Encyclopedia of Politics of the American West


Edited by: Steven L. Danver

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        Appendix: Primary Documents
      • 1787: Northwest Ordinance 681
      • 1803: Louisiana Purchase Treaty 684
      • 1806: Letter from Meriwether Lewis to Thomas Jefferson 686
      • 1835: Andrew Jackson on Indian Removal 689
      • 1836: Texas Declaration of Independence 690
      • 1839: “The Great Nation of Futurity” by John L. O'Sullivan 692
      • 1844: The Diary of John C. Frémont 694
      • 1846: Oregon Treaty 697
      • 1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 697
      • 1849: Oregon Exclusion Law 699
      • 1853: Gadsden Purchase Treaty 699
      • 1862: Homestead Act 702
      • 1862: Pacific Railway Act 703
      • 1872: General Mining Act 704
      • 1873: Timber Culture Act 706
      • 1879: Chief Joseph (Nez Perce), on a Visit to Washington, D.C. 706
      • 1879: Preface to -->Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States by John Wesley Powell 707
      • 1880: Testimony of Benjamin Singleton before the Senate Select Committee Investigating the “Negro Exodus from the Southern States” 709
      • 1881: The Battle of Little Bighorn—An Account by the Lakota Chief Red Horse Recorded in Pictographs and Text at the Cheyenne River Reservation 711
      • 1882: Chinese Exclusion Act 713
      • 1887: Dawes Act 714
      • 1891: An Account of Sitting Bull's Death by James McLaughlin, Indian Agent at Standing Rock Reservation 715
      • 1892: Omaha Platform of the People's Party 718
      • 1893: “The Signifcance of the Frontier in American History” by Frederick Jackson Turner 720
      • 1896: “Cross of Gold” Speech by William Jennings Bryan 722
      • 1902: Reclamation Act 724
      • 1906: Burke Act 726
      • 1907: The Conservation of Natural Resources according to Theodore Roosevelt 727
      • 1908: Winters v. United States 729
      • 1934: Taylor Grazing Act 730
      • 1934: Wheeler-Howard Act 731
      • 1936: The Plow That Broke the Plains, Film by Pare Lorentz 734
      • 1942: Executive Order 9066 736
      • 1949: Washington State Law against Employment Discrimination 737
      • 1953: Public Law 280 738
      • 1960: Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 740
      • 1964: Wilderness Act 741
      • 1978: Proposition 13 (California) 743
      • 1978: University of California Regents v. Bakke 744
      • 1987: California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians 745
      • 1994: Proposition 187 (California) 746
      • 1996: Proposition 209 (California) 749
      • 2003: Lawrence v. Texas 750
      • 2008: Proposition 8 (California) 751
      • 2008: State of Hawai'i Statement on the Birth Certificate of Barack Hussein Obama II 752
      • 2010: Senate Bill 1070 (Arizona) 752

      About the Editor

      Steven L. Danver is academic coordinator and core faculty member in social sciences in the College of Undergraduate Studies at Walden University. A lifelong resident of the American West, he was born and raised in Southern California and has, at various times, lived in Central California, Northern California, Utah, and Colorado. He currently resides in southern Washington State. After completing a bachelor's degree in religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master's degree in historical studies from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, he earned his doctorate in American history from the University of Utah. Professionally, he has specialized in the history and politics of the American West, as well as in American Indian and American environmental history and policy. His research has largely centered on natural resource policy as it has applied to American Indian nations. He has taught at nearly every type of institution of higher education, including large research universities, small liberal arts colleges, community colleges, and online universities. He has edited or coedited a number of books, including Water Politics and Policy in the United States (with John R. Burch Jr., CQ Press/SAGE, 2011), which was named to the 2012 Outstanding Academic Title list by the American Library Association's Choice magazine. He has been the managing editor of Journal of the West since 2004.


      Sharon Wilcox Adams University of Texas at Austin

      Hannah Anderson Provo, Utah

      Rolando Avila University of Texas–Pan American

      Ralph Baker Abraham Darby Academy Madeley, Shropshire, UK

      Barton H. Barbour Boise State University

      John H. Barnhill Independent Scholar, Houston, Texas

      Michael Beauchamp Texas A&M University

      John T. “Jack” Becker Texas Tech University

      Bernard W. Bell Rutgers University

      Walter F. Bell Independent Scholar/Retired Librarian

      Casper G. Bendixsen Rice University

      Ethan R. Bennett Washington University in St. Louis

      Brian H. Biffle Atlanta Country Day School

      Donna M. Binkiewicz California State University, Long Beach

      Christopher James Blythe Utah State University

      Andrew Braun California State University, Fullerton

      Jay L. Brigham Morgan Angel and Associates

      Ron Briley Sandia Preparatory School

      Arthur R. Brokop II Farmington, New Mexico

      Greg Brooking Georgia State University

      Jennifer Corrinne Brown Washington State University

      John R. Burch Jr. Campbellsville University

      Steven J. Campbell University of South Carolina

      Steve Canipe Walden University

      Robert J. Chandler Lafayette, California

      Albert T. Chapman Purdue University

      Lauren Coodley Napa Valley College

      Rory T. Cornish Winthrop University

      Sondra Cosgrove College of Southern Nevada

      J. Wendel Cox Denver Public Library

      G. Doug Davis Troy State University

      Maritza De La Trinidad West Texas A&M University

      Timothy J. Demy U.S. Naval War College

      S. Matthew DeSpain University of Oklahoma

      Douglas W. Dodd California State University, Bakersfield

      Robert L. Dorman Oklahoma City University

      Adam R. Eastman University of Oklahoma

      Jeronima (Jeri) Echeverria California State University, Fresno

      Meredith Eliassen San Francisco State University

      Stacey Ellison California State University, Fullerton

      Jessie L. Embry Brigham Young University

      Gary Entz Nicolet College

      Merrill Evans Tucson, Arizona

      Dean Fafoutis Salisbury University

      Hugh W. Foley Jr. Rogers State University

      A. James Fuller University of Indianapolis

      Shamira M. Gelbman Wabash College

      Emily E. Gifford Central Connecticut State University

      Henry H. Goldman Longview Community College

      Dylan S. Gottlieb Temple University

      Michael D. Greaney Center for Economic and Social Justice

      Michael S. Green College of Southern Nevada

      Ralph Hartsock University of North Texas

      Abraham Hoffman Los Angeles Valley College

      Charles F. Howlett Molloy College

      Andrew J. Hund Case Western Reserve University

      Matthew J. Hutchinson Kennesaw State University

      Koji Ito Osaka University, Japan

      Nathan Jessen University of Oregon

      Mark S. Joy Jamestown College

      Martin Kich Wright State University

      Farina King Utah Valley University

      Sweta Lal Independent Scholar

      Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld Arizona State University

      Marinella Lentis University of Arizona

      Matthew Luckett University of California, Los Angeles

      Ryan Madden Oregon Institute of Technology

      Ruth E. Martin University of Cambridge, United Kingdom

      Nils McCune Ghent University, Belgium

      Archie P. McDonald Stephen F. Austin State University

      David A. Meier Dickinson State University

      Josephine Metcalf University of Hull, United Kingdom

      Charles V. Mutschler Eastern Washington University

      Caryn E. Neumann Miami University of Ohio

      Luke A. Nichter Texas A&M University–Central Texas

      Frank Norris National Park Service

      Jonathan W. Olson Florida State University

      Robert Pahre University of Illinois

      Philip G. Pope Texas Tech University

      Harriet Rafter San Francisco State University

      John David Rausch Jr. West Texas A&M University

      C. Elizabeth Raymond University of Nevada, Reno

      Jon Reyhner Northern Arizona University

      Jason Roberts Quincy College

      Oliver A. Rosales University of California, Santa Barbara

      Charles Rosenberg Independent Scholar

      Kelly Boyer Sagert Lorain, Ohio

      Susan Sanchez-Barnett Baltimore County Public Schools

      Elizabeth D. Schafer Loachapoka, Alabama

      Arnold Anthony Schmidt California State University, Stanislaus

      Mark Ian Schwartz Alexandria Library

      Rachel D. Shaw Independent Scholar

      Steve Shay Oregon State University

      Steven E. Silvern Salem State University

      Donna Sinclair Central Michigan University

      Donald L. Singer University of Redlands

      Robert Spude National Park Service

      Arthur Steinberg Retired Attorney and History Professor

      Eva M. Stolberg University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

      Katherine Scott Sturdevant Pikes Peak Community College

      Rick W. Sturdevant U.S. Air Force Space Command

      Glen Edward Taul Campbellsville University

      Robin Walden Chelmsford, United Kingdom

      Stan C. Weeber McNeese State University

      Jeff Wells Texas Christian University

      John Whitehurst Georgia State University

      Wesley Willison California State University, Fullerton

      Laura Woodworth-Ney Idaho State University


      People often have specific images in mind when they think of the American West. Some may think of “wide-open spaces”—landscapes that stretch from horizon to horizon, dominated by grassy plains—or of the “Great American Desert,” a landscape that receives little rain but has a stark beauty that defies the harshness of the environment. Others may think of snowcapped mountains that are among the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. Still others might envision a rain-soaked and tree-lined coast with dramatic rocky beaches. Clearly, all of these visions of the West are true, and they don't even begin to capture the diversity of the region.

      Politically, the West is much the same way. Different geographic areas of the West are very different politically. Various demographic groups inhabit the West and have various political persuasions, and various issues are important to them. With those caveats in mind, we (a stellar group of 103 scholars and I) set out to develop a resource that will fulfill a number of purposes. We charged ourselves with providing a thorough and engaging reference work on the politics of one of America's most politically distinct and fastest-growing regions. We wanted not only to cover the significant events and actors of western politics but also to deal with key institutional, historical, and theoretical concepts that are important to more fully understanding the politics of the West.

      The principle focus of this work is the twentieth-century transformation of Western politics and how that transformation has led to the emerging political patterns of the twenty-first century. This is not meant to exclude what came before, particularly during the nineteenth century, when an ever-increasing number of Americans and immigrants from around the world migrated into the region; subjects important to the nineteenth-century political experience in the West are given substantial treatment. However, the focus is on the topics that related to the settlement and urbanization of the region, giving shape to the issues and political events of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The scope of topics covered includes major political actors in western politics; significant political events in western politics; unique institutions and practices of the West; political movements and organizations; and major issues relating to political behavior, institutional organization, and political change that are important to discussions of the politics of the West. However, the area that receives the greatest attention is the unique role that natural resources—including water, oil, minerals, land, and others—and their exploitation have played in the political development of the region. As race relations may be considered one of the bellwether topics of southern political history, so natural resource development is one of the dominant topics in the West.

      This encyclopedia is meant to be used by students and scholars of the American West. It provides an overview of the large themes that dominate the politics of the West while also delving into detailed explanations of the people, events, and issues that have dominated political discourse in the region. It is meant to be both a “last stop” for information and a “first stop” for research, providing abundant information that readers can build upon but also listing further readings that offer even more detailed information on the topics.

      The American West: A Region of Regions, People, Groups, Places, and Ideas

      Many types of topics are covered in this encyclopedia. Thematic essays introduce the big ideas that have long dominated the politics of the West. Immigration and migration have formed the diverse population of the West since the beginning, and they still do. The various activities of the federal, state, local, and tribal governments have impacted the West. The natural resources of the West have always had a formative role to play in the West's development, and they have sparked an environmental movement that is largely centered in the region. The original, largely rural settlement pattern found in the West has given way to increasing urbanization, which has impacted every part of Western life. Essays on regions and states give a “lay of the land” as well as an overview of the important themes in each area. Then entries on people, groups, places, events, and issues give the detail that readers need to understand how humans and ideas interrelate in the West. Finally, a selection of primary source documents demonstrates how the politics of the West have been expressed in written form.

      One purpose of this work is to allow the reader to gain an understanding of the various subregions that make up the West. Breaking down the West into subregions is neither easy nor straightforward. There are no set definitions of what areas are included under the headings of “Great Plains” or “Pacific Northwest.” When some think of the Pacific Northwest, they might include Alaska or Idaho, or they might exclude both of those states and focus solely on Oregon and Washington. Some individual states have areas that fall into different climatic, geographic, or cultural regions or subregions. In Colorado, for example, the western region is dominated by the Rocky Mountains—which, for many, give the state its primary identity. However, the eastern third of the state is more like the plains states of Kansas and Nebraska, which border it to the east. This being the case, the best way to cover the regions of the West is to look at each region as a whole, examining the region's broad patterns and subregions and seeking to understand why the region is characterized the way it is. Then, one should examine each state in the region in the same way. By following this approach, as we do in Section 2 of this encyclopedia, one can gain a more complete, nuanced picture of the politics of the regions, subregions, and states that comprise the West.

      After the region and state essays, the bulk of the encyclopedia is made up of entries on more specific topics related to the politics and political history of the West. These entries fall into a number of categories. Of course, any work about politics needs to focus largely on the people who are the creators of the politics concerned. The politics of the American West have been dominated by some especially colorful figures, including American Indian leaders such as Red Cloud and Geronimo during the late nineteenth century, the naturalist John Muir during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, pro-development figures like Francis Newlands and Floyd Dominy, conservationists and environmentalists such as Gifford Pinchot and Stewart Udall, and politicians like President Ronald Reagan and former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. In so many ways, the West is larger than life, and so are the people who have shaped its politics.

      Despite the individualistic notions that many westerners have about themselves, reinforced by stereotypes like the mythic cowboy, westerners can be a powerfully cooperative lot when faced with a task that is best accomplished with a coordinated group effort. Thus, groups and organizations play an important role in the West. Entries on groups of many types make up a large part of this work. Government bodies, such as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, have shaped and reshaped the region and the federal government's relationship to it. Various ethnic groups—such as African Americans, American Indians, Hispanic Americans, and others—have long been present in the West. As a result, the West has always displayed a remarkable diversity. Interest groups such as the Anti-Saloon League and the Boone and Crockett Club brought large numbers of like-minded westerners together to support different causes. Political advocacy groups—including labor unions like the California Teachers Association, ethnically based groups like Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán and the Black Panther Party, and political movements like the modern Tea Party and the Occupy Movement—have brought pressure to bear on the political structure of the western states and regions and even on the nation as a whole.

      As one drills down further into the regions and states that make up the West, one finds very important things that should be said about individual places and the roles they have played and continue to play in the political life of the region. Cities like Los Angeles, California; Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Phoenix, Arizona; Salt Lake City, Utah; Denver, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Dallas, Texas, dominate the region. Rivers and lakes are sources of life-giving water, which is so scarce in the West that it has spawned the saying “Whiskey's for drinking, water's for fighting.” Those same rivers and lakes have been borders between states and nations as well as sites of controversy, especially regarding the balance between development and environmental preservation.

      Although this is not an explicitly historical work, the line between politics and political history is really nonexistent. Political events throughout history (and even many events that are not self-evidently political) have directly shaped the politics of today, and today's political events will become tomorrow's political history. Acts passed by the federal legislature and signed by presidents directly impact the West. Supreme Court opinions define and redefine the constitutionality of what happens in the West and the rest of the nation. Wars, protests, scandals, gold rushes, international treaties, elections, and labor disputes all are the stuff of which politics is fashioned. Every day, new events forge tomorrow's politics.

      Finally, this work deals with the broadest category: the issues that both characterize and are addressed by the politics of the West. Different industries have different impacts on western politics, and some see those impacts as positive while others see them as negative. Government policies that play out over decades or centuries mold western politics in important ways. Ideas and characterizations of particularly western traits and stereotypes shape not only others’ perceptions of the region and its people but also how people living in the West see themselves and their region. Even academic ideas have done much to cast the region in different lights. In some ways, it is difficult to define what an “issue” is and what it is not, but regardless, a large number of issues interact to help define what it is to be a westerner.

      In the appendix, the reader will find a number of primary source documents that illustrate particularly important events and ideas in the history of the West. There is something especially illuminating about reading what someone who was there at the time wrote about an event. This is not to say that primary sources are always reliable—two, ten, or a hundred people can write about the same event and understand it in completely different or even opposing ways. Laws passed by governments or opinions handed down by courts can play out in the real world in various ways. But something different can be gained from a primary source than from reading a present-day historian's abstract account of an event that today exists only in historical memory. There is a visceral sense of the event—the flavor of it—that can only be gained from a primary source.

      Clearly, editorial choices have been made about what to include—as well as what not to include—in a work like this. Were this work to remotely approach comprehensive coverage of the topic, it would span so many volumes that it would be unwieldy to even the most diligent of scholars. Also, as people prioritize things differently, we have made editorial decisions that might be different from those made by other scholars. We are all shaped by our own experiences. I am shaped by my experience of the West—by having grown up and lived my whole life in different parts of the region and by my academic training in its history and politics. The same can be said for each of the contributing authors who have written different parts of this work. We can agree upon many things, but different authors and editors will always have different emphases. What we present here is our best effort to make sense of a very large topic: the multifaceted, constantly evolving, always interesting, but impossible to nail down political life of the western United States.

      Whither Western Politics?

      To adapt an overused maxim, the only thing that is constant in the American West is change, and this idea perfectly describes the political life of the West. In the end, whether one views the West as the home of urban trendsetters in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and other cities or as that land of “wide open spaces,” it is clear that the region as a whole defies generalization. The people of the region make it that way every single day. They are ruggedly individualistic, but they embrace multiethnic diversity like nobody else. More of the West's land is owned by the federal government than in any other region, but many westerners continue to embrace a libertarian ethos that flies in the face of that fact. They create and re-create the politics of the West on an ongoing basis, and this process of becoming and re-becoming will never be complete. Impossible to define by such broad terms as red or blue states, the different parts of the West are just as nuanced as the different regions of the South, Midwest, and Northeast—perhaps even more so. Westerners continually push the envelope when it comes to politics. They disregard the established patterns and spawn new political movements when it suits them, thus becoming, in many ways, the harbingers of the future of the United States as a whole.


      A work of this scope is almost never the work of a single person, as the topics involved are so diverse as to exceed a single scholar's knowledge. In this case, I'd like to thank, first and foremost, the 103 scholars who helped me by lending their expertise to the entries included here. Without their help, the story of the tapestry of the West would not have come through. I'd also like to thank Clive S. Thomas of the University of Alaska, Southeast, for giving input into the early stages of this project, vetting the ideas I had for the project, and helping me ensure that the encyclopedia covered all of the necessary topics. My wife and business partner, Lauren L. Danver, was, of course, vital to both my state of mind and keeping me organized as the project progressed. The staff at CQ Press/SAGE has been fantastic, as I knew they would be. Among many who helped at various stages were Doug Goldenberg-Hart (with whom I first conceived the project), January Layman-Wood, Linda Dziobek, Diana Axelsen, Carole Maurer, Karin Rathert, Paula Fleming, and Tracy Buyan. These people and many others helped produce, edit, and refine this work, and I thank them for lending me their expertise.

      StevenL.DanverWalden University
    • 1787: Northwest Ordinance

      The Northwest Ordinance is the document that first set the rules for the settlement of what was, at the time, the West. Once a region had at least 5,000 “free male inhabitants of full age,” it could be granted territorial status, and once its population reached 60,000, it could hold a constitutional convention and apply for statehood.

      An Ordinance for the government of the Territory of the United States northwest of the River Ohio.

      Section 1.Be it ordained by the United States in Congress assembled, That the said territory, for the purposes of temporary government, be one district, subject, however, to be divided into two districts, as future circumstances may, in the opinion of Congress, make it expedient.

      Sec. 2.Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That the estates, both of resident and nonresident proprietors in the said territory, dying intestate, shall descent to, and be distributed among their children, and the descendants of a deceased child, in equal parts; the descendants of a deceased child or grandchild to take the share of their deceased parent in equal parts among them: And where there shall be no children or descendants, then in equal parts to the next of kin in equal degree; and among collaterals, the children of a deceased brother or sister of the intestate shall have, in equal parts among them, their deceased parents’ share; and there shall in no case be a distinction between kindred of the whole and half blood; saving, in all cases, to the widow of the intestate her third part of the real estate for life, and one third part of the personal estate; and this law relative to descents and dower, shall remain in full force until altered by the legislature of the district. And until the governor and judges shall adopt laws as hereinafter mentioned, estates in the said territory may be devised or bequeathed by wills in writing, signed and sealed by him or her in whom the estate may be (being of full age), and attested by three witnesses; and real estates may be conveyed by lease and release, or bargain and sale, signed, sealed and delivered by the person being of full age, in whom the estate may be, and attested by two witnesses, provided such wills be duly proved, and such conveyances be acknowledged, or the execution thereof duly proved, and be recorded within one year after proper magistrates, courts, and registers shall be appointed for that purpose; and personal property may be transferred by delivery; saving, however to the French and Canadian inhabitants, and other settlers of the Kaskaskies, St. Vincents and the neighboring villages who have heretofore professed themselves citizens of Virginia, their laws and customs now in force among them, relative to the descent and conveyance, of property.

      Sec. 3.Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That there shall be appointed from time to time by Congress, a governor, whose commission shall continue in force for the term of three years, unless sooner revoked by Congress; he shall reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein in 1,000 acres of land, while in the exercise of his office.

      Sec. 4. There shall be appointed from time to time by Congress, a secretary, whose commission shall continue in force for four years unless sooner revoked; he shall reside in the district, and have a freehold estate therein in 500 acres of land, while in the exercise of his office. It shall be his duty to keep and preserve the acts and laws passed by the legislature, and the public records of the district, and the proceedings of the governor in his executive department, and transmit authentic copies of such acts and proceedings, every six months, to the Secretary of Congress: There shall also be appointed a court to consist of three judges, any two of whom to form a court, who shall have a common law jurisdiction, and reside in the district, and have each therein a freehold estate in 500 acres of land while in the exercise of their offices; and their commissions shall continue in force during good behavior.

      Sec. 5. The governor and judges, or a majority of them, shall adopt and publish in the district such laws of the original States, criminal and civil, as may be necessary and best suited to the circumstances of the district, and report them to Congress from time to time: which laws shall be in force in the district until the organization of the General Assembly therein, unless disapproved of by Congress; but afterwards the Legislature shall have authority to alter them as they shall think fit.

      Sec. 6. The governor, for the time being, shall be commander in chief of the militia, appoint and commission all officers in the same below the rank of general officers; all general officers shall be appointed and commissioned by Congress.

      Sec. 7. Previous to the organization of the general assembly, the governor shall appoint such magistrates and other civil officers in each county or township, as he shall find necessary for the preservation of the peace and good order in the same: After the general assembly shall be organized, the powers and duties of the magistrates and other civil officers shall be regulated and defined by the said assembly; but all magistrates and other civil officers not herein otherwise directed, shall during the continuance of this temporary government, be appointed by the governor.

      Sec. 8. For the prevention of crimes and injuries, the laws to be adopted or made shall have force in all parts of the district, and for the execution of process, criminal and civil, the governor shall make proper divisions thereof; and he shall proceed from time to time as circumstances may require, to lay out the parts of the district in which the Indian titles shall have been extinguished, into counties and townships, subject, however, to such alterations as may thereafter be made by the legislature.

      Sec. 9. So soon as there shall be five thousand free male inhabitants of full age in the district, upon giving proof thereof to the governor, they shall receive authority, with time and place, to elect a representative from their counties or townships to represent them in the general assembly: Provided, That, for every five hundred free male inhabitants, there shall be one representative, and so on progressively with the number of free male inhabitants shall the right of representation increase, until the number of representatives shall amount to twenty five; after which, the number and proportion of representatives shall be regulated by the legislature: Provided, That no person be eligible or qualified to act as a representative unless he shall have been a citizen of one of the United States three years, and be a resident in the district, or unless he shall have resided in the district three years; and, in either case, shall likewise hold in his own right, in fee simple, two hundred acres of land within the same; Provided, also, That a freehold in fifty acres of land in the district, having been a citizen of one of the states, and being resident in the district, or the like freehold and two years residence in the district, shall be necessary to qualify a man as an elector of a representative.

