Period Three Virginia Plan

Group Members and Role

Andrew = Writer/Wiki Expert, Video Journalist, TV Ad
Gemma = Debater
Emily = Orator
Isabel = Photographer, Facebook/Tech/Photoshop, Radio Spot

Andres = Print Journalist, TV Ad

Group Slogan

''Represent Every Man With the Virginia Plan!!!!''

What Your Group Wants -- Plan for New Constitution

The Virginia Plan calls for a strong central government. This government shall have three different branches, such as the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branch. Out of these three branches, the legislative will hold the most power. The legislative branch will also be bicameral It will be devided into the House of Representatives and the senate. The citizens of America will be able to vote for members of the house, while the state legislatures will vote for the senate. The citizens of America shall be governed by a Federal system of government, which means that they will be governed by their state and national governments. The states will be represented in proportion to their quotas of contribution or to their amount of citizens.

Bullet Points of Your Plan

  1. The Virginia Plan's idea of a strong and central government will prove the the rest of the world that America should be considered a viable country with considerable strength.
  2. The national government should be divided into three branches, ensuring that no one branch obtains too much power.
  3. The legislative branch is bicameral, and representatives are delegated based on population.
  4. The national legislature has the authority to levy taxes and import duties, and regulate trade.
  5. National laws will supersede those of the state.
  6. Every citizen will be governed by their state and national governments.
  7. Fair representation for all.

Orator: Text of Your Speech

My fellow Americans, I, James Madison, come before you today having shared the experiences
Mr. James Madison presents the Virginia Plan.
of the revolution with you all. After years of tumult and peril, we have relinquished ourselves from the shackles of the oppressive monarchy of England and now face the opportunity to form a superior form of government. At such a time as this, let not our differences divide us. We cannot give our oppressors the satisfaction of seeing our fledgling nation crumble and fail because we were unable to come to an agreement. England, the country that not long ago, we saluted as our “mother,” thought us as callow and puerile as children. Now, we must prove that her assumptions toward our character are unfounded. Let us put our disagreements aside and allow our country grow from a dependent child to an adept and self-sufficient man. Gentlemen, the time to evolve has come.

We are a people who have experienced the tightening grip of a tyrannical and despotic monarchy. Let these experiences serve not as a catalyst for fear of the past but rather as a means to better the future. I urge you: do not confuse the corruption of England as a corruption of all government; when a select few come into possession of an excess of power, then, and only then, does the threat of corruption becomes a viable one.

It is through this understanding that my fellow statesmen and I have concluded that the voice of the people is the most essential and necessary element of our government. We have journeyed here today with the goal of proposing a system in which the laws are formed by the rule of the majority and where every man has an equal voice in his country’s affairs.

How can we claim that “all men are created equal” and yet not weigh each vote equally? Is it just to place equivalent power on the less populated states, such as Rhode Island and New Jersey, as on the thriving, expansive
Virginia Plan handout
states of the South? Clearly, gentlemen, it is not. The smaller territories must not be allowed disproportionate power for fear of disunity and revolt. If you were as shaken by it as I, I need not remind you of the actions of Mr. Daniel Shays and his league of indebted, discontented farmers, for it is already in the forefront of you mind. Has this rebellion not taught us to be wary of such gaps in power?

The Virginia plan proposes that a strong national government be implemented. This is not meant to lessen the rights of the people but instead to provide the stability necessary to secure them. Our country should unite under a set of laws and taxes that supercede those of the state so as to ensure a cohesive network of justice throughout the territories. This national government should consist of three different but equal branches: the legislative (to create laws), the judicial (to interpret them), and the executive (to carry out the laws). These three will act as a system of checks and balances, creating a trifecta that ensures no singular branch obtains dominance in our republic.

Your earnest cries of “No Taxation without Representation” have not fallen upon deaf ears. The Virginia Plan asserts that the Legislature should be bicameral, or having two houses, both of which are to be elected directly by the people. It stands to reason that these legislatures should represent the population proportionally, for the ideal of equality for all men cannot be enacted in any other manner. The great document that has freed us from the bonds of the Old World was not written “all cities created equal,” “all states created equal,” of even “all nations created equal.” The emphasis, therefore, must by necessity be placed on the individual. Under this doctrine, it would be foolhardy to purposefully favor larger states over those of smaller population. It is only by the nature of equal distribution of authority that areas more densely populated obtain more control, but this does not weaken the influence of any particular individual. Rule by the majority cannot exist under any other philosophy.

