Side A: The first Northwest Territory assembly formally met in Cincinnati in September 1799 to initiate self-government. The legislators were deeply divided politically. The Republicans (antifederalists or “Jeffersonians”), led by Thomas Worthington and Edward Tiffin of Chillicothe, opposed the appointed government headed by the Federalist governor, Arthur St. Clair. They saw it as arbitrary and autocratic and recognized that change could occur only with statehood. To deter the movement, the St. Clair faction in 1801 divided the territory and removed the capital from Chillicothe to Cincinnati. Their actions triggered a violent confrontation led by the antifederalist Michael Baldwin who incited the local rabble-rousers, known as “the Bloodhounds,” to riot in the streets of Chillicothe. Both political unrest and advancing settlement accelerated the Chillicothe faction’s campaign for Ohio statehood.
Side B: According to the census of 1800, the Northwest Territory had a population of 45,365, far short of the 60,000 required under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 to form a new state. However, the territory’s rapid growth prompted the U.S. House of Representatives to form a committee early in 1802 to report on the prospect of statehood. Following a favorable report, the House passed an enabling bill, which was approved by the Senate and signed as the Enabling Act by President Thomas Jefferson on April 30, 1802. The following December, Thomas Worthington traveled from Chillicothe to Washington D.C. to deliver Ohio’s Constitution to Congress for ratification. The constitution upheld the principles of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and prohibited slavery in Ohio. On March 1, 1803, Ohio became the seventeenth state admitted to the Union.