Western Expansion


The Northwest Ordinance is an essential part of western expansion in the United States. One of the four organic laws of the United States, the Ordinance, which was passed in 1787, protected civil and religious liberty and prohibited slavery. This early expansion, made possible by the Ordinance, and subsequent explorations of the West, including most notably the Lewis and Clark expedition, laid the groundwork for American expansion further westward.


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Bradley J. Birzer is the Russell Amos Kirk Professor in American Studies at Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, his M.A. from Utah State University, and his Ph.D. from Indiana University.