ON THIS DAY IN UNITED STATES HISTORY
July 13, 1787
Continental Congress Passes the Northwest Ordinance
On this day in 1787, the delegates of the original thirteen colonies passed the Northwest Ordinance to establish
rules for governing the territory which included present day Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and parts
of Minnesota. This law set the tone for future expansion across North America to admit new states rather than
expanding current states.
This ordinance was also known as the Freedom Ordinance because it prohibited slavery in the new territory. This
would come to be a source of aggravation between the Northern and Southern states that would culminate in the
American Civil War over 70 years later.
July 13, 1863
New York City Draft Riots Begin
On this day in 1863, opponents of the draft imposed during the American Civil War began to express their anger
by protesting. Those most opposed to the draft were poor men because they could not afford to pay the $300
commutation fee that would allow them to avoid the draft. They also objected to the fact that blacks (since they
were not considered citizens) were exempt from the draft.
The protests escalated over the next several days into a full fledged riot. Buildings were raided, property was
destroyed and blacks were harassed or killed along with anyone perceived to be a supporter. The military finally
suppressed the riot but not before at least 120 were killed and as many as 2,000 injured