Group Members and Roles
  • Cassandra - Photographer
  • Ami - Orator
  • Carly - Poster
  • Lucy - Brochure/Facebook Page
  • Ana - Debater
  • Claire - Print Journalist
  • Brianna - [[#|Mailer]]
  • Lauren - Radio/TV ad
  • Alana - Radio/TV ad

Group Slogan
"Representation by population is the best way to govern our nation!"

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Bullet Points of Your Plan
  • Stable central government
  • Two-house legislature based on population
  • System of checks and balances
  • Three branches of government
  • Every individual will be heard!

Orator: Text of Your Speech
My fellow Americans: together we have fought against oppression. We freed ourselves from Parliament’s oppressive laws. We united to form a new nation, ruled not by foreign and distant kings but by us, the people. In our time of discord, let us not forget from which we came. The Great War was fought because of our desire for equal representation and disgust for an over-baring monarchy. This great nation must be founded upon these same values.
As we stand here today, presented with the challenge of creating a nation that will last for centuries, we must look at history to foster a healthy and safe future for our posterity. What can Britain’s mistakes teach us? Did we not complain of the unequal representation of homeland British over us, then loyal British Americans? To avoid the follies of the British monarchy, we must distribute power equally among the people. Power by geography failed to work for tyrannical Britain and it will fail to work for a delicate and fledging nation such as ours. Only fools would flock back to the same system that has corrupted governments before. We must learn from history, my brethren, and place power accordingly.
It is with this essential lesson in mind that I present to you today the Virginia plan. This plan assigns representatives by population, so that regardless of state, each person has the same influence on government. Avoiding the mistakes made by the tyrant we have so recently repelled, the Virginia plan gives power equally to people, ensuring that no small majority has more power than another. Alas, unfair distribution of power is how tyrants are born. Instead, a voice form New Jersey and a voice from Virginia have the same power and the same effect on laws. The Virginia plan creates a congress that more accurately represents the will of the people. This more accurate representation leads to laws that benefit the majority of the people, regardless of state. If we are to make laws as a nation and enforce them as a nation, then one minority cannot manipulate the laws to benefit them to the detriment of the nation. This plan is not meant to oppress or silence the smaller states, which constitute an essential and appreciated part of our union, but to protect the voices of all Americans as equal. A nation under the Virginia plan will thrive as a whole, not as one state reaping the benefits of its unequal power while larger groups of people are subject to their will.
The New Jersey plan tries to act as a safeguard against corruption, but by dividing power by state, it divides us even more. Arbitrary lines on a map decide how much power your vote has. Why does ones place of birth affect the inherit worth of their vote? Why does a small group of people have as much say as a large group? Why not divide power by population, so that equal groups have equal power. The New Jersey plan further galvanizes interstate conflict and does nothing to unite us.
This is not a decision of Virginia vs. New Jersey or Big vs. Small, Neigh! This is a decision of American vs. American! The New Jersey plan conspires to keep us apart, not united as Americans but fighting and arguing as if we were little children. If we give power to people, rather than states, we ensure that together will mature into Americans, not a conglomerate of inefficient and squabbling children fighting over power. As Americans working toward a common good, our country will flourish. As States working for power, our country will collapse into civil war.
Our declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal. If we wish to affirm this, we must reject the New Jersey plan. Though they are doubtless concerned that the power of larger states will be used to crush them, it is time to put faith back into our government and more importantly the people. Britain crushed our colonies because it benefitted them, but now as a united front, that sort of unlawful oppression is harmful to all members of our union equally. Domination of separate states will not occur, for we understand that a strike against a fellow state is a strike against ourselves. The New Jersey plan creates an environment ripe for fighting and disunity, completely ignoring the fact that the fate of our states is inexorably twined with the fate of our nation. This sort of infighting will spell our demise.
Our past experience with power as tyrannical and oppressive leaves bitter tastes in our mouth, but is time for us, as a union, to drink of the sweet wine of democracy. The New Jersey plan rejects this idea. It is a plan of fear: fear of power and fear of the other states. Do you not see that this is exactly what England wants for America?! That we be divided by distrust and differences! That we fall as separate states, forever fearing the other and skeptical of their motives, instead of succeeding together, putting aside our fear and working cohesively as one united nation. Do not be afraid of the people, for only through their leadership and vote can this country resist tyranny.
I implore you, New Jersey and your associates, to not become the menace which together we fought to repel. I implore you to not fall back on the tactics that have only failed the causes of liberty. I implore you to not let fear guide your decision, but history. I implore you vest power in the people of every state equally, for the benefit of the people of America. I implore you to not cower behind you pleas for unequal voting power, but to join us in friendship and union. I implore you, vote for democracy, vote for a united future, vote for America! Thank you.

Why Our Plan is Good:
Virginia Plan handout

  • By dividing representation by population every state is getting their voice heard
  • A state with a larger population should not be shorthanded less votes or equal to a state that requires less representation because of its smaller population
  • Checks and balance system so no one branch can have more power than the other.
  • Creates a strong national government.
  • All colonies unified under equal representation with legislation that has an identity not each separate entities
  • Two house legislator, putting the power in the hands of the people and giving representatives based on each states needs
  • Long gone are the days of the oppressive monarchs, with the Virginia Plan government will be run by the people

"Representation by population is the best way to govern out nation!"

