File:Maxwell's Code Title Page.jpg
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. 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 William Maxwell printed it. The document was printed in Cincinnati and is reported to be the first book published in what is now Ohio.
Ohio Historical Society from the V 345.12 N819L 1791-99 Collection.
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