West/Immigration

Abrianna Rawley

Helen Hunt Jackson

  • Hunt expressed her grief in poems that she sent to the New York Evening Post over the signatures "Marah" and later "H.H." She was encouraged in her writing by Thomas W. Higginson, who was always anxious to help female writers and gave important encouragement to Hunt's lifelong friend Emily Dickinson.
  • In 1872 Hunt traveled to California. The next year, while in Colorado Springs, she met William Sharpless Jackson, a banker and leading citizen of that community. They married in October 1875, and Colorado Springs became her home.

    Saxe Holm's Stories had been published in 1873 (second series 1878). Helen Hunt Jackson's first novel,Mercy Philbrick's Choice (1876), was widely circulated. Two years later she published another volume, A Masque of Poets.

  • Jackson's interest in the conditions of the western Indians resulted in A Century of Dishonor (1881), a thoroughly researched exposé of the injustices Indians had suffered. She was subsequently appointed by the U.S. government as special commissioner to investigate the conditions of Mission Indians. When she realized that amelioration by official means was unlikely, she turned from report writing to fiction. She pleaded for justice for Indians in her novel Ramona (1884), though the book owed its enduring popularity more to its romantic than to its propagandistic aspects. Jackson died on Aug. 12, 1885.

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Helen Hunt Jackson

Morrill Act

  • 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. The land was then to be sold and the money from the sale of the land was to be put in an endowment fund which would provide support for the colleges in each of the states.
  • The land-grant has improved the lives of millions of Americans. This was not the case in the early stages. At the time the grants were established, there was a separation of races. In the South, blacks were not allowed to attend the original land-grant institutions. There was a provision for separate but equal facilities, but only Mississippi and Kentucky set up any such institution. This situation was rectified when the Second Morrill Act was passed and expanded the system of grants to include black institutions.
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Morrill Act

Ellis Island

  • Though it is no longer used as an immigration station, Ellis Island saw the admittance of over 12 million immigrants in its 62 year existence. In 1907, a single day saw nearly 12,000 immigrants pass through! That’s quite a few dreams!
  • In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Ellis Island a part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, which is now maintained by the National Park Service. Ellis Island and Liberty Island are part of the same national park operation. Frederic Bartholdi personally chose Bedloe’s Island in the New York Harbor for its location. The monument was dedicated on October 28, 1886, as a symbol of freedom and hope for the American people. The Statue of Liberty was unveiled on that date, by President Grover Cleveland.
  • When the government purchased Ellis Island from the Ellis family, the island was 3.3 acres in total area. During the time the city of New York was creating the New York City Subway System, spoils of the rocks and dirt removed from the ground to create the tunnels were dumped on the island. This expanded the size, giving it the width it has today. Liberty Island, Ellis Island and Black Tom Island were called the Oyster Islands. Today, Black Tom Island is now a part of Liberty State Park, on the mainland.
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Ellis Island

Pendleton Act

  • Chester Arthur was the 21st American President who served in office from September 19, 1881 to March 4, 1885. One of the important events during his presidency was the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act.


  • The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was passed to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States. The purpose of the Pendleton Act was to break the Spoils System which had become the 'custom and practice' of presidential administrations. The law was sponsored by reformer Senator George Hunt Pendleton of Ohio and was signed into law by President Chester Arthur on January 16, 1883.



  • Only about 10% of the positions in the federal government were covered by the new Pendleton law. The Constitution gives the President the power to appoint of officers, subject to the confirmation of the Senate. An act of Congress cannot diminish the constitutional powers of the President, unless he consents. And one President cannot bind succeeding Presidents. The consent of every President and of both Houses of every Congress is necessary to make the reform of the civil service permanent. Nearly every president who followed Chester A. Arthur, who signed the bill into law, broadened the scope of the. By 1980 more than 90% of federal employees were protected by the act.


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Pendleton Act