Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Nathan R. Myers
The Northwest Ordinance (1787) was an act of the U.S. Congress, which provided an outline for how the “Old Northwest” territory would achieve statehood. Prior to the 1787 Ordinance, the Land Ordinance of 1784 established that the area would be divided into states, and the Land Ordinance of 1785 provided that the territory, and future states, would be divided into townships. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 superseded the 1784 Land Ordinance, while supplementing the Land Ordinance of 1785. In effect, the Northwest Ordinance sustained the previous federal policy of supporting public education in the form of land grants in the territories of the Old Northwest. The Old Northwest was composed of the current U.S. states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Federal land in this area was sold to the privately held Ohio Company, led by Connecticut-resident Manasseh Cutler, on the condition that the land company would develop the ...