What Did the Great Compromise Establish?

The Great Compromise, sometimes called the Connecticut Compromise, established a bicameral legislature in the United States and assisted in the passage of the U.S. Constitution. Through this compromise, small states got equal representation in the Senate, to which each state sends an equal number of senators. Larger states, however, got more power in the House of Representatives, whose members are selected based on population.

The Great Compromise was a fusion of two different plans for representation. The Virginia Plan, favored by larger states, called for a legislative body in which representation was based on population. The New Jersey plan, on the other hand, called for equal representation for every state. Roger Sherman, a delegate from Connecticut, suggested the plan that became the Great Compromise. Sherman's plan called for the U.S. to have two legislative bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Each state received one member of the House of Representatives for every 30,000 citizens and two senators. Despite a last minute attempt by Benjamin Franklin to disallow smaller states from having equal voting rights on financial issues in the Senate, the proposal passed by only one vote on July 16, 1787. This compromise paved the way toward the Constitution's final passage, making it an important step in the creation of the United States.