      Sec. 10. The representatives thus elected, shall serve for the term of two years; and, in case of the death of a representative, or removal from office, the governor shall issue a writ to the county or township for which he was a member, to elect another in his stead, to serve for the residue of the term.

      Sec. 11. The general assembly or legislature shall consist of the governor, legislative council, and a house of representatives. The Legislative Council shall consist of five members, to continue in office five years, unless sooner removed by Congress; any three of whom to be a quorum: and the members of the Council shall be nominated and appointed in the following manner, to wit: As soon as representatives shall be elected, the Governor shall appoint a time and place for them to meet together; and, when met, they shall nominate ten persons, residents in the district, and each possessed of a freehold in five hundred acres of land, and return their names to Congress; five of whom Congress shall appoint and commission to serve as aforesaid; and, whenever a vacancy shall happen in the council, by death or removal from office, the house of representatives shall nominate two persons, qualified as aforesaid, for each vacancy, and return their names to Congress; one of whom congress shall appoint and commission for the residue of the term. And every five years, four months at least before the expiration of the time of service of the members of council, the said house shall nominate ten persons, qualified as aforesaid, and return their names to Congress; five of whom Congress shall appoint and commission to serve as members of the council five years, unless sooner removed. And the governor, legislative council, and house of representatives, shall have authority to make laws in all cases, for the good government of the district, not repugnant to the principles and articles in this ordinance established and declared. And all bills, having passed by a majority in the house, and by a majority in the council, shall be referred to the governor for his assent; but no bill, or legislative act whatever, shall be of any force without his assent. The governor shall have power to convene, prorogue, and dissolve the general assembly, when, in his opinion, it shall be expedient.

      Sec. 12. The governor, judges, legislative council, secretary, and such other officers as Congress shall appoint in the district, shall take an oath or affirmation of fidelity and of office; the governor before the president of congress, and all other officers before the Governor. As soon as a legislature shall be formed in the district, the council and house assembled in one room, shall have authority, by joint ballot, to elect a delegate to Congress, who shall have a seat in Congress, with a right of debating but not voting during this temporary government.

      Sec. 13. And, for extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty, which form the basis whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected; to fix and establish those principles as the basis of all laws, constitutions, and governments, which forever hereafter shall be formed in the said territory: to provide also for the establishment of States, and permanent government therein, and for their admission to a share in the federal councils on an equal footing with the original States, at as early periods as may be consistent with the general interest:

      Sec. 14. It is hereby ordained and declared by the authority aforesaid, That the following articles shall be considered as articles of compact between the original States and the people and States in the said territory and forever remain unalterable, unless by common consent, to wit:

      Art. 1. No person, demeaning himself in a peaceable and orderly manner, shall ever be molested on account of his mode of worship or religious sentiments, in the said territory.

      Art. 2. The inhabitants of the said territory shall always be entitled to the benefits of the writ of habeas corpus, and of the trial by jury; of a proportionate representation of the people in the legislature; and of judicial proceedings according to the course of the common law. All persons shall be bailable, unless for capital offenses, where the proof shall be evident or the presumption great. All fines shall be moderate; and no cruel or unusual punishments shall be inflicted. No man shall be deprived of his liberty or property, but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land; and, should the public exigencies make it necessary, for the common preservation, to take any person's property, or to demand his particular services, full compensation shall be made for the same. And, in the just preservation of rights and property, it is understood and declared, that no law ought ever to be made, or have force in the said territory, that shall, in any manner whatever, interfere with or affect private contracts or engagements, bona fide, and without fraud, previously formed.

      Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being nece ssary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged. The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards the Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent; and, in their property, rights, and liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity, shall from time to time be made for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.

      Art. 4. The said territory, and the States which may be for med therein, shall forever remain a part of this Confederacy of the United States of America, subject to the Articles of Confederation, and to such alterations therein as shall be constitutionally made; and to all the acts and ordinances of the United States in Congress assembled, conformable thereto. The inhabitants and settlers in the said territory shall be subject to pay a part of the federal debts contracted or to be contracted, and a proportional part of the expenses of government, to be apportioned on them by Congress according to the same common rule and measure by which apportionments thereof shall be made on the other States; and the taxes for paying their proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the district or districts, or new States, as in the original States, within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress assembled. The legislatures of those districts or new States, shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil by the United States in Congress assembled, nor with any regulations Congress may find necessary for securing the title in such soil to the bona fide purchasers. No tax shall be imposed on lands the property of the United States; and, in no case, shall nonresident proprietors be taxed higher than residents. The navigable waters leading into the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, and the carrying places between the same, shall be common highways and forever free, as well to the inhabitants of the said territory as to the citizens of the United States, and those of any other States that may be admitted into the confederacy, without any tax, impost, or duty therefor.

      Art. 5. There shall be formed in the said territory, not less than three nor more than five States; and the boundaries of the States, as soon as Virginia shall alter her act of cession, and consent to the same, shall become fixed and established as follows, to wit: The western State in the said territory, shall be bounded by the Mississippi, the Ohio, and Wabash Rivers; a direct line drawn from the Wabash and Post Vincents, due North, to the territorial line between the United States and Canada; and, by the said territorial line, to the Lake of the Woods and Mississippi. The middle State shall be bounded by the said direct line, the Wabash from Post Vincents to the Ohio, by the Ohio, by a direct line, drawn due north from the mouth of the Great Miami, to the said territorial line, and by the said territorial line. The eastern State shall be bounded by the last mentioned direct line, the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the said territorial line: Provided, however, and it is further understood and declared, that the boundaries of these three States shall be subject so far to be altered, that, if Congress shall hereafter find it expedient, they shall have authority to form one or two States in that part of the said territory which lies north of an east and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of Lake Michigan. And, whenever any of the said States shall have sixty thousand free inhabitants therein, such State shall be admitted, by its delegates, into the Congress of the United States, on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever, and shall be at liberty to form a permanent constitution and State government: Provided, the constitution and government so to be formed, shall be republican, and in conformity to the principles contained in these articles; and, so far as it can be consistent with the general interest of the confederacy, such admission shall be allowed at an earlier period, and when there may be a less number of free inhabitants in the State than sixty thousand.

      Art. 6. There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted: Provided, always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or service as aforesaid.

      Be it ordained by the authority aforesaid, That the resolutions of the 23rd of April, 1784, relative to the subject of this ordinance, be, and the same are hereby repealed and declared null and void.

      Done by the United States, in Congress assembled, the 13th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1787, and of their sovereignty and independence the twelfth.

      SOURCE: Northwest Ordinance, July 13, 1787 (National Archives Microfilm Publication M332, roll 9); Miscellaneous Papers of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789; Records of the Continental and Confederation Congresses and the Constitutional Convention, 1774–1789, Record Group 360; National Archives.

      1803: Louisiana Purchase Treaty

      The Louisiana Purchase had the effect of doubling the size of the United States with the stroke of a pen and the payment of $15 million to France. Not only making the United States the dominant power in North America and setting the stage for western expansion, it gave the United States complete control over the Mississippi River, which was vital to the economic life of the small farmers that would populate the Great Plains.


      The President of the United States of America and the First Consul of the French Republic in the name of the French People desiring to remove all Source of misunderstanding relative to objects of discussion mentioned in the Second and fifth articles of the Convention of the 8th Vendémiaire and 9 (30 September 1800) relative to the rights claimed by the United States in virtue of the Treaty concluded at Madrid the 27 of October 1795, between His Catholic Majesty & the Said United States, & willing to Strengthen the union and friendship which at the time of the Said Convention was happily reestablished between the two nations have respectively named their Plenipotentiaries to wit The President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the Said States; Robert R. Livingston Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States and James Monroe Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy extraordinary of the Said States near the Government of the French Republic; And the First Consul in the name of the French people, Citizen Francis Barbé Marbois Minister of the public treasury who after having respectively exchanged their full powers have agreed to the following Articles.

      Article I

      Whereas by the Article the third of the Treaty concluded at St Ildefonso the 9th Vendémiaire an 9 (1st October) 1800 between the First Consul of the French Republic and his Catholic Majesty it was agreed as follows.

      “His Catholic Majesty promises and engages on his part to cede to the French Republic six months after the full and entire execution of the conditions and Stipulations herein relative to his Royal Highness the Duke of Parma, the Colony or Province of Louisiana with the Same extent that it now has in the hand of Spain, & that it had when France possessed it; and Such as it Should be after the Treaties subsequently entered into between Spain and other States.”

      And whereas in pursuance of the Treaty and particularly of the third article the French Republic has an incontestible title to the domain and to the possession of the said Territory—The First Consul of the French Republic desiring to give to the United States a strong proof of his friendship doth hereby cede to the United States in the name of the French Republic for ever and in full Sovereignty the said territory with all its rights and appurtenances as fully and in the Same manner as they have been acquired by the French Republic in virtue of the above mentioned Treaty concluded with his Catholic Majesty.

      Art: II

      In the cession made by the preceeding article are included the adjacent Islands belonging to Louisiana all public lots and Squares, vacant lands and all public buildings, fortifications, barracks and other edifices which are not private property.—The Archives, papers & documents relative to the domain and Sovereignty of Louisiana and its dependances will be left in the possession of the Commissaries of the United States, and copies will be afterwards given in due form to the Magistrates and Municipal officers of such of the said papers and documents as may be necessary to them.

      Art: III

      The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States and admitted as soon as possible according to the principles of the federal Constitution to the enjoyment of all these rights, advantages and immunities of citizens of the United States, and in the mean time they shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property and the Religion which they profess.

      Art: IV

      There Shall be Sent by the Government of France a Commissary to Louisiana to the end that he do every act necessary as well to receive from the Officers of his Catholic Majesty the Said country and its dependances in the name of the French Republic if it has not been already done as to transmit it in the name of the French Republic to the Commissary or agent of the United States.

      Art: V

      Immediately after the ratification of the present Treaty by the President of the United States and in case that of the first Consul's shall have been previously obtained, the commissary of the French Republic shall remit all military posts of New Orleans and other parts of the ceded territory to the Commissary or Commissaries named by the President to take possession—the troops whether of France or Spain who may be there shall cease to occupy any military post from the time of taking possession and shall be embarked as soon as possible in the course of three months after the ratification of this treaty.

      Art: VI

      The United States promise to execute Such treaties and articles as may have been agreed between Spain and the tribes and nations of Indians until by mutual consent of the United States and the said tribes or nations other Suitable articles Shall have been agreed upon.

      Art: VII

      As it is reciprocally advantageous to the commerce of France and the United States to encourage the communication of both nations for a limited time in the country ceded by the present treaty until general arrangements relative to commerce of both nations may be agreed on; it has been agreed between the contracting parties that the French Ships coming directly from France or any of her colonies loaded only with the produce and manufactures of France or her Said Colonies; and the Ships of Spain coming directly from Spain or any of her colonies loaded only with the produce or manufactures of Spain or her Colonies shall be admitted during the Space of twelve years in the Port of New-Orleans and in all other legal ports-of-entry within the ceded territory in the Same manner as the Ships of the United States coming directly from France or Spain or any of their Colonies without being Subject to any other or greater duty on merchandize or other or greater tonnage than that paid by the citizens of the United States.

      During that Space of time above mentioned no other nation Shall have a right to the Same privileges in the Ports of the ceded territory—the twelve years Shall commence three months after the exchange of ratifications if it Shall take place in France or three months after it Shall have been notified at Paris to the French Government if it Shall take place in the United States; It is however well understood that the object of the above article is to favour the manufactures, Commerce, freight and navigation of France and of Spain So far as relates to the importations that the French and Spanish Shall make into the Said Ports of the United States without in any Sort affecting the regulations that the United States may make concerning the exportation of the produce and merchandize of the United States, or any right they may have to make Such regulations.

      Art: VIII

      In future and for ever after the expiration of the twelve years, the Ships of France shall be treated upon the footing of the most favoured nations in the ports above mentioned.

      Art: IX

      The particular Convention Signed this day by the respective Ministers, having for its object to provide for the payment of debts due to the Citizens of the United States by the French Republic prior to the 30th Sept. 1800 (8th Vendémiaire an 9) is approved and to have its execution in the Same manner as if it had been inserted in this present treaty and it Shall be ratified in the same form and in the Same time So that the one Shall not be ratified distinct from the other.

      Another particular Convention Signed at the Same date as the present treaty relative to a definitive rule between the contracting parties is in the like manner approved and will be ratified in the Same form, and in the Same time and jointly.

      Art: X

      The present treaty Shall be ratified in good and due form and the ratifications Shall be exchanged in the Space of Six months after the date of the Signature by the Ministers Plenipotentiary or Sooner if possible.

      In faith whereof the respective Plenipotentiaries have Signed these articles in the French and English languages; declaring nevertheless that the present Treaty was originally agreed to in the French language; and have thereunto affixed their Seals.

      Done at Paris the tenth day of Floreal in the eleventh year of the French Republic; and the 30th of April 1803.

      RobtR.Livingston [seal]
      Jas.Monroe [seal]
      BarbéMarbois [seal]

      SOURCE: Louisiana Purchase Treaty, April 30, 1803; General Records of the U.S. Government; Record Group 11; National Archives

      1806: Letter from Meriwether Lewis to Thomas Jefferson

      Although the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the United States, little was known about much of the land in what would become the American West. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, along with their entourage, left St. Louis, Missouri, in 1804 in an attempt to find a waterway to the Pacific Ocean, establish relations with the Indian tribes inhabiting the interior West, and record as much data as possible about the land and the animals in the West. This letter was written by Lewis to inform President Thomas Jefferson of their arrival at the Pacific Ocean, at the mouth of the Columbia River.

      St. Louis September 23rd 1806.


      It is with pleasure that I announce to you the safe arrival of myself and party at 12 OClk. today at this place with our papers and baggage. in obedience to your orders we have penitrated the Continent of North America to the Pacific Ocean, and sufficiently explored the interior of the country to affirm with confidence that we have discovered the most practicable rout which dose exist across the continent by means of the navigable branches of the Missouri and Columbia Rivers. Such is that by way of the Missouri to the foot of the rapids five miles below the great falls of that river a distance of 2575 miles, thence by land passing the Rocky Mountains to a navigable part of the Kooskooske 340; with the Kooskooske 73 mls. a South Easterly branch of the Columbia 154 miles and the latter river 413 mls. to the Pacific Ocean; making the total distance from the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi to the discharge of the Columbia into the Pacific Ocean 3555 miles. The navigation of the Missouri may be deemed safe and good; it's difficulties arise from it's falling banks, timber imbeded in the mud of its channel, it's sand bars and steady rapidity of it's current, all which may be overcome with a great degree of certainty by taking the necessary precautions. The passage by land of 340 miles from the Missouri to the Kooskooske is the most formidable part of the tract proposed across the Continent; of this distance 200 miles is along a good road, and 140 over tremendious mountains which for 60 mls. are covered with eternal snows; however a passage over these mountains is practicable from the latter part of June to the last of September, and the cheep rate at which horses are to be obtained from the Indians of the Rocky Mountains and West of them, reduces the expences of transportation over this portage to a mere tifle. The navigation of the Kooskooske, the South East branch of the Columbia itself is safe and good from the 1st of April to the middle of August, by making three portages on the latter; the first of which in descending is that of 1200 paces at the great falls of the Columbia, 261 mls. from the Ocean, the second of two miles at the long narrows six miles below the falls, and the 3rd also of 2 miles at the great rapids 65 miles still lower down. The tides flow up the Columbia 183 miles, or within seven miles of the great rapids, thus far large sloops might ascend in safety, and vessels of 300 tons burthen could with equal safety reach the entrance of the river Multnomah, a large Southern branch of the Columbia, which taking it's rise on the confines of Mexico with the Callarado and Apostles river, discharges itself into the Columbia 125 miles from it's mouth. From the head of tide water to the foot of the long narrows the Columbia could be most advantageously navigated with large batteauxs, and from thence upwards by perogues. The Missouri possesses sufficient debth of water as far as is specifyed for boats of 15 tons burthen, but those of smaller capacity are to be prefered.

      We view this passage across the Continent as affording immence advantages to the fur trade, but fear that the advantages which it offers as a communication for the productions of the East Indies to the United States and thence to Europe will never be found equal on an extensive scale to that by way of the Cape of Good hope; still be believe that many articles not bulky brittle nor of a very perishable nature may be conveyed to the United States by this rout with more facility and at less expence than by that at present practiced.

      The Missouri and all it's branches from the Chyenne upwards abound more in beaver and Common Otter, than any other streams on earth, particularly that proportion of them lying within the Rocky Mountains. The furs of all this immence tract of country including such as may be collected on the upper portion of the River St. Peters, Red river and the Assinniboin with the immence country watered by the Columbia, may be conveyed to the mouth of the Columbia by the 1st of August in each year and from thence be shiped to, and arrive in London. The British N. West Company of Canada were they permitted by the United States might also convey their furs collected in the Athabaske, on the Saskashawan, and South and West of Lake Winnipic by that rout within the period before mentioned. Thus the productions nine tenths of the most valuable fur country of America could be conveyed by the rout proposed to the East Indies.

      In the infancy of the trade across the continent, or during the period that the trading establishments shall be confined to the Missouri and it's branches, the men employed in this trade will be compelled to convey the furs collected in that quater as low on the Columbia as tide water, in which case they could not return to the falls of the Missouri until about the 1st of October, which would be so late in the season that there would be considerable danger of the river being obstructed by ice before they could reach this place and consequently that the commodites brought from the East indies would be detained until the following spring; but this difficulty will at once vanish when establishments are also made on the Columbia, and a sufficient number of men employed at them to convey annually the productions of the East indies to the upper establishment on the Kooskooske, and there exchange them with the men of the Missouri for their furs, in the begining of July. By this means the furs not only of the Missouri but those also of the Columbia may be shiped to the East indies by the season before mentioned, and the commodities of the East indies arrive at St. Louis or the mouth of the Ohio by the last of September in each year.

      Although the Columbia dose not as much as the Missouri abound in beaver and Otter, yet it is by no means despicable in this rispect, and would furnish a valuable fur trade distinct from any other consideration in addition to the otter and beaver which it could furnish. There might be collected considerable quantities of the skins of three species of bear affording a great variety of colours and of superior delicacy, those also of the tyger cat, several species of fox, martin and several others of an inferior class of furs, besides the valuable Sea Otter of the coast.

      If the government will only aid, even in a very limited manner, the enterprize of her Citizens I am fully convinced that we shal shortly derive the benifits of a most lucrative trade from this source, and that in the course of ten or twelve years a tour across the Continent by the rout mentioned will be undetaken by individuals with as little concern as a voyage across the Atlantic is at present.

      The British N. West Company of Canada has for several years, carried on a partial trade with the Minnetares Ahwayhaways and Mandans on the Missouri from their establishments on the Assiniboin at the entrance of Mouse river; at present I have good reason for beleiving that they intend shortly to form an establishment near those nations with a view to engroce the fur trade of the Missouri. The known enterprize and resources of this Company, latterly strengthened by an union with their powerfull rival the X. Y. Company renders them formidable in that distant part of the continent to all other traders; and in my opinion if we are to regard the trade of the Missouri as an object of importance to the United States; the strides of this Company towards the Missouri cannot be too vigilantly watched not too firmly and speedily opposed by our government. The embarrasments from which the navigation of the Missouri at present labours from the unfriendly dispositions of the Kancez, the several bands of Tetons, Assinniboins and those tribes that resort to the British establishments on the Saskashawan is also a subject which requires the earliest attention of our government. As I shall shortly be with you I have deemed it unnecessary here to detail the several ideas which have presented themselves to my mind on those subjects, more especially when I consider that a thorough knowledge of the geography of the country is absolutely necessary to their being undestood, and leasure has not yet permitted us to make but one general map of the country which I am unwilling to wrisk by the Mail.

      As a sketch of the most prominent features of our perigrination since we left the Mandans may not be uninteresting, I shall indeavour to give it to you by way of letter from this place, where I shall necessarily be detained several days in order to settle with and discharge the men who accompanyed me on the voyage as well as to prepare for my rout to the City of Washington.

      We left Fort Clatsop where we wintered near the entrance of the Columbia on the 27th of March last, and arrived at the foot of the Rocky mountains on the 10th of May where we were detained untill the 24th of June in consequence of the snow which rendered a passage over those Mountains impracticable untill that moment; had it not been for this detention I should ere this have joined you at Montichello. In my last communication to you from the Mandans I mentioned my intention of sending back a canoe with a small party from the Rocky Mountains; but on our arrival at the great falls of the Missouri on the 14th of June 1805, in view of that formidable snowey barrier, the discourageing difficulties which we had to encounter in making a portage of eighteen miles of our canoes and baggage around those falls wer such that my friend Capt. Clark and myself concieved it inexpedient to reduce the party, lest by doing so we should lessen the ardor of those who remained and thus hazard the fate of the expedition, and therefore decline that measure, thinking it better that the government as well as our friends should for a moment feel some anxiety for our fate than to wrisk so much; experience has since proved the justice of our dicision, for we have more than once owed our lives and the fate of the expedition to our number which consisted of 31 men.

      I have brought with me several skins of the Sea Otter, two skins of the native sheep of America, five skins and skelitons complete of the Bighorn or mountain ram, and a skin of the Mule deer beside the skins of several other quadrupeds and birds natives of the countries through which we have passed. I have also preserved a pretty extensive collection of plants, and collected nine other vocabularies.

      I have prevailed on the great Cheif of the Mandan nation to accompany me to Washington; he is now with my frind and colligue Capt. Clark at this place, in good health and sperits, and very anxious to procede.

      With rispect to the exertions and services rendered by that esteemable man Capt. William Clark in the course of late voyage I cannot say too much; if sir any credit be due for the success of that arduous enterprize in which we have been mutually engaged, he is equally with myself entitled to your consideration and that of our common country.

      The anxiety which I feel in returning once more to the bosom of my friends is a sufficient guarantee that no time will be unnecessarily expended in this quarter.

      I have detained the post several hours for the purpose of making you this haisty communication. I hope that while I am pardoned for this detention of the mail, the situation in which I have been compelled to write will sufficiently apologize for having been this laconic.

      The rout by which I purpose traveling from hence to Washington is by way of Cahokia, Vincennes, Louisvill Ky, the Crab orchard, Abington, Fincastle, Stanton, and Charlottesville. Any letters directed to me at Louisville ten days after the reciept of this will most probably meet me at that place. I am very anxious to learn the state of my friends in Albemarle particularly whether my mother is yet living. I am with every sentiment of esteem Your Obt. and very Humble servent…. Meriwether Lewis Capt.

      1st. U.S. Regt. Infty

      N.B. The whole of the party who accompanyed me from the Mandans have returned in good health, which is not, I assure you, to me one of the least pleasing considerations of the Voyage…. M.L.

      RC in the hand of Meriwether Lewis.

      SOURCE: Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress

      1835: Andrew Jackson on Indian Removal

      As Americans in the Southeast began moving west through Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, they encountered the “Five Civilized Tribes,” powerful Indian nations that inhabited the region. In order to open land for plantation agriculture, President Andrew Jackson, in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court, made it the policy of the United States to remove the tribes to Indian Country, in the American West. The policy resulted in the deaths of many Indian people during forced treks to their new homes, mostly in present-day Oklahoma and Kansas. During their migration, known as the “Trail of Tears,” approximately 25% of the Cherokee Nation perished from malnutrition, exhaustion, and exposure.

