Drafted by James Madison, and presented by Edmund Randolph to the Constitutional Convention on May 29, 1787, the Virginia Plan proposed a strong central government composed of three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial.
On May 29, 1787, Virginia delegate Edmund Randolph proposed what became known
as "The Virginia Plan." Written primarily by fellow Virginian James
Madison, the plan traced the broad outlines of what would become the U.S. Constitution:
a national government consisting of three branches with checks and balances
to prevent the abuse of power. In its amended form, this page of Madison's plan
shows his ideas for a legislature. It describes 2 houses: one with members elected
by the people for 3-year terms and the other composed of older leaders elected
by the state legislatures for 7-year terms. Both would use population as a basis
for dividing seats among the states.
The Virginia Plan went through several revisions before it was finalized. These
"Variant Texts" of the Virgina Plan are available at Yale Law School's