc, composed of southern plantation owners for slavery, argued the word “slavery” should nowhere be mentioned in the Constitution, and the hotly contested topic should not even be discussed until 1808. Meanwhile, George Mason for the Crispus Attucks faction argued that slaves were better free and “the country be weaned off slavery as a child is weaned off a mother’s milk”.

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