Northwest Ordinance Revolutionizes Addition of New States to the Union 

U.S. #795

The United States passed the Northwest Ordinance on July 13, 1787, to establish a set of steps territories would have to follow before becoming a state. It was groundbreaking at the time and led to the organized and rapid expansion of America.

As part of the United States’ victory in the Revolutionary War, Great Britain ceded a 260,000-square-mile territory to the young nation. As states filed competing claims for the same land, the government sought a way to bypass the confusion. Early attempts at such legislation failed to make it through Congress. Then in 1787 Manasseh Cutler (the man on the left side of this stamp) and others drafted the Northwest Ordinance.

The Ordinance set ground rules for how states would be created out of the Northwest Territory, as well as any future states, with room for amendments. It was passed on July 13, 1787, and was quickly followed by an influx of settlers to the territory. Among these was Rufus Putnam (pictured on the right of this stamp) who founded Marietta, Ohio, in the new territory and served as one of its first judges.

Click here to add this stamp – and its history – to your collection.

Did you like this article? Click here to rate:
Share this Article


  1. An important part of our history. Note how west of the mississippi was unknown. One wonders what was out there at the time?

      1. inhabited by the only true native Americans – (Indians) who were the worse treated by the foreigners that claimed their land.

        1. At the time that was the way of the world. The Austrians had an empire of countries that they conquered, the Brits ruled india and a whole bunch of countries that preferred freedom to foreign rule. In fact this country was one of them until we gained our freedom. Spain was also a big player making sure the whole world was christian and not caring who they tortured and killed on the way. Christians are good at proclaiming themselves “better” than someone and making choices for them instead of letting them make their own.The indians, blacks and chinese were just a few of the people that got stepped on by those with superior firepower and egos. Back then they called it manifest destiny. Now thay’re called the religious right(wing). What a crock. By the way indians migrated here too, they just did it first. Let’s try to keep this a stamp blog. Thanks to those that stuck to the subject. There’s always some ……….. that spoils it with their fake history and phony morals.

  2. I’ve enjoyed every one of This Day in History. When I read about the Northwest Ordinance I looked up more information and became more educated about it. Thank you for all the information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *