Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 | Next Page
Expansion of the Empire

Northwest Territory Bill [HR-14]
Northwest Territory Bill [HR-14] July 1789
(Courtesy of the National Archives)

DHFFC Transcript: DHFFC, v.6, pg.1561

In this act, the First Congress adopted as its own the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, thus resolving another issue that the Federal Convention could not: whether new states would be admitted on an equal footing with the original thirteen. By reaffirming the statutory validity of the Northwest Ordinance, which provided equal status for new states, the First Congress guaranteed that all states would be absolutely equal. When it admitted Kentucky and Vermont to the Union in 1791, Congress established the precedent that for each new southern state a northern one would be admitted and vice versa.

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