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If we are going to say that the Northwest Ordinance helped to bring education for everyone, we are going to have to expand our definition of “Northwest Ordinance.” Historians sometimes use the term “Northwest Ordinances” to refer to a set of laws that were all meant to govern the territories of the Northwest that had not yet become states. One of these laws was the Land Ordinance of 1785. This law can be said to have helped to provide “education for all.”
The way that the ordinance did this was by guaranteeing a source of funding for schools in each area of the new territories. The ordinance mandated that the land be divided up into townships that would be 6 miles square (squares with sides 6 miles long). Each township would be split into 36 sections, each of which would be one mile square. The sixteenth section of each township was to be sold and the money used to support public schools in that township. In this way, the law helped to provide for public education for everyone.
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