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Variants of the 1786 Ordinance for the regulation of Indian affairs: A Levenshtein analysis

Date of this Version



Published online in American Indian Treaties Portal by the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright (c) 2015 Charles Bernholz.


In 1786, the Continental Congress instituted the two positions of Superintendent for the Northern and for the Southern District through the implementation of An ordinance for the regulation of Indian affairs. This mandate was a clear continuation of the superintendency model employed by the British during their reign to develop trade and a strong relationship with the tribes. The ordinance has been published over the ensuing years in various collations. In the process, text errors were introduced. Sixteen selected variants of this statement, from official as well as public sources, were compared with Levenshtein’s edit distance algorithm to assess similarity and provenance.

ordinance_tableI.xls (980 kB)
Table 1

ordinance_tableII.xls (42 kB)
Table 2

ordinance_tableIII.xls (38 kB)
Table 3