Original Congress Passes the Northwest Ordinance

Original Congress Passes the Northwest Ordinance

Northwest Territory (1787)
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Northwest Ordinance: The Congress of the Confederation of the United States passes the original Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio, better known as the Northwest Ordinance.

This is the most important piece of legislation created by members of the original Continental Congress outside of the Declaration of Independence.

Under this original legislation, administration of the territory is with the individually sovereign original states. After the Articles of Confederation are replaced by the Constitution, administration of the territories is placed with the central government. This establishes the authority of the United States government to expand westward and create new states that will be admitted to the union.

Included with the ordinance are Natural Rights provisions which foreshadow the Bill of Rights. Many of the concepts and guarantees of this original ordinance will be incorporated in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.


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