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Period Five New Jersey Plan

Group Members and Roles

Sarah: Radio Spot (PSA), writer (brochure)
Yuriko: Speaker
Hannah: Video Journalist, Photographer, Facebook group creator/Webpage designer


Renae: Debator, writer (brochure)
Caitlin: Print Journalist, TV spot (PSA), writer (position paper/letter)

Group Slogan

"We may be small but we will stand tall!"

What Your Group Wants -- Plan for New Constitution

(This is the position paper)
To those who are concerned about the well-being of our nation:
It has come to the attention of the smaller (but equally important) provinces that an organized, carefully-structured system of government is crucial in order for our new nation to thrive. There is such a plan that exists, and that is the New Jersey Plan. Those who support William Patterson’s cause will be rewarded the following benefits, should the New Jersey Plan be unanimously voted upon in Congress:
  1. A Unicameral (one-house) legislature
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    William Patterson speaks for the small states!
  2. Equal representation with larger states
  3. Comfort in the knowledge that a wisely appointed government will be levying taxes, importing duties, and regulating trade
  4. Reliance on the said wisely appointed government to select executives, who in turn select Supreme Court Justices
  5. Supreme Law of the States

Fellow citizens - better yet, fellow Americans: Imagine a country in which certain elements of our government were voted upon, however, relatively large states such as Virginia would continuously garner majority votes, because of its size and population. What of the states such as New Jersey, Delaware, New Hampshire, or Maryland? In the war against Britain, were we not fighting against injustice? In the Declaration of Independence, it states that “all men are created equal.” Who is to say that New Jersey is not worthy enough to have a voice, simply because of its geographical measurements and population size? Our lower population numbers do not make our opinions invalid.

Yet the intelligible voters of the New Jersey Plan must also be aware that a certain amount of power is deemed far too dangerous to place in the hands of the public. Thus, wisely appointed leaders must be relied on for choosing the members of our executive and judiciary branches. In addition, our taxes and trade will be meticulously handled by the well-educated members of legislature.

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"We may be small but we will stand tall!"


Some might claim that this proposal puts vast amounts of power in the hands of a strong central government, something that was opposed

during the American Revolution. The New Jersey Plan, in fact, strives for equal representation in appointing qualified members of the legislature, in turn, creating a fairly balanced system of government. Therefore - let your voice be heard! Vote for the New Jersey Plan. “We may be small, but we will stand tall.”

Bullet Points of Your Plan


  1. A Unicameral (one-house) legislature
  2. Equal representation for all states
  3. Three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislature appoints members of the executive branch, and the executive branch chooses the justices of the Supreme Court (judiciary branch)
  4. Appointed government will levy taxes, import duties, and regulate trade
  5. "State laws would be subordinate to laws passed by the national legislature."

Orator: Text of Your Speech



Hello fellow delegates of the constitutional convention, I am William Paterson and I am

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Official New Jersey Handout

a part of the small state of New Jersey. We are all gathered here today in this very room to for an initial and important decision, to propose and revise the article of confederation and to exhibit change to this nation. We have been in control by a monarchal government by which held much power to that one ruler. We of course are not willing to take on that source of government and wish to go our own ways to a nation by which we form a group of highly sophisticated members. With our nation l facing much failures we still stand tall with all the accomplishments. We have fought through treacherous revolutions, facing much suffrage; We have all fought with pride and dignity out on the battlefield; We have all presented new ideas throughout the course of the revolution; Furthermore we are all capable of being equal. I present you the New Jersey plan. I am here to reinforce the articles of confederation due to the size of some states and their votes counted for more than little states has caused unrest among the smaller states because they felt overpowered by their over populated brethren states. Before the state legislature held all the power and responsibility in the government, we will have a unicameral legislature and later have a proportional representation which will proceed with one vote for each state. I am here to institute a judicial and executive branch of government to implement a three branch government structure and the government has no authority to tax the citizens prior to this plan. I am granting you the right to taxation to this government by this plan. This innovated plan will introduce to new ideas to maturing government. Congress would be capable of taxing the states and regulating trade among them and to raise the money by taxing foreign goods. Congress would elect the executive branch and the executive branch would be able to point out a national judiciary which would limit their power and keep the government all together more powerful. Adding onto this my fellow brethren the legislature will select an executive committee that will serve for one term and they will be allowed to enforce the law. This implies if it countered state legislation we have decided that any issues about foreign and domestic policies, tax and trade concerns will be given to Congress. My fellow delegate if you pick our plan, all tariffs will be regulated by the national government, not by the state. Also the legislature will be able to impose upon the state’s taxes depending on the population. And adding on to this all of the legislative acts will become the supreme law of the land, which will be enforced by the executive board. See the Virginia plan doesn’t give the small state enough representation with the Virginia the opinion’s of the people of the smaller states will be inconsequential. Choosing our plan will increase the powers of national government while maintaining the majority of the power within the states. It will expand the national power without tearing about the old system, and protect the small states from the large one by ensuring one state, one vote. Virginia may be big but the key is equality.