Print Journalist: Write Up of Convention Activity
This past Tuesday was a momentous occasion for our burgeoning independent nation— the Continental Congress, a meeting of the minds of delegates from America’s states, was convened. This meeting provided a platform from which each state could present and promote their differing ideologies and proposals about the nation’s future Constitution.

The day’s proceedings began with each representative delivering their speeches to endorse their plans. The orator of the Virginia Plan spoke first; the Virginia Plan promotes a two-house legislature in which the representatives for each state are allocated based on the overall population of that state. The more people in a state, the more votes that state should have. Sounds reasonable, no?

The logical advocates of the Virginia Plan opened the debate by asserting that there are larger states with large populations that need greater representation in order to be represented fairly, and that smaller states won’t be oppressed just because they have a proportionate number of votes. Ensuring the equality of every individual’s worth and representation helps provide for “an overall more unified national government”, something the United States of America in the 1780s is clearly lacking. Representation by population ensures that each American is given the same amount of representation. The United (or supposed to be United) States of America were founded on the principles of equality, of resisting oppression and fighting against despotism. The blood of our brothers, our fellow Americans, was shed to fight against the tyranny that results when a group of people have excessive power. Geographic representation obviously didn’t work then; America must not become like Mother England, subjecting the many to the desires of the few. Proportional representation guards against the domination of the voices of those living in heavily populated states by the few living in undersized states.

The chief adversary of the just Virginia Plan was the New Jersey Plan. They argued for a system of representation in which each state, regardless of size, need, or population, received the same number of votes. The New Jersey delegates objected by saying that “each state should have equal say or else it would be completely unfair.” They spoke about all states being equal, but does their plan really promote equality? No. If a small state such as New Jersey is given the same number of votes as a vastly more populous state like Virginia, then they are receiving proportionally more representation—in doing so they are saying that the opinions of the people living in small states are inherently more important than those living in large states. Your geographic location shouldn’t decide the worth of your individual voice.
The New Jersey advocates agreed that all men are created equal, but when asked further if every man should therefore have an equal vote, they responded with a curt “no”. How can a group speak against “being oppressed” when they themselves are denying each individual American their right to equal representation? The New Jersey promoters insisted that the smaller states would lose every time if they were given proportional representation, but in a functioning and fair democracy, the majority wins over the minority. It doesn’t make the entire plan corrupt just because New Jersey won’t always get its way. Upon further questioning they implied in a rather puerile show that if the small states were unsatisfied with their representation then they would just secede from the United States (“Why are we even here?!”).

The Great Compromise representatives strived to reach a consensus amongst the delegates by having both the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan sacrifice enough to meet in the middle; in essence, they were trying to ensure that “everybody gets something and no one gets nothing.” They suggested a bicameral legislature, in which the number of votes in the House of Representatives is proportional to the state’s population while the number of representatives in the Senate was equal for every state.

The Virginians countered by insisting that having an equal number of Senate members for every state regardless of size was not fair, while the New Jersey group argued that they still didn’t feel represented. The Great Compromise stressed that Britain wanted us to fail, and “if we can’t compromise on this, there’s nothing else we’ll ever be able to compromise on (i.e. debt, taxes, etc.).”

At this point the debate switched over to the antislavery/slavery side of the discussion, with the Crispus Attucks Coalition against the Dixiecrat Bloc. The Crispus Attucks’ wanted to “stop the knavery [and] end slavery”, and they asserted that God himself was in favor of abolition. The Dixiecrats insisted that “if we abolish slavery all together, our economy will tank”, and that there was no place for the slaves to go even if they were freed. The Attucks’ posed the question, why do they even have to leave? Why won’t they stay and work for pay? They continued that the conditions of slavery were horrible, they were whipped unjustly, and that their living quarters were “straw shacks”, to which the Dixiecrats responded by saying that “we only whip them when they’re bad…what we do is far more effective”, and that the slave shacks are actually quite “luxurious” at night (no creepy suggestions there). Slavery supposedly was good for the blacks, as they found Jesus and “fine appliances”. As the debate wound down, the Dixiecrats’ main argument was that slavery was the driving force of the economy, and that it was too large, important, and impactful an issue to be decided for the whole country (“We need to keep it on the back burner…”) The Attucks’ asserted that if it was not dealt with now, it would lead to large scale, violent conflict or rebellion in the future (“If we put it on the back burner, will it not boil over eventually?”).

Back on the topic of representation, the Virginia Plan advocates eloquently made the point that they supported a democracy of the people, where a majority of people out-rule a few disgruntled people. It is not state versus state, as New Jersey promotes, but a matter of equal, proportional representation for each American person. They agreed that too much power throughout history has led to corruption, and emphasized that small states abusing their disproportionately large power would be just as oppressive as large states doing so. Representation by population indeed is the best way to govern our nation.

In the end, the Great Compromise delegates declared that both Virginia and New Jersey “are both going to have to deal with something that you don’t want one hundred percent, but that’s how a nation’s formed…it’s about what you guys can both deal with.”

Virginia Plan brochure, Page 1

Virginia Plan brochure, Page 2

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