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Under the terms of this compromise, in the first chamber of Congress—the House of Representatives—the representatives would be apportioned according to the population in each state. This, of course, was what delegates from the large states had sought. But in the second branch—the Senate—each state would have equal representation regardless of its size; this provision addressed the concerns of small states.

Which state benefited most from this? When I look this up, I only find answers saying that every state benefited. But I have to choose one that benefited the most. Which state benefited the most from the Great Compromise?

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    Define your use of benefit. – Drunk Cynic Oct 8 '17 at 19:59
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    You must choose one for what? This seems like an opinion based question. Is this supposed to be backed by statistics? – Braydon Oct 8 '17 at 19:59
  • @Braydon i.imgur.com/PIUPl8D.png That's my guess but I have no idea what the right answer is. – Aaron Franke Oct 8 '17 at 20:01
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    Yeah, we're not here to do your homework. – Drunk Cynic Oct 8 '17 at 20:03
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    You seem to have your answer but i'll say this anyway. If this is homework as suggested it might be that you are required to express an opinion and justify, there might not be a right or wrong answer. If this is the case the question might not fit the format for stack exchange. – Steve Smith Oct 8 '17 at 20:41
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It's always going to be somewhat of an opinion which state benefited the most, but we can try and constrain it.

First of all, we have to look at what the alternatives were. Under the Virgina Plan, the biggest states would have had the most power. Thus, the Compromise can be said to have benefited the smallest state the most - per the original apportionment, that was Delaware, which only got one representitive in the first House. Under the New Jersey Plan, all states would have been equal in power, which would mean the smaller states would be relatively more powerful. Thus the Compromise can be said to have benefited the largest state (Virginia) the most, by giving it the most overall power, especially compared to absolute equality.

Secondly, we have to look at the timeframe involved. Both Delaware and Virginia could be said to have benefited the most when the Compromise was enacted. But beforehand, under the Continental Congress, each state delegation got one vote, so Virginia gained the most relative power with the new Constitution. Conversely, today Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North and South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming could all be said to benefit the most from having equal representation in the Senate (since they only have one Representative), or California can be said to benefit the most (from having the largest House delegation). I'm not going to do the math to figure out which state benefited the most overall over the entire length of US history, but that would also be a valid calculation to make.

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I would say Wyoming benefits the most as it is the least populous state but one member of it's three member delegation has near equal power to one member of California's 55 member delegation. The delegation in full will be elected by the same group of people (as will any state with a three member delegation), so they will usually be close in political thought. This means, that in effect, all Wyoming will have a more monolithic power and will be able to vote on something with three times the representative power of per number of delegates of states with 4 or more members of the delegation more often. This is true of other 3 delegate member states, but as they represent the same ~500,000. Wyoming will effectively have the voting force of ~150,000 in all issues where the deligation is in agreement, giving them the most power for the least amount of citizens. Meanwhile, where California's sentators will likely be a monolith representing nearly 80 million voting force combined, their House side is decidedly purple so that combined force can will in theory vote with a force of ~160 million, but will rarely reach that because it has significant opposition party votes, so the true force is much smaller.

This really doesn't matter in the legislature so much as the presidential. Assume a situation where:

  1. The election in each state is so close, that each candidate wins by one vote in the states they win
  2. The winning candidate wins by the smallest possible margin of electoral college voters, such that they win enough to get to 270 and over by the last state to create the win.
  3. Washington D.C. is included.

In a possible scenario where the victor candidate wins by taking only the largest possible states by population, and in every race he either wins by one vote or loses by one vote, then the candidate becomes the President with only 22% of the popular vote.

In a possible scenario where the victor candidate wins by taking only the smallest states possible by population, and in ever race he either wins by one vote or loses by one vote, then the candidate becomes the President with only 21% of the popular vote (the winner takes D.C.).

Therefor, because of the slight advantage in the Presidential races, and the more unified nature of the delegate votes, the compromise slightly favors small states in the extremes. As Wyoming is the smallest state in both scenarios by population (including Washington D.C., which has no voting representation in congress and still is slightly more populous than Wyoming) it stands to reason that Wyoming has the most power per capita of any state, thus is the biggest beneficiary of the Great Compromise.

  • The counter-argument would be that a state with a lot of representatives gets more Electoral College seats so they get pandered to by national-level politicians more in terms of attention and favorable policies. Low-seat-count states get ignored. I don't have an opinion on which is right, myself, just offering another possible take on it. – PoloHoleSet Nov 2 '17 at 16:54
  • @PoloHoleSet: Not necessarily. California has the most electoral votes and is never campaigned to in seriousness because it's reliably Democrat. Texas is runner up with 38 and its reliably Republican. Florida is pandered to (I should know, I used to be there... and registered independent) because the paty lines are reliably split such that the margines are less than one percent in any given year. Beyond that, PA (20), Ohio(18), VA (13), NC (15) and NH(4). Ohio is the most critical in recent elections as no Republican has won without it. – hszmv Nov 2 '17 at 19:54
  • Very good point. Still.... a small electoral state, even competitive, is still mostly going to get ignored comparative to larger electoral states, and, certainly, the ones that are large, even if reliably blue or red still get over-sized attention during the clown-brigade show we call the primary season. – PoloHoleSet Nov 2 '17 at 19:57
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    @PoloHoleSet: Suffice to say, swing states are not about size of the state's population, but unreliability of a state to trend towards one political ideology. – hszmv Nov 2 '17 at 19:58

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