Battles of Lexington and Concord
The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. The battles were fought on April 19, 1775 in Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within the towns of Lexington, Lincoln and Cambridge, they marked the outbreak of armed conflict between the Kingdom of Great Britain and its thirteen colonies in America. In late 1774, Colonial leaders adopted the Suffolk Resolves in resistance to the alterations made to the Massachusetts colonial government by the British parliament following the Boston Tea Party; the colonial assembly responded by forming a Patriot provisional government known as the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and calling for local militias to train for possible hostilities. The Colonial government exercised effective control of the colony outside of British-controlled Boston. In response, the British government in February 1775 declared Massachusetts to be in a state of rebellion. About 700 British Army regulars in Boston, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, were given secret orders to capture and destroy Colonial military supplies stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord.
Through effective intelligence gathering, Patriot leaders had received word weeks before the expedition that their supplies might be at risk and had moved most of them to other locations. On the night before the battle, warning of the British expedition had been sent from Boston to militias in the area by several riders, including Paul Revere and Samuel Prescott, with information about British plans; the initial mode of the Army's arrival by water was signaled from the Old North Church in Boston to Charlestown using lanterns to communicate "one if by land, two if by sea". The first shots were fired. Eight militiamen were killed, including their third in command; the British suffered only one casualty. The militia were outnumbered and fell back, the regulars proceeded on to Concord, where they broke apart into companies to search for the supplies. At the North Bridge in Concord 400 militiamen engaged 100 regulars from three companies of the King's troops at about 11:00 am, resulting in casualties on both sides.
The outnumbered regulars fell back from the bridge and rejoined the main body of British forces in Concord. The British forces began their return march to Boston after completing their search for military supplies, more militiamen continued to arrive from neighboring towns. Gunfire erupted again between the two sides and continued throughout the day as the regulars marched back towards Boston. Upon returning to Lexington, Lt. Col. Smith's expedition was rescued by reinforcements under Brigadier General Hugh Percy, a future duke of Northumberland styled at this time by the courtesy title Earl Percy; the combined force of about 1,700 men marched back to Boston under heavy fire in a tactical withdrawal and reached the safety of Charlestown. The accumulated militias blockaded the narrow land accesses to Charlestown and Boston, starting the Siege of Boston. Ralph Waldo Emerson describes the first shot fired by the Patriots at the North Bridge in his "Concord Hymn" as the "shot heard round the world".
The British Army's infantry was nicknamed "redcoats" and sometimes "devils" by the colonists. They had occupied Boston since 1768 and had been augmented by naval forces and marines to enforce what the colonists called The Intolerable Acts, passed by the British Parliament to punish the Province of Massachusetts Bay for the Boston Tea Party and other acts of defiance. General Thomas Gage was the military governor of Massachusetts and commander-in-chief of the 3,000 British military forces garrisoned in Boston, he had no control over Massachusetts outside of Boston, where implementation of the Acts had increased tensions between the Patriot Whig majority and the pro-British Tory minority. Gage's plan was to avoid conflict by removing military supplies from Whig militias using small and rapid strikes; this struggle for supplies led to one British success and several Patriot successes in a series of nearly bloodless conflicts known as the Powder Alarms. Gage considered himself to be a friend of liberty and attempted to separate his duties as governor of the colony and as general of an occupying force.
Edmund Burke described Gage's conflicted relationship with Massachusetts by saying in Parliament, "An Englishman is the unfittest person on Earth to argue another Englishman into slavery."The colonists had been forming militias since the beginnings of Colonial settlement for the purpose of defense against Indian attacks. These forces saw action in the French and Indian War between 1754 and 1763 when they fought alongside British regulars. Under the laws of each New England colony, all towns were obligated to form militia companies composed of all males 16 years of age and older, to ensure that the members were properly armed; the Massachusetts militias were formally under the jurisdiction of the provincial government, but militia companies throughout New England elected their own officers. Gage dissolved the provincial government under the terms of the Massachusetts Government Act, these existing connections were employed by the colonists under the Massachusetts Provincial Congress for the purpose of resistance to the military threat from Britain.
