Legislative acts designed to benefit people sometimes become an instrument of unintended destruction. This activity looks at both positive and negative effects of legislation related to white encroachment in the American West during the late 1800s.
InstructionsSelect the legislation that matches the benefit described.A correct choice will display a negative consequence of the same legislation.
The Homestead Act of 1862 lured some settlers to the West who did not have sufficient resources to be successful in harsh environments. The distribution of public lands also greatly increased the pressure on Native Americans to assimilate.
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848
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Correct. Now that you have reviewed positive and negative effects of legislation in the 1800s, see if you can list pros and cons of recent legislation passed in your state or local community relating to property rights.
Gave 160 acres to any citizen or prospective citizen who settled on the land for 5 years.
Treaty of Ft. Laramie in 1868
The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 banned Chinese from entering the U.S. for decades. The law grew out of resentment in the American labor force against Chinese immigrants who often worked for low wages, especially in the mining, prospecting, and railroad industries.
Opened job opportunities in California farm labor to Mexicans, Filipinos, and Japanese.
BENEFITS 2 of 5
Granted American citizenship to Mexican Americans.
BENEFITS 3 of 5
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 reduced Mexican Americans to a minority class. Eventually, many were dispossessed of their land when they could not substantiate their claims in court. This altered the class structure of the Hispanic population and forced many to become part of a migrant labor force.
BENEFITS 4 of 5
The Dawes Act of 1887 actually deprived Native Americans of millions of acres of land and struck a damaging blow to tribal culture when “surplus lands” were opened to white settlement.
Granted each Indian household 160 acres of land from reservation property and granted full American citizenship to Indians who took land allotments.
Designated the Black Hills of South Dakota as part of the Great Sioux Reservation and guaranteed Indians control of sacred lands in the Black Hills.
The Treaty of Ft. Laramie in 1868 continued the unfortunate tradition of broken treaties between the U.S. government and Indians. The discovery of gold during the illegal Custer Expedition of 1874 set off a Gold Rush in the Black Hills, violating the agreement that whites would not be allowed on sacred lands. The government’s failure to abide by the terms of the treaty led to armed conflicts between whites and Indians, including the Battle of Little Big Horn.