Ordinance of 1787


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Ordinance of 1787,

adopted by the Congress of Confederation for the government of the Western territories ceded to the United States by the states. It created the Northwest Territory and is frequently called the Northwest Ordinance. It was based on the ordinance of 1784, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, which provided for dividing the region into numerous territories. The 1784 ordinance never went into effect. In 1785 an ordinance was passed providing for division and sale of the lands. Subsequently, the application of the Ohio Company of AssociatesOhio Company of Associates,
organization for the purchase and settlement of lands on the Ohio River, founded at Boston in 1786. Its organizers were a group of New England men, most of them former American Revolutionary army officers. In July, 1787, one of the directors, Dr.
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 to purchase a large tract of land in the region forced Congress to act on political administration for the area. The able leaders of the company, Rufus PutnamPutnam, Rufus,
1738–1824, American Revolutionary general, one of the founders of the Ohio Company of Associates, b. Sutton, Mass.; cousin of Israel Putnam. In the French and Indian War he joined (1757) the army and saw action around Lake Champlain.
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 and Manasseh CutlerCutler, Manasseh
, 1742–1823, American clergyman, scientist, and one of the organizers of the Ohio Company of Associates, b. Killingly, Conn. A student of both law and theology, he was admitted to the bar in 1767 and was ordained (1771) pastor of the Congregational Church
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, were influential in the drafting of the ordinance, which was passed July 13, 1787. It set up a government in the region N of the Ohio River. A territorial governor, a secretary, and three judges were to be appointed by Congress, which would retain control until the population reached 5,000 voting citizens, when an elected legislature would be set up and the territory would obtain a nonvoting representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. When any portion of the territory reached a population of 60,000 or more, it could apply for admission to the Union as a state according to conditions laid down in the ordinance; there were to be not less than three or more than five states created out of the region (five were ultimately created). The ordinance also provided that no one born in the Northwest Territory should be a slave, that no law should ever be passed there that would impair the obligation of contract, that the fundamental rights and religious freedom be observed, and that education be promoted. The ordinance was the most significant achievement of Congress under the Articles of Confederation. It set the form by which subsequent Western territories were created and later admitted into the Union as states and marked the beginning of Western expansion of the United States.
References in periodicals archive ?
Judge Woodward had to determine the legality of slavery in the Territory in 1807 as affected by the 1763 Treaty of Paris, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, the 1793 statute of the Province of Upper Canada, the 1794 Jay Treaty and the United States Constitution.
The Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which was enacted under the Articles of Confederation in order to establish a government for the territory northwest of the Ohio River, provided for a territorial Delegate.
The volume opens with a discussion of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and Michigan's territorial heritage.
In 1798, before John Adams fired him as secretary of state, Pickering actually wrote the bill providing that the Mississippi Territory would be governed according to the terms of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, except that Article VI, excluding slavery, would not apply.
As the Founding Fathers expressed it in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, "Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." And yet more bluntly in the words of the fiery Samuel Adams in a letter to James Warren, "No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved.
It is not widely known that Illinois's first constitution (1818) exploited a loophole in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 by allowing black servitude within the state to continue until 1825.
In the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, Congress had prohibited slavery in the area that is now Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.
Chapter 3 (1988) analyzes the Northwest Ordinance of 1787; while Chapter 7, "Free Blacks, Women, and Business Corporations as Unequal Persons" (1989), examines the ideas of delegates to state constitutional conventions between 1820 and 1870.
During the 13-year period from 1776 to 1789, the United States of America was governed by the Articles of Confederation and by other enactments, including the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The Northwest Ordinance established the doctrine (the "Free Rivers Doctrine") that interstate commerce along rivers (the principal means of interstate commerce at that time) shall be "forever free."(7)
This ordinance never went into effect, being superseded by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. In 1805, under the provisions of this act, Congress created the territory of Michigan, with boundaries considerably different from those of the state that eventually evolved from this territory.
States that had previously laid claim to parts of the region had ceded their territories in anticipation of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.