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Connecticut Compromise


CONNECTICUT COMPROMISE, which was based on a proposal by jurist and politician Roger Sherman of Connecticut, resolved an impasse in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 between large and small states over the apportionment of representation in the proposed senate. The larger states supported the Virginia Plan, which would create a bicameral legislature in which "the rights of suffrage … ought to be proportioned to the Quotas of contributions, or to the number of free inhabitants." Anticipating greater burdens from the centralization of power in a new national government, these states demanded a commensurate share of control. The small states, jealous of their welfare, refused to be moved from their demand for equality in a unicameral house. This was the fundamental problem of balance in a federation of states differing so greatly in size.

On 11 June, Sherman offered a compromise: two houses, one with equal representation for all states and the other with proportional representation based on population. The convention delegates adopted amendments to this proposal that required bills raising revenue to originate in the House of Representatives. The amendments also based representation in the House on total white population and three-fifths of the black population. Sherman's proposal was adopted in its amended form; this agreement has since been known as the Connecticut, or Great, Compromise.


Collier, Christopher, and James L. Collier. Decision in Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1787. New York: Random House, 1986.

Farrand, Max, ed. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Rev. ed., 4 vols. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1937. The original edition was published in 3 vols., 1911.

Rakove, Jack N. Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution. New York: Knopf, 1996.

Rossiter, Clinton. 1787: The Grand Convention. New York: Macmillan, 1966.

Theodore M.Whitfield/c. p.

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