A February 1775 address to King George III, by both houses of Parliament, declared that a state of rebellion existed: We... find that a part of your Majesty' s subjects, in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, have proceeded so far to resist the authority of the supreme Legislature, that a rebellion at this time
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America that served as its first constitution. It was approved, after much debate, by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, sent to the states for ratification; the Articles of Confederation came into force on March 1, 1781, after being ratified by all 13 states. A guiding principle of the Articles was to preserve the sovereignty of the states; the weak central government established by the Articles received only those powers which the former colonies had recognized as belonging to king and parliament. The Articles formed a war-time confederation of states, with an limited central government. While unratified, the document was used by the Congress to conduct business, direct the American Revolutionary War, conduct diplomacy with foreign nations, deal with territorial issues and Native American relations; the adoption of the Articles made few perceptible changes in the federal government, because it did little more than legalize what the Continental Congress had been doing.
That body was renamed the Congress of the Confederation. As the Confederation Congress attempted to govern the continually growing American states, delegates discovered that the limitations placed upon the central government rendered it ineffective at doing so; as the government's weaknesses became apparent after Shays' Rebellion, some prominent political thinkers in the fledgling US began asking for changes to the Articles. Their hope was to create a stronger national government; some states met to deal with their trade and economic problems. However, as more states became interested in meeting to change the Articles, a meeting was set in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787; this became the Constitutional Convention. It was agreed that changes would not work, instead the entire Articles needed to be replaced. On March 4, 1789, the government under the Articles was replaced with the federal government under the Constitution; the new Constitution provided for a much stronger federal government by establishing a chief executive and taxing powers.
The political push to increase cooperation among the then-loyal colonies began with the Albany Congress in 1754 and Benjamin Franklin's proposed Albany Plan, an inter-colonial collaboration to help solve mutual local problems. Over the next two decades, some of the basic concepts it addressed would strengthen. With civil disobedience resulting in coercive and quelling measures, the passage of what the colonials referred to as the intolerable acts in the English Parliament, armed skirmishes which resulted in dissidents being proclaimed rebels; these actions eroded the number of Crown Loyalists (aka Tories amongst the colonials and together with the effective propaganda campaign of the Patriot leaders, they caused an increasing number of colonists to begin agitating for independence from the mother country. In 1775, with events outpacing communications, the Second Continental Congress began acting as the provisional government that would run the American Revolutionary War and gain the colonies their collective independence.
It was an era of constitution writing—most states were busy at the task—and leaders felt the new nation must have a written constitution. During the war, Congress exercised an unprecedented level of political, diplomatic and economic authority, it adopted trade restrictions and maintained an army, issued fiat money, created a military code and negotiated with foreign governments. To transform themselves from outlaws into a legitimate nation, the colonists needed international recognition for their cause and foreign allies to support it. In early 1776, Thomas Paine argued in the closing pages of the first edition of Common Sense that the "custom of nations" demanded a formal declaration of American independence if any European power were to mediate a peace between the Americans and Great Britain; the monarchies of France and Spain in particular could not be expected to aid those they considered rebels against another legitimate monarch. Foreign courts needed to have American grievances laid before them persuasively in a "manifesto" which could reassure them that the Americans would be reliable trading partners.
Without such a declaration, Paine concluded, "he custom of all courts is against us, will be so, until, by an independence, we take rank with other nations."Beyond improving their existing association, the records of the Second Continental Congress show that the need for a declaration of independence was intimately linked with the demands of international relations. On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee introduced a resolution before the Continental Congress declaring the colonies independent. Congress created three overlapping committees to draft the Declaration, a Model Treaty, the Articles of Confederation; the Declaration announced the states' entry into the international system. On June 12, 1776
Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U. S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the sixth-most populous U. S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U. S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis; the Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States. William Penn, an English Quaker, founded the city in 1682 to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 at the Second Continental Congress, the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787.
Several other key events occurred in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War including the First Continental Congress, the preservation of the Liberty Bell, the Battle of Germantown, the Siege of Fort Mifflin. Philadelphia was one of the nation's capitals during the revolution, served as temporary U. S. capital while Washington, D. C. was under construction. In the 19th century, Philadelphia became a railroad hub; the city grew from an influx of European immigrants, most of whom came from Ireland and Germany—the three largest reported ancestry groups in the city as of 2015. In the early 20th century, Philadelphia became a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration after the Civil War, as well as Puerto Ricans; the city's population doubled from one million to two million people between 1890 and 1950. The Philadelphia area's many universities and colleges make it a top study destination, as the city has evolved into an educational and economic hub. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Philadelphia area had a gross domestic product of US$445 billion in 2017, the eighth-largest metropolitan economy in the United States.