      The plan of removing the aboriginal people who yet remain within the settled portions of the United States to the country west of the Mississippi River approaches its consummation. It was adopted on the most mature consideration of the condition of this race, and ought to be persisted in till the object is accomplished, and prosecuted with as much vigor as a just regard to their circumstances will permit, and as fast as their consent can be obtained. All preceding experiments for the improvement of the Indians have failed. It seems now to be an established fact they they can not live in contact with a civilized community and prosper. Ages of fruitless endeavors have at length brought us to a knowledge of this principle of intercommunication with them. The past we can not recall, but the future we can provide for. Independently of the treaty stipulations into which we have entered with the various tribes for the usufructuary rights they have ceded to us, no one can doubt the moral duty of the Government of the United States to protect and if possible to preserve and perpetuate the scattered remnants of this race which are left within our borders. In the discharge of this duty an extensive region in the West has been assigned for their permanent residence. It has been divided into districts and allotted among them. Many have already removed and others are preparing to go, and with the exception of two small bands living in Ohio and Indiana, not exceeding 1,500 persons, and of the Cherokees, all the tribes on the east side of the Mississippi, and extending from Lake Michigan to Florida, have entered into engagements which will lead to their transplantation.

      The plan for their removal and reestablishment is founded upon the knowledge we have gained of their character and habits, and has been dictated by a spirit of enlarged liberality. A territory exceeding in extent that relinquished has been granted to each tribe. Of its climate, fertility, and capacity to support an Indian population the representations are highly favorable. To these districts the Indians are removed at the expense of the United States, and with certain supplies of clothing, arms, ammunition, and other indispensable articles; they are also furnished gratuitously with provisions for the period of a year after their arrival at their new homes. In that time, from the nature of the country and of the products raised by them, they can subsist themselves by agricultural labor, if they choose to resort to that mode of life; if they do not they are upon the skirts of the great prairies, where countless herds of buffalo roam, and a short time suffices to adapt their own habits to the changes which a change of the animals destined for their food may require. Ample arrangements have also been made for the support of schools; in some instances council houses and churches are to be erected, dwellings constructed for the chiefs, and mills for common use. Funds have been set apart for the maintenance of the poor; the most necessary mechanical arts have been introduced, and blacksmiths, gunsmiths, wheelwrights, millwrights, etc., are supported among them. Steel and iron, and sometimes salt, are purchased for them, and plows and other farming utensils, domestic animals, looms, spinning wheels, cards, etc., are presented to them. And besides these beneficial arrangements, annuities are in all cases paid, amounting in some instances to more than $30 for each individual of the tribe, and in all cases sufficiently great, if justly divided and prudently expended, to enable them, in addition to their own exertions, to live comfortably. And as a stimulus for exertion, it is now provided by law that “in all cases of the appointment of interpreters or other persons employed for the benefit of the Indians a preference shall be given to persons of Indian descent, if such can be found who are properly qualified for the discharge of the duties.”

      Such are the arrangements for the physical comfort and for the moral improvement of the Indians. The necessary measures for their political advancement and for their separation from our citizens have not been neglected. The pledge of the United States has been given by Congress that the country destined for the residence of this people shall be forever “secured and guaranteed to them.” A country west of Missouri and Arkansas has been assigned to them, into which the white settlements are not to be pushed. No political communities can be formed in that extensive region, except those which are established by the Indians themselves or by the United States for them and with their concurrence. A barrier has thus been raised for their protection against the encroachment of our citizens, and guarding the Indians as far as possible from those evils which have brought them to their present condition. Summary authority has been given by law to destroy all ardent spirits found in their country, without waiting the doubtful result and slow process of a legal seizure. I consider the absolute and unconditional interdiction of this article among these people as the first and great step in their melioration. Halfway measures will answer no purpose. These can not successfully contend against the cupidity of the seller and the overpowering appetite of the buyer. And the destructive effects of the traffic are marked in every page of the history of our Indian intercourse….

      SOURCE: Jackson, Andrew. “Seventh Annual Message to Congress,” December 7, 1835, Washington, D.C.

      1836: Texas Declaration of Independence

      During the late 1820s, the government of Mexico began granting land to Americans wanting to settle in their sparsely populated northern province of Tejas. People like Stephen F. Austin began establishing American colonies in Tejas, but changes in immigration policy and tariffs that the white settlers found oppressive soured relations with the Mexican government. After Antonio López de Santa Anna came to power in Mexico, Austin was able to secure the end of the immigration limits, but by this time the white settlers wanted a separate state. The white settlers and some of their Mexican allies went to war against Mexico at Gonzales on October 2, 1835, declaring the independence of the Republic of Texas on March 2, 1836.

      The Unanimous Declaration of Independence made by the Delegates of the People of Texas in General Convention at the town of Washington on the 2nd day of March 1836.

      When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.

      When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants.

      When, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms themselves of the constitution discontinued, and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons, and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new government upon them at the point of the bayonet.

      When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.

      Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is therefore submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step now taken, of severing our political connection with the Mexican people, and assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.

      The Mexican government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the Anglo-American population of Texas to colonize its wilderness under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth, the United States of America.

      In this expectation they have been cruelly disappointed, inasmuch as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made in the government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who having overturned the constitution of his country, now offers us the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.

      It has sacrificed our welfare to the state of Coahuila, by which our interests have been continually depressed through a jealous and partial course of legislation, carried on at a far distant seat of government, by a hostile majority, in an unknown tongue, and this too, notwithstanding we have petitioned in the humblest terms for the establishment of a separate state government, and have, in accordance with the provisions of the national constitution, presented to the general Congress a republican constitution, which was, without just cause, contemptuously rejected.

      It incarcerated in a dungeon, for a long time, one of our citizens, for no other cause but a zealous endeavor to procure the acceptance of our constitution, and the establishment of a state government.

      It has failed and refused to secure, on a firm basis, the right of trial by jury, that palladium of civil liberty, and only safe guarantee for the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.

      It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources, (the public domain,) and although it is an axiom in political science, that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self government.

      It has suffered the military commandants, stationed among us, to exercise arbitrary acts of oppression and tyrrany, thus trampling upon the most sacred rights of the citizens, and rendering the military superior to the civil power.

      It has dissolved, by force of arms, the state Congress of Coahuila and Texas, and obliged our representatives to fly for their lives from the seat of government, thus depriving us of the fundamental political right of representation.

      It has demanded the surrender of a number of our citizens, and ordered military detachments to seize and carry them into the Interior for trial, in contempt of the civil authorities, and in defiance of the laws and the constitution.

      It has made piratical attacks upon our commerce, by commissioning foreign desperadoes, and authorizing them to seize our vessels, and convey the property of our citizens to far distant ports for confiscation.

      It denies us the right of worshipping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own conscience, by the support of a national religion, calculated to promote the temporal interest of its human functionaries, rather than the glory of the true and living God.

      It has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential to our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.

      It has invaded our country both by sea and by land, with intent to lay waste our territory, and drive us from our homes; and has now a large mercenary army advancing, to carry on against us a war of extermination.

      It has, through its emissaries, incited the merciless savage, with the tomahawk and scalping knife, to massacre the inhabitants of our defenseless frontiers.

      It hath been, during the whole time of our connection with it, the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions, and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrranical government.

      These, and other grievances, were patiently borne by the people of Texas, untill they reached that point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. We then took up arms in defence of the national constitution. We appealed to our Mexican brethren for assistance. Our appeal has been made in vain. Though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the Interior. We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion, that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therfor of a military government; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self government.

      The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now decrees our eternal political separation.

      We, therefore, the delegates with plenary powers of the people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare, that our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free, Sovereign, and independent republic, and are fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent nations; and, conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme arbiter of the destinies of nations.

      SOURCE: Gammel, Hans Peter Mareus Neilsen. The Laws of Texas, 1822–1897, Volume 1, Book, 1898; digital images, http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5872 (accessed October 17, 2012); University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.

      1839: “The Great Nation of Futurity” by John L. O'Sullivan

      Writer John L. O'Sullivan was one of the foremost advocates of the annexation of Texas and the Oregon Territory during the 1830s to 1840s, espousing and promoting the idea of Manifest Destiny—the notion that the United States had been specially designated by God to dominate the North American continent. This essay, which appeared in The United States Democratic Review, encapsulated O'Sullivan's view that the United States was, in a sense, God's new “chosen people”—picked to expand because of the virtues of its citizens and political institutions.

      The American people having derived their origin from many other nations, and the Declaration of National Independence being entirely based on the great principle of human equality, these facts demonstrate at once our disconnected position as regards any other nation; that we have, in reality, but little connection with the past history of any of them, and still less with all antiquity, its glories, or its crimes. On the contrary, our national birth was the beginning of a new history, the formation and progress of an untried political system, which separates us from the past and connects us with the future only; and so far as regards the entire development of the natural rights of man, in moral, political, and national life, we may confidently assume that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity.

      It is so destined, because the principle upon which a nation is organized fixes its destiny, and that of equality is perfect, is universal. It presides in all the operations of the physical world, and it is also the conscious law of the soul the self-evident dictate of morality, which accurately defines the duty of man to man, and consequently mans rights as man. Besides, the truthful annals of any nation furnish abundant evidence, that its happiness, its greatness, its duration, were always proportionate to the democratic equality in its system of government.

      How many nations have had their decline and fall, because the equal rights of the minority were trampled on by the despotism of the majority; or the interests of the many sacrificed to the aristocracy of the few; or the rights and interests of all given up to the monarchy of one? These three kinds of government have figured so frequently and so largely in the ages that have passed away, that their history, through all time to come, can only furnish a resemblance. Like causes produce like effects, and the true philosopher of history will easily discern the principle of equality, or of privilege, working out its inevitable result. The first is regenerative, because it is natural and right; the latter is destructive to society, because it is unnatural and wrong.

      What friend of human liberty, civilization, and refinement, can cast his view over the past history of the monarchies and aristocracies of antiquity, and not deplore that they ever existed? What philanthropist can contemplate the oppressions, the cruelties, and injustice inflicted by them on the masses of mankind, and not turn with moral horror from the retrospect?

      America is destined for better deeds. It is our unparalleled glory that we have no reminiscences of battle fields, but in defence of humanity, of the oppressed of all nations, of the rights of conscience, the rights of personal enfranchisement. Our annals describe no scenes of horrid carnage, where men were led on by hundreds of thousands to slay one another, dupes and victims to emperors, kings, nobles, demons in the human form called heroes. We have had patriots to defend our homes, our liberties, but no aspirants to crowns or thrones; nor have the American people ever suffered themselves to be led on by wicked ambition to depopulate the land, to spread desolation far and wide, that a human being might be placed on a seat of supremacy.

      We have no interest in the scenes of antiquity, only as lessons of avoidance of nearly all their examples. The expansive future is our arena, and for our history. We are entering on its untrodden space, with the truths of God in our minds, beneficent objects in our hearts, and with a clear conscience unsullied by the past. We are the nation of human progress, and who will, what can, set limits to our onward march? Providence is with us, and no earthly power can. We point to the everlasting truth on the first page of our national declaration, and we proclaim to the millions of other lands, that the gates of hell the powers of aristocracy and monarchy shall not prevail against it.

      The far-reaching, the boundless future will be the era of American greatness. In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many nations is destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever dedicated to the worship of the Most High the Sacred and the True. Its floor shall be a hemisphere its roof the firmament of the star-studded heavens, and its congregation an Union of many Republics, comprising hundreds of happy millions, calling, owning no man master, but governed by Gods natural and moral law of equality, the law of brotherhood of peace and good will amongst men.

      But although the mighty constituent truth upon which our social and political system is founded will assuredly work out the glorious destiny herein shadowed forth, yet there are many untoward circumstances to retard our progress, to procrastinate the entire fruition of the greatest good to the human race. There is a tendency to imitativeness, prevailing amongst our professional and literary men, subversive of originality of thought, and wholly unfavorable to progress. Being in early life devoted to the study of the laws, institutions, and antiquities of other nations, they are far behind the mind and movement of the age in which they live: so much so, that the spirit of improvement, as well as of enfranchisement exists chiefly in the great masses the agricultural and mechanical population.

      This propensity to imitate foreign nations is absurd and injurious. It is absurd, for we have never yet drawn on our mental resources that we have not found them ample and of unsurpassed excellence; witness our constitutions of government, where we had no foreign ones to imitate. It is injurious, for never have we followed foreign examples in legislation; witness our laws, our charters of monopoly, that we did not inflict evil on ourselves, subverting common right, in violation of common sense and common justice. The halls of legislation and the courts of law in a Republic are necessarily the public schools of the adult population. If; in these institutions, foreign precedents are legislated, and foreign decisions adjudged over again, is it to be wondered at that an imitative propensity predominates amongst professional and business men. Taught to look abroad for the highest standards of law, judicial wisdom, and literary excellence, the native sense is subjugated to a most obsequious idolatry of the tastes, sentiments, and prejudices of Europe. Hence our legislation, jurisprudence, literature, are more reflective of foreign aristocracy than of American democracy.

      European governments have plunged themselves in debt, designating burdens on the people national blessings. Our State Legislatures, humbly imitating their pernicious example, have pawned, bonded the property, labor, and credit of their constituents to the subjects of monarchy. It is by our own labor, and with our own materials, that our internal improvements are constructed, but our British-law-trained legislators have enacted that we shall be in debt for them, paying interest, but never to become owners. With various climates, soils, natural resources, and products, beyond any other country, and producing more real capital annually than any other sixteen millions of people on earth, we are, nevertheless, borrowers, paying tribute to the money powers of Europe. Our business men have also conned the lesson of example, and devoted themselves body and mind to the promotion of foreign interests. If States can steep themselves in debt, with any propriety in times of peace, why may not merchants import merchandise on credit? If the one can bond the labor and property of generations yet unborn, why may not the other contract debts against the yearly crops and daily labor of their contemporary fellow citizens?

      And our literature! Oh, when will it breathe the spirit of our republican institutions? When will it be imbued with the God-like aspiration of intellectual freedom the elevating principle of equality? When will it assert its national independence, and speak the soul the heart of the American people? Why cannot our literati comprehend the matchless sublimity of our position amongst the nations of the world our high destiny and cease bending the knee to foreign idolatry, false tastes, false doctrines, false principles? When will they be inspired by the magnificent scenery of our own world, imbibe the fresh enthusiasm of a new heaven and a new earth, and soar upon the expanded wings of truth and liberty? Is not nature as original her truths as captivating her aspects as various, as lovely, as grand her Promethean fire as glowing in this, our Western hemisphere, as in that of the East? And above all, is not our private life as morally beautiful and good is not our public life as politically right, as indicative of the brightest prospects of humanity, and therefore as inspiring of tbe highest conceptions? Why, then, do our authors aim at no higher degree of merit, than a successful imitation of English writers of celebrity?

      But with all the retrograde tendencies of our laws, our judicature, our colleges, our literature, still they are compelled to follow the mighty impulse of the age; they are carried onward by the increasing tide of progress; and though they cast many a longing look behind, they cannot stay the glorious movement of the masses, nor induce them to venerate the rubbish, the prejudices, the superstitions of other times and other lands, the theocracy of priests, the divine right of kings, the aristocracy of blood, the metaphysics of colleges, the irrational stuff of law libraries. Already the brightest hopes of philanthropy, the most enlarged speculations of true philosophy, are inspired by the indications perceptible amongst the mechanical and agricultural population. There, with predominating influence, beats the vigorous national heart of America, propelling the onward march of the multitude, propagating and extending, through the present and the future, the powerful purpose of soul, which, in the seventeenth century, sought a refuge among savages, and reared in the wilderness the sacred altars of intellectual freedom. This was the seed that produced individual equality, and political liberty, as its natural fruit; and this is our true nationality. American patriotism is not of soil; we are not aborigines, nor of ancestry, for we are of all nations; but it is essentially personal enfranchisement, for where liberty dwells, said Franklin, the sage of the Revolution, there is my country.

      Such is our distinguishing characteristic, our popular instinct, and never yet has any public functionary stood forth for the rights of conscience against any, or all, sects desirous of predominating over such right, that he was not sustained by the people. And when a venerated patriot of the Revolution appealed to his fellow-citizens against the overshadowing power of a monarch institution, they came in their strength, and the moneyed despot was brought low. Corporate powers and privileges shrink to nothing when brought in conflict against the rights of individuals. Hence it is that our professional, literary, or commercial aristocracy, have no faith in the virtue, intelligence or capability of the people. The latter have never responded to their exotic sentiments nor promoted their views of a strong government irresponsible to the popular majority, to the will of the masses.

      Yes, we are the nation of progress, of individual freedom, of universal enfranchisement. Equality of rights is the cynosure of our union of States, the grand exemplar of the correlative equality of individuals; and while truth sheds its effulgence, we cannot retrograde, without dissolving the one and subverting the other. We must onward to the fulfillment of our mission to the entire development of the principle of our organization freedom of conscience, freedom of person, freedom of trade and business pursuits, universality of freedom and equality. This is our high destiny, any in natures eternal, inevitable decree of cause and effect we must accomplish it. All this will be your future history, to establish on earth the moral dignity and salvation of man the immutable truth and beneficence of God. For this blessed mission to the nations of the world, which are shut out from the life-giving light of truth, has America been chosen; and her high example shall smite unto death the tyranny of kings, hierarchs, and oligarchs, and carry the glad tidings of peace and good will where myriads now endure an existence scarcely more enviable than that of beasts of the field. Who, then, can doubt that our country is destined to be the great nation of futurity?

      SOURCE: O'Sullivan, John L. “The Great Nation of Futurity,” The United States Democratic Review 6, no. 23 (1839): 426–30.

      1844: The Diary of John C. Frémont

      John C. Frémont, often called “The Great Pathfinder,” explored the American West during the early 1840s, ranging throughout the West, with a particular interest in California. In 1845, he returned to St. Louis just in time for the outbreak of the Mexican War. After raising a small force of men, he returned to California, helping to conquer the state for the United States. In 1850 he became the first United States Senator from California and was the first presidential candidate of the fledgling Republican Party in 1856, running on a platform of western expansion and free soil.

      March 6, 1844

      6th.—We continued on our road through the same surpassingly beautiful country, entirely unequalled for the pasturage of stock by any thing we had ever seen. Our horses had now become so strong that they were able to carry us, and we traveled rapidly—over four miles an hour; four of us riding every alternate hour. Every few hundred yards we came upon a little band of deer; but we were too eager to reach the settlement, which we momentarily expected to discover, to halt for any other than a passing shot. In a few hours we reached a large fork, the northern branch of the river, and equal in size to that which we had descended. Together they formed a beautiful stream, 60 to 100 yards wide; which at first, ignorant of the nature of the country through which that river ran, we took to be the Sacramento.

      We continued down the right bank of the river, traveling for a while over a wooded upland, where we had the delight to discover tracks of cattle. To the southwest was visible a black column of smoke, which we had frequently noticed in descending, arising from the fires we had seen from the top of the Sierra. From the upland we descended into broad groves on the river, consisting of the evergreen, and a new species of a white-oak, with a large tufted top, and three to six feet in diameter. Among these was no brushwood; and the grassy surface gave to it the appearance of parks in an old-settled country. Following the tracks of the horses and cattle, in search of people, we discovered a small village of Indians. Some of these had on shirts of civilized manufacture, but were otherwise naked, and we could understand nothing from them: they appeared entirely astonished at seeing us.

      We made an acorn meal at noon, and hurried on; the valley being gay with flowers, and some of the banks being absolutely golden with the Californian poppy, (eschescholtzia crocea.) Here the grass was smooth and green, and the groves very open; the large oaks throwing a broad shade among sunny spots. Shortly afterwards we gave a shout at the appearance, on a little bluff, of a neatly-built adobe house, with glass windows. We rode up, but, to our disappointment, found only Indians. There was no appearance of cultivation, and we could see no cattle; and we supposed the place had been abandoned. We now pressed on more eagerly than ever: the river swept round a large bend to the right; the hills lowered down entirely; and, gradually entering a broad valley, we came unexpectedly into a large Indian village, where the people looked clean, and wore cotton shirts and various other articles of dress. They immediately crowded around us, and we had the inexpressible delight to find one who spoke a little indifferent Spanish, but who at first confounded us by saying there were no whites in the country; but just then a well-dressed Indian came up, and made his salutations in very well-spoken Spanish. In answer to our inquiries, he informed us that we were upon the Rio de los Americanos, (the river of the Americans,) and that it joined the Sacramento river about ten miles below. Never did a name sound more sweetly! We felt ourselves among our countrymen; for the name of American, in these distant parts, is applied to the citizens of the United States. To our eager inquiries he answered, “I am vaquero (cowherd) in the service of Capt. Sutter, and the people of this rancheria work for him?” Our evident satisfaction made him communicative; and he went on to say that Capt. Sutter was a very rich man, and always glad to see his country people. We asked for his house.

      He answered, that it was just over the hill before us; and offered, if we would wait a moment, to take his horse and conduct us to it. We readily accepted this civil offer. In a short distance we came in sight of the fort; and, passing on the way the house of a settler on the opposite side, (a Mr. Sinclair,) we forded the river; and in a few miles were met, a short distance from the fort, by Capt. Sutter himself. He gave us a most frank and cordial reception—conducted us immediately to his residence—and under his hospitable roof we had a night of rest, enjoyment, and refreshment, which none but ourselves could appreciate. But the party left in the mountains, with Mr. Fitzpatrick, were to be attended to; and the next morning, supplied with fresh horses and provisions, I hurried off to meet them. On the second day we met, a few miles below the forks of the Rio de los Americanos; and a more forlorn and pitiable sight than they presented, cannot well be imagined. They were all on foot—each man, weak and emaciated, leading a horse or mule as weak and emaciated as themselves. They had experienced great difficulty in descending the mountains, made slippery by rains and melting snows, and many horses fell over precipices, and were killed; and with some were lost the packs they carried. Among these, was a mule with the plants which we had collected since leaving Fort Hall, along a line of 2,000 miles’ travel. Out of 67 horses and mules, with which we commenced crossing the Sierra, only 33 reached the valley of the Sacramento, and they only in a condition to be led along. Mr. Fitzpatrick and his party, traveling more slowly, had been able to make some little exertion at hunting, and had killed a few deer. The scanty supply was a great relief to them; for several had been made sick by the strange and unwholesome food which the preservation of life compelled them to use. We stopped and encamped as soon as we met; and a repast of good beef, excellent bread, and delicious salmon, which I had brought along, was their first relief from the sufferings of the Sierra, and their first introduction to the luxuries of the Sacramento. It required all our philosophy and forbearance to prevent plenty from becoming as hurtful to us now, as scarcity had been before.

      The next day, March 8th, we encamped at the junction of the two rivers, the Sacramento and Americanos; and thus found the whole party in the beautiful valley of the Sacramento. It was a convenient place for the camp; and, among other things, was within reach of the wood necessary to make the packsaddles, which we should need on our long journey home, from which we were farther distant now than we were four months before, when from the Dalles of the Columbia we so cheerfully took up the homeward line of march.

      Captain Sutter emigrated to this country from the western part of Missouri in 1838–39, and formed the first settlement in the valley, on a large grant of land which he obtained from the Mexican Government. He had, at first, some trouble with the Indians; but, by the occasional exercise of well-timed authority, he has succeeded in converting them into a peaceable and industrious people. The ditches around his extensive wheat-fields; the making of the sundried bricks, of which his fort is constructed; the ploughing, harrowing, and other agricultural operations, are entirely the work of these Indians, for which they receive a very moderate compensation—principally in shirts, blankets, and other articles of clothing. In the same manner, on application to the chief of a village, he readily obtains as many boys and girls as he has any use for. There were at this time a number of girls at the fort, in training for a future woolen factory; but they were now all busily engaged in constantly watering the gardens, which the unfavorable dryness of the season rendered necessary. The occasional dryness of some seasons, I understood to be the only complain of the settlers in this fertile valley, as it sometimes renders the crops uncertain. Mr. Sutter was about making arrangements to irrigate his lands by means of the Rio de los Americanos. He had this year sown, and altogether by Indian labor, three hundred fanegas of wheat.

      A few years since, the neighboring Russian establishment of Ross, being about to withdraw from the country, sold to him a large number of stock, with agricultural and other stores, with a number of pieces of artillery and other munitions of war; for these, a regular yearly payment is made in grain.

