The New Student's Reference Work/Ordinance of 1787, The

Or′dinance of 1787, The, was an act of Congress in July, 1787, for the administration of the affairs of the great Northwest Territory of the United States. The ordinance contained this oft-quoted provision: “Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” The ordinance contained six articles which were expressly stated to be of the nature of a contract between the people of the states already existing and the people of the Northwest Territory. It guaranteed freedom of worship and prohibited slavery in the lands granted to the Ohio Company; and it looked clearly forward to the time when these lands should be organized under permanent constitutions and governments.