In this case, representation is signifying how the people are represented in government. The United States is a representative democracy (as opposed to a direct democracy), which means that the people elect others to act on their behalf in the legislature. James Madison understood that the only way to avoid the tyranny of the majority was to filter the demands and irrational passions of the people through a select body of leaders whose reason and patriotism enable them to best discern what is truly in the interest of the common good. Representation was one of the most contentious issues at the 1787 Constitutional Convention.
communicated by Mr. Randolph, July 10. as an accommodating proposition to small states
(This & the following paper to be in an appendix)
1. Resolvd. that in the second branch each State have one vote in the following cases,
1. in granting exclusive rights to Ports
2. in subjecting vessels or seamen of the U. States to tonnage, duties or other impositions
3. in regulating the navigation of Rivers
4. in regulating the rights to be enjoyed by citizens of one State in the other States
5. in questions arising on the guarantee of territory
6. in declaring war or taking measures for subduing a Rebellion
7. in regulating Coin
8. in establishing & regulating the post office
9. in the admission of new States into the Union
10. in establishing rules for the government of the Militia
11. in raising a regular army
12. in the appointment of the Executive
13. in fixing the seat of Government
That in all other cases the right of suffrage be proportioned according to an equitable rule of representation.
2. that for the determination of certain important questions in the 2d branch, a greater number of votes than a mere majority be requisite
3. that the people of each State ought to retain the perfect right of adopting from time to time such forms of republican Government as to them may seem best, and of making all laws not contrary to the articles of Union; subject to the supremacy of the General Government in those instances only in which that supremacy shall be expressly declared by the articles of the Union.
4. That altho' every negative given to the law of a particular State shall prevent its operation, any State may appeal to the national Judiciary against a negative; and that such negative if adjudged to be contrary to the power granted by the articles of the Union, shall be void
5. that any individual conceiving himself injured or oppressed by the partiality or injustice of a law of any particular State may resort to the National Judiciary, who may adjudge such law to be void, if found contrary to the principles of equity and justice.
Franklin's biographer, Walter Isaacson, writes, "He [Franklin] embodied the spirit and issued the call for compromise, he selected the most palatable option available and refined it, and he wrote the and picked the right moment to offer it."