The authors of the Northwest Ordinance believed educated citizens were critical to the success of self-government. Article 3 declared, “. . . education shall forever be encouraged.” The Northwest Ordinance, together with the earlier Land Ordinance of 1785, set aside a section of each new township’s land for the support of public schools.
Religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress