Viewing The Ordinance of 1785.
Operating under the Articles of Confederation, Congress adopted The Land Ordinance of 1785 on May 20, 1785. Because Congress lacked power to tax citizens of the United States, it aimed, through the Ordinance, to raise revenue through the sale of land in the Northwest Territory. It required that the land be surveyed, mapped and divided into "townships of six miles square." Each township was then subdivided into thirty-six sections of one square mile or 640 acres; thereafter, each section could be further divided for sale by settlers. The survey, using this rectangular methodology, contributed to the rapid and orderly settlement of the Northwest Territory -- the current states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin -- and made the transfer and sale of land easy.