William Paterson

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's October 2001

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William Paterson William Paterson, one of the founding fathers from the state of New Jersey lead most of his life as a successful lawyer but played a very large role in shaping a young United States. William Pierce, a delegate from Georgia at the Constitutional Convention once said of Paterson, "He is one of those kind of men whose powers break in upon you, and create wonder and astonishment. He is a man of great modesty whose looks bespeak talent of no great extent, but he is a classic lawyer and an orator of disposition so favorable to his advancement that everyone seemed ready to exalt him with their praises." Paterson was a Vanguard of the New Jersey Patriots during the Revolutionary War. He was Attorney General and elected to the U.S. Senate but Paterson's greatest accomplishment was his work on the New Jersey Plan.

In 1771 Paterson submitted the New Jersey Plan or otherwise known as the Paterson Plan, which was a counter to the Virginia Plan introduced by Edmond Randolph.

The New Jersey Plan was asserted the rights of small states by ignoring the size and population in each state and giving all states equal representation. The Virginia Plan produced special recognition to differences in population and therefore favored the larger states. The Constitution that emerged from the two plans was a compromise of the two plans. What was created were the Senate, which had two Senators represent each state and the House of Representatives, which based representation solely by each states population. Paterson's role in the creation of the New Jersey Plan gained him notoriety and recognition.

Paterson was chosen to represent New Jersey at the Constitutional Convention in 1776. He was chosen because of his work on the New Jersey Plan and left in the...

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