By Hayley Easter
Helen Hunt Jackson
Helen was an American poet and writer who became an activist on behalf of improved treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government. She described the adverse effects of government actions in her history A Century of Dishonor. Her novel Ramona dramatized the federal government's mistreatment of Naive Americans in Southern California after the Mexican-American War and attracted considerable attention to her cause. The novel was so popular that it attracted many tourists to Southern California who wanted to see places from the book.
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. 69 colleges were funded by these land grants.
The Dawes Act of 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 objective of the Dawes Act was to stimulate assimilation of Indians into mainstream American society.
Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of United States is a 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 prohibiting 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.