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William F. Paterson's notes on debates in the Federal Convention (regarding smaller and larger states), ca. June 1787

William Paterson's notes on the Constitutional Convention record remarks of other delegates about the imbalance of power in a union of large and small states. Patterson noted that James Madison of Virginia mentioned the interests of the smaller states and Pennsylvania's Gouverneur Morris believed the larger states would overpower the smaller ones.

The strongest Party will make the weaker Traitors and hang them

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

William F. Paterson's notes on debates in the Federal Convention William F. Paterson's notes on debates in the Federal Convention William F. Paterson's notes on debates in the Federal Convention

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.