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OF THE NATURE OF THE ACT OF CONGRESS
ORGANIZING THE TERRITORY OF

WISCONSIN.1
The act of congress organizing this Territory is in the
nature of a constitution of a State. It is supreme, and the

a legislative assembly cannot pass an act in opposition to, or in violation of it. The courts cannot be required to enforce such an act. It should be treated as a nullity.

-Smith et al. vs. Odell, 1 Pinney (Wis.), 454.

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Such are the provisions of the organic law, which is a constitution to us.

-Barker vs. Baxter, 1 Pinney (Wis.), 409.

It is to these acts of, congress that the people of the territory looked for their legal and political rights. They are:

First. The ordinance of 1787.

Second. The organic act of the territory of Wisconsin, passed in 1836.

-Newcomb vs. Smith, 2 Pinney (Wis.), 142.

The sovereignty of this section of the north-western territory is yet in the United States, and in pursuance of that clause of the Constitution giving to congress the power to

1 Commonly known' and referred to as the “Organic Law,or “ Organic Act." For the text of this act see p. 78 of this number.

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dispose of, and make all needful rules and regulations respecting, the territory of the United States, the act establishing the territorial government of Wisconsin was passed. By that act a government was established or created, composed of executive, legislative and judicial branches.

Hence it is apparent, that by this law, a municipal corporation, or government, is created, subject to the control of and immediately connected with the government of the United States.

The Territory of Wisconsin vs. Doty and Others, i Pinney (Wis.), 405.

The organic law is binding upon the legislature of the Territory, as the constitution of a State is upon the action of its legislature; but it is a mere act of congress, subject to its amendment, modification or repeal. Under the constitution, it was competent for congress to legislate directly for the Territory; but, as this would be inconvenient, and probably not consistent with the immediate or local wants or interests of the people, the Territorial government was created by the organic law, wherein the governor and legislative assembly are authorized to discharge their respective duties therein referred to, for the interest and protection of the people.

- The United States vs. Hatch, 1 Pinney ( Wis.), 189.

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The Territory of Wisconsin as defined by the act of April 20th, 1836,1 contained a geographical area equal to at least three ordinary Commonwealths. This fact along with the phenomenal increase in population and the growth of widely scattered settlements necessitated an early division of that Territory. Two years, to the day, from the establishment of the Territory of Wisconsin the country west of the Mississippi river was erected into the Territory of Iowa.” Six years later (1844) Iowa was ready to enter the Union on an equal footing with the original States. But, owing to a dispute between Congress and the people of the Territory over the boundaries of the future Commonwealth, admission was delayed until December 28th, 1846.

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B. F. S.

1 See No. IV. of this series, p. 78. . See p. 102 of this number.

THE TERRITORY OF IOWA.

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND REFERENCES.

United States Statutes at Large, Vol. V., pp. 235, 243, 248, 266, 283, 330, 331, 344, 356, 425, 426, 357, 428, 505, 507, 522, 537, 575, 637, 639, 657, 666, 667, 670, 742, 788, 789; Vol. IX, pp. 52,117.

Congressional Globe, 25th Cong., 2nd Sess., passim; Congressional Globe, 25th Cong., 3d Sess., passim; Congressional Globe, 26th Cong., 1st Sess., passim; Congressional Globe, 26th Cong., 2nd Sess., passim; Congressional Globe, 27th Cong., 2nd Sess., Appendix, p. 286; Congressional Globe, 27th Cong., 3d Sess., passim; Congressional Globe, 28th Cong., ist Sess., passim.

Reports of Committees, 25th to 28th Congresses, passim; Executive Documents, 25th to 28th Congresses, passim; Senate Documents, 25th to 28th Congresses, passim.

The Annals of Iowa, passim; The Iowa Historical Record, passim; Iowa Historical Lectures; Shambaugh’s History of Iowa City.

AN ACT TO DIVIDE THE TERRITORY OF WISCONSIN AND TO ESTABLISH THE TERRITORIAL

GOVERNMENT OF IOWA.1

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the third day of July next, all that part of the present Territory of Wisconsin which lies west of the Mississippi river, and west of a line drawn due north from the head waters or sources of the Mississippi to the Territorial line, shall, for the purposes of temporary government, be and constitute a separate Terrritorial Government by the name of Iowa; and that from and after the said third day of July next, the present Territorial Government of Wisconsin shall extend only to that part of the present Territory of Wisconsin which lies east of the Mississippi river. And after the said third day of July next, all power and authority of the Government of Wisconsin in and over the Territory hereby constituted shall cease: Provided, That nothing in this act contained shall be construed to impair the rights of persons or property now

1 This act of Congress constituted the Organic Law, i. e. the Constitution, of the Territory of Iowa. Cf. No. IV. of this series, p. 98. See Reed v. Wright, 2 Green, passim.

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