West/Immigration

Pendleton Act

- Federal law established in 1883 that stipulated that government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit.

- The act provided selection of government employees by competitive exams, rather than ties to politicians or political affiliation. It also made it illegal to fire or demote government officials for political reasons and prohibited soliciting campaign donations on Federal government property.

- To enforce the merit system and the judicial system, the law also created the United States Civil Service Commission. A crucial result was the shift of the parties to reliance on funding from business, since they could no longer depend on patronage hopefuls.

Helen Hunt Jackson

- American poet and writer who became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government.

- Her novel Ramona dramatized the federal government's mistreatment of Native Americans in Southern California after the Mexican–American War and attracted considerable attention to her cause.

- Commercially popular, it was estimated to have been reprinted 300 times and most readers liked its romantic and picturesque qualities rather than its political content. The novel was so popular that it attracted many tourists to Southern California who wanted to see places from the book.

Morrill Act

- The senate passed the Morrill Act by a vote of 32 to 7 on June 10, 1862. The House of Representatives passed this act by a vote of 90 to 25 on June 17, 1862.

- Officially titled "An Act Donating Public Lands to the Several States and Territories which may provide Colleges for the Benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts," the Morrill Act provided each state with 30,000 acres of Federal land for each member in their Congressional delegation.

- The land was then sold by the states and the proceeds used to fund public colleges that focused on agriculture and the mechanical arts. Sixty-nine colleges were funded by these land grants, including Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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Dawes Act

- Adopted by Congress in 1887, authorized the President of the United States to survey American Indian tribal land and divide it into allotments for individual Indians.

- Those who accepted allotments and lived separately from the tribe would be granted United States citizenship. The Dawes Act was amended in 1891, and again in 1906 by the Burke Act.

- The Act was named for its creator, Senator Henry Laurens Dawes of Massachusetts. The stated objective of the Dawes Act was to stimulate assimilation of Indians into mainstream American society. Individual ownership of land on the European-American model was seen as an essential step.

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