There is none among us who has not experienced the perversion of justice that the English monarchy had enacted upon their thirteen colonies. In the name of freedom, many men battled against these atrocities, and paid for our victory with their lives. Let us not lose sight of our goals now that the bloodshed has ceased. Although the pain has subsided, do not forget the source of the wound. Displaced power leads only to disharmony, disunity, and disjunction. It is only human to desire and advocate a society that best benefits your personal circumstances. However, the consequences of doing so may, with time, prove to exponentially outweigh the advantages. The New World calls for new ideals; do not fall folly to old corruption disguised in new costume.

Debater: Possible Objections to Plan and Your Replies

  • Representeverymanwiththevirginiaplan.jpg
    ''Represent Every Man With the Virginia Plan!''

    States should be represented by population because the United States is a republic. It is the voice of the people. With the power given to the population, states can vote fairly to benefit the people in the United States, not just the individual states.
  • The concept of individuality has run rampant in the loose confederation established under the Articles of Confederation. What we need is a tighter sense of government - starting with the existence of an effective federal government. It is a common embarrassment to the nation not to be able to hold commerce with other countries; especially the West Indies. We need to show the world that we Americans are not to be trodden upon.
  • The New Jersey plan favors equal representation. But is representation truly equal when the masses cannot hold more reps in office? If we want a government run by the people, we must count representatives by population - it is the only fair way.
  • Virginia wants these states to stay together. We did not fight and die for our new country to fall apart. So we will side with the Dixiecrats on slavery. If slavery keeps us together, then we will allow it.

Print Journalist: Write-Up of Convention Activity

High hopes resonate in the spirit of this year’s constitutional convention in Philadelphia, one must only be reminded of the pathetic convention held at Annapolis, Maryland in 1786 to realize that this constitutional convention is filled with potential. Instead of control of commerce, the focus is now on The Articles of Confederation. Delegates agree that The Articles of Confederation, aka “Articles of Confusion”, provided a loose unity between thirteen virtually independent states. Any amendment of these Articles was practically impossible, all thirteen states were required to reach an agreement, not a small task, which resulted in an unworkable system. Our times require a strong cohesive government as a response to uprisings such as Shays’s Rebellion; therefore, the participant “demigods” under the watchful eyes of the aging yet
Mr. Randlolph speaks for the VA Plan!
wise as ever chairman George Washington abandon all selfish needs for the good of the people.

Strong and steady came the Virginia Plan. With a confident look in his eyes and a grin of knowledge that sent a shock of fear down the spine of the New Jersey Plan’s supporters Mr. James Madison began his eloquent speech. With a deep absorbing voice that needed only the words “Mesopotamia” to convince even his most skeptical adversaries he was able to effortlessly overflow the room to the rim. Ingenious ideas of representation by population were introduced with the reasoning that “all people are equal so all votes are equal.” He stated that we must put differences aside to develop our country from a “child into a man.” He said that we must not let England see us fail and cannot allow them to view us as “callow and puerile” children; reminding us of Shays’s rebellion he revealed that this was caused by gaps in government that wouldn’t be present in the Virginia Plan. Further elaborating on the national government he explained three marvelous Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches exposing a brilliant checks and balances system. “Represent every man with the Virginia Plan” put the final nail in the coffin of the New Jersey Plan.

An obviously perspiring Patrick Henry trembled upon the podium to deliver his speech. We have won, “freedom triumphs over tyranny” he says. He continued by insisting that England cannot wait for us to crawl back, so we must choose wisely. With statements like “equal representation” and “from escaping a tyranny will we walk into another?” he encouraged his view that “fun-size” states deserve the exact same representation in government as the larger more influential states. He expanded by declaring that it would be a three Branch system similar to that of the Virginia Plan, large differences
Virginia Plan Brochure, Page I
occur in the Legislature where there would only be one house, or unicameral, where all states would be represented equally with the same power. Along the way Mr. Henry also surprised us with grotesque diction such as the Virginia Plan “rapes”, hardly the talk of an able-minded representative. Concluding with a statement that the Virginia Plan would easily let the roles of large states take over, he declared “equal representation.” It is worth noting that this unbiased reporter couldn’t help but witness the rain of sweat pouring on his paper and that a clear shiver in his voice occurred every time he mentioned the Virginia Plan.