      The fort is a quadrangular adobe structure, mounting twelve pieces of artillery, (two of them brass,) and capable of admitting a garrison of a thousand men; this, at present, consists of forty Indians in uniform—one of whom was always found on duty at the gate. As might naturally be expected, the pieces are not in very good order. The whites in the employment of Capt. Sutter, American, French, and German, amount, perhaps, to thirty men. The inner wall is formed into buildings, comprising the common quarters, with blacksmith and other workshops; the dwelling-house, with a large distillery-house, and other buildings, occupying more the centre of the area.

      It is built upon a pond-like stream, at times a running creek communicating with the Rio de los Americanos, which enters the Sacramento about two miles below. The latter is here a noble river, about three hundred yards broad, deep and tranquil, with several fathoms of water in the channel, and its banks continuously timbered. There were two vessels belonging to Capt. Sutter at anchor near the landing—one a large two-masted lighter, and the other a schooner, which was shortly to proceed on a voyage to Fort Vancouver for a cargo of goods.

      Since his arrival, several other persons, principally Americans, have established themselves in the valley. Mr. Sinclair, from whom I experienced much kindness during my stay, is settled a few miles distant, on the Rio de los Americanos. Mr. Coudrois, a gentleman from Germany, has established himself on Feather river, and is associated with Capt. Sutter in agricultural pursuits. Among other improvements, they are about to introduce the cultivation of rape-seed, (brassica rapus,) which there is every reason to believe is admirably adapted to the climate and soil. The lowest average produce of wheat, as far as we can at present know, is thirty-five fanegas for one sown; but, as an instance of its fertility, it may be mentioned that Senor Valejo obtained, on a piece of ground where sheep had been pastured, 800 fanegas for eight sown. The produce being different in various places, a very correct idea cannot be formed.

      An impetus was given to the active little population by our arrival, as we were in want of every thing. Mules, horses, and cattle, were to be collected; the horse-mill was at work day and night, to make sufficient flour; the blacksmith's shop was put in requisition for horse-shoes and bridle-bits; and pack-saddles, ropes, and bridles, and all the other little equipments of the camp, were again to be provided.

      The delay thus occasioned was one of repose and enjoyment, which our situation required, and, anxious as we were to resume our homeward journey, was regretted by no one. In the mean time, I had the pleasure to meet with Mr. Chiles, who was residing at a farm on the other side of the river Sacramento, while engaged in the selection of a place for a settlement, for which he had received the necessary grant of land from the Mexican government.

      It will be remembered that we had parted near the frontier of the states, and that he had subsequently descended the valley of Lewis's fork, with a party of ten or twelve men, with the intention of crossing the intermediate mountains to the waters of the Bay of San Francisco. In the execution of this design, and aided by subsequent information, he left the Columbia at the mouth of Malheur river, and, making his way to the head-waters of the Sacramento with a part of his company, traveled down that river to the settlements of Nueva Helvetia. The other party, to whom he had committed his wagons, and mill-irons, and saws, took a course further to the south, and the wagons and their contents were lost.

      On the 22d we made a preparatory move, and encamped near the settlement of Mr. Sinclair, on the left bank of the Rio de los Americanos. I had discharged five of the party; Neal, the blacksmith, (an excellent workman, and an unmarried man, who had done his duty faithfully, and had been of very great service to me,) desired to remain, as strong inducements were offered here to mechanics.

      Although at considerable inconvenience to myself, his good conduct induced me to comply with his request; and I obtained for him from Capt. Sutter, a present compensation of two dollars and a half per diem, with a promise that it should be increased to five, if he proved as good a workman as had been represented. He was more particularly an agricultural blacksmith. The other men were discharged with their own consent.

      While we remained at this place, Derosier, one of our best men, whose steady good conduct had won my regard, wandered off from the camp, and never returned to it again, nor has he since been heard of.

      SOURCE: Frémont, John Charles. The Life of Col. John Charles Fremont, and His Narrative of Explorations and Adventures, in Kansas, Nebraska, Oregon and California. New York: Miller, Orton, and Mulligan, 1856, pp. 416–22.

      1846: Oregon Treaty

      The shared presence of the United States and Great Britain in the Oregon Country during the 1840s was a growing irritant to proponents of Manifest Destiny, who interpreted the Monroe Doctrine as meaning that the United States needed to evict Britain from the West. This came to a head during James K. Polk's 1844 candidacy for the presidency, which saw the popularization of the slogan “Fifty-four Forty or Fight!” (meaning that the United States was entitled to govern the lands in the Pacific Northwest, up to the southern border of Russia's Alaskan colony). Once Polk was elected, negotiations took a more conciliatory tone, resulting in the Oregon Treaty of 1846, which settled American claims to the region.


      ART. I. From the point of the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, where the boundary laid down in existing treaties and conventions between the United States and Great Britain terminates, the line of boundary between the territories of the United States and those of her Britannic Majesty shall be continued westward along the said forty-ninth parallel of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver's Island, and thence southerly through the middle of the said channel, and of Fuca's Straits, to the Pacific Ocean: Provided, however, That the navigation of the whole of the said channel and straits, south of the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, remain free and open to both parties.

      ART. II. From the point at which the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude shall be found to intersect the great northern branch of the Columbia River, the navigation of the said branch shall be free and open to the Hudson's Bay Company, and to all British subjects trading with the same, to the point where the said branch meets the main stream of the Columbia, and thence down the said main stream to the ocean, with free access into and through the said river or rivers, it being understood that all the usual portages along the line thus described shall, in like manner, be free and open. In navigating the said river or rivers, British subjects, with their goods and produce, shall be treated on the same footing as citizens of the United States; it being, however, always understood that nothing in this article shall be construed as preventing, or intended to prevent, the government of the United States from making any regulations respecting the navigation of the said river or rivers not inconsistent with the present treaty.

      ART. III. In the future appropriation of the territory south of the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, as provided in the first article of this treaty, the possessory rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, and of all British subjects who may be already in the occupation of land or other property lawfully acquired within the said territory, shall be respected.

      ART. IV. The farms, lands, and other property of every description, belonging to the Puget's Sound Agricultural Company, on the north side of the Columbia River, shall be confirmed to the said company. In case, however, the situation of those farms and lands should be considered by the United States to be of public and political importance, and the United States government should signify a desire to obtain possession of the whole, or of any part thereof, the property so required shall be transferred to the said government, at a proper valuation, to be agreed upon between the parties….

      SOURCE: Oregon Treaty [Exchange copy], August 5, 1846; Perfected Treaties, 1778–1945; Record Group 11; General Records of the United States Government, 1778–1992; National Archives

      1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

      After the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the largest land acquisition in the history of the United States was the forced purchase of the bulk of what would become the American Southwest from Mexico at the conclusion of the Mexican War. For a mere $15 million, the United States acquired Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and portions of Colorado and Wyoming.


      ART. I. THERE shall be firm and universal peace between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, and between their respective countries, territories, cities, towns, and people, without exception of place or persons….

      ART. V. The boundary line between the two Republics shall commence in the Gulf of Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande, otherwise called Rio Bravo del Norte, or opposite the mouth of its deepest branch, if it should have more than one branch emptying directly into the sea; from thence up the middle of that river, following the deepest channel, where it has more than one, to the point where it strikes the southern boundary of New Mexico; thence, westwardly, along the whole southern boundary of New Mexico (which runs north of the town called Paso) to its western termination; thence, northward, along the western line of New Mexico, until it intersects the first branch of the River Gila; (or if it should not intersect any branch of that river, then to the point on the said line nearest to such branch, and thence in a direct line to the same;) thence down the middle of the said branch and of the said river, until it empties into the Rio Colorado; thence across the Rio Colorado, following the division line between Upper and Lower California, to the Pacific Ocean….

      ART. VII. The River Gila, and the part of the Rio Bravo del Norte lying below the southern boundary of New Mexico, being, agreeably to the fifth article, divided in the middle between the two republics, the navigation of the Gila and of the Bravo below said boundary shall be free and common to the vessels and citizens of both countries; and neither shall, without the consent of the other, construct any work that may impede or interrupt, in whole or in part, the exercise of this right; not even for the purpose of favoring new methods of navigation….

      ART. VIII. Mexicans now established in territories previously belonging to Mexico, and which remain for the future within the limits of the United States, as defined by the present treaty, shall be free to continue where they now reside, or to remove at any time to the Mexican republic, retaining the property which they possess in the said territories, or disposing thereof, and removing the proceeds wherever they please, without their being subjected, on this account, to any contribution, tax, or charge whatever….

      ART. XII. In consideration of the extension acquired by the boundaries of the United States, as defined in the fifth article of the present treaty, the Government of the United States engages to pay to that of the Mexican Republic the sum of fifteen millions of dollars….

      ART. XIII. The United States engage, moreover, to assume and pay to the claimants all the amounts now due them, and those hereafter to become due, by reason of the claims already liquidated and decided against the Mexican Republic, under the conventions between the two republics severally concluded on the eleventh day of April, eighteen hundred and thirty-nine, and on the thirtieth day of January, eighteen hundred and forty-three; so that the Mexican Republic shall be absolutely exempt, for the future, from all expense whatever on account of the said claims.

      ART. XIV. The United States do furthermore discharge the Mexican Republic from all claims of citizens of the United States not heretofore decided against the Mexican Government, which may have arisen previously to the date of the signature of this treaty; which discharge shall be final and perpetual, whether the said claims be rejected or be allowed by the board of commissioners provided for in the following article, and whatever shall be the total amount of those allowed….

      ART. X V. The United States, exonerating Mexico from all demands on account of the claims of their citizens mentioned in the preceding article, and considering them entirely and forever cancelled, whatever their amount may be, undertake to make satisfaction for the same, to an amount not exceeding three and one quarter millions of dollars….

      ART. XXI. If unhappily any disagreement should hereafter arise between the governments of the two republics, whether with respect to the interpretation of any stipulation in this treaty, or with respect to any other particular concerning the political or commercial relations of the two nations, the said government, in the name of those nations, do promise to each other that they will endeavor, in the most sincere and earnest manner, to settle the differences so arising, and to preserve the state of peace and friendship in which the two countries are now placing themselves; using, for this end, mutual representations and pacific negotiations. And if, by these means, they should not be enabled to come to an agreement, a resort shall not, on this account, be had to reprisals, aggression, or hostility of any kind, by the one republic against the other, until the Government of that which deems itself aggrieved shall have maturely considered, in the spirit of peace and good neighborship, whether it would not be better that such difference should be settled by the arbitration of commissioners appointed on each side, or by that of a friendly nation. And should such course be proposed by either party, it shall be acceded to by the other, unless deemed by it altogether incompatible with the nature of the difference, or circumstances of the case.

      SOURCE: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo [Exchange copy], February 2, 1848; Perfected Treaties, 1778–1945; Record Group 11; General Records of the United States Government, 1778–1992; National Archives.

      1849: Oregon Exclusion Law

      While the Southeastern United States is often the first region to come to mind when the topic of the denial of civil rights to African Americans comes up, the West was by no means immune to discriminatory laws. In 1849, the Oregon Territory went so far as to ban African Americans from living in the region.

      A BILL TO PREVENT NEGROES AND MULATTOES FROM COMING TO, OR RESIDING IN OREGON, (Enacted by the Oregon Territorial Legislature, 1849)

      Sect. 1 Be it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon that it shall not be lawful for any negro or mulatto to enter into, or reside within the limits of this Territory. Providing that nothing in this act shall…. apply to any negro or mulatto now resident in this Territory, nor shall it apply to the offspring of any such as are residents….

      Sect. 2 That Masters and owners of vessels having negroes or mulattoes in their employ on board of vessel may bring them into Oregon Provided that in so doing such master, or owner, shall be responsible for the conduct of such negro or mulatto…. and shall be liable to any person aggrieved by such negro or mulatto.

      Sect. 3 No negro or mulatto shall be permitted to leave the port where the vessel upon which they are or may be employed shall be lying without the written permission of such master or owner….

      Sect. 4 That it shall be the duty of masters and owners of vessels having brought negroes or mulattoes into Oregon as aforesaid to cause such negro or mulatto to leave this territory with such vessel upon which the shall have been brought into the Territory, or from some other vessel within forty days.

      Sect. 5 If any master or owners of a vessel having brought negroes or mulattoes as provided for in the second section of this act into this Territory, shall fail to remove and take the same with them when leaving the Territory…. shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor…. and on conviction, shall be fined and imprisoned at the discretion of the court; Provided that the fine in no case shall be less than five hundred dollars.

      Sect. 6 If any negro or mulatto shall be found in this Territory, except as hereinbefore provided and except such as may now be permanent residents, it shall be the duty of any Judge or Justice of the Peace to…. issue a warrant for the apprehension of such negro or mulatto, directed to any sheriff or constable…. to arrest…. such negro or mulatto….

      Sect. 7 If any negro or mulatto shall be found a second time unlawfully remaining in this Territory he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and shall…. upon conviction be fined and imprisoned at the discretion of the court.

      Sect. 8 The Governor of this Territory shall cause this act to be published in some one or more of the California newspapers and such other newspapers as he may think necessary in order to carry out the spirit of the same.

      Sect. 9 This act to take effect and be in force from and after its passage.

      SOURCE: Archives of the Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Oregon.

      1853: Gadsden Purchase Treaty

      Purchased from Mexico in 1853 in order to facilitate the construction of a southern route for a transcontinental railroad, the Gadsden Purchase was the final piece of the Continental United States to be acquired. Although President Franklin Pierce and his secretary of war Jefferson Davis had wanted to purchase much more territory, Mexico, still stinging from losing so much territory at the end of the Mexican War, only agreed to sell the narrow strip that now consists of the southern border region of Arizona and New Mexico.

      December 30, 1853


      A Proclamation

      WHEREAS a treaty between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic was concluded and signed at the City of Mexico on the thirtieth day of December, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three; which treaty, as amended by the Senate of the United States, and being in the English and Spanish languages, is word for word as follows:

      In the Name of Almighty God:

      The Republic of Mexico and the United States of America desiring to remove every cause of disagreement which might interfere in any manner with the better friendship and intercourse between the two countries, and especially in respect to the true limits which should be established, when, notwithstanding what was covenanted in the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in the year 1848, opposite interpretations have been urged, which might give occasion to questions of serious moment: to avoid these, and to strengthen and more firmly maintain the peace which happily prevails between the two republics, the President of the United States has, for this purpose, appointed James Gadsden, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the same, near the Mexican government, and the President of Mexico has appointed as Plenipotentiary “ad hoc” his excellency Don Manuel Diez de Bonilla, cavalier grand cross of the national and distinguished order of Guadalupe, and Secretary of State, and of the office of Foreign Relations, and Don Jose Salazar Ylarregui and General Mariano Monterde as scientific commissioners, invested with full powers for this negotiation, who, having communicated their respective full powers, and finding them in due and proper form, have agreed upon the articles following:

      Article I

      The Mexican Republic agrees to designate the following as her true limits with the United States for the future: retaining the same dividing line between the two Californias as already defined and established, according to the 5th article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the limits between the two republics shall be as follows: Beginning in the Gulf of Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande, as provided in the 5th article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; thence, as defined in the said article, up the middle of that river to the point where the parallel of 31° 47’ north latitude crosses the same; thence due west one hundred miles; thence south to the parallel of 31° 20’ north latitude; thence along the said parallel of 31° 20’ to the 111th meridian of longitude west of Greenwich; thence in a straight line to a point on the Colorado River twenty English miles below the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers; thence up the middle of the said river Colorado until it intersects the present line between the United States and Mexico.

      For the performance of this portion of the treaty, each of the two governments shall nominate one commissioner, to the end that, by common consent the two thus nominated, having met in the city of Paso del Norte, three months after the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, may proceed to survey and mark out upon the land the dividing line stipulated by this article, where it shall not have already been surveyed and established by the mixed commission, according to the treaty of Guadalupe, keeping a journal and making proper plans of their operations. For this purpose, if they should judge it necessary, the contracting parties shall be at liberty each to unite to its respective commissioner, scientific or other assistants, such as astronomers and surveyors, whose concurrence shall not be considered necessary for the settlement and of a true line of division between the two Republics; that line shall be alone established upon which the commissioners may fix, their consent in this particular being considered decisive and an integral part of this treaty, without necessity of ulterior ratification or approval, and without room for interpretation of any kind by either of the parties contracting.

      The dividing line thus established shall, in all time, be faithfully respected by the two governments, without any variation therein, unless of the express and free consent of the two, given in conformity to the principles of the law of nations, and in accordance with the constitution of each country respectively.

      In consequence, the stipulation in the 5th article of the treaty of Guadalupe upon the boundary line therein described is no longer of any force, wherein it may conflict with that here established, the said line being considered annulled and abolished wherever it may not coincide with the present, and in the same manner remaining in full force where in accordance with the same.

      Article II.

      The government of Mexico hereby releases the United States from all liability on account of the obligations contained in the eleventh article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; and the said article and the thirty-third article of the treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation between the United States of America and the United Mexican States concluded at Mexico, on the fifth day of April, 1831, are hereby abrogated.

      Article III.

      In consideration of the foregoing stipulations, the Government of the United States agrees to pay to the government of Mexico, in the city of New York, the sum of ten millions of dollars, of which seven millions shall be paid immediately upon the exchange of the ratifications of this treaty, and the remaining three millions as soon as the boundary line shall be surveyed, marked, and established.

      Article IV.

      The provisions of the 6th and 7th articles of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo having been rendered nugatory, for the most part, by the cession of territory granted in the first article of this treaty, the said articles are hereby abrogated and annulled, and the provisions as herein expressed substituted therefor. The vessels, and citizens of the United States shall, in all time, have free and uninterrupted passage through the Gulf of California, to and from their possessions situated north of the boundary line of the two countries. It being understood that this passage is to be by navigating the Gulf of California and the river Colorado, and not by land, without the express consent of the Mexican government; and precisely the same provisions, stipulations, and restrictions, in all respects, are hereby agreed upon and adopted, and shall be scrupulously observed and enforced by the two contracting governments in reference to the Rio Colorado, so far and for such distance as the middle of that river is made their common boundary line by the first article of this treaty.

      The several provisions, stipulations, and restrictions contained in the 7th article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo shall remain in force only so far as regards the Rio Bravo del Norte, below the initial of the said boundary provided in the first article of this treaty; that is to say, below the intersection of the 31° 47’30’/parallel of latitude, with the boundary line established by the late treaty dividing said river from its mouth upwards, according to the fifth article of the treaty of Guadalupe.

      Article V.

      All the provisions of the eighth and ninth, sixteenth and seventeenth articles of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, shall apply to the territory ceded by the Mexican Republic in the first article of the present treaty, and to all the rights of persons and property, both civil and ecclesiastical, within the same, as fully and as effectually as if the said articles were herein again recited and set forth.

      Article VI.

      No grants of land within the territory ceded by the first article of this treaty bearing date subsequent to the day—twenty-fifth of September—when the minister and subscriber to this treaty on the part of the United States, proposed to the Government of Mexico to terminate the question of boundary, will be considered valid or be recognized by the United States, or will any grants made previously be respected or be considered as obligatory which have not been located and duly recorded in the archives of Mexico.

      Article VII.

      Should there at any future period (which God forbid) occur any disagreement between the two nations which might lead to a rupture of their relations and reciprocal peace, they bind themselves in like manner to procure by every possible method the adjustment of every difference; and should they still in this manner not succeed, never will they proceed to a declaration of war, without having previously paid attention to what has been set forth in article twenty-one of the treaty of Guadalupe for similar cases; which article, as well as the twenty-second is here reaffirmed.

      Article VIII.

      The Mexican Government having on the 5th of February, 1853, authorized the early construction of a plank and railroad across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and, to secure the stable benefits of said transit way to the persons and merchandise of the citizens of Mexico and the United States, it is stipulated that neither government will interpose any obstacle to the transit of persons and merchandise of both nations; and at no time shall higher charges be made on the transit of persons and property of citizens of the United States, than may be made on the persons and property of other foreign nations, nor shall any interest in said transit way, nor in the proceeds thereof, be transferred to any foreign government.

      The United States, by its agents, shall have the right to transport across the isthmus, in closed bags, the mails of the United States not intended for distribution along the line of communication; also the effects of the United States government and its citizens, which may be intended for transit, and not for distribution on the isthmus, free of custom-house or other charges by the Mexican government. Neither passports nor letters of security will be required of persons crossing the isthmus and not remaining in the country.

      When the construction of the railroad shall be completed, the Mexican government agrees to open a port of entry in addition to the port of Vera Cruz, at or near the terminus of said road on the Gulf of Mexico.

      The two governments will enter into arrangements for the prompt transit of troops and munitions of the United States, which that government may have occasion to send from one part of its territory to another, lying on opposite sides of the continent.

      The Mexican government having agreed to protect with its whole power the prosecution, preservation, and security of the work, the United States may extend its protection as it shall judge wise to it when it may feel sanctioned and warranted by the public or international law.

      Article IX.

      This treaty shall be ratified, and the respective ratifications shall be exchanged at the city of Washington within the exact period of six months from the date of its signature, or sooner, if possible.

      In testimony whereof, we, the plenipotentiaries of the contracting parties, have hereunto affixed our hands and seals at Mexico, the thirtieth (30th) day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three, in the thirty-third year of the independence of the Mexican republic, and the seventy-eighth of that of the United States.





      And whereas the said treaty, as amended, has been duly ratified on both parts, and the respective ratifications of the same have this day been exchanged at Washington, by WILLIAM L. MARCY, Secretary of State of the United States, and SENOR GENERAL DON JUAN N. ALMONTE, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Mexican Republic, on the part of their respective Governments:

      Now, therefore, be it known that I, FRANKLIN PIERCE, President of the United States of America, have caused the said treaty to be made public, to the end that the same, and every clause and article thereof, may be observed and fulfilled with good faith by the United States and the citizens thereof.

      In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

      Done at the city of Washington, this thirtieth day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-four, and of the Independence of the United States the seventy-eighth.


      FRANKLIN PIERCE, W. L. MARCY, Secretary of State.

      SOURCE: U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol. X.

      1862: Homestead Act

      The idea of “free soil,” that America's westward expansion depended on independent, non-slave-owning farmers, had been a part of the ideology of the Republican Party since its founding in 1854. With the accession of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency in 1861 and the onset of the Civil War, the impediments preventing homestead legislation no longer existed, and Lincoln wasted little time instituting a program that gave families free land in the West, so long as they occupied and “improved,” or farmed, it.

      AN ACT to secure homesteads to actual settlers on the public domain.

      Be it enacted, That any person who is the head of a family, or who has arrived at the age of twenty-one years, and is a citizen of the United States, or who shall have filed his declaration of intention to become such, as required by the naturalization laws of the United States, and who has never borne arms against the United States Government or given aid and comfort to its enemies, shall, from and after the first of January, eighteen hundred and sixty-three, be entitled to enter one quarter-section or a less quantity of unappropriated public lands, upon which said person may have filed a pre-emption claim, or which may, at the time the application is made, be subject to pre-emption at one dollar and twenty-five cents, or less, per acre; or eighty acres or less of such unappropriated lands, at two dollars and fifty cents per acre, to be located in a body, in conformity to the legal subdivisions of the public lands, and after the same shall have been surveyed: Provided, That any person owning or residing on land may, under the provisions of this act, enter other land lying contiguous to his or her said land, which shall not, with the land so already owned and occupied, exceed in the aggregate one hundred and sixty acres.

