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CESSION OF THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY TO THE UNITED STATES AND THE ORGANIZATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENT, COMPRISING THE
PERIOD FROM 1780 TO 1816.
The public domain comprised in the district subsequently known as the Northwest Territory was claimed originally by Connecticut, Massachussetts, New York, and Virginia. After a prolonged controversy, and in response to the recommendations of Congress, this territory was ceded to the United States Government by the voluntary action of the claimant states between 1784 and 1786. As soon as the United States Government had acquired possession of this territory it became necessary to establish some form of political organization. This was done by the Ordinance of Government of April 23, 1784; and although the political agencies and civil institutions authorized by this Ordinance were never created, it continued to be the constitution of the Territory until it was superseded by the famous Ordinance of July 13, 1787. The Ordinance of 1787, and the Federal statutes designed to amend and supplement it, continued to be the fundamental instrument of government of Indiana Territory until they were superseded by the Constitution of 1816. These amendatory and supplemental statutes were necessary to adapt the Ordinance of 1787 to the Federal Constitution which became operative in 1789, two years after the adoption of the Ordinance. Moreover, it became necessary to provide for the printing, distribution and repeal of Territorial laws; to prescribe more fully the official duties of the territorial secretary; to determine the personnel, define the jurisdiction and fix the sessions of the territorial court; to provide a territorial seal; and to prescribe the residential qualifications of territorial judges. In addition, the suffrage, which had been greatly restricted, was constantly broadened. Not only were citizens, formerly denied the right of suffrage, permitted to vote, but the number of elective officers was increased to include, particularly, legislative counsellors and the delegate to