Philadelphia is the center of economic activity in Pennsylvania and is home to five Fortune 1000 companies. The Philadelphia skyline is expanding, with a market of 81,900 commercial properties in 2016, including several nationally prominent skyscrapers. Philadelphia has more outdoor murals than any other American city. Fairmount Park, when combined with the adjacent Wissahickon Valley Park in the same watershed, is one of the largest contiguous urban park areas in the United States; the city is known for its arts, culture and colonial history, attracting 42 million domestic tourists in 2016 who spent US$6.8 billion, generating an estimated $11 billion in total economic impact in the city and surrounding four counties of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia has emerged as a biotechnology hub. Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps, is the home of many U. S. firsts, including the first library, medical school, national capital, stock exchange and business school. Philadelphia contains 67 National Historic Landmarks and the World Heritage Site of Independence Hall.
The city became a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in 2015, as the first World Heritage City in the United States. Although Philadelphia is undergoing gentrification, the city maintains mitigation strategies to minimize displacement of homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods. Before Europeans arrived, the Philadelphia area was home to the Lenape Indians in the village of Shackamaxon; the Lenape are a Native American tribe and First Nations band government. They are called Delaware Indians, their historical territory was along the Delaware River watershed, western Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley. Most Lenape were pushed out of their Delaware homeland during the 18th century by expanding European colonies, exacerbated by losses from intertribal conflicts. Lenape communities were weakened by newly introduced diseases smallpox, violent conflict with Europeans. Iroquois people fought the Lenape. Surviving Lenape moved west into the upper Ohio River basin; the American Revolutionary War and United States' independence pushed them further west.
In the 1860s, the United States government sent most Lenape remaining in the eastern United States to the Indian Territory under the Indian removal policy. In the 21st century, most Lenape reside in Oklahoma, with some communities living in Wisconsin, in their traditional homelands. Europeans came to the Delaware Valley in the early 17th century, with the first settlements founded by the Dutch, who in 1623 built Fort Nassau on the Delaware River opposite the Schuylkill River in what is now Brooklawn, New Jersey; the Dutch considered the entire Delaware River valley to be part of their New Netherland colony. In 1638, Swedish settlers led by renegade Dutch established the colony of New Sweden at Fort Christina and spread out in the valley. In 1644, New Sweden supported the Susquehannocks in their military defeat of the English colony of Maryland. In 1648, the Dutch built Fort Beversreede on the west bank of the Delaware, south of the Schuylkill near the present-day Eastwick neighborhood, to reassert their dominion over the area.
The Swedes responded by building Fort Nya Korsholm, or New Korsholm, named after a town in Finland with a Swedish majority. In 1655, a
United States Declaration of Independence
The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America; the declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia. The Lee Resolution for independence was passed on July 2 with no opposing votes; the Committee of Five had drafted the Declaration to be ready. John Adams, a leader in pushing for independence, had persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document, which Congress edited to produce the final version.
The Declaration was a formal explanation of why Congress had voted to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America" – although Independence Day is celebrated on July 4, the date that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved. After ratifying the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms, it was published as the printed Dunlap broadside, distributed and read to the public. The source copy used for this printing has been lost and may have been a copy in Thomas Jefferson's hand. Jefferson's original draft is preserved at the Library of Congress, complete with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Jefferson's notes of changes made by Congress; the best-known version of the Declaration is a signed copy, displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.
C. and, popularly regarded as the official document. This engrossed copy was ordered by Congress on July 19 and signed on August 2; the sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing 27 colonial grievances against King George III and by asserting certain natural and legal rights, including a right of revolution, its original purpose was to announce independence, references to the text of the Declaration were few in the following years. Abraham Lincoln made it the centerpiece of his policies and his rhetoric, as in the Gettysburg Address of 1863. Since it has become a well-known statement on human rights its second sentence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life and the pursuit of Happiness; this has been called "one of the best-known sentences in the English language", containing "the most potent and consequential words in American history".
The passage came to represent a moral standard. This view was notably promoted by Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy and argued that it is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted; the Declaration of Independence inspired many similar documents in other countries, the first being the 1789 Declaration of United Belgian States issued during the Brabant Revolution in the Austrian Netherlands. It served as the primary model for numerous declarations of independence in Europe and Latin America, as well as Africa and Oceania during the first half of the 19th century. Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose. By the time that the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 1776, the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain had been at war for more than a year.
Relations had been deteriorating between the colonies and the mother country since 1763. Parliament enacted a series of measures to increase revenue from the colonies, such as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767. Parliament believed that these acts were a legitimate means of having the colonies pay their fair share of the costs to keep them in the British Empire. Many colonists, had developed a different conception of the empire; the colonies were not directly represented in Parliament, colonists argued that Parliament had no right to levy taxes upon them. This tax dispute was part of a larger divergence between British and American interpretations of the British Constitution and the extent of Parliament's authority in the colonies; the orthodox British view, dating from the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was that Parliament was the supreme authority throughout the empire, so, by definition, anything that Parliament did was constitutional. In the colonies, the idea had developed that the British Constitution recognized certain fundamental rights that no government could violate, not Parliament.
After the Townshend Acts, some essayists began to question whether Parliament had any legitimate jurisdiction in the colonies at all. Anticipating the arrangement of the British Commonwealth, by 1774 American writers such as
John Dickinson, a Founding Father of the United States, was a solicitor and politician from Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware known as the "Penman of the Revolution" for his twelve Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, published individually in 1767 and 1768. As a member of the First Continental Congress, where he was a signee to the Continental Association, Dickinson drafted most of the 1774 Petition to the King, as a member of the Second Continental Congress, wrote the 1775 Olive Branch Petition; when these two attempts to negotiate with King George III of Great Britain failed, Dickinson reworked Thomas Jefferson's language and wrote the final draft of the 1775 Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms. When Congress decided to seek independence from Great Britain, Dickinson served on the committee that wrote the Model Treaty, wrote the first draft of the 1776–1777 Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. Dickinson served as President of the 1786 Annapolis Convention, which called for the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Dickinson attended the Convention as a delegate from Delaware. He wrote "The Liberty Song" in 1768, was a militia officer during the American Revolution, President of Delaware, President of Pennsylvania, was among the wealthiest men in the British American colonies. Upon Dickinson's death, President Thomas Jefferson recognized him as being "Among the first of the advocates for the rights of his country when assailed by Great Britain whose'name will be consecrated in history as one of the great worthies of the revolution.'"Together with his wife, Mary Norris Dickinson, he is the namesake of Dickinson College, as well as of the Dickinson School of Law of Pennsylvania State University and the University of Delaware's Dickinson Complex. John Dickinson High School was opened/dedicated in 1959 as part of the public schools in northern Delaware. Dickinson was born at Croisadore, his family's tobacco plantation near the village of Trappe in Talbot County, Province of Maryland, he was the great-grandson of Walter Dickinson who emigrated from England to Virginia in 1654 and, having joined the Society of Friends, came with several co-religionists to Talbot County on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in 1659.
There, with 400 acres on the banks of the Choptank River, Walter began a plantation, meaning "cross of gold." Walter bought 800 acres on St. Jones Neck in what became Kent County, Delaware. Croisadore passed through Walter's son, William, to his grandson, the father of John Dickinson; each generation increased the landholdings, so that Samuel inherited 2,500 acres on five farms in three Maryland counties and over his lifetime increased that to 9,000 acres. He bought the Kent County property from his cousin and expanded it to about 3,000 acres, stretching along the St. Jones River from Dover to the Delaware Bay. There he called it Poplar Hall; these plantations were large, profitable agricultural enterprises worked by slave labor, until 1777 when John Dickinson freed the enslaved of Poplar Hall. Samuel Dickinson first married Judith Troth on April 11, 1710, they had nine children. The three eldest sons died of smallpox while in London seeking their education. Widowed, with two young children and Betsy, Samuel married Mary Cadwalader in 1731.
She was the daughter of Martha Jones and the prominent Quaker John Cadwalader, grandfather of General John Cadwalader of Philadelphia. Their sons, John and Philemon were born in the next few years. For three generations the Dickinson family had been members of the Third Haven Friends Meeting in Talbot County and the Cadwaladers were members of the Meeting in Philadelphia, but in 1739, John Dickinson's half-sister, was married in an Anglican church to Charles Goldsborough in what was called a "disorderly marriage" by the Meeting. The couple would be the grandparents of Maryland governor Charles Goldsborough. Leaving Croisadore to elder son Henry Dickinson, Samuel moved to Poplar Hall, where he had taken a leading role in the community as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Kent County; the move placed Mary nearer her Philadelphia relations. Poplar Hall was situated on a now-straightened bend of the St. Jones River. There was plenty of activity delivering the necessities, shipping the agricultural products produced.
Much of this product was wheat that along with other wheat from the region, was milled into a "superfine" flour. Most people at this plantation were slaves of the Dickinsons. Dickinson was educated by his parents and by recent immigrants employed for that purpose. Among them was the Presbyterian minister Francis Alison, who established New London Academy in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Most important was his tutor, William Killen, who became a lifelong friend and who became Delaware’s first Chief Justice and Chancellor. Dickinson was precocious and energetic, in spite of his love of Poplar Hall and his family, was drawn to Philadelphia. At 18 he began studying the law under John Moland in Philadelphia. There he made friends among others. By 1753, John went to London for three years of study at the Middle Temple, he spent those years studying the works of Edward Coke and Francis Bacon at the Inns of Court, following in the footsteps of his lifelong friend, Pennsylvania Attorney General Benjamin Chew, in 1757 was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar beginning his
Stamp Act Congress
The Stamp Act Congress, or First Congress of the American Colonies, was a meeting held between October 7 and 25, 1765, in New York City, consisting of representatives from some of the British colonies in North America. Parliament had passed the Stamp Act, which required the use of specially stamped paper for legal documents, playing cards, calendars and dice for all business in the colonies, was going into effect on November 1, 1765; the Congress was organized in response to a circular letter distributed by the colonial legislature of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, consisted of delegates from nine of the eighteen British colonies in North America. All nine of the attending delegations were from the Thirteen Colonies that formed the United States of America. Although sentiment was strong in some of the other colonies to participate in the Congress, a number of royal governors took steps to prevent the colonial legislatures from meeting to select delegates; the Congress met in the building now known as Federal Hall, was held at a time of widespread protests in the colonies, some of which were violent, against the Stamp Act's implementation.
The delegates discussed and united against the act, issuing a Declaration of Rights and Grievances in which they claimed that Parliament did not have the right to impose the tax because it did not include any representation from the colonies. Members of six of the nine delegations signed petitions addressed to Parliament and King George III objecting to the Act's provisions; the extra-legal nature of the Congress caused alarm in Britain, but any discussion of the congress's propriety were overtaken by economic protests from British merchants whose business with the colonies suffered as a consequence of the protests and their associated non-importation of British products. These economic issues prompted the British Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act, but it passed the Declaratory Act the same day, to express its opinion on the basic constitutional issues raised by the colonists. In the aftermath of the French and Indian War, the British Parliament sought to increase revenues from its overseas colonies, where the cost of stationing troops had become significant.
Parliament first passed the Sugar and Currency Acts in 1764 aimed at raising money for the Crown, through the tighter regulation of colonial trade. These acts had brought protests from colonial legislatures, but had skirted the idea of direct taxation by structuring their revenues as trade-related excise duties. Prime Minister George Grenville noted at the time of the Sugar Act's passage that a stamp tax might be necessary raising concern and protest in the colonies. With the Stamp Act of 1765, Parliament attempted to raise money through direct taxation on the colonies for the first time; the act required that all sorts of printed material carry a stamp to show that the tax had been paid. Use of the stamped paper was required for newspapers, court documents, commercial papers, land deeds, almanacs and playing cards; the revenue was to help finance the operations of the empire, including the cost of stationing troops in the colonies, without seeking revenue through the established colonial assemblies.
In June 1765, the Massachusetts Assembly drafted a letter, sent to the legislatures of "the several Colonies on this Continent" to "consult together on the present circumstances of the colonies". Nine colonies selected delegates to attend the congress: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and South Carolina. All of the delegates selected were members of their colonial legislative bodies; the methods by which delegates were selected were in some cases unorthodox. In Delaware known as the "Three Lower Counties" of the Penn proprietors, assembly members held informal meetings in each of the three counties, in each case selecting the same three delegates. In New York, the assembly had been prorogued and was judged unlikely to be summoned by Lieutenant Governor Colden to consider the Massachusetts letter; the assembly's committee of correspondence, consisting of its New York City delegates, discussed the letter and decided under the circumstances to assume the authority to represent the colony.