      Sec. 2. That the person applying for the benefit of this act shall, upon application to the register of the land office in which he or she is about to make such entry, make affidavit before the said register or receiver that he or she is the head of a family, or is twenty-one or more years of age, or shall have performed service in the Army or Navy of the United States, and that he has never borne arms against the Government of the United States or given aid and comfort to its enemies, and that such application is made for his or her exclusive use and benefit, and that said entry is made for the purpose of actual settlement and cultivation, and not, either directly or indirectly, for the use or benefit of any other person or persons whomsoever; and upon filing the said affidavit with the register or receiver, and on payment of ten dollars, he or she shall thereupon he permitted to enter the quantity of land specified: Provided, however, That no certificate shall be given or patent issued therefor until the expiration of five years from the date of such entry; and if, at the expiration of such time, or at any time within two years thereafter, the person making such entry—or if he be dead, his widow; or in case of her death, his heirs or devisee; or in case of a widow making such entry, her heirs or devisee, in case of her death—shall prove by two credible witnesses that he, she, or they have resided upon or cultivated the same for the term of five years immediately succeeding the time of filing the affidavit aforesaid, and shall make affidavit that no part of said land has been alienated, and that he has borne true allegiance to the Government of the United States; then, in such case, he, she, or they, if at that time a citizen of the United States, shall be entitled to a patent, as in other cases provided for by law: And provided, further, That in case of the death of both father and mother, leaving an infant child or children under twenty-one years of age, the right and fee shall inure to the benefit of said infant child or children, and the executor, administrator, or guardian may, at any time within two years after the death of the surviving parent, and in accordance with the laws of the State in which such children for the time being have their domicile, sell said land for the benefit of said infants, but for no other purpose; and the purchaser shall acquire the absolute title by the purchase, and be entitled to a patent from the United States, and payment of the office fees and sum of money herein specified …

      APPROVED, May 20, 1862.

      SOURCE: U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol. XII, p. 392 ff.

      1862: Pacific Railway Act

      The Pacific Railway Act represented the will of the Northern government during the Civil War to build a railroad to link the new state of California in the West to the rest of the Union. Before the war, a number of acts were proposed, but the specific route of the railroad was a subject of sectional debate. With the South's considerations no longer a factor, Abraham Lincoln and the Congress moved quickly to pass the act. The act specified two companies, the Union Pacific (building west from Omaha, Nebraska) and the Central Pacific (building east from Oakland, California) to build the railroad, which was completed at Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10, 1869. The two companies received government bonds and grants of land for each mile of track laid, which allowed both companies to remain wealthy and influential for decades.

      An Act to aid in the Construction of a Railroad and Telegraph Line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean …

      Be it enacted, That [names of corporators]; together with five commissioners to be appointed by the Secretary of the Interior … are hereby created and erected into a body corporate … by the name … of “The Union Pacific Railroad Company” …; and the said corporation is hereby authorized and empowered to lay out, locate, construct, furnish, maintain and enjoy a continuous railroad and telegraph … from a point on the one hundredth meridian of longitude west from Greenwich, between the south margin of the valley of the Republican River and the north margin of the valley of the Platte River, to the western boundary of Nevada Territory, upon the route and terms hereinafter provided …

      Sec. 2. That the right of way through the public lands be … granted to said company for the construction of said railroad and telegraph line; and the right … is hereby given to said company to take from the public lands adjacent to the line of said road, earth, stone, timber, and other materials for the construction thereof; said right of way is granted to said railroad to the extent of two hundred feet in width on each side of said railroad when it may pass over the public lands, including all necessary grounds, for stations, buildings, workshops, and depots, machine shops, switches, side tracks, turn tables, and water stations. The United States shall extinguish as rapidly as may be the Indian titles to all lands falling under the operation of this act …

      Sec. 3. That there be … granted to the said company, for the purpose of aiding in the construction of said railroad and telegraph line, and to secure the safe and speedy transportation of mails, troops, munitions of war, and public stores thereon, every alternate section of public land, designated by odd numbers, to the amount of five alternate sections per mile on each side of said railroad, on the line thereof, and within the limits of ten miles on each side of said road … Provided That all mineral lands shall be excepted from the operation of this act; but where the same shall contain timber, the timber thereon is hereby granted to said company …

      Sec. 5. That for the purposes herein mentioned the Secretary of the Treasury shall … in accordance with the provisions of this act, issue to said company bonds of the United States of one thousand dollars each, payable in thirty years after date, paying six per centum per annum interest … to the amount of sixteen of said bonds per mile for each section of forty miles; and to secure the repayment to the United States … of the amount of said bonds … the issue of said bonds … shall ipso facto constitute a first mortgage on the whole line of the railroad and telegraph …

      Sec. 9. That the Leavenworth, Pawnee and Western Railroad Company of Kansas are hereby authorized to construct a railroad and telegraph line … upon the same terms and conditions in all respects as are provided [for construction of the Union Pacific Railroad]…. The Central Pacific Railroad Company of California are hereby authorized to construct a railroad and telegraph line from the Pacific coast … to the eastern boundaries of California, upon the same terms and conditions in all respects [as are provided for the Union Pacific Railroad].

      Sec. 10 …. And the Central Pacific Railroad Company of California after completing its road across said State, is authorized to continue the construction of said railroad and telegraph through the Territories of the United States to the Missouri River … upon the terms and conditions provided in this act in relation to the Union Pacific Railroad Company, until said roads shall meet and connect…

      Sec. 11. That for three hundred miles of said road most mountainous and difficult of construction, to wit: one hundred and fifty miles westerly from the eastern base of the Rocky Mountains, and one hundred and fifty miles east-wardly from the western base of the Sierra Nevada mountains … the bonds to be issued to aid in the construction thereof shall be treble the number per mile hereinbefore provided … and between the sections last named of one hundred and fifty miles each, the bonds to be issued to aid in the construction thereof shall be double the number per mile first mentioned …

      APPROVED, July 1, 1862.

      SOURCE: U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol. XII, p. 489 ff.

      1872: General Mining Act

      The General Mining Act of 1872 made it so that all valuable minerals existing on public lands were open to extraction by private persons and corporations. This law has had a dramatic impact on the development of the western states, as much of the mineral wealth has been taken with little regard for the natural environment. In fact, the law was stated such that later entrepreneurs used it to justify seemingly unrelated activities, such as the dumping of waste and cutting of timber on public lands, with very little return for the American public.

      An Act to promote the Development of the mining Resources of the United States.

      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all valuable mineral deposits in lands belonging to the United States, both surveyed and unsurveyed, are hereby declared to be free and open to exploration and purchase, and the lands in which they are found to occupation and purchase, by citizens of the United States and those who have declared their intention to become such, under regulations prescribed by law, and according to the local customs or rules of miners, in the several mining-districts, so far as the same are applicable and not inconsistent with the laws of the United States.

      Sec. 2. That mining-claims upon veins or lodes of quarts or other rock in place bearing gold, silver, cinnabar, lead, tin, copper, or other valuable deposits heretofore located, shall be governed as to length along the vein or lode by the customs, regulations, and laws in force at the date of their location. A mining-claim located after the passage of this act, whether located by one or more persons, may equal, but no exceed, one thousand five hundred feet in length along the vein or lode; but no location of a mining-claim shall be made until the discovery of the vein or lode within the limits of the claim located. No claim shall exceed more than three hundred feet on each side of the Middle of the vein at the surface, nor shall any claim be limited by any mining regulation to less then twenty five feet on each side of the middle of the vein at the surface, except where adverse rights existing at the passage of this act shall render such limitation necessary. The end-lines of each claim shall be paralleled to each other.

      Sec. 3. That the locators of all mining locations heretofore made, or which shall hereafter be made, on any mineral vein, lode, or ledge, situated on the public domain, their heirs and assigns, where no adverse claim exists at the passage of this act, so long as they comply with the laws of the United States, and with State, territorial, and local regulations not in conflict with said laws of the United States governing their possessory title, shall have the exchange right of possession and enjoyment of all the surface included within the lines of their locations, and of all veins, lodes, and ledges throughout their entire depth, the top or apex of which Five per cent interest to be paid on what sum and for what time.

      Settler, transferring claims prior to, & cc., not precluded from entering upon another tract, if, &cc. Certain restrictions of the preemption laws not to apply.


      Sec. 6. That a patent for any land claimed and located for deposits may be obtained in the following manner: Any person, association or corporation authorized to locate a claim under this act, having claimed, and located a piece of land for such purpose, who has, or have, complied with the terms of this act, may file in the proper land-office an application for a patent, under oath, showing such compliance, together with a plat and field-notes of the claim or claims in common, made by or under the direction of the United States surveyor-general, showing accurately the boundaries of the claim or claims, which shall be distinctly marked by monuments on the ground, and shall post a copy of such plat, together with a notice of such application for a patent, in a conspicuous place on the land embraced in such plat previous to the filing of the application for a patent, and shall file an affidavit of at least two persons that such notice has been duly posted as aforesaid, and shall file a copy of said notice in such land-office, and shall thereupon be entitled to a patent for said land, in the manner following: The register of the land-office, upon the filing of such application, platfield-notes, notices, and affidavits, shall publish a notice that such application has been made, for the period of sixty days, in a news-paper to be by him designated as published nearest to said claim; and he shall also post such notice in his office for the same period. The claimant at the time of filing this application, or at any time thereafter, within the sixty days of publication, shall file with the register a certificate of the United States surveyor-general that five hundred dollars’ worth of labor has been expended or improvements made upon the claim by himself or grantors; that the plat is correct, with such further description by such reference to natural objects or permanent monuments as shall identify the claim, and furnish an accurate description, to be incorporated in the paten. At the expiration of the sixty days of publication the claimant shall file his affidavit, showing that the plat and notice have been posted in a conspicuous place on the claim during said period of publication. If no adverse claim shall have been filed with the register and the receiver of the proper land-office at the expiration of the sixty days of publication, it shall be assumed that the applicant is entitled to a patent, upon the payment to the proper officer of five dollars per acre, and that no adverse claim exists; and thereafter no objection from third parties to the issuance of a patent shall be heard, except it be shown that the applicant has failed to comply with this act.

      Approved, May 10, 1872

      SOURCE: 30 U.S.C. § 22: US Code.

      1873: Timber Culture Act

      Like the Homestead Act passed a decade earlier, the Timber Culture Act allowed those coming west to establish homesteads to acquire another 160 acres of land if they agreed to plant trees on a quarter of the additional land.

      AN ACT

      To encourage the Growth of Timber on western Prairies.

      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representation of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person who shall plant, protect, and keep in a healthy, growing condition for ten years forty acres of timber, the trees thereon not being more than twelve feet apart each way on any quarter-section of any of the public lands of the United States shall be entitled to a patent for the whole of said quarter-section at the expiration of said ten years, on making proof of such fact by not less than two credible witnesses; Provided, That only one quarter in any section shall be thus granted.

      Section 2. That the person applying for the benefit of this act shall, upon application to the register of the land-office in which he or she is about to make such entry, make affidavit before said register or receiver that said entry is made for the cultivation of timber, and upon filing said affidavit with said register and receiver, and on payment of ten dollars, he or she shall thereupon be permitted to enter the quantity of land specified: Provided however, That no certificate shall be given or patent issue therefor until the expiration of at least ten years from the date of such entry; and if at the expiration of such time, or at any time within three years thereafter, the person making such entry, or if he or she be dead, his or her heirs or legal representatives, shall prove by two credible witnesses that he, she, or they have planted, and for not less than ten years have cultivated and protected such quantity and character of timber as aforesaid, they shall receive the patent for such quarter-section of land.

      Section 3. That if at any time after the filing of said affidavit, and prior to the issuing of the patent for said land, it shall be proven after due notice of the party making such entry and claiming to cultivate such timber, to the satisfaction of the register of the land-office that such person has abandoned or failed to cultivate, protect and keep in good condition such timber, then, and in the event, said land shall revert to the United States.

      Section 4. That each and every person who, under the provisions of an act entitled “An act to secure homesteads to actual settlers on the public domain” approved May twentieth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, or any amendment thereto, having a homestead on said public domain, who, at the end of the third year of his or her residence thereon, shall have had under cultivation, for two years, one acre of timber, the trees thereon not being more than twelve feet apart each way, and in a good, thrifty condition, for each and every sixteen acres of said homestead, shall upon due proof of said fact by two credible witnesses receive his or her patent for said homestead.

      Section 5. That no land acquired under provisions of this act shall, in any event, become liable to the satisfaction of any debt or debts contracted prior to the issuing of patent therefor.

      Section 6. That the commissioner of the general land-office is hereby required to prepare and issue such rules and regulations, consistent with this act, as shall be necessary and proper to carry its provisions into effect; and that the registers and the receivers of the several land-offices shall be entitled to receive the same compensation for any lands entered under the provisions of this that they are now entitled to receive when the same quantity of land is entered with money.

      Section 7. That the fifth section of the act entitled “An act in addition to an act to punish crimes against the United States, and for other purposes” approved March third, eighteen hundred and fifty-seven, shall extend to all oaths, affirmations, and affidavits required or authorized by this act.

      Approved, March 3, 1873.

      SOURCE: U.S. Statutes at Large, Ch. 277, pp. 605–606.

      1879: Chief Joseph (Nez Perce), on a Visit to Washington, D.C.

      Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph, famous for his leadership of his people on an eleven-hundred-mile trek to Canada in 1877, while being pursued by the U.S. Army, and his subsequent statement that he would “fight no more forever,” became a symbol of Native American peoples who were now conquered and living peaceably on reservations. However, his opinions of the relationship between the tribes and the federal government defy such easy characterizations, as his speech here demonstrates.

      At last I was granted permission to come to Washington and bring my friend Yellow Bull and our interpreter with me. I am glad I came. I have shaken hands with a good many friends, but there are some things I want to know which no one seems able to explain. I cannot understand how the Government sends a man out to fight us, as it did General Miles, and then breaks his word. Such a government has something wrong about it. I cannot understand why so many chiefs are allowed to talk so many different ways, and promise so many different things. I have seen the Great Father Chief [President Hayes]; the Next Great Chief [Secretary of the Interior]; the Commissioner Chief; the Law Chief; and many other law chiefs [Congressmen] and they all say they are my friends, and that I shall have justice, but while all their mouths talk right I do not understand why nothing is done for my people. I have heard talk and talk but nothing is done. Good words do not last long unless they amount to something. Words do not pay for my dead people. They do not pay for my country now overrun by white men. They do not protect my father's grave. They do not pay for my horses and cattle. Good words do not give me back my children. Good words will not make good the promise of your war chief, General Miles. Good words will not give my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves. I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises. There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk. Too many misinterpretations have been made; too many misunderstandings have come up between the white men and the Indians. If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian he can live in peace. There need be no trouble. Treat all men alike. Give them the same laws. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. You might as well expect all rivers to run backward as that any man who was born a free man should be contented penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases. If you tie a horse to a stake, do you expect he will grow fat? If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of earth and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented nor will he grow and prosper. I have asked some of the Great White Chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he sees white men going where they please. They cannot tell me.

      I only ask of the Government to be treated as all other men are treated. If I cannot go to my own home, let me have a home in a country where my people will not die so fast. I would like to go to Bitter Root Valley. There my people would be happy; where they are now they are dying. Three have died since I left my camp to come to Washington.

      When I think of our condition, my heart is heavy. I see men of my own race treated as outlaws and driven from country to country, or shot down like animals.

      I know that my race must change. We cannot hold our own with the white men as we are. We only ask an even chance to live as other men live. We ask to be recognized as men. We ask that the same law shall work alike on all men. If an Indian breaks the law, punish him by the law. If a white man breaks the law, punish him also.

      Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself—and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty.

      Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other then we shall have no more wars. We shall be all alike—brothers of one father and mother, with one sky above us and one country around us and one government for all. Then the Great Spirit Chief who rules above will smile upon this land and send rain to wash out the bloody spots made by brothers’ hands upon the face of the earth. For this time the Indian race is waiting and praying. I hope no more groans of wounded men and women will ever go to the ear of the Great Spirit Chief above, and that all people may be one people.

      Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekht has spoken for his people.

      SOURCE: “A Voice from the Old World.” The University Magazine: A Literary and Philosophical Review, Vol. III, 1879, 559–60.

      1879: Preface to <span class="hi-italic">Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States</span> by John Wesley Powell

      John Wesley Powell explored much of the American West during the 1860s to 1870s, and had a knowledge of geology, botany, and agriculture that he brought to bear in making his recommendations as to the feasibility of agriculture in the West. Two years after publishing this report on his findings, he was appointed director of the U.S. Geological Survey, which put him in a position to implement policies based on his recommendations.

      It was my intention to write a work on the Public Domain. The object of the volume was to give the extent and character of the kinds yet belonging to the Government of the United States. Compared with the whole extent of these lands, but a very small fraction is immediately available for agriculture; in general, they require drainage or irrigation for their redemption.

      It is true that in the Southern States there are some millions of acres, chiefly timber lands, which at no remote time will be occupied for agricultural purposes. Westward toward the Great Plains, the lands in what I have, in the body of this volume, termed the Humid Region have passed from the hands of the General Government. To this statement there are some small exceptions here and there—fractional tracts, which, for special reasons, have not been considered desirable by persons in search of lands for purposes of investment or occupation.

      In the Sub-humid Region settlements are rapidly extending westward to the verge of the country where agriculture is possible without irrigation.

      In the Humid Region of the Columbia the agricultural lands are largely covered by great forests, and for this reason settlements will progress slowly, as the lands must be cleared of their timber.

      The redemption of the Arid Region involves engineering problems requiring for their solution the greatest skill. In the present volume only these lands are considered. Had I been able to execute the original plan to my satisfaction, I should have treated of the coast swamps of the South Atlantic and the Gulf slopes, the Everglade lands of the Floridian Peninsula, the flood plain lands of the great rivers of the south, which have heretofore been made available only to a limited extent by a system of levees, and the lake swamp lands found about the headwaters of the Mississippi and the region of the upper Great Lakes. All of these lands require either drainage or protection from overflow, and the engineering problems involved are of diverse nature. These lands are to be redeemed from excessive humidity, while the former are to be redeemed from excessive aridity. When the excessively humid lands are redeemed, their fertility is almost inexhaustible, and the agricultural capacity of the United States will eventually be largely increased by the rescue of these lands from their present valueless condition. In like manner, on the other hand, the arid lands, so far as they can be redeemed by irrigation, will perennially yield bountiful crops, as the means for their redemption involves their constant fertilization.

      To a great extent, the redemption of all these lands will require extensive and comprehensive plans, for the execution of which aggregated capital or cooperative labor will be necessary. Here, individual farmers, being poor men, cannot undertake the task. For its accomplishment a wise prevision, embodied in carefully considered legislation, is necessary. It was my purpose not only to consider the character of the lands themselves, but also the engineering problems involved in their redemption, and further to make suggestions for the legislative action necessary to inaugurate the enterprises by which these lands may eventually be rescued from their present worthless state. When I addressed myself to the broader task as indicated above, I found that my facts in relation to some of the classes of lands mentioned, especially the coast swamps of the Gulf and some of the flood plain lands of the southern rivers, were too meager for anything more than general statements. There seemed to be no immediate necessity for the discussion of these subjects; but to the Arid Region of the west thousands of persons are annually repairing, and the questions relating to the utilization of these lands are of present importance. Under these considerations I have decided to publish that portion of the volume relating to the arid lands, and to postpone to some future time that part relating to the excessively humid lands.

      In the preparation of the contemplated volume I desired to give a historical sketch of the legislation relating to swamp lands and executive action thereunder; another chapter on bounty lands and land grants for agricultural schools, and still another on land grants in aid of internal improvements—chiefly railroads. The latter chapter has already been prepared by Mr. Willis Drummond, Jr., and as the necessary map is ready I have concluded to publish it now, more especially as the granted lands largely lie in the Arid Region. Mr. Drummond's chapter has been carefully prepared and finely written, and contains much valuable information.

      To the late Prof. Joseph Henry, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, I am greatly indebted for access to the records of the Institution relating to rainfall. Since beginning my explorations and surveys in the far west, I have received the counsel and assistance of the venerable professor on all important matters relating to my investigations; and whatever of value has been accomplished is due in no small part to his wisdom and advice. I cannot but express profound sorrow at the loss of a counselor so wise, so patient, and so courteous.

      I am also indebted to Mr. Charles A. Schott, of the United States Coast Survey, to whom the discussion of the rain gauge records has been intrusted by the Smithsonian Institution, for furnishing to me the required data in advance of publication by himself.

      Unfortunately, the chapters written by Messrs. Gilbert, Button, Thompson, and Drummond have not been proof-read by themselves, by reason of their absence during the time when the volume was going through the press; but this is the less to be regretted from the fact that the whole volume has been proof-read by Mr. J. C. Pilling, whose critical skill is all that could be desired.

      J. W. P. August, 1878.

      SOURCE: Powell, John Wesley. Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States, with a More Detailed Account of the Lands of Utah. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1879.

      1880: Testimony of Benjamin Singleton before the Senate Select Committee Investigating the &#8220;Negro Exodus from the Southern States&#8221;

      In the aftermath of the Civil War, while most of the former slaves remained in the American South, engaging with and often being exploited by the system known as sharecropping, some African Americans sought the chance for a better life elsewhere. Many migrated to Northern cities to find industrial jobs, but others pooled their resources and came west, looking to acquire their own land and establish communities where they could become farmers and live in peace. The best-known leader of this group, collectively called the Exodusters, was Benjamin “Pap” Singleton. In 1880 he testified before a U.S. Senate committee on why he and his people came west.

      Question. Where were you born, Mr. Singleton?

      Answer. I was born in the State of Tennessee, sir.

      Q. Where do you now live?

      A. In Kansas.

      Q. What part of Kansas?

      A. I have a colony sixty miles from Topeka, sir.

      Q. Which way from Topeka—west?

      A. Yes, sir; sixty miles from Topeka, west.

      Q. What is your colony called?

      A. Singleton colony is the name of it, sir.

      Q. How long has it been since you have formed that colony?

      A. I have two colonies in Kansas—one in Cherokee County, and one in Lyon, Morris County.


      Q. When did you change your home from Tennessee to Kansas?

      A. I have been going there for the last six or seven years, sir.

      Q. Going between Tennessee and Kansas, at different times?

      A. Yes, sir; several times.

      Q. Well, tell us about it?

      A. I have been fetching out people; I believe I fetched out 7,432 people.

      Q. You have brought out 7,432 people from the South to Kansas?

      A. Yes, sir; brought and sent.

      Q. That is, they came out to Kansas under your influence?

      A. Yes, sir; I was the cause of it.

      Q. How long have you been doing that—ever since 1869?

      A. Yes, sir; ever since 1869.

      Q. Did you go out there yourself in 1869, before you commenced sending them out?

      A. No, sir.

      Q. How did you happen to send them out?

      A. The first cause, do you mean, of them going?

      Q. Yes; What was the cause of your going out, and in the first place how did you happen to go there, or to send these people there?

      A. Well, my people, for the want of land—we needed land for our children—and their disadvantages—that caused my heart to grieve and sorrow; pity for my race, sir, that was coming down, instead of going up—that caused me to go to work for them. I sent out there perhaps in ′66—perhaps so; or in ′65, any way—my memory don't recollect which; and they brought back tolerable favorable reports; then I jacked up three or four hundred, and went into Southern Kansas, and found it was a good country, and I though Southern Kansas was congenial to our nature, sir; and I formed a colony there, and bought about a thousand acres of ground—the colony did—my people.

      Q. And they went upon it and settled there?

      A. Yes, sir; they went and settled there.

      Q. Were they men with some means or without means?

      A. I never carried none there without means.

      Q. They had some means to start with?

      A. Yes; I prohibited my people leaving their country and going there without they had money—some money to start with and go on with a while.

      Q. You were in favor of their going there if they had some means?

      A. Yes, and not staying at home.

      Q. Tell us how these people are getting on in Kansas?

      A. I am glad to tell you, sir.

      Q. Have they any property now?

      A. Yes; I have carried some people in there that when they got there they didn't have fifty cents left, and now they have got in my colony—Singleton colony—a house, nice cabins, their milch cows, and pigs, and sheep, perhaps a span of horses, and trees before their yeards, and some three or four or ten acres broken up, and all of them has got little houses that I carried there. They didn't go under no relief assistance; they went on their own resources; and when they went in there first the country was not overrun with them; you see they could get good wages; the country was not overstocked with people; they went to work, and I never helped them as soon as I put them on the land.

