The New Jersey Plan (also known as the Small State or Paterson Plan) was a proposal for the structure of the United States Government proposed by William Paterson at the Constitutional Convention on June 15, 1787.[1] The plan was created in response to the Virginia Plan's call for two houses of Congress, both elected with apportionment according to population or direct taxes paid.[2] The less populous states were adamantly opposed to giving most of the control of the national government to the larger states, and so proposed an alternate plan that would have given one vote per state for equal representation under one legislative body (i.e., a Unicameral Legislature). This was a compromise for the issue of the houses. This plan was opposed by James Madison and Edmund Randolph.

When the Connecticut Compromise (or "Great Compromise") was constructed, the New Jersey Plan's legislative body was used as the model for the United States Senate.[3]

Under the New Jersey Plan, the organization of the legislature was similar to that of the modern day United Nations and other like institutions. This position reflected the belief that the states were independent entities, and, as they entered the United States of America freely and individually, so they remained. The New Jersey plan also gave power to regulate trade and to raise money by taxing foreign goods.

Ultimately, the New Jersey Plan was rejected as a basis for a new constitution. The Virginia Plan was used, but some ideas from the New Jersey plan were added. In the Senate each state would be represented equally while the House of Representatives votes would be distributed according to population.