Northwest Ordinance of 1787
Four principle provisions of the document:
- Admission of new states
- Defined by other prior acts that the western region of the United States would be admitted as distinct states and newly admitted states would not be allowed to expand.
- The Northwest Ordinance detailed the process of admitting a territory when population exceeded 60,000 people it could create a constitution and apply for statehood. This procedure was first applied to Ohio in 1803.
- Voting rights and office-holding
Any man who ownind fifty acres of property in the Northwest Territory was entitled to a vote. More property had to be owned in order to qualify for service in government. These restrictions intended to restrict the influence of popular passions in the new republic.
- Slavery forbidden in the Northwest Territory
Slavery and involuntary servitude was forbidden in the Northwest Territory, thereby making the Ohio River a natural dividing line between the free and slave states.
- Individual rights preserved
- Freedom of religion
- Habeas corpus
- The right to bail and trial by jury
- No cruel and unusual punishment
- Right to enter freely into private contracts
- Right to compensation for eminent domain