Land! Land! Land!

land ordinance of 1785 and northwest ordinance of 1787

Articles of Confederation

The articles of confederation laid the framework for our constitution and many of our freedoms as they are today and also provided a way to manage the federal government without it gaining too much power. The articles of confederation did not provide much power to the federal government so that the government could not get too powerful and this laid the framework for checks and balances later in government.

Land ordinance of 1785

This ordinance states land is to be surveyed into townships that are 6 miles square and then divided those into 36 plots that were 640 acres a piece. Section 16 was always reserved for public schools and their maintenance. After this initial division the land could be split further by settlers wishing to sell land. Sections 8, 11, 26, and 29 were reserved by the federal government to be sold later on when land values had gone up. These surveys were to be conducted by government geographer Thomas Hutchins. The surveyors conducted under the direction of Thomas Hutchins were very accurate and left out no measure or detail. This was the first legislature that allowed for easy westward expansion and land settlement.
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Northwest Ordinance of 1787

The northwest ordinance created the formal northwest territory out of the townships created by the ordinance of 1785. This was the first organized territory of the united states past the Appalachian mountains. the law details how the federal government will expand by creating new states not by expanding the existing ones. Slavery was prohibited in the northwest territory and this made the Ohio river the known boundary for freedom. The ordinance also stated that at least 3 but no more than 5 states would be created out of this territory and that once a state reached a population of 60,000 people they would obtain representation in the continental congress.
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