- Published: October 31, 2021
- Updated: October 31, 2021
- University / College: University of Wollongong
- Language: English
- Downloads: 39
During June, 1787 thirteen states of the Confederate in America came together to form the federal government of United States. Virginia and New Jersey plans were presented at the Constitutional Convention to discuss the roles of National Legislature, Executive and Judiciary in the United States Congress. While the Virginia plan details out the structure of the federal government, New Jersey plan talks about the powers of the government. Virginia plan is clearer in the number, mode of election of representatives and their roles.
Virginia plan has information about three branches of government at federal level- Legislature, Executive and Judiciary.National Legislature is again split into two sub-branches as branch 1 and branch 2. For branch 1 of the legislature, congressional members are to be elected by the people of the states. Each member will stay in power for three years and cannot accept any government post within one year of completion of term. For branch 2, members have to be chosen by individual legislature of the state. Such member has to be in state politics for seven years and a minimum of 30 years old. Any change or amendment of the National legislature can only be made when there is equitable ratio of representation in proportion to the citizens and three-fifth of other persons. Admission of states into the Union could be possible by the vote of the member states. Specific powers of the Legislature are not stated in this plan.
New Jersey plan does not discuss structure of the government but details the powers of the National Legislature. Legislature has specific powers to pass Acts for raising revenue and levy duties on foreign goods and merchandise (imported). It may make rules and regulations for the collection of such revenues and to amend or alter them. In case of any dispute Common Law Judiciaries of states can pass judgment on fines or dues. Requisitions can be made by the United States in Congress if any state does not comply with the acts or regulations. It can devise and pass Acts to direct the erring state. This plan gives supreme authority to the Legislature and Judiciary to take ruling in case of any two states under dispute.
Executive branch under Virginia plan is composed of single person who is chosen by national Legislature for a seven year term. His job is to execute law, to appoint other officers and has power to negate National Legislative Act. Any Act negated shall pass only by two thirds of each branch of the National Legislature. He would be ineligible for second term and to be removable on impeachment and conviction of malpractices or neglect of duty. National Legislature supersedes legislatures of individual states and under any dispute the National Legislature has to be applied. Under the New Jersey plan the Executive can appoint federal officers for other duties. These officers may direct military operations but cannot take command of any troops.
National Judiciary under Virginia plan would have one tribunal of judges who are appointed by the 2nd branch of Legislature. Its duties are collection of the National revenue, impeachments of any National Officers, and questions which involve the national peace & harmony. Under the New Jersey plan Judiciary was the similarly appointed but its powers were slightly different. It has powers to hear and determine impeachment of federal officers, Ambassadors, foreigners and construction of treaties.
National Legislative, Executive and Judiciary are the supreme power in the nation, acts and treaties according to the New Jersey plan. All states shall abide by the laws of the nation. In some case if any state denies complying with the treaties then the National Executive may authorize the power of Confederate states to enforce and comply. This aspect is repeated in the Virginia plan too. New Jersey plan also makes news states joining the Union possible and each citizen of any state will have to abide and tried by the same laws of the nation. Both the plans make it clear that the compensation to the Executive and Judiciary shall come from the national treasury for the term in office without any break.
The Virginia plan has more clarity in content since it determines the levels of government, the structure, the method for selecting representatives and composition and designs of Executive and Judiciary. The New Jersey Plan is clear in the powers only but does not specify the structure. It appears incomplete because it is not stating in clear terms the structure, and mode of selection of representatives. Without a structure and method of representation the governance would be difficult to organize and delegate. The Congress’s specific powers and the relationship between states and federal government are more vividly stated in the New Jersey plan. Since Virginia plan lacks few details which the New Jersey plan aptly adds, both plans together would make the government a better organization.