A very precise, indepth report on the dawes act (general allotment act), its motives and effects,native americans as slave owners, and blacks as a significant element in the west.

Essay by claypoolHigh School, 12th gradeA+, February 2004

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The General Allotment Act, also known as the Dawes Act, named after Senator Henry Dawes, who wrote the act, is the legislation to which Thomas Sowell refers in his passage. The Dawes Act divided Native American reservations into small parcels for individual ownership by Native Americans. To the head of a family, 160 acres were given, 80 acres was given to any single person over the age of 18, and 80 acres were also given to any orphans under the age of 18. To receive a portion of land one would have to register on Dawes Rolls. Only formal names were accepted on the Dawes Rolls forcing Native Americans to change their tribal names into formal "Anglican" names. Dawes Rolls became a problem because those government workers in charge of Native American registration occasionally signed family members up for land. The portions of land the Native Americans received were protected by the government for 25 years, after this span the land became open to taxation and seizure.

This also became a major problem because after 25 years, if the land owners could not pay the taxes, the land that was previously reservation land was lost through seizure or sale. The result of this legislation was massive losses of Native American land. 87,623,456 acres were lost between 1887-1934, 67% of the land previously owned by the Native Americans. The act was passed February, 8 1887 and appealed in 1934. Motives of the legislation was mixed. Including attempt to protect the land during the Land Rush. Another motive was forcing the Native Americans into a more civilized role in America . The act hoped to transform warriors and hunters into Yeoman farmers. Henry Dawes stated:

"Inasmuch as the Indian refused to fade out, but multiplied under the sheltering care of reservation...