The Connecticut compromise (also known as the Grand Compromise of 1787 or the Sherman Compromise) was an agreement between large and small states during the 1787 Constitutional Convention, which defined in part the legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the U.S. Constitution. It maintained the bicameral legislation proposed by Roger Sherman, as well as the proportional state vote in the House of Commons or the House of Representatives, but required that the House of Lords or the Senate be weighted in the same way between states. Each state would have two representatives in the House of Lords. “The founders could never imagine… the big differences in the population of the states that exist today,” said political scientist George Edwards III of Texas`s A-M University. “If they happen to live in a state of population, you will have a broader say in the U.S. government.” However, the issue of representation threatened to destroy the seven-week-old Convention. Delegates from the major states felt that because they contributed proportionately more to the country`s financial and defensive resources, their states should have proportional representation in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Delegates from small states called, with comparable intensity, for all states to be represented in the same way in both houses. When Sherman proposed the compromise, Benjamin Franklin agreed that each state should have the same vote in the Senate on all matters except those related to money. The principle of protecting small states by equal representation in the Senate is passed on to the electoral college that elects the president, since the number of votes for each state is based on the total number of state representatives in the House of Representatives and the Senate. This agreement allowed discussions to continue and resulted in the three-fifths compromise, which further complicated the issue of popular representation in Parliament. On June 14, while the Convention was ready to review the Virginia Plan report, William Paterson of New Jersey requested a postponement to allow more time for some delegations to develop a replacement plan. The application was accepted and the next day Mr. Paterson presented nine resolutions containing the necessary amendments to the articles of Confederation, followed by a lively debate. On June 19, delegates rejected New Jersey`s plan and voted in favor of a discussion on the Virginia plan.