IN.gov - Skip Navigation

Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.

Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > About Indiana - History and Trivia > Explore Indiana History by Topic > Indiana Documents Leading to Statehood > Act Creating Indiana Territory, 1800 Act Creating Indiana Territory, 1800

The Indiana Supreme Court and the Indiana Historical Bureau are collaborating on a major project to gather in one place copies of original documents and research materials relating to Indiana's constitutional history. View the collection and the original Act creating Indiana Territory, 1800

On March 20, 1800, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives providing for the division of the Northwest Territory into two separate governments. It passed the House on March 31 and the Senate on April 21 in an amended form. After agreement had been achieved in a conference committee, it was approved by President John Adams on May 7, 1800. The principal supporters of the measure were William Henry Harrison, territorial delegate from Northwest Territory, and Robert C. Harper of South Carolina. They urged that the existing situation was too unwieldy for good government, that the growth of population justified the change, and that popular sentiment made it highly desirable. The passage of this act left the present state of Ohio, approximately half of Michigan and the "gore" in southeastern Indiana in the Northwest Territory and constituted the remainder of the original Northwest Territory as Indiana Territory: (13)

An ACT to divide the territory of the United States north-west of the Ohio, into two separate governments.

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That from and after the fourth day of July next, all that part of the territory of the United States north-west of the Ohio river, which lies to the westward of a line beginning at the Ohio, opposite to the mouth of Kentucky river, and running thence to fort Recovery, and thence north until it shall intersect the territorial line between the United States and Canada, shall, for the purposes of temporary government, constitute a separate territory, and be called the Indiana Territory.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That there shall be established within the said territory a government in all respects similar to that provided by the ordinance of Congress, passed on the thirteenth day of July one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, for the government of the territory of the United States north-west of the river Ohio; and the inhabitants thereof shall be entitled to, and enjoy all and singular the rights, privileges and advantages granted and secured to the people by the said ordinance.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That the officers for the said territory, who by virtue of this act shall be appointed by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall respectively exercise the same powers, perform the same duties, and receive for their services the same compensations as by the ordinance aforesaid and the laws of the United States, have been provided and established for similar officers in the territory of the United States north-west of the river Ohio: And the duties and emoluments of Superintendant of Indian Affairs shall be united with those of governor: Provided, That the President of the United States shall have full power, in the recess of Congress, to appoint and commission all officers herein authorized; and their commissions shall continue in force until the end of the next session of Congress.

Sec. 4. And be it further enacted, That so much of the ordinance for the government of the territory of the United States north-west of the Ohio river, as relates to the organization of a General Assembly therein, and prescribes the powers thereof, shall be in force and operate in the Indiana territory, whenever satisfactory evidence shall be given to the governor thereof, that such is the wish of a majority of the free-holders, notwithstanding there may not be therein five thousand free male inhabitants of the age of twenty-one years and upwards: Provided, That until there shall be five thousand free male inhabitants of twenty-one years and upwards in said territory, the whole number of representatives to the General Assembly shall not be less than seven, nor more than nine, to be apportioned by the governor to the several counties in the said territory, agreeably to the number of free males of the age of twenty-one years and upwards which they may respectively contain.

Sec. 5. And be it further enacted, That nothing in this act contained shall be construed so as in any manner to affect the government now in force in the territory of the United States north-west of the Ohio river, further than to prohibit the exercise thereof within the Indiana territory, from and after the aforesaid fourth day of July next: Provided, That whenever that part of the territory of the United States which lies to the eastward of a line beginning at the mouth of the Great Miami river, and running thence due north to the territorial line between the United States and Canada, shall be erected into an independent state and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original states, thenceforth said line shall become and remain permanently the boundary line between such state and the Indiana territory; any thing in this act contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

Sec. 6. And be it further enacted, That until it shall be otherwise ordered by the legislatures of the said territories respectively, Chilicothe, on Scioto river, shall be the seat of the government of the territory of the United States north-west of the Ohio river; and that Saint Vincennes, on the Wabash river, shall be the seat of the government for the Indiana territory.

THEODORE SEDGWICK,

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

TH: JEFFERSON,

Vice-President of the United States, and

President of the Senate.

Approved-May 7th, A.D. 1800

JOHN ADAMS, President of the United States

(13) Acts Passed at the First Session of the Sixth Congress of the United States (Philadelphia, n.d.), 139-141; United States Statutes at Large (Boston, 1850- ), II, 58-60; Annals of Congress, 6 Cong., I Sess., 645, 649, 1498-1500; Carter (ed.), Territorial Papers, VII, 7-10; Kettleborough (ed.), Constitution Making in Indiana, I, 39-43; Barnhart and Carmony, Indiana, I, 94-95, 100. The "gore" was transferred to Indiana Territory when Ohio became a state in 1803.