New Jersey's assembly politely declined to send delegates before adjourning in late June, but after political sentiment against the Stamp Act became more pronounced, Speaker Robert Ogden called an extra-legal assembly in late September that chose three delegates. Governor William Franklin was upset at this action, but took no action beyond protesting the unusual meeting. Maryland's assembly, prorogued because of a smallpox outbreak, was called into session by Governor Horatio Sharpe to consider the Massachusetts letter on September 23, delegates were chosen; the colonies that were not represented at the congress did not send delegates for a variety of reasons. The Virginia and Georgia assemblies were deliberately prevented from meeting by their governors. New Hampshire chose not to send delegates due to an ongoing financial crisis in the colony. North Carolina Lieutenant Governor William Tryon had prorogued the assembly for other reasons, there was apparently
Land Ordinance of 1785
The Land Ordinance of 1785 was adopted by the United States Congress of the Confederation on May 20, 1785. It set up a standardized system whereby settlers could purchase title to farmland in the undeveloped west. Congress at the time did not have the power to raise revenue by direct taxation, so land sales provided an important revenue stream; the Ordinance set up a survey system that covered over 3/4 of the area of the continental United States. The earlier Ordinance of 1784 was a resolution written by Thomas Jefferson calling for Congress to take action; the land west of the Appalachian Mountains, north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River was to be divided into ten separate states. However, the 1784 resolution did not define the mechanism by which the land would become states, or how the territories would be governed or settled before they became states; the Ordinance of 1785 put the 1784 resolution in operation by providing a mechanism for selling and settling the land, while the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 addressed political needs.
The 1785 ordinance laid the foundations of land policy until passage of the Homestead Act in 1862. The Land Ordinance established the basis for the Public Land Survey System; the initial surveying was performed by Thomas Hutchins. After he died in 1789, responsibility for surveying was transferred to the Surveyor General. Land was to be systematically surveyed into square townships, 6 mi on a side, each divided into thirty-six sections of 1 sq mi or 640 acres; these sections could be subdivided for re-sale by settlers and land speculators. The ordinance was significant for establishing a mechanism for funding public education. Section 16 in each township was reserved for the maintenance of public schools. Many schools today are still located in section sixteen of their respective townships, although a great many of the school sections were sold to raise money for public education. In States, section 36 of each township was designated as a "school section"; the Point of Beginning for the 1785 survey was where Ohio and Virginia met, on the north shore of the Ohio River near East Liverpool, Ohio.
There is a historical marker just north of the site, at the state line where Ohio State Route 39 becomes Pennsylvania Route 68. The Confederation Congress appointed a committee consisting of the following men: Thomas Jefferson Hugh Williamson David Howell Elbridge Gerry Jacob Read On May 7, 1784, the committee reported "An ordinance for ascertaining the mode of locating and disposing of lands in the western territories, for other purposes therein mentioned." The ordinance required the land be divided into "hundreds of ten geographical miles square, each mile containing 6086 and 4-10ths of a foot" and "sub-divided into lots of one mile square each, or 850 and 4-10ths of an acre", numbered starting in the northwest corner, proceeding from west to east, east to west, consecutively. After debate and amendment, the ordinance was reported to Congress April 26, 1785, it required surveyors "to divide the said territory into townships seven miles square, by lines running due north and south, others crossing these at right angles.
— The plats of the townships shall be marked into sections of one mile square, or 640 acres." This is the first recorded use of the terms "township" and "section."On May 3, 1785, William Grayson of Virginia made a motion seconded by James Monroe to change "seven miles square" to "six miles square." The ordinance was passed on May 20, 1785. The sections were to be numbered starting at 1 in the southeast and running south to north in each tier to 36 in the northwest; the surveys were to be performed under the direction of the Geographer of the United States. The Seven Ranges, the surveyed Symmes Purchase, with some modification, the surveyed Ohio Company of Associates, all of the Ohio Lands were the surveys completed with this section numbering; the Act of May 18, 1796, provided for the appointment of a surveyor-general to replace the office of Geographer of the United States, that "sections shall be numbered beginning with number one in the northeast section, proceeding west and east alternately, through the township, with progressive numbers till the thirty-sixth be completed."
All subsequent surveys were completed with this boustrophedonical section numbering system, except the United States Military District of the Ohio Lands which had five mile square townships as provided by the Act of June 1, 1796, amended by the Act of March 1, 1800. Howe and others give Thomas Hutchins credit for conceiving the rectangular system of lots of one square mile in 1764 while a captain in the Sixtieth, or, Royal American and engineer to the expedition under Col. Henry Bouquet to the forks of the Muskingum, in what is now Coshocton County, Ohio, it formed part of his plan as a protection against Indians. The law of 1785 embraced most of the new system. Treat, on the other hand, notes that tiers of townships were familiar in New England, insisted on by the New England legislators. Public Education reservations of the Land Ordinance of 1785 Background:*The Land Ordinance of 1785, adopted May 20, 1785 by the Continental Congress, set the stage for an organized and community-based westward expansion in the United States in the years after the American Revolution.
Under the 1785 act, section 16 of each township was set aside for school purposes, as such was called the school section. Section 36 was subsequently added as a school section in western sta