West Immigration

December 15, 2014: Cordell France

Morrill Act

  • Sponsored by Vermont Congressman Justin Morrill, the Morrill Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on July 2, 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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Helen Hunt Jackson

  • Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, born Helen Fiske (October 15, 1830 – August 12, 1885), was an American poet and writer who became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government.
  • Jackson published five collections of poetry, including Verses (1870) and Easter Bells(1884), as well as children’s literature and travel books, often using the pseudonyms “H.H.,” “Rip van Winkle,” or “Saxe Holm.” Frequently in poor health, she moved to Colorado on her physician’s recommendation and married William Sharpless Jackson there in 1875.
  • Jackson was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.



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Dawes Act

  • The Dawes Act of 1887 also known as the General Allotment Act or the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887, adopted by Congress in 1887, authorized the President of the United States to survey American Indians 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 Lauren 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. The act also provided what the government would classify as "excess" Indian reservation land remaining after allotments, and sell those lands on the open market, allowing purchase and settlement by non-Native Americans.
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Chief Joseph

  • He led his band during the most tumultuous period in their contemporary history when they were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands in the Wallowa Valleyby the U.S federal government and forced to move northeast, onto the significantly reduced reservation in Lapwai Idaho territory
  • A series of events which culminated in episodes of violence led those Nez Perce who resisted removal including Joseph's band and an allied band of the Palouse tribe to take flight to attempt to reach political asylum , ultimately with the Lakota chief Sitting Bull in Canada
  • They were pursued by the U.S Army in a campaign led by General Oliver O. Howard.
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