A compromise between the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan was proposed by The Great Compromise. “Too many fall to another without any compromise” opened Roger Sherman. It soon became evident that he was in favor of “something in the middle” so that we would avoid “crawling back to this tyrant (England).” He believed that both the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan had “positive aspects” and using their template The Great Compromise forms the same three Branches in government, in the Legislative he structures a House of Representatives by population and a Senate comprised of two senators regardless of the state’s population. His emotional rhetoric was unmistakable, using pathos he desperately urged compromise in order for things to be accomplished.

“Liberty for all will make America stand tall”, such are the words of George Mason of the Crispus Attucks Coalition, a fierce critic of slavery. He wishes to “judge not by skin but character” because we all have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” In his denunciation of slavery Mr. Mason debates that slaves are not animals, they have souls. He uses a rhetorical question to enhance his point, “Why are animals not counted in the population if slaves are?” He puts forward a plan for “gradual change over time” which will form the “evolution of the extinction of slavery” recommending a change where slaves will be let go, and be “gradually replaced by the plantation owner who should be
Virginia Plan, Page II
working their own farm anyways.” Mason argues that if we have just fought for freedom, do the slaves not deserve it? Furthermore, he attempts to instill fear into the South by proposing an interesting thought, that we will face this fight for freedom in the near future, and in this battle the Americans will be the new oppressor, the new England.

Ending this segment was the Dixiecrat Bloc representing much of the South’s interests. “We come together determined to thrive, but we stand apart” says delegate Charles Pickney. Assuming it is his duty to secure the southern states he argues that we can’t “destroy everything (slavery) we have created, that will make disunity.” Justification was provided by Mr. Pickney by stating that ”We the people provide slaves with life, they used to live like savages, now they are better off”, this comment wasn’t received well by the supporters of the Crispus Attucks Coalition who responded with “Lies!!”. Mr. Mason added evidence to his position by revealing that slavery makes a state “thirty-five percent more profitable”; in addition, he placed his support behind a three-fifths compromise in which the slaves will account for three-fifths of a person. Mr. Pickney stepped down from the podium as a guardian of southern society having fought fiercely for the economic benefits of slavery.

The intense debate that followed observed the clash between bitter rival ideas which contrasted heavily with one another.
James Madison counters an assertion made by the opposition.
Notable were the exchanges between the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan. The “small state plan” seemed small against the “big state plan” in this dispute. The two plans confronted each other, a clear disagreement became the definition of the word “representation”. When Virginia Plan gave the clear profound explanation that representation was formed by “the equality of the individual” New Jersey Plan retorted that representation was the “equality of the state.” New Jersey Plan’s delegates added supplementary information by providing an example, Mr.Henry compared himself to his fellow delegate stating that if they were both states would he count as less simply because he is shorter? This was easily blown off by Virginia Plan responding that they are not comprised by a multitude of people, to this chaos ensued as the New Jersey Plan broke away from the convention fuming in anger.

Also passionate were the battles between the Crispus Attucks Coalition and the Dixiecrat Bloc. The Dixiecrat Bloc wasted no time getting to the point, arguing that “Our nation was founded on slavery, it is our backbone.” They quickly affirmed that “slavery is immoral, but failure of the constitution is worse.” Crispus Attucks refuted the remark asking the question, “Do we want a nation built on those morals?” They decided that our principles will serve as an example for the future and the economy will follow. Meanwhile, The Great Compromise established to decipher the ideas and create a middle ground for the content of all plans. “We need to make a compromise to move” was constantly heard from the mouths of the delegates of The Great Compromise. They even went as far as to cry “if we can’t move forward we should have stayed as colonies.” They appropriately ended their campaign with the singing of the verse “Why can’t we be friends?”
And so ends this year’s Constitutional Convention, the intellectuals were fervently pushing for the ideals favored by the people illuminating a deep commitment to this new country, if one thing is clear it is this, we’re in good hands.

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