      Q. Well, they have been coming continually, and adding from time to time to your colony these few years past, have they?

      A. Yes, sir; I have spent, perhaps, nearly six hundred dollars flooding the country with circulars.

      Q. You have sent the circulars yourself, have you?

      A. Yes, sir; all over these United States.

      Q. Did you send them into other Southern States besides Tennessee?

      A. O, yes, sir.

      Q. Did you do that at the instance of Governor St. John and others in Kansas?

      A. O, no, sir; no white men. This was gotten up by colored men in purity and confidence; not a political negro was in it; they would want to pilfer and rob at the cents before they got the dollars. O, no, it was the muscle of the arm, the men that worked that we wanted.

      Q. Well, tell us all about it.

      A. These men would tell all their grievances to me in Tennessee—the sorrows of their heart. You know I was an undertaker there in Nashville, and worked in the shop. Well, actually, I would have to go and bury their fathers and mothers. You see we have the same heart and feelings as any other race and nation. (The land is free, and it is nobody's business, if there is land enough, where the people go. I put that in my people's heads.) Well, that man would die, and I would bury him; and the next morning maybe a woman would go to that man (meaning the landlord), and she would have six or seven children, and he would say to her, “Well, your husband owed me before he died” and they would say that to every last one of them, “You owe me.” Suppose he would? Then he would say, “You must go to some other place; I cannot take care of you.” Now, you see, that is something I would take notice of that woman had to go out, and these little children was left running through the streets, and the next place you would find them in a disorderly house, and their children in the State's prison.

      Well, now, sir, you will find that I have a charter here. You will find that I called on the white people in Tennessee about that time. I called conventions about it, and they sat with me in my conventions, and “Old man,” they said, “you are right.” The white people said, “You are right; take your people away.” And let me tell you, it was the white people—the ex-governor of the State, felt like I did. and they said to me, “You have tooken a great deal on to yourself, but if these negroes, instead of deceiving one another and running for office, would take the same idea that you have in your head, you will be a people.”

      I then went out to Kansas, and advised them all to go to Kansas; and, sir they are going to leave the Southern country. The Southern country is out of joint. The blood of a white man runs through my veins. That is congenial, you know, to my nature. that is my choice. Right emphatically, I tell you today, I woke up the millions right through me! The great God of glory has worked in me. I have had open air interviews with the living spirit of God for my people; and we are going to leave the South. We are going to leave it if there ain't an alteration and signs of change. I am going to advise the people who left that country (Kansas) to go back.

      Q. What do you mean by a change?

      A. Well, I am not going to stand bulldozing and half pay and all those things. Gentlemen, allow me to tell you the truth; it seems to me that they have picked out the negroes from the Southern country to come here and testify who are in good circumstances and own their homes and not the poor ones who don't study their own interests. Let them go and pick up the men that has to walk when they goes, and not those who have money.

      There is good white men in the Southern country, but it ain't the minority (majority); they can't do nothing; the bulldozers has got possession of the country, and they have got to go in there and stop them; if they don't the last colored man will leave them. I see colored men testifying to a positive lie, for they told me out there all their interests were in Louisiana and Mississippi. Said I, “You are right to protect you own country,” and they would tell me, “I am obliged to do what I am doing.” Of course I have done the same, but I am clear footed.


      Q. You are proud of your work?

      A. Yes, sir; I am! (Uttered emphatically.)

      SOURCE: Report and Testimony of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to Investigate the Cause of the Removal of the Negroes from the Southern States to the Northern States, 46th Cong., 2nd sess., 1880, S. Rep. 693.

      1882: Chinese Exclusion Act

      Thanks to the California Gold Rush and the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, the Chinese were some of the earliest Asian immigrants to the American West. As the largest immigrant group, the Chinese became easy targets for nativist discrimination and even violence. Under pressure from western state governments, in 1882, the U.S. Congress acted to limit the problem by prohibiting immigration from China for what was supposed to be a period of ten years, but ended up not being repealed until 1943, when the Chinese were seen as allies during World War II.

      An act to execute certain treaty stipulations relating to Chinese.

      WHEREAS, in the opinion of the Government of the United States the coming of Chinese laborers to this country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory thereof: Therefore,

      Be it enacted, That from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the expiration of ten years next after the passage of this act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, … suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or, having so come after the expiration of said ninety days, to remain within the United States.

      SEC. 2. That the master of any vessel who shall knowingly bring within the United States on such vessel, and land or permit to be landed, any Chinese laborer, from any foreign port or place, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars for each and every such Chinese laborer so brought, and may be also imprisoned for a term not exceeding one year.

      SEC. 3. That the two foregoing sections shall not apply to Chinese laborers who were in the United States on the seventeenth day of November, eighteen hundred and eighty, or who shall have come into the same before the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this ac t, …

      SEC. 6. That in order to the faithful execution of articles one and two of the treaty in this act before mentioned, every Chinese person other than a laborer who may be entitled by said treaty and this act to come within the United States, and who shall be about to come to the United States, shall be identified as so entitled by the Chinese Government in each case, such identity to be evidenced by a certificate issued under the authority of said government, which certificate shall be in the English language or (if not in the English language) accompanied by a translation into English, stating such right to come, and which certificate shall state the name, title, or official rank, if any, the age, height, and all physical peculiarities former and present occupation or profession and place of residence in China of the person to whom the certificate is issued and that such person is entitled conformably to the treaty in this act mentioned to come within the United States….

      SEC. 12. That no Chinese person shall be permitted to enter the United States by land without producing to the proper office of customs the certificate in this act required of Chinese persons seeking to land from a vessel. Any Chinese person found unlawfully within the United States shall be caused to be removed therefrom to the country from whence he came, by direction of the President of the United States, and at the cost of the United States, after being brought before some justice, judge, or commissioner of a court of the United States and found to be one not lawfully entitled to be or remain in the United States.

      SEC. 13. That this act shall not apply to diplomatic and other officers of the Chinese Government traveling upon the business of that government, whose credentials shall be taken as equivalent to the certificate in this act mentioned, and shall exempt them and their body and household servants from the provisions of this act as to other Chinese persons.

      SEC. 14. That hereafter no State court or court of the United States shall admit Chinese to citizenship; and all laws in conflict with this act are hereby repealed.

      SEC. 15. That the words “Chinese laborers,” whenever used in this act, shall be construed to mean both skilled and unskilled laborers and Chinese employed in mining.

      Approved, May 6, 1882.

      SOURCE: U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol. XXII, p. 58 ff.

      1887: Dawes Act

      After the Civil War, the attention of the American people turned to the “unsettled” West. Part of the enterprise of taming the West was the effort to “civilize” the Native American tribes that inhabited the land. Assimilation into American life meant abandoning their Native religions and sometimes-nomadic lifestyles and adopting Christianity and settled agriculture. Settled agriculture took far less land than the Native peoples’ prior lifeways, so Senator Henry Dawes (R-Mass.) proposed that the best solution to both forcing the assimilation of the Native peoples and opening up further land for non-Native settlers was to allot the Natives’ reservation lands into individual agricultural parcels (often in violation of the treaties that the federal government had signed with the tribes), then sell off the “surplus” lands to settlers.

      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 as follows:

      To each head of a family, one-quarter of a section;

      To each single person over eighteen years of age, one-eighth of a section;

      To each orphan child under eighteen years of age, one-eighth of a section; and,

      To each other single person under eighteen years now living, or who may be born prior to the date of the order of the President directing an allotment of the lands embraced in any reservation, one-sixteenth of a section;…

      SEC. 5. That upon the approval of the allotments provided for in this act by the Secretary of the Interior, he shall … declare that the United States does and will hold the land thus allotted, for the period of twenty-five years, in trust for the sole use and benefit of the Indian to whom such allotment shall have been made, … and that at the expiration of said period the United States will convey the same by patent to said Indian, or his heirs as aforesaid, in fee, discharged of such trust and free of all charge or encumbrance whatsoever: …

      SEC. 6. That upon the completion of said allotments and the patenting of the lands to said allottees, each and every member of the respective bands or tribes of Indians to whom allotments have been made shall have the benefit of and be subject to the laws, both civil and criminal, of the State or Territory in which they may reside; … And every Indian born within the territorial limits of the United States to whom allotments shall have been made under the provisions of this act, or under any law or treaty, and every Indian born within the territorial limits of the United States who has voluntarily taken up, within said limits, his residence separate and apart from any tribe of Indians therein, and has adopted the habits of civilized life, is hereby declared to be a citizen of the United States, and is entitled to all the rights, privileges, and immunities of such citizens, whether said Indian has been or not, by birth or otherwise, a member of any tribe of Indians within the territorial limits of the United States without in any manner impairing or otherwise affecting the right of any such Indian to tribal or other property.

      Approved, February 8, 1887

      SOURCE: U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol. XXIV, p. 388 ff.

      1892: Omaha Platform of the People's Party

      When the growing Populist Movement became involved in politics, it took the form of the Populist (or People's) Party. At their first convention, held in Omaha, Nebraska, on July 4, 1892, they adopted what became known as the Omaha Platform, which articulated and codified the demands that the farmers, along with their allies in the Labor Movement, wanted.


      Assembled upon the 116th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, the People's Party of America, in their first national convention, invoking upon their action the blessing of Almighty God, put forth in the name and on behalf of the people of this country, the following preamble and declaration of principles:


      The conditions which surround us best justify our cooperation; we meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political, and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot-box, the Legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. The people are demoralized; most of the States have been compelled to isolate the voters at the polling places to prevent universal intimidation and bribery. The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled, public opinion silenced, business prostrated, homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right to organize for self-protection, imported pauperized labor beats down their wages, a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down, and they are rapidly degenerating into European conditions. The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of those, in turn, despise the republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed the two great classes—tramps and millionaires.

      The national power to create money is appropriated to enrich bondholders; a vast public debt payable in legal tender currency has been funded into gold-bearing bonds, thereby adding millions to the burdens of the people.

      Silver, which has been accepted as coin since the dawn of history, has been demonetized to add to the purchasing power of gold by decreasing the value of all forms of property as well as human labor, and the supply of currency is purposely abridged to fatten usurers, bankrupt enterprise, and enslave industry. A vast conspiracy against mankind has been organized on two continents, and it is rapidly taking possession of the world. If not met and overthrown at once it forebodes terrible social convulsions, the destruction of civilization, or the establishment of an absolute despotism.

      We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the struggles of the two great political parties for power and plunder, while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the suffering people. We charge that the controlling influences dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them. Neither do they now promise us any substantial reform. They have agreed together to ignore, in the coming campaign, every issue but one. They propose to drown the outcries of a plundered people with the uproar of a sham battle over the tariff, so that capitalists, corporations, national banks, rings, trusts, watered stock, the demonetization of silver and the oppressions of the usurers may all be lost sight of. They propose to sacrifice our homes, lives, and children on the altar of mammon; to destroy the multitude in order to secure corruption funds from the millionaires.

      Assembled on the anniversary of the birthday of the nation, and filled with the spirit of the grand general and chief who established our independence, we seek to restore the government of the Republic to the hands of “the plain people,” with which class it originated. We assert our purposes to be identical with the purposes of the National Constitution; to form a more perfect union and establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.

      We declare that this Republic can only endure as a free government while built upon the love of the whole people for each other and for the nation; that it cannot be pinned together by bayonets; that the civil war is over, and that every passion and resentment which grew out of it must die with it, and that we must be in fact, as we are in name, one united brotherhood of free men.

      Our country finds itself confronted by conditions for which there is no precedent in the history of the world; our annual agricultural productions amount to billions of dollars in value, which must, within a few weeks or months, be exchanged for billions of dollars’ worth of commodities consumed in their production; the existing currency supply is wholly inadequate to make this exchange; the results are falling prices, the formation of combines and rings, the impoverishment of the producing class. We pledge ourselves that if given power we will labor to correct these evils by wise and reasonable legislation, in accordance with the terms of our platform.

      We believe that the power of government—in other words, of the people—should be expanded (as in the case of the postal service) as rapidly and as far as the good sense of an intelligent people and the teachings of experience shall justify, to the end that oppression, injustice, and poverty shall eventually cease in the land.

      While our sympathies as a party of reform are naturally upon the side of every proposition which will tend to make men intelligent, virtuous, and temperate, we nevertheless regard these questions, important as they are, as secondary to the great issues now pressing for solution, and upon which not only our individual prosperity but the very existence of free institutions depend; and we ask all men to first help us to determine whether we are to have a republic to administer before we differ as to the conditions upon which it is to be administered, believing that the forces of reform this day organized will never cease to move forward until every wrong is remedied and equal rights and equal privileges securely established for all the men and women of this country.


      We declare, therefore—

      First.—That the union of the labor forces of the United States this day consummated shall be permanent and perpetual; may its spirit enter into all hearts for the salvation of the Republic and the uplifting of mankind.

      Second.—Wealth belongs to him who creates it, and every dollar taken from industry without an equivalent is robbery. “If any will not work, neither shall he eat.” The interests of rural and civic labor are the same; their enemies are identical.

      Third.—We believe that the time has come when the railroad corporations will either own the people or the people must own the railroads, and should the government enter upon the work of owning and managing all railroads, we should favor an amendment to the Constitution by which all persons engaged in the government service shall be placed under a civil-service regulation of the most rigid character, so as to prevent the increase of the power of the national administration by the use of such additional government employes.

      FINANCE.—We demand a national currency, safe, sound, and flexible, issued by the general government only, a full legal tender for all debts, public and private, and that without the use of banking corporations, a just, equitable, and efficient means of distribution direct to the people, at a tax not to exceed 2 per cent. per annum, to be provided as set forth in the sub-treasury plan of the Farmers’ Alliance, or a better system; also by payments in discharge of its obligations for public improvements.

      • We demand free and unlimited coinage of silver and gold at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1.
      • We demand that the amount of circulating medium be speedily increased to not less than $50 per capita.
      • We demand a graduated income tax.
      • We believe that the money of the country should be kept as much as possible in the hands of the people, and hence we demand that all State and national revenues shall be limited to the necessary expenses of the government, economically and honestly administered.
      • We demand that postal savings banks be established by the government for the safe deposit of the earnings of the people and to facilitate exchange.

      TRANSPORTATION.—Transportation being a means of exchange and a public necessity, the government should own and operate the railroads in the interest of the people. The telegraph, telephone, like the post-office system, being a necessity for the transmission of news, should be owned and operated by the government in the interest of the people.

      LAND.—The land, including all the natural sources of wealth, is the heritage of the people, and should not be monopolized for speculative purposes, and alien ownership of land should be prohibited. All land now held by railroads and other corporations in excess of their actual needs, and all lands now owned by aliens should be reclaimed by the government and held for actual settlers only.

      Expression of Sentiments

      Your Committee on Platform and Resolutions beg leave unanimously to report the following:

      Whereas, Other questions have been presented for our consideration, we hereby submit the following, not as a part of the Platform of the People's Party, but as resolutions expressive of the sentiment of this Convention.

      • RESOLVED, That we demand a free ballot and a fair count in all elections and pledge ourselves to secure it to every legal voter without Federal Intervention, through the adoption by the States of the unperverted Australian or secret ballot system.
      • RESOLVED, That the revenue derived from a graduated income tax should be applied to the reduction of the burden of taxation now levied upon the domestic industries of this country.
      • RESOLVED, That we pledge our support to fair and liberal pensions to ex-Union soldiers and sailors.
      • RESOLVED, That we condemn the fallacy of protecting American labor under the present system, which opens our ports to the pauper and criminal classes of the world and crowds out our wage-earners; and we denounce the present ineffective laws against contract labor, and demand the further restriction of undesirable emigration.
      • RESOLVED, That we cordially sympathize with the efforts of organized workingmen to shorten the hours of labor, and demand a rigid enforcement of the existing eight-hour law on Government work, and ask that a penalty clause be added to the said la w.
      • RESOLVED, That we regard the maintenance of a large standing army of mercenaries, known as the Pinkerton system, as a menace to our liberties, and we demand its abolition….
      • RESOLVED, That we commend to the favorable consideration of the people and the reform press the legislative system known as the initiative and referendum.
      • RESOLVED, That we favor a constitutional provision limiting the office of President and Vice-President to one term, and providing for the election of Senators of the United States by a direct vote of the people.
      • RESOLVED, That we oppose any subsidy or national aid to any private corporation for any purpose.
      • RESOLVED, That this convention sympathizes with the Knights of Labor and their righteous contest with the tyrannical combine of clothing manufacturers of Rochester, and declare it to be a duty of all who hate tyranny and oppression to refuse to purchase the goods made by the said manufacturers, or to patronize any merchants who sell such goods.

      SOURCE: The World Almanac, 1893. New York: 1893, 83–85.

      1893: &#8220;The Significance of the Frontier in American History&#8221; by Frederick Jackson Turner

      When University of Wisconsin historian Frederick Jackson Turner delivered his assessment of the meaning of the 1890 U.S. Census's conclusion that there no longer was a western “frontier” line (a line delineating an inhabited area from a region with fewer than two people per square mile), his words caused many to question whether the United States, now that it was largely inhabited, could avoid falling into the traps of oppression and tyranny that had befallen Europe.

      In a recent bulletin of the Superintendent of the Census for 1890 appear these significant words: “Up to and including 1880 the country had a frontier of settlement, but at present the unsettled area has been so broken into by isolated bodies of settlement that there can hardly be said to be a frontier line. In the discussion of its extent, its westward movement, etc., it can not, therefore, any longer have a place in the census reports.” This brief official statement marks the closing of a great historic movement. Up to our own day American history has been in a large degree the history of the colonization of the Great West. The existence of an area of free land, its continuous recession, and the advance of American settlement westward, explain American development.

      Behind institutions, behind constitutional forms and modifications, lie the vital forces that call these organs into life and shape them to meet changing conditions. The peculiarity of American institutions is, the fact that they have been compelled to adapt themselves to the changes of an expanding people—to the changes involved in crossing a continent, in winning a wilderness, and in developing at each area of this progress out of the primitive economic and political conditions of the frontier into the complexity of city life. Said Calhoun in 1817, “We are great, and rapidly—I was about to say fearfully—growing!” So saying, he touched the distinguishing feature of American life. All peoples show development; the germ theory of politics has been sufficiently emphasized. In the case of most nations, however, the development has occurred in a limited area; and if the nation has expanded, it has met other growing peoples whom it has conquered. But in the case of the United States we have a different phenomenon. Limiting our attention to the Atlantic coast, we have the familiar phenomenon of the evolution of institutions in a limited area, such as the rise of representative government; into complex organs; the progress from primitive industrial society, without division of labor, up to manufacturing civilization. But we have in addition to this a recurrence of the process of evolution in each western area reached in the process of expansion. Thus American development has exhibited not merely advance along a single line, but a return to primitive conditions on a continually advancing frontier line, and a new development for that area. American social development has been continually beginning over again on the frontier. This perennial rebirth, this fluidity of American life, this expansion westward with its new opportunities, its continuous touch with the simplicity of primitive society, furnish the forces dominating American character. The true point of view in the history of this nation is not the Atlantic coast, it is the Great West. Even the slavery struggle, which is made so exclusive an object of attention by writers like Professor von Holst, occupies its important place in American history because of its relation to westward expansion.

      In this advance, the frontier is the outer edge of the wave—the meeting point between savagery and civilization. Much has been written about the frontier from the point of view of border warfare and the chase, but as a field for the serious study of the economist and the historian it has been neglected.

      The American frontier is sharply distinguished from the European frontier—a fortified boundary line running through dense populations. The most significant thing about the American frontier is, that it lies at the hither edge of free land. In the census reports it is treated as the margin of that settlement which has a density of two or more to the square mile. The term is an elastic one, and for our purposes does not need sharp definition. We shall consider the whole frontier belt including the Indian country and the outer margin of the “settled area” of the census reports. This paper will make no attempt to treat the subject exhaustively; its aim is simply to call attention to the frontier as a fertile field for investigation, and to suggest some of the problems which arise in connection with it.

      In the settlement of America we have to observe how European life entered the continent, and how America modified and developed that life and reacted on Europe. Our early history is the study of European germs developing in an American environment. Too exclusive attention has been paid by institutional students to the Germanic origins, too little to the American factors. The frontier is the line of most rapid and effective Americanization. The wilderness masters the colonist. It finds him a European in dress, industries, tools, modes of travel, and thought. It takes him from the railroad car and puts him in the birch canoe. It strips off the garments of civilization and arrays him in the hunting shirt and the moccasin. It puts him in the log cabin of the Cherokee and Iroquois and runs an Indian palisade around him. Before long he has gone to planting Indian corn and plowing with a sharp stick, he shouts the war cry and takes the scalp in orthodox Indian fashion. In short, at the frontier the environment is at first too strong for the man. He must accept the conditions which it furnishes, or perish, and so he fits himself into the Indian clearings and follows the Indian trails. Little by little he transforms the wilderness, but the outcome is not the old Europe, not simply the development of Germanic germs, any more than the first phenomenon was a case of reversion to the Germanic mark. The fact is, that here is a new product that is American. At first, the frontier was the Atlantic coast. It was the frontier of Europe in a very real sense. Moving westward, the frontier became more and more American. As successive terminal moraines result from successive glaciations, so each frontier leaves its traces behind it, and when it becomes a settled area the region still partakes of the frontier characteristics. Thus the advance of the frontier has meant a steady movement away from the influence of Europe, a steady growth of independence on American lines. And to study this advance, the men who grew up under these conditions, and the political, economic, and social results of it, is to study the really American part of our history.

      SOURCE: Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History.” Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, December 14, 1893.

      1896: &#8220;Cross of Gold&#8221; Speech by William Jennings Bryan

      Former U.S. Congressman William Jennings Bryan (D-Nebr.) delivered a speech at the 1896 Democratic National Convention that effectively pitted the interests of small farmers in the West, who supported “bimetallism,” the coinage of both gold and silver, as a way of making credit more easily available, against those of bankers and corporations in the East, who stood to profit from a more tightly controlled monetary policy.

      I would be presumptuous, indeed, to present myself against the distinguished gentlemen to whom you have listened if this were but a measuring of ability; but this is not a contest among persons. The humblest citizen in all the land when clad in the armor of a righteous cause is stronger than all the whole hosts of error that they can bring. I come to speak to you in defense of a cause as holy as the cause of liberty—the cause of humanity. When this debate is concluded, a motion will be made to lay upon the table the resolution offered in commendation of the administration and also the resolution in condemnation of the administration. I shall object to bringing this question down to a level of persons. The individual is but an atom; he is born, he acts, he dies; but principles are eternal; and this has been a contest of principle.

      Never before in the history of this country has there been witnessed such a contest as that through which we have passed. Never before in the history of American politics has a great issue been fought out as this issue has been by the voters themselves.

      On the 4th of March, 1895, a few Democrats, most of them members of Congress, issued an address to the Democrats of the nation asserting that the money question was the paramount issue of the hour; asserting also the right of a majority of the Democratic Party to control the position of the party on this paramount issue; concluding with the request that all believers in free coinage of silver in the Democratic Party should organize and take charge of and control the policy of the Democratic Party. Three months later, at Memphis, an organization was perfected, and the silver Democrats went forth openly and boldly and courageously proclaiming their belief and declaring that if successful they would crystallize in a platform the declaration which they had made; and then began the conflict with a zeal approaching the zeal which inspired the crusaders who followed Peter the Hermit. Our silver Democrats went forth from victory unto victory, until they are assembled now, not to discuss, not to debate, but to enter up the judgment rendered by the plain people of this country.


      The income tax is a just law. It simply intends to put the burdens of government justly upon the backs of the people. I am in favor of an income tax. When I find a man who is not willing to pay his share of the burden of the government which protects him, I find a man who is unworthy to enjoy the blessings of a government like ours.

      He says that we are opposing the national bank currency. It is true. If you will read what Thomas Benton said, you will find that he said that in searching history he could find but one parallel to Andrew Jackson. That was Cicero, who destroyed the conspiracies of Cataline and saved Rome. He did for Rome what Jackson did when he destroyed the bank conspiracy and saved America.

