Letter on Celebrating the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Ordinance of 1787.
My dear Sirs:
I Most heartily endorse the proposal that the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the Ordinance of 1787 and of the settlement of the Northwest be celebrated by the joint observance of the Federal Government and of the various States concerned.
Rich in the possession of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution, those documents which established and gave form to our national Government, we, as a people, have perhaps been less informed with respect to that third great charter—the Northwest Ordinance. I trust that this forthcoming anniversary will be seized as the opportune occasion to instil in American minds and hearts the cherished appreciation of the rank and honor that is the rightful due of the "Great Ordinance."
The principles therein embodied served as the highway, broad and safe, over which poured the westward march of our civilization. As the Constitution provided the Federal frame, so the "Great Ordinance" provided for the States to be born in your region, not only the basis of civil government, but a perpetual security of elemental rights. On this plan was the United States built; on the plan of this Ordinance we have, State by State, filled in the geographic frame of our domain; and from it we have had no occasion to depart.
I hope to see the most helpful cooperation both on the part of the Federal Government and of your historic States in the commemoration of an event so full of meaning both to our past development and to the principles of freedom and progress for which we must ever stand.
Very sincerely yours,
Hon. George White,
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Letter on Celebrating the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Ordinance of 1787. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/208555