West Immigration

By: Logan Harris

Helen Hunt Jackson

Some Americans had opposed the treatment of Native Americans. In her 1881 book A Century of Dishonor, Helen Hunt Jackson detailed the years of broken promises and injustices. Her descriptions of events such as the massacre at Sand Creek sparked new debate on the issue. Some Americans believed the solution was to encourage Native Americans to assimilate, or be absorbed, into American Society as landowners and citizens. This meant to divide reservations into individual allotments, where families could become self supporting.

Morrill Act

The Civil War ended the debate. After the Southern states seceded the Republican controlled Congress passed the Morrill Tariff, which greatly increased tariff rates. By 1865 tariffs had nearly tripled.The Morrill Act of 1862 was also known as the Land Grant College Act. It was a major boost to higher education in America. 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. The land-grant act was introduced by a congressman from Vermont named Justin Smith Morrill. He envisioned the financing of agricultural and mechanical education. He wanted to assure that education would be available to those in all social classes.There were several of these grants, but the first passed in 1862. This bill was signed by Abraham Lincoln on July 2. This gave each state 30,000 acres of public land for each Senator and Representative. These numbers were based on the census of 1860.
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Dawes Act

Congressman Henry Dawes, author of the act, once expressed his faith in the civilizing power of private property with the claim that to be civilized was to "wear civilized clothes cultivate the ground, live in houses, ride in Studebaker wagons, send children to school, drink whiskey and own property.An act to provide for the allotment of lands in severalty to Indians on the various reservations, and to extend the protection of the laws of the United States and the Territories over the Indians, and for other purposes.Be it enacted, That in all cases where any tribe or band of Indians has been, or shall hereafter be, located upon any reservation created for their use, either by treaty stipulation or by virtue of an act of Congress or executive order setting apart the same for their use, the President of the United States be, and he hereby is, authorized, whenever in his opinion any reservation or any part thereof of such Indians is advantageous for agricultural and grazing purposes to cause said reservation, or any part thereof, to be surveyed, or resurveyed if necessary, and to allot the lands in said reservations in severalty to any Indian located thereon in quantities.

Pendleton Act

Public reaction to the assassination of President Garfield forced Congress to pass the Civil Service Reform Act. The law established a three-person, bi-partisan panel to develop exams to hire federal employees based on merit. The act initially covered 10% of federal employees, but became the basis for most of the Civil Service of today.Reformers had long been calling for an end to the "spoils system" in civil service appointments. However, the assassination of President Garfield provided the needed push to make the change. President Arthur, who himself had been a product of the spoils system, surprised his critics by becoming a vocal supporter of the reform. A bi-partisan, three-person commission was created to oversee the newly-established Civil Service System. Arthur appointed three individuals long identified with civil service reform to serve as its commissioners.The new law called for open competitive exams for all jobs classified as civil service jobs.

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