The 15 resolutions outlined a new form of government with three brances of government — legislative, executive, and judicial — as well as built-in checks and balances to prevent the abuse of power.
Under the plan, the people would be governed by both the state and national governments. Another feature of the proposal that was popular with many of the larger states was a bicameral legislature, in which the number of representatives would be based on a state’s population.
After much debate, expansion, development, and compromise by the framers, this Plan became the foundation of the Constitution of the United States.
Words of Wisdom
The Virginia Plan's 15 resolutions broadened the debate to include what form the structure and power of the national government would take. It was the first document to produce a separation of powers into an executive, legislative, and judicial branch.
The Virginia Plan also proposed that legislative branch should consist of two houses. In these two houses, each of the states would be represented in proportion to their populations. Thus, states with a large population, like Virginia (which was the most populous state at the time), would have more representatives than smaller states. Naturally, the larger states approved of this notion, but the smaller states did not.