: The Continental Congress passed an ordinance in 1787 designating the land bounded by the Ohio River, Mississippi River, the Great Lakes, and Pennsylvania as the Northwest Territory. Eventually, the territory would be organized into five states: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The Northwest Ordinance established the basis for United States government and settlement in the region. Congress appointed General Arthur St. Clair governor of the territory. St. Clair shared control with three judges. The governor and judges did not have the power to create new laws, although they were authorized to adopt laws already established in the original states of the Union. In the summer of 1795, they published laws for the territory, borrowed mostly from Pennsylvania. These original laws were known as Maxwell's Code, the original civil and criminal code for the territory. The published version became known as Maxwell's Code because it was printed by William Maxwell. The document was printed in Cincinnati and is reported to be the first book published in what is now Ohio. The laws are described on 225 pages measuring 8 by 6 inches (20.32 by 15.24 cm). Maxwell's Code restructured the court system at the time. These laws protected residents against excessive taxes and declared that English common law would be the basis of legal decisions and laws of the Northwest Territory. The adoption of these laws promoted the movement from frontier society to a law and order based community, helping lay the foundation for statehood. View on Ohio Memory.
: Om3437_5971305_001 Subjects
: Ohio Government; Northwest Territory. Laws, etc. (Session laws); Law & legal affairs Places
: Cincinnati (Ohio); Hamilton County (Ohio); Northwest Territory