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MICHIGAN CHAPTER 16

Influx of Settlers


WITH the cessation of hostilities and an era of peace assured the colonies began casting about to see where they stood. They had been greatly impoverished by the war. Moreover they were burdened with debt. It was important to consider means for liquidation. Several of the colonies claimed by virtue of royal charters land extending indefinitely to the westward. New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia were among the states which set up such claims. Congress proposed that all these lands be ceded by the several claimants to the Union, to be disposed of for the general benefit. These new regions, it was proposed, should be ultimately organized into states possessing equal rights and privileges with the others. In this way the expenses incurred by the thirteen original colonies in carrying on the war could be refunded. One after another the several states, after some controversy and compromise, approved this program, and by 1786 all had ceded to the general government the title to such lands west of the Alleghanies as they might properly claim under their charters. This opened the way to settlement and occupancy of the western country. The tide of emigration soon began to flow westward with increasing velocity, as it had already swept over the mountain ranges from Pennsylvania and Virginia, even under the adverse conditions which existed during the progress of the revolution. The Indians, being no longer inspired by British presents, advice and entreaty, showed a more pacific disposition and looked with comparative indifference upon the coming settler and his evident purpose to hew out a home for himself and family in the forest.
The mass of this migration was to the southward of the great lake region. Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois filled up with comparative rapidity.

MICHIGAN


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