Saturday, December 22, 2007


NORTHWEST ORDINANCE Enacted by the Confederation Con­gress in 1787, the Northwest Ordinance provided that a min­imum of three and a maximum of five new states should be created out of the so-called Northwest Territory of the United States, consisting of the land area between the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes and the Ohio River. Aside from specify­ing the mechanical aspects of state creation, the Northwest Ordinance provided that "neither slavery nor involuntary servi­tude" should exist in any state ultimately to emerge from the area. Although it is unlikely that slavery would have spread north of the Ohio River in any event, the Ordinance did reflect a degree of antislavery sentiment which in large part was an in­dication of Congress' realization that the institution of slavery was ideologically inconsistent with the goals of the Americans during the recently won revolutionary war with England.

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