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Definition of the Midwest as a region

Prohibition of slavery

Establishment of Natural Rights

The Natural Rights provisions of the ordinance foreshadowed the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Many of the concepts and guarantees of the Ordinance of 1787 were incorporated in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In the Northwest Territory, various legal and property rights were enshrined, religious tolerance was proclaimed, and it was enunciated that since "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged." The right of habeas corpus was written into the charter, as was freedom of religious worship and bans on excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishment. Trial by jury and a ban on ex post facto laws were also rights granted.

"There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory." The language of the ordinance prohibits slavery, but it did not emancipate the slaves already held by settlers in the territory. Efforts in the 1820s by pro-slavery forces to legalize slavery in the territory failed, but an "indentured servant" law allowed some slaveholders to bring slaves under that status; they could not be bought or sold. Southern states voted for the law because they did not want to compete with the territory over tobacco as a commodity crop; it was so labor intensive that it was grown profitably only with slave labor. The balance of the number of free versus slave states was not affected, as most slave states in 1790 were south of the Ohio River.

Article VI required residents to return fugitive slaves to their owners. This provided slave owners with previously unprecedented federal support.

The Northwest Ordinance, along with the Land Ordinance of 1785, laid the legal and cultural groundwork for midwestern (and subsequently, western) development. Significantly, the free state legal philosophies of both Abraham Lincoln and Salmon P. Chase (Chief Justice, Senator, and early Ohio law author) were derived from the Northwest Ordinance.

In two articles, the Northwest Ordinance mentions the Native Americans within this region:

"The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them."

This section became more of a nominal provision than a real one, as in an earlier section, it assumes that:

"...the governor shall make proper divisions thereof... to lay out the parts of the district in which the Indian titles shall have been extinguished, into counties and townships."

Many Native Americans in Ohio, who were not parties, refused to acknowledge treaties signed after the Revolutionary War that ceded lands north of the Ohio River inhabited by them to the United States. In a conflict sometimes known as the Northwest Indian War, Blue Jacket of the Shawnees and Little Turtle of the Miamis formed a confederation to stop white expropriation of the territory. After the Indian confederation had killed more than 800 soldiers in two battles — the worst defeats ever suffered by the U.S. at the hands of the Indians — President Washington assigned General Anthony Wayne command of a new army, which eventually defeated the confederation and thus allowed European-Americans to continue settling the territory.

sControl questions:

1. When the Northwest Ordinance has passed?

2. What was primary effect of the ordinance?

3. When President George Washington signed the Northwest Ordinance?

¨Recommended literature:

1. Contemporary History of Europe and America. Twentieth Century: A Handbook. for universities / Under. Ed. M.A. Rodriguez and M.V.Ponomareva. - Moscow: VLADOS. 2002.

2. Tokareva N., Peppard V. What it is like in the USA. – M., 2003

3. Sogrin V.V. U.S. History: A manual for stud. universities. - Spb.: Peter, 2003.

4. The economic, social and political geography of the world. Regions and countries: Textbook / Ed. S.B.Lavrova, N.V.Kaledina. - Moscow: Gardariki, 2003.

5. Vlasihin V.V. American constitutionalism / / U.S. at the turn of the centuries. - Moscow: Nauka, 2001.


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  • - Effects on Native Americans

    Definition of the Midwest as a region Prohibition of slavery Establishment of Natural Rights The Natural Rights provisions of the ordinance foreshadowed the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Many of the concepts and guarantees of the Ordinance of 1787 were incorporated in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In the Northwest Territory, various legal and property rights were enshrined, religious tolerance was proclaimed, and it was... [читать подробенее]