Debater: Possible Objections to Plan and Your Replies


  • The Virginia Plan wants representation by population because they are a larger state and feel they have the right to have an increased number of representatives to vote for their state. But, how is that exercising equality when one state has a much larger say in a matter than another? Equal representation ensures a country made of equality.
  • If we as smaller states do not feel represented fairly, what will stop us from leaving?
  • Foreign and Domestic Policy, Tax and Trade concerns should be given to congress.

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    New Jersey Plan brochure, page 1

  • Tariffs will be regualted by the government, not the state.

Print Journalist: Write-Up of Convention Activity


What do heated debates about various forms of government, talk of slavery, and stories about cats all have in common? All these topics were passionately spoken of (or argued over) during today's Constitutional Convention. Representing the New Jersey Plan was William Patterson, who humbly proposed equal representation in governmental affairs despite size of state. Also included in his plan was the idea that the executive branch, selected by those in the legislative branch, would appoint Supreme Court justices. Although our new nation has fought admirably for independence, it was Patterson who reminded his fellow brethren that the government should be responsible for taxation, trade, and importation issues. After all, too much power in the hands of the common people would be a dangerous thing indeed! Patterson's speech was received well with many yays, and few nays. Unlike the laughable Virginia Plan, which does not give the smaller states enough representation, the New Jersey Plan is an “innovative plan that will help mature our government,” as Patterson said.

Despite James Madison's argument that “Everyone gets a say in the government [with the Virginia Plan]” and “We all know that Virginia's were it's at,” doubts clouded over the minds of several delegates and bystanders. Though Roger Sherman, George Mason, and Charles Pickney gave somewhat understandable arguments promoting the Great Compromise, Crispus Attucks, and Dixiecrat causes respectively, it was the debate that would ultimately decide what would seal the deal.

Though the New Jersey delegates had a relatively rough start in the beginning, witnesses were able to clearly comprehend what the New Jersey Plan stood for – justice, equality, and of course, the only valid plan. On the other hand, Virginia delegates made empty promises that small states would still have representation.



As tensions elevated between the two groups, an elderly and wise Benjamin Franklin intervened. He told his accounts of two certain cats who learned to put aside their differences and share the same milk...or at least this is what seems to be most of the delegates' understanding. “So grab another tray of milk!” Franklin ended triumphantly, to many people's confusion.

Dixiecrat delegates quickly brought up their ideas shortly after. It is their belief that slavery is necessary for a thriving nation such as ours.

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New Jersey Plan brochure, page 2

Pickney, on several occasions pointed out the slaveholders “saved African Americans from tigers,” which caused a major uproar. He also claimed that he treated his slaves well, and that they were practically his family.

“Who enslaves their family?!” a Crispus Attucks supporter retorted. This led into a long, yet somewhat entertaining debate between the Dixiecrats and Crispus Attucks delegates. New Jersey and Virginia speakers remained quiet during this time.

Once again, Franklin stepped in. “This weekend I was watching a movie (a “movie” is apparently some sort of new contraption which displays moving pictures) called 'Hercules.' In this movie, he had to kill this hydra; a monster with many heads.” Franklin continued this deep, intellectual story, all the while warning the Dixiecrats and Crispus Attucks representatives that if they did not come to a compromise, they too would become a multi-headed monster.


Perhaps the combined disagreements of all the political groups truly can be compared to a hydra. As the end of the convention neared, a New Jersey delegate gently reminded his listeners (again) why they had fought against Britain – to get away from non-representation. So why would they want that again? In the end, this journalist is thoroughly convinced that if the states conquered the Revolutionary War monster, it is possible to conquer this one as well.

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