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The Pro's and Con's of the Dawes Act

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Ciera Christy

on 9 September 2013

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Transcript of The Pro's and Con's of the Dawes Act

The Pro's and Con's of the Dawes Act
What is the Dawes Act?
The Dawes Act, which is also known as the General Allotment Act, is how Congress distributed land to Native Americans in Oklahoma, back in the late 1800's. It was passed February 8th 1887.
How did it get it's name, and what's the meaning behind it?
The Dawes Act got it's name from the Congressman Henry Dawes. Dawes believed in civilizing powers of private property. He believed 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." This act was brought up to turn Indians into farmers.
What is the main purpose of the Act?
The main purpose of the Dawes Act was to gain more American Citizens. Those who supported this Act not only wanted to destroy the tribal loyalties and the reservation system but mainly to make the reservation lands available to white settlements.
The U.S. Government held the land "allotted" to individual Indians as a form of trust, for a period of 25 years. They believed then, that Indians wouldn't sell the land & return to the reservation
More about this Act:
The American Indian became an American citizen as soon as he received his allotment. The Act also declared that Indians could become citizens if they had separated from their tribes and adopted the ways of civilized life, without ending their rights to tribal or other property.
Pro's of this Act:
Every member of the tribes receiving land allotment were rewarded with United States citizenship, along with being included to laws of the state or territory in which they live in. Free land was obtained which established a trust fund to collect oil, minerals, timber, and grazing leases on Native American lands, in which they distributed.
How much land was actually received?
To each head of a family, one quarter of a section.
To each single person over 18 years of age, one-eighth of a section.
To each orphan child under 18, one-eighth of a section.
and To every other single person under 18 now living, or will be born prior to the date of the President directing an allotment, one-sixteenth of a section
Con's of this act:
Many farmers couldn't afford to start a farm and keep it running.
Indians lost their lands.
The tribes of Oklahoma lost their sovereignty.
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