The Ordinance of 1784 created an orderly procedure for the United States to deal with the lands west of the Allegheny Mountains that opened up by the compromises of 1781, 1782 and 1783 that led to the ratification of the Articles of Confederation in 1784. Vast Landholdings in the West
New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia also had extensive land holdings in this vast area. Maryland had stalled ratification of the Articles of Confederation to force the states with these land holdings to relinquish them. Maryland's chief complaint was that these states held a huge advantage over the landless states like Maryland. This was because they could sell these lands to pay their debts. They felt that landless states like Maryland would have to levy heavy taxes to pay theirs off, stifling their growth. Virginia, the lone holdout, finally relinquished these claims on October 20, 1783. A satisfied Maryland ratified the Articles of Confederation on January 30, 1781. Congress accepted Virginia's offer on March 1, 1784. The road now lay open for Congress to lay the groundwork for development of the vast region that would become Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Ordinance of 1784
Thomas Jefferson wrote the draft for the Land Ordinance of 1784. His draft included several important points:
The new states shall remain forever a part of the United States of America.
They shall bear the same relation to the confederation as the original states.
They shall pay their apportionment of the federal debts.
They shall in their governments uphold republican forms.
After the year 1800 there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of them
The proposed names of these states were Cherronesus, Assenisippia, Metropotamia, Sylvania, and Pelisipia
Congress considered Jefferson's draft and adopted it on April 23, 1784 after striking the slavery prohibition and the proposed names for the new states. This ordinance prepared the way for the Ordinance of 1785 that would provide a system for surveying the lands.