      We say in our platform that we believe that the right to coin money and issue money is a function of government. We believe it. We believe it is a part of sovereignty and can no more with safety be delegated to private individuals than can the power to make penal statutes or levy laws for taxation.

      Mr. Jefferson, who was once regarded as good Democratic authority, seems to have a different opinion from the gentleman who has addressed us on the part of the minority. Those who are opposed to this proposition tell us that the issue of paper money is a function of the bank and that the government ought to go out of the banking business. I stand with Jefferson rather than with them, and tell them, as he did, that the issue of money is a function of the government and that the banks should go out of the governing business.

      They complain about the plank which declares against the life tenure in office. They have tried to strain it to mean that which it does not mean. What we oppose in that plank is the life tenure that is being built up in Washington which establishes an office-holding class and excludes from participation in the benefits the humbler members of our society….

      Let me call attention to two or three great things. The gentleman from New York says that he will propose an amendment providing that this change in our law shall not affect contracts which, according to the present laws, are made payable in gold. But if he means to say that we cannot change our monetary system without protecting those who have loaned money before the change was made, I want to ask him where, in law or in morals, he can find authority for not protecting the debtors when the act of 1873 was passed when he now insists that we must protect the creditor. He says he also wants to amend this platform so as to provide that if we fail to maintain the parity within a year that we will then suspend the coinage of silver. We reply that when we advocate a thing which we believe will be successful we are not compelled to raise a doubt as to our own sincerity by trying to show what we will do if we are wrong.


      Now, my friends, let me come to the great paramount issue. If they ask us here why it is we say more on the money question than we say upon the tariff question, I reply that if protection has slain its thousands the gold standard has slain its tens of thousands. If they ask us why we did not embody all these things in our platform which we believe, we reply to them that when we have restored the money of the Constitution, all other necessary reforms will be possible, and that until that is done there is no reform that can be accomplished.

      Why is it that within three months such a change has come over the sentiments of the country? Three months ago, when it was confidently asserted that those who believed in the gold standard would frame our platforms and nominate our candidates, even the advocates of the gold standard did not think that we could elect a President; but they had good reasons for the suspicion, because there is scarcely a state here today asking for the gold standard that is not within the absolute control of the Republican Party.

      But note the change. Mr. McKinley was nominated at St. Louis upon a platform that declared for the maintenance of the gold standard until it should be changed into bimetallism by an international agreement. Mr. McKinley was the most popular man among the Republicans; and everybody three months ago in the Republican Party prophesied his election. How is it today? Why, that man who used to boast that he looked like Napoleon, that man shudders today when he thinks that he was nominated on the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Not only that, but as he listens he can hear with ever increasing distinctness the sound of the waves as they beat upon the lonely shores of St. Helena.

      Why this change? Ah, my friends. is not the change evident to anyone who will look at the matter? It is because no private character, however pure, no personal popularity, however great, can protect from the avenging wrath of an indignant people the man who will either declare that he is in favor of fastening the gold standard upon this people, or who is willing to surrender the right of self-government and place legislative control in the hands of foreign potentates and powers….

      We go forth confident that we shall win. Why? Because upon the paramount issue in this campaign there is not a spot of ground upon which the enemy will dare to challenge battle. Why, if they tell us that the gold standard is a good thing, we point to their platform and tell them that their platform pledges the party to get rid of a gold standard and substitute bimetallism. If the gold standard is a good thing, why try to get rid of it? If the gold standard, and I might call your attention to the fact that some of the very people who are in this convention today and who tell you that we ought to declare in favor of international bimetallism and thereby declare that the gold standard is wrong and that the principles of bimetallism are better—these very people four months ago were open and avowed advocates of the gold standard and telling us that we could not legislate two metals together even with all the world.

      I want to suggest this truth, that if the gold standard is a good thing we ought to declare in favor of its retention and not in favor of abandoning it; and if the gold standard is a bad thing, why should we wait until some other nations are willing to help us to let it go?


      Mr. Carlisle said in 1878 that this was a struggle between the idle holders of idle capital and the struggling masses who produce the wealth and pay the taxes of the country; and my friends, it is simply a question that we shall decide upon which side shall the Democratic Party fight. Upon the side of the idle holders of idle capital, or upon the side of the struggling masses? That is the question that the party must answer first; and then it must be answered by each individual hereafter. The sympathies of the Democratic Party, as described by the platform, are on the side of the struggling masses, who have ever been the foundation of the Democratic Party.

      There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.

      You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. I tell you that the great cities rest upon these broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.

      My friends, we shall declare that this nation is able to legislate for its own people on every question without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation on earth, and upon that issue we expect to carry every single state in the Union.

      I shall not slander the fair state of Massachusetts nor the state of New York by saying that when citizens are confronted with the proposition, “Is this nation able to attend to its own business?”—I will not slander either one by saying that the people of those states will declare our helpless impotency as a nation to attend to our own business. It is the issue of 1776 over again. Our ancestors, when but 3 million, had the courage to declare their political independence of every other nation upon earth. Shall we, their descendants, when we have grown to 70 million, declare that we are less independent than our forefathers? No, my friends, it will never be the judgment of this people. Therefore, we care not upon what lines the battle is fought. If they say bimetallism is good but we cannot have it till some nation helps us, we reply that, instead of having a gold standard because England has, we shall restore bimetallism, and then let England have bimetallism because the United States have.

      If they dare to come out in the open field and defend the gold standard as a good thing, we shall fight them to the uttermost, having behind us the producing masses of the nation and the world. Having behind us the commercial interests and the laboring interests and all the toiling masses, we shall answer their demands for a gold standard by saying to them, you shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns. You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.

      SOURCE: Bryan, William Jennings. “Cross of Gold.” Speech delivered at Democratic National Convention, Chicago, IL, July 9, 1896.

      1902: Reclamation Act

      As American settlers came west, with the promise of abundant land and easy agriculture, many began to realize just how difficult farming the West, with its sometimes semiarid landscape and periodic droughts, could be. Representative Francis G. Newlands (D-Nev.) proposed that the federal government take action to tame the West's rivers by the construction of dams that would irrigate the West, making farming more feasible. As a result of the Reclamation Act, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was formed to oversee the development of irrigation in the West.

      An Act Appropriating the receipts from the sale and disposal of public lands in certain States and Territories to the construction of irrigation works for the reclamation of arid lands.

      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all moneys received from the sale and disposal of public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, beginning with the fiscal year ending June thirtieth, nineteen hundred and one, including the surplus of fees and commissions in excess of allowances to registers and receivers, and excepting the five per centum of the proceeds of the sales of public lands in the above States set aside by law for educational and other purposes, shall be, and the same are hereby, reserved set aside, and appropriated as a special fund in the Treasury to be known as the “reclamation fund,” to be used in the examination and survey for and the construction and maintenance of irrigation works for the storage, diversion, and development of waters for the reclamation or arid and semiarid lands in the said States and Territories, and for the payment of all other expenditures provided for in this Act: Provided, That in case the receipts from the sale and disposal of public lands other than those realized from the sale and disposal of lands referred to in this section are insufficient to meet the requirements for the support of agricultural colleges in the several States and Territories, under the Act of August thirtieth, eighteen hundred and ninety, entitled “An Act to apply a portion of the proceeds of the public lands to the more complete endowment and support of the colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts, established under the provisions of an Act of Congress approved July second, eighteen hundred and sixty-two,” the deficiency, if any, in the sum necessary for the support of the said colleges shall be provided for from any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated.

      SEC. 2. That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized and directed to make examinations and surveys for, and to locate and construct, as herein provided, irrigation works for the storage, diversion, and development of waters, including artesian wells, and to report to Congress at the beginning of each regular session as to the results of such examinations and surveys, giving estimates of cost of all contemplated works, the quantity and location of the lands which can be irrigated therefrom, and all facts relative to the practicability of each irrigation project; also the cost of works in process of construction as well as of those which have been completed.

      SEC. 3. That the Secretary of the Interior shall, before giving the public notice provided for in section four of this Act, withdraw from public entry the lands required for any irrigation works contemplated under the provisions of this Act, and shall restore to public entry any of the lands so withdrawn when, in his judgment, such lands are not required for the purposes of this Act; and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized, at or immediately prior to the time of beginning the surveys for any contemplated irrigation works, to withdraw from entry, except under the homestead laws, any public lands believed to be susceptible of irrigation from said works: Provided, That all lands entered and entries made under the homestead laws within areas so withdrawn during such withdrawal shall be subject to all the provisions, limitations, charges, terms, and conditions of this Act; that said surveys shall be prosecuted diligently to completion, and upon the completion thereof, and of the necessary maps, plans, and estimates of cost, the Secretary of interior shall determine whether or not said project is practicable and advisable, and if determined to be impracticable or unadvisable he shall thereupon restore said lands to entry; that public lands which it is proposed to irrigate by means of any contemplated works shall be subject to entry only under the provisions of the homestead laws in tracts of not less than forty nor more than one hundred and sixty acres, and shall be subject to the limitations, charges, terms, and conditions herein provided: Provided, That the commutation provisions of the homestead laws shall not apply to entries made under this Act.

      SEC. 4. That upon the determination by the Secretary of the Interior that any irrigation project is practicable, he may cause to be let contracts for the construction of the same, in such portions or sections are available in the reclamation fund, and irrigable under such project, and limit of area per entry which limit shall represent the acreage which, in the opinion of the Secretary, may be reasonably required for the support of a family upon the lands in question; also of the charges which shall be made per acre upon the said entries, and upon lands in private ownership which may be irrigated by the waters of the said irrigation project, and the number of annual installments, not exceeding ten, in which such charges shall be paid and the time when such payments shall commence. The said charges shall be determined with a view of returning to the reclamation fund the estimated cost of construction of the project, and shall be apportioned equitably: Provided, That in all construction work eight hours shall constitute a day's work, and no Mongolian labor shall be employed thereon.

      SEC. 5. That the entryman upon lands to be irrigated by such works shall, in addition to compliance with the homestead laws, reclaim at least one-half of the total irrigable area of his entry for agricultural purposes, and before receiving patent for the lands covered by his entry shall pay to the Government the charges apportioned against such tract, as provided in section four. No right to the use of water for land in private ownership shall be sold for a tract exceeding one hundred and sixty acres to any one landowner, and no such sale shall be made to any landowner unless he be an actual bona fide resident on such land, or occupant thereof residing in the neighborhood of said land, and no such right shall permanently attach until all payments therefor are made. The annual installments shall be paid to the receiver of the local land office of the district in which the land is situated, and a failure to make any two payments when due shall render the entry subject to cancellation, with the forfeiture of all rights under this Act, as well as of any moneys already paid thereon. All moneys received from the above sources shall be paid into the reclamation fund. Registers and receivers shall be allowed the usual commissions on all moneys paid for lands entered under this Act.

      SEC. 6. That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized and directed to use the reclamation fund for the operation and maintenance of all reservoirs and irrigation works constructed under the provisions of this Act: Provided, That when the payments required by this Act are made for the major portion of the lands irrigated from the waters of any of the works herein provided for, then the management and operation of such irrigation works shall pass to the owners of the lands irrigated thereby, to be maintained at their expense under such form of organization and under such rules and regulations as may be acceptable to the Secretary of the Interior: Provided, That the title to and the management and operation of the reservoirs and the works necessary for their protection and operation shall remain in the Government until otherwise provided by Congress.

      SEC. 7. That where in carrying out the provisions of this Act it becomes necessary to acquire any rights or property, the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to acquire the same for the United States by purchase or by condemnation under judicial process, and to pay from the reclamation fund the sums which may be needed for that purpose, and it shall be the duty of the Attorney-General of the United States upon every application of the Secretary of the Interior, under this Act, to cause proceedings to be commenced for condemnation within thirty days from the receipt of the application at the Department of Justice.

      SEC. 8. That nothing in this Act shall be construed as affecting or intended to affect or to in any way interfere with the laws of any State or Territory relating to the control, appropriation, use, or distribution of water used in irrigation, or any vested right acquired thereunder, and the Secretary of the Interior, in carrying out the provisions of this Act, shall proceed in conformity with such laws, and nothing herein shall in any way affect any right of any State or of the Federal Government or of any landowner, appropriator, or user of water in, to, or from any interstate stream or the waters thereof: Provided, That the right of the use of water acquired under the provisions of this Act shall be appurtenant to the land irrigated, and beneficial use shall be the basis, the measure, and the limit of the right.

      SEC. 9. That it is hereby declared to be the duty of the Secretary of the Interior in carrying out the provisions of this Act, so far as the same may be practicable and subject to the existence of feasible irrigation projects, to expend the major portion of the funds arising from the sale of public lands within each State and Territory hereinbefore named for the benefit of arid and semiarid lands within the limits of such State or Territory: Provided, That the Secretary may temporarily use such portion of said funds for the benefit of arid or semiarid lands in any particular State or Territory herein before named as he may deem advisable, but when so used the excess shall be restored to the fund as soon as practicable, to the end that ultimately, and in any event, within each ten-year period after the passage of this Act, the expenditures for The benefit of the said States and Territories shall be equalized according to the proportions and subject to the conditions as to practicability and feasibility aforesaid. SEC. 10. That the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to perform any and all acts and to make such rules and regulations as may be necessary and proper for the purpose of carrying the provisions of this Act into full force and effect.

      SOURCE: U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol. XXXIII.

      1906: Burke Act

      When the Dawes Act was passed in 1887, it stipulated that Native Americans could not sell their land allotments for 25 years, in order to avoid being taken advantage of by unscrupulous speculators. The Burke Act amended that section of the Dawes Act, permitting Native people deemed “competent and capable” to gain title to their land. The subjective nature of this designation led to widespread abuses, of the sort that the original act had sought to avoid.

      An act to amend section six of an act approved February eighth, eighteen hundred and eight-seven, entitled “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 by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section six of an act approved February eighth, eighteen hundred and eighty-seven, entitled “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 amended to read as follows:

      “SEC. 6

      That at the expiration of the trust period and when the lands have been conveyed to the Indians by patent in fee, as provided in section five of this act, then each and every allottee shall have the benefit of and be subject to the laws, both civil and criminal, of the State or Territory in which they may reside; and no Territory shall pass or enforce any law denying any such Indian within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law. And every Indian born within the territorial limits of the United States to whom allotments shall have been made and who has received a patent in fee simple under the provisions of this act, or under any law or treaty, and every Indian born within the territorial limits of the United States who has voluntarily taken up within said limits his residence, separate and apart from any tribe of Indians therein, and has adopted the habits of civilized life, is hereby declared to be a citizen of the United States, and is entitled to all the rights, privileges, and immunities of such citizens, whether said Indian has been or not, by birth or otherwise, a member of any tribe of Indians within the territorial limits of the United States without in any manner impairing or otherwise affecting the right of any such Indian to tribal or other property: Provided, That the Secretary of the Interior may, in his discretion, and he is hereby authorized, whenever he shall be satisfied that any Indian allottee is competent and capable of managing his or her affairs, at any time to cause to be issued to such allottee a patent in fee simple, and thereafter all restrictions as to sale, incumbrance, or taxation of said land shall be removed and said land shall not be liable to the satisfaction of any debt contracted prior to the issuing of such patent: Provided further, That until the issuance of fee-simple patents all allottees to whom trust patents shall hereafter be issued shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States: And provided further, That the provisions of this act shall not extend to any Indians in the Indian Territory.”

      That hereafter, when an allotment of land is made to any Indian and any such Indian dies before the expiration of the trust period, said allotment shall be cancelled and the land shall revert to the United States, and the Secretary of the Interior shall ascertain the legal heirs of such Indian, and shall cause to be issued to said heirs and in their names, a patent in fee simple for said land, or he may cause the land to be sold as provided by law and issue a patent therefor to the purchaser or purchasers, and pay the net proceeds to the heirs, or their legal representatives, of such deceased Indian. The action of the Secretary of the Interior in determining the legal heirs of any deceased Indian, as provided herein, shall in all respects be conclusive and final.

      Approved; May 8, 1906.

      SOURCE: U.S. Statutes at Large, Vol. XXXIV, pp. 182–83.

      1907: The Conservation of Natural Resources according to Theodore Roosevelt

      Many historians look to Theodore Roosevelt as the father of the political end of the conservation movement. Growing out of the time he spent on his North Dakota ranch in the aftermath of his wife's death in 1884, Roosevelt immersed himself in nature and came to see that the untrammeled exploitation of the abundant resources that the nation possessed was going to carry with it a great cost: the squandering of the natural bounty of the North American continent.

      The conservation of our natural resources and their proper use constitute the fundamental problem which underlies almost every other problem of our national life…. As a nation we not only enjoy a wonderful measure of present prosperity but if this prosperity is used aright it is an earnest of future success such as no other nation will have. The reward of foresight for this nation is great and easily foretold. But there must be the look ahead, there must be a realization of the fact that to waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed. For the last few years, through several agencies, the government has been endeavoring to get our people to look ahead and to substitute a planned and orderly development of our resources in place of a haphazard striving for immediate profit. Our great river systems should be developed as national water highways, the Mississippi, with its tributaries, standing first in importance, and the Columbia second, although there are many others of importance on the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Gulf slopes. The National Government should undertake this work, and I hope a beginning will be made in the present Congress; and the greatest of all our rivers, the Mississippi, should receive special attention. From the Great Lakes to the mouth of the Mississippi there should be a deep waterway, with deep waterways leading from it to the East and the West. Such a waterway would practically mean the extension of our coastline into the very heart of our country. It would be of incalculable benefit to our people. If begun at once it can be carried through in time appreciably to relieve the congestion of our great freight-carrying lines of railroads. The work should be systematically and continuously carried forward in accordance with some well-conceived plan. The main streams should be improved to the highest point of efficiency before the improvement of the branches is attempted; and the work should be kept free from every taint of recklessness or jobbery. The inland waterways which lie just back of the whole Eastern and Southern coasts should likewise be developed. Moreover, the development of our waterways involves many other important water problems, all of which should be considered as part of the same general scheme. The government dams should be used to produce hundreds of thousands of horse-power as an incident to improving navigation; for the annual value of the unused water-powered of the United States perhaps exceeds the annual value of the products of all our mines. As an incident to creating the deep waterways down the Mississippi, the government should build along its whole lower length levees which, taken together with the control of the headwaters, will at once and forever put a complete stop to all threat of floods in the immensely fertile delta region. The territory lying adjacent to the Mississippi along its lower course will thereby become one of the most prosperous and populous, as it already is one of the most fertile, farming regions in all the world. I have appointed an inland waterways commission to study and outline a comprehensive scheme of development along all the lines indicated. Later I shall lay its report before the Congress.

      Irrigation should be far more extensively developed than at present, not only in the States of the great plains and the Rocky Mountains, but in many others, as, for instance, in large portions of the South Atlantic and Gulf States, where it should go hand in hand with the reclamation of swampland. The Federal Government should seriously devote itself to this task, realizing that utilization of waterways and waterpower, forestry, irrigation, and the reclamation of lands threatened with overflow, are all interdependent parts of the same problem. The work of the Reclamation Service in developing the larger opportunities of the Western half of our country for irrigation is more important than almost any other movement. The constant purpose of the government in connection with the Reclamation Service has been to use the water resources of the public lands for the ultimate greatest good of the greatest number; in other words, to put upon the land permanent home-makers, to use and develop it for themselves and for their children and children's children….

      The effort of the government to deal with the public land has been based upon the same principle as that of the Reclamation Service. The land law system which was designed to meet the needs of the fertile and well-watered regions of the Middle West has largely broken down when applied to the drier regions of the great plains, the mountains, and much of the Pacific slope, where a farm of 160 acres is inadequate for self-support…. Three years ago a public-lands commission was appointed to scrutinize the law, and defects, and recommend a remedy. Their examination specifically showed the existence of great fraud upon the public domain, and their recommendations for changes in the law were made with the design of conserving the natural resources of every part of the public lands by putting it to its best use. Especial attention was called to the prevention of settlement by the passage of great areas of public land into the hands of a few men, and to the enormous waste caused by unrestricted grazing upon the open range. The recommendations of the Public-Lands Commission are sound, for they are especially in the interest of the actual home-maker; and where the small home-maker cannot at present utilize the land they provide that the government shall keep control of it so that it may not be monopolized by a few men. The Congress has not yet acted upon these recommendations, but they are so just and proper, so essential to our national welfare, that I feel confident, if the Congress will take time to consider them, that they will ultimately be adopted.

      Some such legislation as that proposed is essential in order to preserve the great stretches of public grazing-land which are unfit for cultivation under present methods and are valuable only for the forage which they supply. These stretches amount in all to some 300,000,000 acres, and are open to the free grazing of cattle, sheep, horses, and goats, without restriction. Such a system, or lack of system, means that the range is not so much used as wasted by abuse. As the West settles, the range becomes more and more overgrazed. Much of it cannot be used to advantage unless it is fenced, for fencing is the only way by which to keep in check the owners of nomad flocks which roam hither and thither, utterly destroying the pastures and leaving a waste behind so that their presence is incompatible with the presence of home-makers. The existing fences are all illegal…. All these fences, those that are hurtful and those that are beneficial, are alike illegal and must come down. But it is an outrage that the law should necessitate such action on the part of the Administration. The unlawful fencing of public lands for private grazing must be stopped, but the necessity which occasioned it must be provided for. The Federal Government should have control of the range, whether by permit or lease, as local necessities may determine. Such control could secure the great benefit of legitimate fencing, while at the same time securing and promoting the settlement of the country…. The government should part with its title only to the actual home-maker, not to the profit-maker who does not care to make a home. Our prime object is to secure the rights and guard the interests of the small ranchman, the man who ploughs and pitches hay for himself. It is this small ranchman, this actual settler and home-maker, who in the long run is most hurt by permitting thefts of the public land in whatever form.

      Optimism is a good characteristic, but if carried to an excess it becomes foolishness. We are prone to speak of the resources of this country as inexhaustible; this is not so. The mineral wealth of the country, the coal, iron, oil, gas, and the like, does not reproduce itself, and therefore is certain to be exhausted ultimately; and wastefulness in dealing with it today means that our descendants will feel the exhaustion a generation or two before they otherwise would. But there are certain other forms of waste which could be entirely stopped-the waste of soil by washing, for instance, which is among the most dangerous of all wastes now in progress in the United States, is easily preventible, so that this present enormous loss of fertility is entirely unnecessary. The preservation or replacement of the forests is one of the most important means of preventing this loss. We have made a beginning in forest preservation, but … so rapid has been the rate of exhaustion of timber in the United States in the past, and so rapidly is the remainder being exhausted, that the country is unquestionably on the verge of a timber famine which will be felt in every household in the land…. The present annual consumption of lumber is certainly three times as great as the annual growth; and if the consumption and growth continue unchanged, practically all our lumber will be exhausted in another generation, while long before the limit to complete exhaustion is reached the growing scarcity will make itself felt in many blighting ways upon our national welfare. About twenty per cent of our forested territory is now reserved in national forests, but these do not include the most valuable timberlands, and in any event the proportion is too small to expect that the reserves can accomplish more than a mitigation of the trouble which is ahead for the nation…. We should acquire in the Appalachian and White Mountain regions all the forest-lands that it is possible to acquire for the use of the nation. These lands, because they form a national asset, are as emphatically national as the rivers which they feed, and which flow through so many States before they reach the ocean.

      SOURCE: Roosevelt, Theodore. Seventh Annual Message to Congress. Washington, D.C., December 3, 1907.

      1908: Winters v. United States

      As the Prior Appropriation system of determining water rights—whereby the paramount right belongs to the first user of a water source—spread across the West, the question of the water rights of Native American tribes living on reservations remained unsolved. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Winters case spawned what became known as the Winters Doctrine, which stipulated that Native American tribes had superior water rights to any non-Indian user, because of the fact that they inhabited the land before any non-Indian.

