THE NORTHWEST ORDINANCE
THE population of the United States was like a body of water that was being steadily enlarged by internal springs and external tributaries. It was augmented both from within and from without, from natural increase and from immigration. It had spread over the whole coast from Maine to Georgia and slowly back into the interior, at first along the lines of river communication and then gradually filling up the spaces between until the larger part of the available land east of the Alleghany Mountains was settled. There the stream was checked as if dammed by the mountain barrier, but the population was trickling through wherever it could find an opening, slowly wearing channels, until finally, when the obstacles were overcome, it broke through with a rush.
Twenty years before the Revolution the expanding population had reached the mountains and was