What was the main aim of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787?

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Jul 27, 2016


The Northwest Ordinance primarily aimed to facilitate the creation of future states in the region. However, it also set precedents for natural rights and the abolition of slavery.


The land allocated in the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was the first official territory of the United States. Guidelines were set up for creating states out of the territory, including how aspiring states could claim/divide up the land and how governments were to be formed.

The Northwest Ordinance also set up some guarantees of natural rights that were eventually adopted into the Bill of Rights. Protections for freedom of religion, habeus corpus, and fair punishments were included for the land decreed by the Northwest Ordinance.

Slavery was outlawed in the territory by the Northwest Ordinance. This is especially important because it established a foundation of northern states being free of slaves, which eventually heightened tensions between the north and the south, contributing to the Civil War.

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