THE MISSISSIPPI TERRITORIAL STAGE
The Mississippi Territory, as originally created by act of Congress in 1798, included all the territory now in Alabama and Mississippi north of 31§ and south of 32§ 28þ. After Spain withdrew from this area under the terms of the Treaty of 1795, Congress hastened to organize the territory in order to assert the sovereignty of the United States. In 1804, following Georgia's cession of her western lands to the federal government, the territory was increased by the addition of that area now in Alabama and Mississippi north of 32§ 28'. This more than doubled the size of the territory. In 1812, when Congress added the Mobile district of West Florida, the limits of the territory reached completion.
The act creating the Mississippi Territory in 1798 directed the President of the United States to establish therein a "government in all respects similar to that now exercised in the Territory northwest of the Ohio," excepting the clauses forbidding slavery.1 In a very real sense the Northwest Ordinance served as a constitution for the Mississippi, Alabama, and all other territories of the United States. Its bill of rights, framework of government, and stages of territorial development became integral parts of the government of every territory organized after its passage in 1787. The government was to be carried on by a governor, a secretary, and three judges appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Whenever the district had five thousand male inhabitants, the landowners could choose a House of Representatives. The House of Representatives would nominate ten men from whom the President would choose five to act as a legislative council.2 Modeled to a great extent on the British system of the colonial period, the Ordinance nevertheless made improvements in that system. A territorial delegate (the colonial agent of the British period) was given a seat in Congress al-____________________