The New Jersey Plan

A Text of the Plan Presented by William Patterson
to the Federal Convention, June 15, 1787

[Quoted from Documentary History of the Constitution, vol. I, pp. 322-326]

1. Resolved, that the Articles of Confedern ought to be so revised, corrected, and enlarged as to render the federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government, and the preservation of the Union.

2. Resolved, that in addition to the Powers vested in the United States in Congress by the present existing Articles of Confederation, they be authorized to pass Acts for raising a Revenue by levying a Duty or Duties on all goods and Merchandise of foreign growth or manufacture imported into any part of the United States,-by Stamps on Paper Vellum or Parchment,- and by a Postage on all Letters and Packages passing through the general Post Office. To be applied to such federal purposes as they shall deem proper and expedient; to make rules and regulations for the collection thereof, and the same from time to time to alter and amend, in such manner as they shall think proper. To pass Acts for the regulation of Trade and Commerce, as well with foreign Nations, as with each other. Provided that all punishments, Fines Forfeitures and Penalties to be incurred for contravening such Rules, and regulations shall be adjudged by the common Law Judiciary of the States in which any offense contrary to the true intent and meaning of such Rules and regulations shall be committed or perpetrated; with liberty of commencing in the first instance all suits or prosecutions for that purpose in the Superior Common Law Judiciary of such State; subject Nevertheless to an Appeal for the Correction of all errors, both in Law in Fact, in rendering Judgment, to the Judiciary of the United States.

3. Resolved, that whenever Requisitions shall be necessary, instead of the present Rule, the United States in Congress be authorized to make such Requisitions in proportion to the whole Number of White and other Free Citizens and Inhabitants of every age, sex and condition, including those bound to servitude for a Term of years, and three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description-(except Indians not paying Taxes): that if such Requisitions be not complied with, in the time to be specified therein, to direct the Collection thereof in the non complying States and for that purpose to devise and pass Acts directing and authorizing the same. Provided that none of the powers hereby vested in the United States in Congress shall be exercized without the Consent of at least _______ States, and in that proportion, if the number of confederated States should be hereafter encreased or diminished.

4. Resolved, that the U. S. in Congress be authorized to elect a federal Executive to consist of ________ Persons, to continue in office for the Term of ______ years; to receive punctually at Stated times a fixed compensation for the services by them rendered, in which no increase or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the persons composing the Executive at the time of such encrease or diminution; to be paid out of the Federal Treasury; to be incapable of holding any other Office or appointment during their time of service, and for ______ years thereafter; to be ineligible a second time, and removable on impeachment and conviction for Mal practice or neglect of duty-by Congress on application by a Majority of the Executives of the several States. That the Executive, besides a general authority to execute the federal Acts, ought to appoint all federal Officers not other wise provided for, and to direct all Military operations; provided that none of the persons composing the federal Executive shall on any occasion take command of any Troops so as personally to conduct any Military enterprise as general ["Officer" stricken out] or in any other capacity.

5. Resolved, that a federal Judiciary be established, to consist of a supreme Tribunal, the Judges of which to be appointed by the Executive, and to hold their Offices during good behavior; to receive punctually at stated times a fixed compensation for their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made so as to effect the persons actually in Office at the time of such increase or diminution;-That the Judiciary so established shall have authority to hear and determine in the first instance on all impeachments of federal Officers, and by way of Appeal in the dernier resort in all cases touching the Rights and privileges of Embassadors; in all cases of captures from an Enemy; in all cases of Piricies and Felonies on the high Seas; in all cases in which Foreigners may be interested in the construction of any Treaty or Treaties, or which may arise on any Act or Ordinance of Congress for the regulation of Trade, or the collection of the Federal Revenue: that none of the Judiciary Officers shall during the time they remain in Office be capable of receiving or holding any other Office or appointment during their time of service, or for thereafter.

6. Resolved, that the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary Powers within the several States ought to be bound by Oath to support the Articles of Union.

7. Resolved, that all Acts of the United States in Congress Assembled, made by virtue and pursuance of the Powers hereby vested in them, and by the Articles of the Confederation, and all Treaties made and ratified under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the respective States, as far as those Acts or Treaties shall relate to the said States or their [citizens "subjects" stricken out]; and that the Judiciaries of the several States shall be bound thereby in their decisions, anything in the respective Laws of the Individual States to the Contrary notwithstanding.

And if any State, or any body of Men in any State, shall oppose or prevent the carrying into Execution such Acts or Treaties, the federal Executive shall be authorized to call forth the Powers of the confederated States, or so much thereof as may be necessary to enforce and compell an obedience to such Acts or an observance of such Treaties.

8. Resolved, that provision ought to be made for the admission of New States into the Union

9. Resolved, that Provision ought to be made for hearing and deciding upon all disputes arising between the United States and an Individual State respecting Territory

10. Resolved, that the Rule for Naturalization ought to be the same in every State.

11 . Resolved, that a Citizen of one State committing an Offence in an other State, shall be deemed guilty of the same offense, as if it had been committed by a Citizen of the State in which the offense was committed.

Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union of the American States.
Government Printing Office, 1927.
House Document No. 398.
Selected, Arranged and Indexed by Charles C. Tansill.
©2019 Center for the Study of Statesmanship
The Catholic University of America