[NORTHWEST ORDINANCE]. An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, north west of the River Ohio, in The Connecticut Courant, Monday, July 30, 1787. Number 1175. Hartford, Connecticut: Hudson and Goodwin, 1787.
Folio, 4pp. (17¼ x 11in.), printed three columns to the page, masthead in large letters at top of page 1, deckle edges of the sheet preserved (small tear at bottom of first leaf mended, minor stains to lower portion of page 1).
The most important act of the Continental Congress during its existence, adopted on 13 July 1787, is here prominently featured in two columns on page 1 and two more on page 2. This key enactment, which set precedents for later territorial development, was primarily written by Rufus King and Nathan Dane of Massachusetts. It set out in detail the mode of governance for the new territories and the process by which they might eventually become states. Initially, the territory was to be administered by a Governor, three judges and a secretary. When the population had reached 5,000 the territory was to have local autonomy and an elected legislature. Finally, when it had grown to 60,000 inhabitants it was to be admitted to the union as a state under the Constitution. Article 6 contained the key stipulation that "There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory." On March 1, 1803, Ohio became the first state to be created under the new legislation.