North West Ordinance (1787) (2023)

The Northwest Ordinance established a government for the Northwest Territory, provided a method for the admission of new states to the Union from the territory, and listed the rights guaranteed in the territory.

The authors of the Northwest Ordinance (probably Nathan Dane and Rufus King) followed the principles outlined by Thomas Jefferson in the 1784 ordinance and formulated a plan that was later used in the country's expansion into the Pacific.

The copy of the ordinance shown here is a printed document, dated in the last paragraph and signed by Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson.

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A Regulation for the Government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the Ohio River.

Part 1.Unless otherwise directed by the United States in the assembled Congress, said territory shall be one district for the purposes of the Provisional Government, but shall be divided into two districts as future circumstances in the opinion of Congress may dictate.

themselves. 2.Provided by the aforementioned authority that the assets of the owners of real estate in said territory, both residents and non-residents, who die in a will, be divided equally between their children and the descendants of a deceased child; the descendants of a deceased son or grandson to take under their deceased father an equal share; and where there are no children or descendants, equally to the closest relative in equal measure; and under the guarantees, the children of a deceased brother or sister of the deceased will share equally in their deceased parents' share; and no distinction should be made between pure and half-breed relatives; in all cases, to save the widow of the deceased, one third of the life assets and one third of the furniture; and this law relating to lineage and dowry shall remain in full force until amended by the district legislature. And until the governor and the magistrates approve the laws that are expressed below, lands may be established or inherited in said territory by a written will, signed and sealed and notarized by the person who owns the property (when there is a majority of three). and the real estate may be alienated by lease and delivery or barter and sale, signed, sealed and delivered by the person of legal age in whom the inheritance resides, and authenticated by two witnesses, provided that said wills are duly accredited and said transfers must recognized or their performance duly demonstrated and registered within a period of one year from the appointment of the competent judges, courts and registries for that purpose; and personal property can be transferred by delivery; excepting the French and Canadian residents and other settlers of the Kaskaskies, St. Vincents, and neighboring towns, who have hitherto declared themselves citizens of Virginia, their laws and customs now in force between them, as to descent and property promotion.

themselves. 3.If ordered by said authority, that from time to time a governor be appointed by Congress, whose mandate shall remain in force for a term of three years unless previously revoked by Congress; while he is in office he will reside in the district and own 1,000 acres of land there.

themselves. 4.From time to time, Congress shall appoint a Secretary, whose appointment shall remain in effect for four years unless sooner revoked; while he is in office he will reside in the district and own 500 acres of land there. It is his duty to keep the Acts and Proceedings approved by the Legislative Assembly and the public records of the District and the Governor's proceedings in his Executive Department and to remit authentic copies of these Acts and Proceedings semi-annually to the Secretary of Congress: a court, composed of by three judges, two of whom shall form a court, having common law jurisdiction, and residing in the district and each holding property therein on 500 acres of land while in office; and their commissions remain in effect during good conduct.

(Video) The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 in a Nutshell

themselves. 5.The governor and judges, or a majority thereof, shall pass and enact in the district the criminal and civil laws of the original states as may be necessary and best suit the circumstances of the district, and submit them to Congress from time to time: what laws will be in force in the district pending the organization of the general assembly there, unless opposed by Congress; but thereafter the legislature shall have the power to amend them as it deems appropriate.

themselves. 6.The governor will be the supreme commander of the militia, appointing and commissioning all officers below the rank of general officer; All General Officers are appointed and commissioned by Congress.

themselves. 7.Before the general assembly is convened, the governor shall appoint in each county or municipality such magistrates and other civil officers as he deems necessary for the maintenance of peace and good order: After the general assembly is convened, the powers and duties of the magistrates and other civil officials governed and determined by this assembly; but all magistrates and other civil officers not otherwise hereby ordained shall be appointed by the governor for the duration of this temporary government.

