It was based upon but more conservative than Thomas Jefferson's proposed ordinance of 1784.The 1787 law relied on a strong central government, which was assured under the new Constitution that took effect in 1789.In August, 1789, it was replaced by the Northwest Ordinance of 1789, in which the new Congress reaffirmed the Ordinance with slight modifications. 82, 96, 97 (1851), but did not extend the Ordinance to cover the respective states once they were admitted to the Union.
The Northwest Ordinance (formally An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio, and also known as the Freedom Ordinance or The Ordinance of 1787) was an act of the Congress of the Confederation of the United States (the Confederation Congress), passed July 13, 1787.The ordinance created the Northwest Territory, the first organized territory of the United States, from lands beyond the Appalachian Mountains, between British North America and the Great Lakes to the north and the Ohio River to the south.The upper Mississippi River formed the Territory's western boundary.It was the response to multiple pressures: the westward expansion of American settlers, tense diplomatic relations with Great Britain and Spain, violent confrontations with Indians, the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, and the empty treasury of the American government.It was also precedent setting legislation with regard to American public domain lands. This division helped set the stage for national competition over admitting free and slave states, the basis of a critical question in American politics in the 19th century until the Civil War.
The territory was acquired by Great Britain from France following victory in the Seven Years' War and the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
Great Britain took over the Ohio Country, as its eastern portion was known, but a few months later closed it to new European settlement by the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
The Crown tried to restrict settlement of the thirteen colonies between the Appalachians and the Atlantic, which raised colonial tensions among those who wanted to move west.
With the colonials' victory in the American Revolutionary War and signing of the 1783 Treaty of Paris, the United States claimed the territory, as well as the areas south of the Ohio.
The territories were subject to overlapping and conflicting claims of the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Virginia dating from their colonial past.
The British were active in some of the border area until after the Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812.