U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

Welcome to the U.S. Capitol

Designing the Republic

At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, called to strengthen the Articles of Confederation, delegates debated whether the states should be represented in the legislature. Large states like Virginia favored representation proportional to population. Small states like New Jersey favored an equal number of delegates per state. Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth, both of Connecticut, proposed the Great Compromise that shaped the new Congress: a bicameral legislature with equal state representation in the Senate and proportional representation in the House of Representatives.

2 Images William F. Paterson's draft resolutions from the Constitutional... View All Images
3 Images William F. Paterson's notes on debates in the Federal Convention... View All Images