The Virginia plan was drafted on May 29, 1789 as a proposal for the government structure by Virginia delegate Edmund Randolph. The plan was written by James Madson, which traced broadly, what later came to be the United States constitution. On the other hand, The New Jersey Plan was a proposal created by the New Jersey delegate William Peterson that suggested a system of election of the executives and a national legislature. The rational in the New Jersey plan was to establish an unbiased system of selection of state representatives to a centralized legislature.
The Virginia Plan proposed creation of a Federal system of government that would be composed of a national government and States’ governments. The government was to consist of the Executive, the Legislature, and Judiciary. The Executive ought to be instituted by the National Legislature, to consist of one person to serve for a period of seven years and not eligible for reelection and is subject to impeachment by the congress upon conviction of malpractice in the period of the term of service. The Virginia Plan resolved that the National Legislature consist of two branches. In the first branch, (House of representatives) the members ought to have been elected by the public in each state to stand elected for a term of three years which they would be ineligible for reelection. In the second branch, (The Senate) members ought to be elected by members of the first branch to serve for a term of seven years. States representation of members in the two branches of legislature was to be based on the state population and size. This means that, larger states in terms of size and population would have more representation than a smaller state in the National Legislature.
Formation of the judiciary under the Virginia Plan was to be composed of one or many supreme tribunals and other inferior tribunals that would be appointed by the second branch of the National Legislature. Inferior judicial tribunal were proposed to hear and determine cases in the initial stages while the supreme tribunals were proposed to hear and determine cases involving piracies, felonies on high seas, enemy incursions cases involving citizens from other states including cases related to collection of national revenue, impeachment of leaders and other cases involving national peace and harmony.
In Virginia Plan, the term of office for members of the legislature and executive were unspecified. However, members in these branches could not be elected for an undetermined number of terms afterwards. Under this plan, the legislature would have the power to negate some state laws in event that they deemed incompatible with articles of union. However, the powers on the legislature could be vetoed by a selected council of judiciary and the executive.
On the contrary, the New Jersey Plan (commonly known as Small States Plan), which was presented in June 15, 1787 to the constitutional convention, proposed formation of a strong legislature composed of one house of Congress where states representation would be equal irrespective of state size and population. According to the plan, the government was to be composed of legislature, executive and judicially as the three branches. It proposed that the Legislature to appoint members to serve in the Executive council for a term of unspecified period that would not be eligible for reelection. In the New Jersey plan, the unicameral legislature was proposed to have members with one vote per state. This was inherited from the Articles of confederation that recognized states as independent entities that warranted equal representation at national level. The Congress was given powers to elect executives to serve at the federal level that consists of multiple people to serve for one term without provision for reelection and could be recalled by the Congress. On the other hand, the Executive would appoint Federal Supreme Tribunal in the judicially whose members would serve for a permanent term for life during good behavior.
Other powers to be granted to the Congress under the New Jersey Plan were the power to regulate trade between states and other nations. The proposal also included the powers of the congress to collect taxes from state based on free inhabitants in each state and 3/5th of slaves with some considerations for some states.
Under the New Jersey Plan, the Articles of confederation and the treaties were to remain the supreme law of the land. The executive was given powers to compel states that did not observe that law to do so. The plan also included the authorization for citizens of a given state to be prosecuted under laws established in other states where the crime was committed.
The New Jersey plan was rejected in favour of the Virginia Plan as a basis for drafting the constitution. However, some aspects of the New jersey Plan were incorporated in the constitution for instance in the Connecticut Compromise, bicameral legislature was proposed where the House of Representatives elected by the population was desired as outlined in the Virginia Plan while the Senate with equal state representation was borrowed from the New Jersey Plan.
“Madison debates June 13” cited February 27, 2014 from http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_613.asp
“Madison debate June 15” cited February 27, 2014 from http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_615.asp