What Is the Great Compromise of 1787?

The Great Compromise of 1787 was a measure proposed at the United States Constitutional Convention of 1787, which created a system for proportional representation in the House of Representatives, while maintaining equal representation in the Senate. This measure satisfied representatives from both large and small states, who did not want their citizens to be underrepresented in the new government.

Although it had declared independence eleven years prior, by 1787 the United States of America had yet to agree on a constitution that would satisfy the varying needs of all the states. One of the major debates was over whether the new legislature would give each state representatives based on that state’s population or if each state would have equal representation. The larger states wanted to have more influence with proportional representation, but the smaller ones were afraid their views would be trampled if such a system were put into place.

The proposal came from Roger Sherman, a Superior Court Judge of Connecticut, who had previously been a delegate during the independence debates of 1776. Sherman’s Connecticut Compromise, also known as The Great Compromise, outlined a system for representatives in both a proportional House and an equally represented Senate. This was one of many compromises included in the United States Constitution that led to a more unified nation.