themselves. 8.For the prevention of crime and injury, the laws to be enacted or enacted shall be effective in all parts of the district, and for the conduct of criminal and civil trials, the governor shall enact the appropriate sections thereof; and he will proceed from time to time, as circumstances require, to divide into counties and parishes those parts of the district where the Indian titles are said to have been effaced, subject, however, to such changes as may hereafter be made by the legislature

themselves. 9.As soon as there are five thousand free male residents of legal age in the district, upon presentation of proof to the governor, they shall be granted power to elect, in time and place, a representative of their counties or municipalities to represent them in the General Assembly of district: Whenever a representative comes over five hundred free male residents, and so on, with the number of free male residents the right of representation is gradually increased until the number of representatives is twenty-five; Thereafter, the number and proportion of representatives will be governed by the legislature: provided that no person is entitled or qualified to act as a representative unless he or she has been a citizen and a resident of one of the United States for three years. in the district, or if he has not lived in the district for three years; and in any case he will also be the owner in his own right of two hundred hectares of land within it; Whenever an estate of fifty acres of land in the District, a citizen of either State and residence in the District, or similar property and two years residence in the District, is required to qualify a man as an elector of deputy.

themselves. 10The representatives thus elected remain in office for a period of two years; and in the event of the death of a representative or removal from office, the governor shall order in writing the district or municipality of which he was a member to elect another in his place to serve for the remainder of the term.

(Video) The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 Explained in 3 Minutes: US History Review

themselves. 11The General Assembly or Legislature is made up of the Governor, the Legislative Council, and a House of Representatives. The Legislative Council consists of five members who serve five years unless removed earlier by Congress; three of them must have a quorum: and the members of the council are named and appointed as follows, namely: once the representatives have been elected, the governor will set the time and place for their meeting; and when they meet, they will name ten persons, residents of the district, each holding an estate of 500 acres of land, and return their names to Congress; five of them are appointed and commissioned by Congress to serve as mentioned above; and whenever there is a vacancy on the Council by death or impeachment, the House of Representatives shall appoint two persons qualified in the foregoing terms for each vacancy and shall notify Congress of their names; one of them is appointed and mandated by Congress for the remainder of the term. And every five years, at least four months before the expiration of the mandate of the advisers, said Chamber will name ten qualified persons in the aforementioned terms, and will communicate their names to Congress; five of them are appointed by Congress and are mandated to serve as council members for five years unless removed sooner. And the Governor, the Legislative Council and the House of Representatives have the power to enact legislation in all cases that do not contradict the principles and articles of this Ordinance, which have been established and explained in this Ordinance. And all bills passed by a majority in the House and by a majority in the Council will be presented to the Governor for his approval; but no bill or legislative act of any kind shall enter into force without his consent. The Governor has the power to convene, adjourn and dissolve the General Assembly when he deems it appropriate.

themselves. 12The governor, judges, legislative council, secretary, and any other congressionally appointed officer in the district shall swear an oath of allegiance and office; the governor before the president of Congress and all other officials before the governor. Whenever a legislature is to be formed in the district, the Council and the House, meeting in one chamber, shall have power to elect by common vote a delegate to Congress, who shall have a seat in Congress, but with the right not to vote in the same. debate during this interim government.

themselves. 13And by the extension of the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis on which these republics are established, their laws and constitutions; establish and establish these principles as the basis of all laws, constitutions and governments that are established forever in said territory; also to ensure the establishment of states and a permanent government in them and for their admission to a participation in the federal councils on an equal footing with the former federal states, as soon as it corresponds to the general interest:

themselves. 14It is hereby ordered and declared by said authority that the following articles shall be considered as articles of treaty between the original States and the peoples and States in said territory and shall remain unchanged forever except by mutual agreement, namely:

until 1.No one who descends in a peaceful and orderly manner will ever be harassed in such a place because of their form of worship or their religious sentiments.

until 2.The inhabitants of said territory are always entitled to the benefits of habeas corpus and trial by jury; a proportional representation of the people in the legislature; and trials under the common law. All persons are liable except for serious crimes where the evidence is obvious or suspicion is high. All fines are moderate; and no cruel or unusual punishments will be meted out. No one will be deprived of his freedom or his property except by sentence of his peers or by the law of the country; and when public exigencies make it necessary for common conservation to take someone's property or demand special services from him, full compensation is given. And in relation to the fair conservation of rights and assets, it is understood and declared that in said territory, a law that intends in any way to affect or affect private contracts or obligations, in good faith and without fraud, should never be enacted or entered into force. , previously formed.

