This section is from the book "Popular Law Library Vol1 Introduction To The Study Of Law Legal History", by Albert H. Putney. Also see: Popular Law-Dictionary.
The history of the adoption of the various parts of the Constitution in their existing form will be treated in connection with the discussion of the subject of Constitutional Law. A brief statement, however, of the three great compromises of the Constitutional Convention finds a proper place in this chapter. First in importance stands the so-called Connecticut Compromise, which succeeded in bridging over the seemingly impassable chasm between the Virginia and the New Jersey plans. For this compromise, as for so much else, the Constitutional Convention was indebted to a provision in one of the State constitutions. The Constitution of Connecticut, while providing for senatorial districts arranged according to population, divided the members of the lower House equally among the different existing towns. From the beginning of the convention, Oliver Ellsworth and Roger Sherman of Connecticut seemed to have considered this plan of equal representation in one house, and proportional representation in the other, as a proper basis of compromise between the large and the small states. This proposition was first suggested in the convention by Mr. Sherman on June 11, 1787. On the same day the vote of Connecticut was cast in favor of proportional representation in the lower House, and later in the day in favor of equal representation in the Senate. The six states, however, supporting the Virginia plan, still maintained their unbroken ranks, and the vote was in favor of proportional representation in both houses. On June 19th, Connecticut was found voting for the Virginia plan as a whole, as against the New Jersey plan. The Connecticut delegates, however, were still far from having abandoned their suggested compromise, and were prepared to offer it again at the earliest opportunity. The apparently uncompromising attitude on the part of the larger states for a time threw Connecticut over entirely to the side of the smaller states, and on June 29th her vote was cast in the convention against proportional representation in the lower House.7
On the second day of July Connecticut's opportunity came at last. The growing discontent of the smaller states at length had begun to arouse the fear among some of the delegates from the "six" states, that they were perhaps going too far. When, on this day, Oliver Ellsworth moved for an equality of the states in the upper branch, Mr. Baldwin, of Georgia, divided the vote of that State by voting with the smaller states. The result was a tie and a deadlock. After a brief period of hesitancy, the convention referred this whole matter to a committee of one from each State, who three days later (July 5, 1787), reported as follows: "The committee to whom was referred the eighth resolution of the report of the committee of the whole House, and so much of the seventh as has not been decided on, submit the following report:
"That the subsequent propositions be recommended to the convention on condition that both shall be generally adopted.
"1. That the first branch of the legislature, each of the states now in the Union shall be allowed one member for every 40,000 inhabitants, of the description reported in the seventh resolution of the committee of the whole House; that each State not containing that number shall be allowed one member; that all bills for raising or appropriating money, and for fixing the salaries of the officers of the government of the United States, shall originate in the first branch of the legislature, and shall not be altered or amended by the second branch; and that no money shall be drawn from the public treasury but in pursuance of appropriations to be originated in the first branch.
7 The motion was to agree to the clause as reported: "that the rule of suffrage in the first branch ought not to be according to that established by the Articles of Confederation. The vote on this question was 6 yeas to 4 nays; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, against Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, ana Delaware; with the vote of Maryland equally divided.
"2. That in the second branch, each State shall have an equal vote." 8
After being debated for eleven days, and somewhat amended,9 this report, embodying the Connecticut compromise, was adopted by the narrow margin of five states to four - Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and North Carolina, against
8 "This report was founded on a motion in the Committee made by Doctor Franklin. It was barely acquiesced in by the members from the States opposed to an equity of votes in the second branch, and was evidently considered by the members on the other side, as a gaining of their point. A motion was made by Mr. Sherman (who acted in the place of Mr. Ellsworth who was kept away by indisposition), in the Committee, to the following effect, 'That each State should have an equal vote in the second branch; provided that no decision therein should prevail unless the majority of States concurring should also comprise a majority of the inhabitants of the United States.' This motion was not much deliberated on nor approved, in the Committee. A similar proviso had been proposed, in the debates on the Articles of Confederation, in 1777, to the Articles giving certain powers to "nine States." See Journals of Congress for 1777, "page 462." Foot-note to Scott's Edition of Madison's Journal of the Federal Convention. 9 The resolution as passed was as follows:
"Resolved, That in the original formation of the Legislature of the United States, the first branch thereof shall consist of sixty-five members, of which number New Hampshire shall send 3, Massachusetts, 8; Rhode Island, 1; Connecticut, 5; New York, 6; New Jersey, 4; Pennsylvania, 8; Delaware, 1; Maryland, 6; Virginia, 10; North Carolina, 5; South Carolina, 5; Georgia, 3. But as the present situation of the States may probably alter in the number of their inhabitants, the Legislature of the United States shall be authorized, from time to time, to appoint the number of representatives and in case any of the States shall hereafter be divided, or enlarged by addition of territory, or any two or more states united, or any new states created within the limits of the United States, the Legislature of the United States shall possess authority to regulate the number of representatives in any of the foregoing cases, upon the principle of the number of inhabitants, according to the provisions hereafter mentioned; provided always that representation ought to be proportioned according to direct taxation, and in order to ascertain the alteration in the direct taxation, which may be required from time to time by the changes in the relative circumstances of the States.