William Paterson (December 24, 1745 – September 9, 1806) was born in County Antrim to William Paterson and Unknown named mother. (How about it, Ireland – who is she?) He immigrated to the U.S. at the age of two, and entered the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) at age 14. After graduating he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1768. After independence was achieved, Paterson was appointed as the first Attorney General of New Jersey. Paterson went on to become one of New Jersey's first U.S. Senators. He resigned from the U.S. Senate in 1790 to become the second governor of New Jersey. Nominated for the Supreme Court in 1793, he became an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court until his death in 1806. Paterson, New Jersey and William Paterson University are named after him.
The New Jersey Plan (also widely known as the Small State Plan or the Paterson Plan) was a proposal for the structure of the United States Government presented by William Paterson at the Constitutional Convention on June 15, 1787. The plan was created in response to the Virginia Plan, which called for two houses of Congress, both elected with apportionment according to population. The less populous states were adamantly opposed to giving most of the control of the national government to the more populous states, and so proposed an alternative plan that would have kept the one-vote-per-state representation under one legislative body from the Articles of Confederation.
Ultimately, the New Jersey Plan was rejected as a basis for a new constitution. The Virginia Plan was used, but some ideas from the New Jersey Plan were added. Perhaps the most important of these was introduced by the Connecticut Compromise, which established a bicameral legislature with the U.S. House of Representatives apportioned by population, as desired by the Virginia Plan, and the Senate granted equal votes per state, as desired by the New Jersey Plan.