Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

1.Records of the Federal Convention
2.Levi Lincoln, Governor of the Northwest Territory, 2 Feb. 1802
3.St. George Tucker, Blackstone's Commentaries 1:App. 283--86, 1803
4.Sere v. Pitot
5.Johnson & Graham v. M'Intosh
6.James Kent, Commentaries 1:360--61, 1826
7.American Insurance Co. v. Canter
8.Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution 3:§§ 1317--22, 1833