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Period Five Virginia Plan

Group Members and Roles

  • Speech: Anaika
  • Debate: Trevor
  • Photographer: Alli
  • Tech: Alli & Maddie
  • Print Journalist: Isabel
  • Video Journalist: Maddie
  • Wiki Expert: Alli
  • Tyler: T.V. Ad
  • Tyler: Group Slogan

Group Slogan

"A unified nation deserves the BEST representation: The Virginia Plan"

Speech




Virginia Plan Speech

Gentlemen, faithful colleagues… supporters of the New Jersey Plan…To all of you who want this nation to stay unified, to all of you who want this nation to
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"A unified nation deserves the BEST representation: The Virginia Plan"
continue to be independent, to all of you who want this nation to succeed, I appeal to you.

I am James Madison, and I stand before you today to present a plan that will save our country and forever emblazon our actions into the pages of democracy; I am here to present the Virginia Plan.

Now we may not all be Virginians, but we all fought, lost and won alongside one another in this past war, and I believe we can all agree that we, as hard-working Americans, deserve the best. We deserve a democracy, we deserve fair representation in this democracy, and we deserve to have a government that is elected by the people!

We attempted to create this utopian government with our Articles of Confederation, but this has only led us further astray from our goal. Today, we find ourselves in the midst of an economic depression; we owe monumental debts to Europe that we have no way of re-paying because states have their own currency that Congress has no way of regulating. We have lawmakers, but we are wanting a body to enforce the laws they make. And now with Shay’s Rebellion, we have blood on our hands. We have blood on our hands, gentlemen, yes, we who wrote the Articles of Confederation have blood on our hands for creating this inadequate document!

Gentlemen, what has our nation come to? Have American brothers and fathers, husbands and sons lost their lives in vain? I believe now that there is no discrepancy in this audience that the Articles of Confederation must be dissolved, but let us not be discouraged by its failures, let us learn from our mistakes so that we may grow. Let us put aside our prejudices and decide the path of this new nation for the sake of posterity.

Almost a decade ago, we set out to create an idyllic government. We failed, but we are trying again. We are trying again and I believe that the Virginia Plan is our answer. This plan proposes three branches of government: executive, judicial and legislative, which will share power to ensure that we will never again be forced into submission under a tyrant such as King George III! Citizens of each state will elect a number of representatives to the legislative branch based on proportional representation, or, their state’s population.
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James Madison speaks!


Though smaller states may flinch away from this idea, it is only fair, and it will inhibit a small group from taking despotic control over the majority, which is one of the main grievances we had under British rule. And for enforcing laws, we must put into place a Supreme Judiciary elected by the legislative branch that will preside over our nation’s crimes and injustices. Foreign countries do not treat us equally because we currently want a strong, executive branch or centralized power. If we elect a leader, if everyone has a say in the government, and if we adopt uniform laws and currency, we will not be looked upon as a young, callow nation any longer. If we vote for the Virginia plan, the United States will emerge as a democratic nation to be respected by the world for centuries to come. Without it, we will flounder in reaching our goal of creating the utopian government of our dreams.

Gentlemen, we did not congregate here today to dilly-dally, we did not congregate here today to argue about state superiority…we all know that Virginia is where it’s at…we congregated here today to design a document that will nurture our country into a successful democracy. The people of America are entrusting us to handcraft a fair government, to weave democracy and equality into a diverse population, and to construct a successful, free nation. Now this is no easy task, and we failed in our first attempt to reward them in their trust, but I vow that we shall not let them down again! With the Virginia Plan, everyone gets a say in the government, a system of checks and balances will restrict any one person or group from becoming too powerful, and a central power will give our country the backbone that it needs to survive.

Our people, gentlemen, deserve the best we can offer, and I have already promised them no less than w
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Official Virginia Plan handout
hat they are worthy of. With the best plan, we can take our country to new heights never dreamed of by the minutemen of Lexington and never imagined by Washington or his men in Valley Forge. But, without it, we are in grave danger of being overrun by civil war, of losing the liberties the people have fought so hard to protect, and of being re-claimed by Britain as her colonies. These are dire times, gentlemen, and with one wrong decision, all could be lost. But I have put my faith in the Virginia Plan, and I urge you, I entreat you all to vote for it in order to secure the freedom, democracy and success of the future of our country. Thank you and God save America.

Print Journalist: Write-Up of Convention Activity


Philadelphia, PA

The early afternoon sun greeted the delegates of the Constitutional Convention as they trooped in to the State House to open the meeting. The admirable James Madison appeared confident as he delivered his Virginia Plan speech. “Gentlemen, faithful colleagues,” he began, “I stand before you today to present a plan that will save our country and forever emblazon our actions into the pages of democracy.” He outlined the necessity to do away with the weak Articles of Confederation, accurately stating all the ways in which it had failed. “Today, we find ourselves in the midst of an economic depression; we owe monumental debts to Europe that we have no way of re-paying because states have their own currency that Congress has no way of regulating. We have lawmakers, but we are wanting a body to enforce the laws they make. And now with Shay’s Rebellion, we have blood on our hands. We have blood on our hands, gentlemen, yes, we who wrote the Articles of Confederation have blood on our hands for creating this inadequate document!” He spoke in favor of a strong central government with three branches (executive, judicial and legislative), which would “share power to ensure that we will never again be forced into submission under a tyrant such as King George III!” The legislative branch, he articulated, would consist of a proportional number of elected delegates, so that every citizen would have equal representation in the federal government. Madison further explicated that “though smaller states may flinch away from this idea, it is only fair, and it will inhibit a small group from taking despotic control over the majority, which is one of the main grievances we had under British rule.” This decision was met by much cheering from the crowd. “I have put my faith in the Virginia Plan, and I urge you, I entreat you all to vote for it in order to secure the freedom, democracy and success of the future of our country. Thank you and God save America,” Madison fervently concluded.

Next to speak was William Patterson, on behalf of the New Jersey Plan. Patterson began with the rather mundane statement that “with our nation l [sic] facing much failures we still stand tall with all the accomplishments.” After rambling about what the Nation was able to accomplish under the Articles of Confederation (not a valid point, seeing as the meeting was called to revise and even rewrite the failed document), Patterson finally introduced 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,” Patterson said. In other words, New Jersey and some of the other miniscule states felt that it was “unfair” for the more populous and prosperous states to have slightly more representation in the federal government. He then went on to explain the technicalities of his proposition. He admitted that “Congress would be capable of taxing the states and regulating trade among them,” a plan that was met by much booing from the crowd. “See the Virginia plan doesn’t give the small state enough representation with the Virginia the opinion’s [sic] of the people of the smaller states will be inconsequential….Virginia may be big but the key is equality”, Patterson weakly concluded.

Roger Sherman from the Great Compromise also spoke at the Convention. During the debate portion, he was joined by the aging and frail Benjamin Franklin, who, though a once great and eloquent orator seems to have lost his touch. Most of Franklin’s statements, for example, revolved around his cats. He referred to a stray cat eating his own cat’s food as “milk taking,” and beyond these occasion interruptions, Franklin appeared to have little to say about the Convention. The Crispus Attucks Coalition and the Dixiecrat Bloc spent the entire Convention arguing childishly over the inconsequential issue of slavery.


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Virginia Plan brochure, page I



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Virginia Plan brochure, page II

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