(Video) Northwest Ordinance 1787

until 3.Religion, morality and knowledge, necessary for good governance and the happiness of humanity, will be promoted forever by schools and educational resources. The greatest good faith must always be kept towards the Indians; their land and property must never be taken from them without their consent; and in their properties, rights and freedom they will never be attacked or disturbed except in just and lawful wars sanctioned by Congress; but laws founded on justice and humanity must be enacted from time to time, to prevent them from being wronged, and to maintain peace and friendship with them.

until 4.Said territory and the States that may be formed therein shall forever remain part of this Confederation of the United States of America, subject to the Articles of Confederation and the constitutional amendments therein contained; and to all laws and regulations of the United States in Congress conforming thereto. The residents and settlers in said territory will be obliged to pay a part of the federal debt contracted or to be incurred and a proportional part of the State expenses that will be assigned to them by Congress in the same common rules and regulations by which the allocations to the other states; and the taxes for the payment of it shall be established and collected by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the district or districts or of the new states as in the original states, within such time as the United States may in assembly agree. . The legislatures of these districts or new states shall never interfere with the primary disposition of land by the United States called in Congress, nor with any regulation Congress deems necessary to grant title to such land to legitimate purchasers for support. Taxes are not levied on land owned by the United States; and in no case will non-resident owners pay more than residents. The navigable waters flowing into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence rivers, and the communications between them, will be common roads and forever free both for the inhabitants of said territory and for the citizens of the United States and those of all other states that may be admitted to the Confederation without taxes, duties or encumbrances on it.

until 5.In said zone, not less than three nor more than five states will be formed; and the boundaries of the states, as soon as Virginia amends and assents to its Acts of Appropriation, shall be determined and established as follows, viz.: The western state in said territory is bounded by the Mississippi, Ohio, and Wabash rivers; a direct line, drawn from the Wabash and Post Vincents, northward to the territorial boundary between the United States and Canada; and through said land line to Lake of the Woods and Mississippi. The middle state is bounded by said direct line, the Wabash from Post Vincents to the Ohio, by the Ohio, by a direct line drawn north from the mouth of Greater Miami to said territorial line, and by said territorial Line. The eastern state shall be bounded by the direct line mentioned last, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the territorial line mentioned: however, and it shall be hereinafter understood and declared, that the limits of these three states shall be subject to change. insofar as, if Congress later deems fit, it shall have power to establish one or two states in that part of said territory lying north of an east and west line drawn through the south curve or head of Lake Michigan. And provided that any such State shall have sixty thousand free residents therein, that State shall be admitted by its delegates to the Congress of the United States, equal in all respects with the original States, and shall be liberty, a permanent constitution, and a To form Government of the State: Providing that the Constitution and the Government thus formed must be Republican and conform to the principles contained in these Articles; and to the extent that it is compatible with the general interest of the Confederation, said admission will be granted at an earlier date and when there are less than sixty thousand free residents in the State.

until 6.In said territory there will be no slavery or involuntary servitude, except in the penalty of crimes of which the party has been duly convicted: provided that anyone who flees to it is legally required to work or serve by one of the original States, said fugitive may be legally claimed and delivered to the person who claims their work or service as stated.

If so ordered by said authority, the resolutions of April 23, 1784 relating to the matter of these regulations are repealed and declared null and void.

Executed by the United States in Congress assembled on July 13 of the year of Our Lord 1787 and its sovereignty and independence on the twelfth day

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