Chapter

Slavery in the Federal Territories

Don E. Fehrenbacher and Ward M. McAfee

in The Slaveholding Republic

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780195158052
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849475 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195158052.003.0009
Slavery in the Federal Territories

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Thomas Jefferson laid the foundation for the system of decimal coinage that was subsequently adopted by Congress. He coauthored a plan for the disposal of western lands featuring a grid system of survey that Congress soon incorporated in the Land Ordinance of 1785. Most notably, he drafted and secured passage of a plan of government for the West that became known as the Ordinance of 1784. In the process, moreover, he raised for virtually the first time the question of whether slavery should be restricted geographically or allowed to expand with the expanding nation. Creation of the national territorial system may be said to have begun in earnest on January 2, 1781, when the Virginia legislature passed an act ceding to the United States its vast land claims north of the Ohio River.

Keywords: Thomas Jefferson; decimal coinage; Congress; grid; survey; Land Ordinance; slavery; territorial system; Virginia; legislature

Chapter.  17879 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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