Western Immigration

Mary Lor

Helen Hunt Jackson

  1. In 1881 Helen Hunt Jackson publishes A Century of Dishonor, the first detailed examination of the federal government’s treatment of Native Americans in the West.
  2. Her findings shock the nation with proof that empty promises, broken treaties and brutality helped pave the way for white pioneers.
  3. With the assistance of Indian agent and entrepreneur Abbot Kinney, Jackson criss-crossed Southern California , documenting the appalling conditions they saw.
  4. At one point, she hired a law firm to protect the rights of a family of Saboba Indians facing dispossession of their land at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains.
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Morrill Act

  1. The Morrill Act of 1862 was also known as the Land Grant College Act. It was a major boost to higher education in America.
  2. The grant was originally set up to establish institutions is each state that would educate people in agriculture, home economics, mechanical arts, and other professions that were practical at the time.
  3. The land-grant act was introduced by a congressman from Vermont named Justin Smith Morrill.
  4. He envisioned the financing of agricultural and mechanical education. He wanted to assure that education would be available to those in all social classes.

Ellis Island

  1. Ellis Island opened in 1892 as a federal immigration station, a purpose it served for more than 60 years (it closed in 1954).
  2. Early immigrants came from nations such as England, Ireland, Germany and the Scandinavian countries and constituted the first large wave of immigrants that settled and populated the United States.
  3. Millions of newly arrived immigrants passed through the station during that time–in fact, it has been estimated that close to 40 percent of all current U.S. citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island.
  4. While there were many reasons to immigrate to America, no reason could be found for what would occur only five years after the Ellis Island Immigration Station opened. During the early morning hours of June 15, 1897, a fire on Ellis Island burned the immigration station completely to the ground.
  5. No lives were lost, many years of Federal and State immigration records dating back to 1855 burned along with the pine buildings that failed to protect them.

Dawes Act

  1. On February 8, 1887, Congress passed the Dawes Act, named for its author, Senator Henry Dawes of Massachusetts.
  2. The Dawes Act was meant to allow the government to divide Indian tribal land into lots for Indians.
  3. To incorporate Native Americans into mainstream society, U.S. citizenship was to be granted to any Native American who chose to live separately from their tribe.
  4. Land remaining after the land was granted to Native Americans was to be sold on the open market. The Indian reservation system was nearly destroyed by the Dawes Act.
  5. Each Native American family head was given 320 acres of grazing land or 160 acres of farmland.
  6. If they were single or an orphan older than 18 then they were given 80 acres. Singles under 18 were given 40 acres of land.
  7. Prior to the Dawes Act Native American women had more equal roles in society. The Dawes Act made it impossible for a Native American woman to receive the 160 acres they were to be entitled to until she married.
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