Western Life / Immigration

-- Coming to the United States --

Wanting a Better Life

In the late 1800s, people in many parts of the world decided to leave their homes and immigrate to the United States leaving scarce lands of crop failure, job shortages, rising taxes, famine, personal freedom, or relief from political, and religious persecution. Many came to the U. S. because it was perceived as the land of economic opportunity and with hope for a brighter future, nearly 12 million immigrants arrived in the United States between 1870 and 1900.

Helen Hunt Jackson

- October 18, 1830 - August 12, 1885.
- She is an American poet and writer who became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government.
- She became good friends with the well known poet, Emily Dickinson throughout a lot of interaction because of their poetry.

Morrill Act

- Went into affect on July 2, 1862.
- Known as "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.
- This act was sponsored by Vermont Congressman Justin Morrill and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln.

Dawes Act

- Passed by Congress on February 7, 1887.
- Grover Cleveland is president at this time.
- It give each head of an Indian family 160 acres, and each single person 80 acres, if he gave up his loyalty to his tribe. This initially splits up many reservations held together by Native American tribes.

Jacob Riis

- May 3, 1849 - May 26, 1914
- Danish-born journalist who wrote about the urban poor and how immigrants lived.
- He was on of the first reformers to express his unhappiness of poor living conditions to the wide public. His experience with writing and photography made his unhappiness a lot easier to deal with and show to the people.