Enabling Act of 1802

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The Enabling Act of 1802 was made into law on April 30, 1802 by the Seventh Congress of the United States. This act established the procedures for creating the state of Ohio from the Northwest Territories. In doing so it also established the precedent and procedures for creation of future states in the western territories.

Ohio was the first state to be created out of the Northwest Territories, as established by the Northwest Ordinance in 1787 in an act of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation. The Northwest Ordinance laid out the conditions for the creation of a state from a territory. By 1802 Ohio, in the easternmost part of the Northwest Territories, had reached a population of 60,000 and was entitled to begin the transition to statehood. The Enabling Act of 1802 set forth the legal mechanisms and authorized the people of Ohio to begin this process. Ohio would become a state in 1803.

The act required the people of Ohio to elect a delegate for each 1,200 people to attend a constitutional convention. These delegates would meet in Chillicothe on November 1, 1802, and would would decide by majority vote whether or not to form a constitution and state government, and, if so, either provide for the election of representatives for a constitutional convention or to proceed immediately with the matter.

The new constitution and government of Ohio was required only to be "republican, and not repugnant to the ordinance of the thirteenth of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, between the original States and the people and States of the territory northwest of the river Ohio." The new state was guaranteed to be equal in status to the existing states, and would have only one Representative to the House of Representatives until the next census. The act also granted certain lands held by the Federal government to the new state, notably those set aside for public shools, and provided that 1/20th of the proceeds from sale of Federal lands would fund creations of roads to and through Ohio.

The convention agreed to form a state, subject to the agreement by Congress to several land-use proposals, and wrote the Ohio Constitution of 1802.

Congress recognized on February 19, 1803 the formation of the State of Ohio.

Resources

Text of the Enabling Act and related documents (http://publications.ohiohistory.org/ohstemplate.cfm?action=toc&vol=5)

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