Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.

An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio, (Northwest Ordinance), Article 3, July 17, 1787.

Note – On July 13, 1787, the Continental Congress passed the “Northwest Ordinance,” which declared that the United States intended to settle the region north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River.  It set up the method by which new states would be admitted to the Union, giving them the same rights and powers as the established states, including the freedom of religion.  Interestingly, it also stated the importance that Congress attached to religion

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