      In view of all the circumstances of the transaction, this Court holds that there was an implied reservation in the agreement of May 1, 1888, 25 Stat. 124, with the Gros Ventre and other Indians establishing the Fort Belknap Reservation, of a sufficient amount of water from the Milk River for irrigation purposes, which was not affected by the subsequent Act of February 22, 1889, 25 Stat. 676, admitting Montana to the Union, and that the water of that river cannot be diverted, so as to prejudice this right of the Indians, by settlers on the public lands or those claiming riparian rights on that river.

      The government of the United States has the power to reserve waters of a river flowing through a territory and exempt them from appropriation under the laws of the state which that territory afterwards becomes, 148 F. 684 affirmed.

      This suit was brought by the United States to restrain appellants and others from constructing or maintaining dams or reservoirs on the Milk River in the State of Montana, or in any manner preventing the water of the river or its tributaries from flowing to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.


      The case, as we view it, turns on the agreement of May, 1888, resulting in the creation of Fort Belknap Reservation. In the construction of this agreement, there are certain elements to be considered that are prominent and significant. The reservation was a part of a very much larger tract which the Indians had the right to occupy and use, and which was adequate for the habits and wants of a nomadic and uncivilized people. It was the policy of the government, it was the desire of the Indians, to change those habits and to become a pastoral and civilized people. If they should become such, the original tract was too extensive, but a smaller tract would be inadequate without a change of conditions. The lands were arid, and, without irrigation, were practically valueless. And yet, it is contended, the means of irrigation were deliberately given up by the Indians and deliberately accepted by the government. The lands ceded were, it is true, also arid, and some argument may be urged, and is urged, that with their cession there was the cession of the waters, without which they would be valueless, and “civilized communities could not be established thereon.” And this, it is further contended, the Indians knew, and yet made no reservation of the waters. We realize that there is a conflict of implications, but that which makes for the retention of the waters is of greater force than that which makes for their cession. The Indians had command of the lands and the waters, command of all their beneficial use, whether kept for hunting, “and grazing roving herds of stock” or turned to agriculture and the arts of civilization. Did they give up all this? Did they reduce the area of their occupation and give up the waters which made it valuable or adequate? And, even regarding the allegation of the answer as true, that there are springs and streams on the reservation flowing about 2,900 inches of water, the inquiries are pertinent. If it were possible to believe affirmative answers, we might also believe that the Indians were awed by the power of the government or deceived by its negotiators. Neither view is possible. The government is asserting the rights of the Indians. But extremes need not be taken into account. By a rule of interpretation of agreements and treaties with the Indians, ambiguities occurring will be resolved from the standpoint of the Indians. And the rule should certainly be applied to determine between two inferences, one of which would support the purpose of the agreement and the other impair or defeat it. On account of their relations to the government, it cannot be supposed that the Indians were alert to exclude by formal words every inference which might militate against or defeat the declared purpose of themselves and the government, even if it could be supposed that they had the intelligence to foresee the “double sense” which might some time be urged against them.

      SOURCE: Winters v. United States, 207 U.S. 564 (1908).

      1934: Taylor Grazing Act

      The Taylor Grazing Act, passed in 1934, sought to remedy the problem of the lack of regulation over grazing activities on federal land. Huge portions of the federal land base were being used for grazing with little oversight or maintenance of the lands for future users.

      In order to promote the highest use of the public lands pending its final disposal, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized, in his discretion, by order to establish grazing districts or additions thereto and/or to modify the boundaries thereof, of vacant, unappropriated, and unreserved lands from any part of the public domain of the United States (exclusive of Alaska), which are not in national forests, national parks and monuments, Indian reservations, revested Oregon and California Railroad grant lands, or revested Coos Bay Wagon Road grant lands, and which in his opinion are chiefly valuable for grazing and raising forage crops: Provided, That no lands withdrawn or reserved for any other purpose shall be included in any such district except with the approval of the head of the department having jurisdiction thereof. Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed in any way to diminish, restrict, or impair any right which has been heretofore or may be hereafter initiated under existing law validly affecting the public lands, and which is maintained pursuant to such law except as otherwise expressly provided in this subchapter nor to affect any land heretofore or hereafter surveyed which, except for the provisions of this subchapter, would be a part of any grant to any State, nor as limiting or restricting the power or authority of any State as to matters within its jurisdiction. Whenever any grazing district is established pursuant to this subchapter, the Secretary shall grant to owners of land adjacent to such district, upon application of any such owner, such rights-of-way over the lands included in such district for stock-driving purposes as may be necessary for the convenient access by any such owner to marketing facilities or to lands not within such district owned by such person or upon which such person has stock-grazing rights. Neither this subchapter nor the Act of December 29, 1916 (39 Stat. 862; U.S.C., title 43, secs. 291 and following), commonly known as the “Stock Raising Homestead Act,” shall be construed as limiting the authority or policy of Congress or the President to include in national forests public lands of the character described in section 471 \1\ of title 16, for the purposes set forth in section 475 of title 16, or such other purposes as Congress may specify. Before grazing districts are created in any State as herein provided, a hearing shall be held in the State, after public notice thereof shall have been given, at such location convenient for the attendance of State officials, and the settlers, residents, and livestock owners of the vicinity, as may be determined by the Secretary of the Interior. No such district shall be established until the expiration of ninety days after such notice shall have been given, nor until twenty days after such hearing shall be held: Provided, however, That the publication of such notice shall have the effect of withdrawing all public lands within the exterior boundary of such proposed grazing districts from all forms of entry of settlement. Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed as in any way altering or restricting the right to hunt or fish within a grazing district in accordance with the laws of the United States or of any State, or as vesting in any permittee any right whatsoever to interfere with hunting or fishing within a grazing district.

      SOURCE: 43 U.S.C. § 215, U.S. Code.

      1934: Wheeler-Howard Act

      The Wheeler-Howard Act, also known as the Indian Reorganization Act, represents the most fundamental change in the policy of the federal government toward Native Americans in its history. After centuries of seeking, at various times, to exterminate, relocate, and assimilate Native peoples, Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier sought to establish a new course, where Native tribes would be granted a degree of self-determination, and where their Native customs, religions, and lifeways would be preserved.

      An Act to conserve and develop Indian lands and resources; to extend to Indians the right to form bussiness and other organizations; to establish a credit system for Indians; to grant certain rights of home rule to Indians; to provide for vocational education for Indians; and for other purposes.

      BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That hereafter no land of any Indian reservation, created or set apart by treaty or agreement with the Indians, Act of Congress, Executive order, purchase, or otherwise, shall be allotted in severalty to any Indian.

      Sec. 2. The existing periods of trust placed upon any Indian lands and any restriction on alienation thereof are hereby extended and continued until otherwise directed by Congress.

      Sec. 3. The Secretary of the Interior, if he shall find it to be in the public interest, is hereby authorized to restore to tribal ownership the remaining surplus lands of any Indian reservation heretofore opened, or authorized to be opened, to sale, or any other form of disposal by Presidential proclamation, or by any of the public land laws of the United States; Provided, however, That valid rights or claims of any persons to any lands so withdrawn existing on the date of the withdrawal shall not be affected by this Act: Provided further, That this section shall not apply to lands within any reclamation project heretofore authorized in any Indian reservation. Provided further, That this section shall not apply to lands within any reclamation project heretofore authorized in any Indian reservation: Provided further, That the order of the Department of the interior signed, dated, and approved by Honorable Ray Lyman Wilbur, as Secretary of the Interior, on October 28, 1932, temporarily withdrawing lands of the Papago Indian Reservation in Arizona from all forms of mineral entry or claim under the public land mining laws is hereby revoked and rescinded, and the lands of the said Papago Indian Reservation are hereby restored to exploration and location, under the existing mining laws of the United States, in accordance with the express terms and provisions declared and set forth in the Executive orders establishing said Papago Indian Reservation: Provided further, That the damages shall be paid to the Papago Tribe for loss of any improvements of any land located for mining in such a sum as may be determined by the Secretary of the Interior but not exceed the cost of said improvements: Provided further, That a yearly rental not to exceed five cents per acre shall be paid to the Papago Indian Tribe: Provided further, That in the event that any person or persons, partnership, corporation, or association, desires a mineral patent, according to the mining laws of the United States, he or they shall first deposit in the treasury of the United States to the credit of the Papago Tribe the sum of $1.00 per acre in lieu of annual rental, as hereinbefore provided, to compensate for the loss or occupancy of the lands withdrawn by the requirements of mining operations: Provided further, That patentee shall also pay into the Treasury of the United States to the credit of the Papago Tribe damages for the loss of improvements not heretofore said in such a sum as may be determined by the Secretary of the Interior, but not to exceed the cost thereof; the payment of $1.00 per acre for surface use to be refunded to patentee in the event that the patent is not required. Nothing herein contained shall restrict the granting or use of permits for easements or rights-of-way; or ingress or egress over the lands for all proper and lawful purposes; and nothing contained therein, except as expressly provided, shall be construed as authority by the Secretary of the Interior, or any other person, to issue or promulgate a rule or regulation in conflict with the Executive order of February 1, 1917, creating the Papago Indian Reservation in Arizona or the Act of February 21, 1931 (46 Stat. 1202).

      Sec. 4. Except as herein provided, no sale, devise, gift, exchange or other transfer of restricted Indian lands or of shares in the assets of any Indian tribe or corporation organized hereunder, shall be made or approved: Provided, however, That such lands or interests may, with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, be sold, devised, or otherwise transferred to the Indian tribe in which the lands or shares are located or from which the shares were derived or to a successor corporation; and in all instances such lands or interests shall descend or be devised, in accordance with the then existing laws of the State, or Federal laws where applicable, in which said lands are located or in which the subject matter of the corporation is located, to any member of such tribe or of such corporation or any heirs of such member: Provided further, That the Secretary of the Interior may authorize voluntary exchanges of lands of equal value and the voluntary exchange of shares of equal value whenever such exchange, in his judgement, is expedient and beneficial for or compatible with the proper consolidation of Indian lands and for the benefit of cooperative organizations.

      Sec. 5. The Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to acquire through purchase, relinquishment, gift, exchange, or assignment, any interest in lands, water rights or surface rights to lands, within or without existing reservations, including trust or otherwise restricted allotments whether the allottee be living or deceased, for the purpose of providing lands for Indians. For the acquisition of such lands, interests in lands, water rights, and surface rights, and for expenses incident to such acquisition, there is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, a sum not to exceed $2,000,000 in any one fiscal year: Provided, That no part of such funds shall be used to acquire additional land outside of the exterior boundaries of Navajo Indian Reservation for the Navajo Indians in Arizona and New

      Mexico, in the event that the proposed Navajo boundary extension measures how pending in congress and embodied in the bills (S. 2531 and H.R. 8927) to define the exterior boundaries of the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona, and for other purposes, and the bills (S. 2531 and H.R. 8982) to define the exterior boundaries of the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico and for other purposes, or similar legislation, become law. The unexpended balances of any appropriations made pursuant to this section shall remain available until expended. Title to any lands or rights acquired pursuant to this Act shall be taken in the name of the United States in trust for the Indian tribe or individual Indian for which the land is acquired, and such lands or rights shall be exempt from State and local taxation.

      Sec. 6. The Secretary of the Interior is directed to make rules and regulations for the operation and management of Indian forestry units on the principle of sustainedyield management, to restrict the number of livestock grazed on Indian range units to the estimated carrying capacity of such ranges, and to promulgate such other rules and regulations as may be necessary to protect the range from deterioration, to prevent soil erosion, to assure full utilization of the range, and like purposes.

      Sec. 7. The Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to proclaim new Indian reservations on lands acquired pursuant to any authority conferred by this Act, or to add such lands to existing reservations: Provided, That lands added to existing reservations shall be designated for the exclusive use of Indians entitled by enrollment or by tribal membership to residence at such reservations shall be designated for the exclusive use of Indians entitled by enrollment or by tribal membership to residence at such reservations.

      Sec. 8. Nothing contained in this Act shall be construed to relate to Indian holdings of allotments or homesteads upon the public domain outside of the geographic boundaries of any Indian reservation now existing or established hereafter.

      Sec. 9. There is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, such sums as may be necessary, but not to exceed $250,000 in any fiscal year, to be expended at the order of the Secretary of the Interior, in defraying the expenses of organizing Indian chartered corporations or other organizations created under this Act.

      Sec. 10. There is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any funds in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of $10,000,000 to be established as a revolving fund from which the Secretary of the Interior, under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, may make loans to Indian chartered corporations for the purpose of promoting the economic development of such tribes and of their members, and may defray the expenses of administering such loans. Repayment of amounts loaned under this authorization shall be credited to the revolving fund and shall be available for the purposes for which the fund is established. A report shall be made annually to Congress of transactions under this authorization.

      Sec. 11. There is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any funds in the United States Treasury not otherwise appropriated, a sum not to exceed $250,000 annually, together with any unexpended balances of previous appropriations made pursuant to this section, for loans to Indians for the payment of tuition and other expenses in recognized vocational and trade schools: Provided, That not more than $50,000 of such sum shall be available for loans to Indian students in high schools and colleges. Such loans shall be reimbursable under rules established by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

      Sec. 12. The Secretary of the Interior is directed to establish standards of health, age, character, experience, knowledge, and ability for Indians who maybe appointed, without regard to civil-service laws, to the various positions maintained, now or hereafter, by the Indian office, in the administrations functions or services affecting any Indian tribe. Such qualified Indians shall hereafter have the preference to appointment to vacancies in any such positions.

      Sec. 13. The provisions of this Act shall not apply to any of the Territories, colonies, or insular possessions of the United States, except that sections 9, 10, 11, 12, and 16 shall apply to the Territory of Alaska: Provided, That Sections 2, 4, 7, 16, 17, and 18 of this Act shall not apply to the following named Indian tribes, together with members of other tribes affiliated with such named located in the State of Oklahoma, as follows: Cheyenne, Arapaho, Apache, Comanche, Kiowa, Caddo, Delaware, Wichita, Osage, Kaw, Otoe, Tonkawa, Pawnee, Ponca, Shawnee, Ottawa, Quapaw, Seneca, Wyandotte, Iowa, Sac and Fox, Kickapoo, Pottawatomi, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. Section 4 of this Act shall not apply to the Indians of the Klamath Reservation in Oregon.

      Sec. 14. The Secretary of the Interior is hereby directed to continue the allowance of the articles enumerated in section 17 of the Act of March 2, 1889 (25 Stat.L. 891), or their commuted cash value under the Act of June 10, 1886 (29 Stat.L. 334), to all Sioux Indians who would be eligible, but for the provisions of this Act, to receive allotments of lands in severalty under section 19 of the Act of May 29, 1908 (25 (35) Stat. L. 451), or under any prior Act, and who have the prescribed status of the head of a family or single person over the age of eighteen years, and his approval shall be final and conclusive, claims therefor to be paid as formerly from the permanent appropriation made by said section 17 and carried on the books of the Treasury for this purpose. No person shall receive in his own right more than one allowance of the benefits, and application must be made and approved during the lifetime of the allotee or the right shall lapse. Such benefits shall continue to be paid upon such reservation until such time as the lands available therein for allotment at the time of the passage of this Act would have been exhausted by the award to each person receiving such benefits of an allotment of eighty acres of such land.

      Sec. 15. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to impair or prejudice any claim or suit of any Indian tribe against the United States. It is hereby declared to be the intent of Congress that no expenditures for the benefit of Indians made out of appropriations authorized by this Act shall be considered as offsets in any suit brought to recover upon any claim of such Indians against the United States.

      Sec. 16. Any Indian tribe, or tribes, residing on the same reservation, shall have the right to organize for its common welfare, and may adopt an appropriate constitution and bylaws, which shall become effective when ratified by a majority vote of the adult members of the tribe, or of the adult Indians residing on such reservation, as the case may be, at a special election authorized by the Secretary of the Interior under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe. Such constitution and bylaws when ratified as aforesaid and approved by the Secretary of the Interior shall be revocable by an election open to the same voters and conducted in the same manner as hereinabove provided. Amendments to the constitution and bylaws may be ratified and approved by the Secretary in the same manner as the original constitution and bylaws. In addition to all powers vested in any Indian tribe or tribal council by existing law, the constitution adopted by said tribe shall also vest in such tribe or its tribal council the following rights and powers: To employ legal counsel, the choice of counsel and fixing of fees to be subject to the approval of the Secretary of the Interior; to prevent the sale, disposition, lease, or encumbrance of tribal lands, interests in lands, or other tribal assets without the consent of the tribe; and to negotiate with the Federal, State, and local Governments. The Secretary of the Interior shall advise such tribe or its tribal council of all appropriation estimates or Federal projects for the benefit of the tribe prior to the submission of such estimates to the Bureau of the Budget and the Congress.

      Sec. 17. The Secretary of the Interior may, upon petition by at least one-third of the adult Indians, issue a charter of incorporation to such tribe: Provided, That such charter shall not become operative until ratified at a special election by a majority vote of the adult Indians living on the reservation. Such charter may convey to the incorporated tribe the power to purchase, take by gift, or bequest, or otherwise, own, hold, manage, operate, and dispose of property of every description, real and personal, including the power to purchase restricted Indian lands and to issue in exchange therefor interests in corporate property, and such further powers as may be incidental to the conduct of corporate business, not inconsistent with law, but no authority shall be granted to sell, mortgage, or lease for a period exceeding ten years any of the land included in the limits of the reservation. Any charter so issued shall not be revoked or surrendered except by Act of Congress.

      Sec. 18. This Act shall not apply to any reservation wherein a majority of the adult Indians, voting at a special election duly called by the Secretary of the Interior, shall vote against it application. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Interior, within one year after the passage and approval of this Act, to call such an election, which election shall be held by secret ballot upon thirty days’ notice.

      Sec. 19. The term “Indian” as used in this Act shall include all persons of Indian descent who are members of any recognized Indian tribe now under Federal jurisdiction, and all person who are descendants of such members who were, on June 1, 1934, residing within the present boundaries of any reservation, and shall further include all other persons of one-half or more Indian blood. For the purposes of this Act, Eskimos and other aboriginal peoples of Alaska shall be considered Indians. The term “tribe” wherever used in this Act shall be construed to refer to any Indian tribe, organized band, pueblo, or the Indians residing on one reservation. The words “adult Indians” wherever used in this Act shall be construed to refer to Indians who have attained the age of twenty-one years.

      SOURCE: 25 U.S.C. § 461, U.S. Code.

      1936: The Plow That Broke the Plains, Film by Pare Lorentz

      The single most catastrophic disaster to hit the West, in terms of the breadth of the impact, was the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Largely due to the efforts of farmers to plant as much wheat as possible on the Great Plains during the 1920s, the native grasses that held the land together in the face of the winds that sweep across the plains were gone. When drought struck in the early 1930s, the soil simply blew away into huge dust storms that engulfed entire areas and lasted for hours. By the mid-1930s the federal government was making efforts to remediate the problem, both through the planting of trees and the teaching of better farming techniques to prevent another such calamity. The Plow That Broke the Plains was a film created by the federal government to dramatize the need for these changes.

      I: Prologue

      This is a record of land … of soil, rather than people …

      a story of the Great Plains: the 400,000,000 acres of winds-wept grass lands that spread up from the Texas Panhandle to Canada…

      A high, treeless continent, without rivers, without streams…

      A country of high winds, and sun … and of little rain…

      By 1880 we had cleared the Indian, and with him, the buffalo, from the Great Plains, and established the last frontier…

      A half million square miles of natural range…

      This is a picturization of what we did with it.

      II: Grass

      The grass lands …

      a treeless wind-swept continent of grass stretching from the broad Texan Panhandle up through mountain reaches of Montana and to the Canadian Border.

      A country of high winds and sun…

      High winds and sun … without rivers, without streams, with little rain.

      III: Cattle

      First came the cattle … an unfenced range a thousand miles long … an uncharted ocean of grass, the southern range for winter grazing and the mountain plateaus for summer. It was a cattleman's Paradise.

      Up from the Rio Grande … in from the rolling prairies … down clear from the eastern highlands the cattle rolled into the old buffalo range.

      Fortunes in beef.

      For a decade the world discovered the grass lands and poured cattle into the plains.

      The railroads brought markets to the edge of the plains … land syndicates sprang up overnight and the cattle rolled into the West.

      IV: Homesteaders

      The railroad brought the world into the plains … new populations, new needs crowded the last frontier.

      Once again the plowman followed the herder and the pioneer came to the plains.

      Make way for the plowman!

      The first fence.

      Progress came to the plain.

      Two hundred miles from water, two hundred miles from home, but the land is new.

      High winds and sun…

      High winds and sun…

      a country without rivers and with little rain.

      Settler, plow at your peril!

      V: Warning

      Many were disappointed.

      The rains failed… and the sun baked the light soil.

      Many left … they fought the loneliness and the hard years…

      But the rains failed them.

      VI: War

      Many were disappointed, but the great day was coming … the day of new causes-new profits-new hopes.

      “Wheat will win the war!”

      “Plant wheat …”

      “Plant the cattle ranges …”

      “Plant your vacant lots … plant wheat!”

      “Wheat for the boys over there!”

      “Wheat for the Allies!”

      “Wheat for the British!”

      “Wheat for the Belgians!”

      “Wheat for the French!”

      “Wheat at any price …”

      “Wheat will win the war!”

      VII: Blues

      Then we reaped the golden harvest…

      then we really plowed the plains…

      we fumed under millions of new acres for war wheat.

      We had the man-power…

      we invented new machinery…

      the world was our market.

      By 1933 the old grass lands had become the new wheat lands… a hundred million acres…

      two hundred million acres…

      More wheat!

      VIII: Drought

      A country without rivers … without streams… with little rain…

      Once again the rains held off and the sun baked the earth.

      This time no grass held moisture against the winds and the sun … this time millions of acres of plowed land lay open to the sun.

      IX: Devastation

      Baked out-blown out-and broke!

      Year in, year out, uncomplaining they fought the worst drought in history…

      their stock choked to death on the barren land…

      their homes were nightmares of swirling dust night and day.

      Many went ahead of it-but many stayed until stock, machinery, homes, credit, food, and even hope were gone.

      On to the West!

      Once again they headed for the setting sun

      Once again they headed West.

      Last year in every summer month 50,000 people left the Great Plains and hit the highways for the Pacific Coast, the last border.

      Blown out-baked out-and broke…

      nothing to stay for … nothing to hope for…

      homeless, penniless and bewildered they joined the great army of the highways.

      No place to go … and no place to stop.

      Nothing to eat … nothing to do…

      their homes on four wheels … their work a desperate gamble for a day's labor in the fields along the highways…

      The price of a sack of beans or a tank of gas

      All they ask is a chance to start over

      And a chance for their children to eat. to have medical care, to have homes again. 50,000 a month!

      The sun and winds wrote the most tragic chapter in American agriculture.

      SOURCE: Lorentz, Pare. The Plow That Broke the Plains, directed by Pare Lorentz. Washington, DC: Resettlement Administration, 1936.

      1942: Executive Order 9066

      When the Japanese Navy attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, sparking American involvement in World War II, the sizeable Japanese population on the West Coast was seen as a problem and potential threat to the security of wartime production facilities in the region. In response, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the immediate relocation of all people of Japanese ancestry, regardless of citizenship, for the duration of the war. As a result, nearly 120,000 people lost their liberty for at least four years through no actions of their own, and most lost all property they had accumulated.

      Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);

      Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.

      I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area hereinabove authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.

      I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.

      This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas hereunder.

      Franklin D. Roosevelt The White House, February 19, 1942.

      SOURCE: Executive Order 9066, February 19, 1942; General Records of the United States Government; Record Group 11; National Archives.

      1949: Washington State Law against Employment Discrimination

      In 1949, Washington became the first state in the West to outlaw discrimination in employment on the basis of race. Following the examples of laws passed in New York in 1945 and Connecticut earlier in 1949, the Washington law created a body known as the Washington State Human Rights Commission, which still enforces the law today.

      AN ACT to prevent and eliminate discrimination in employment against persons because of race, creed, color or national origin; creating in the executive department a state board, against discrimination; defining its functions, powers and duties and providing for the appointment and compensation of its officers and employees.

      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Washington:

      SECTION 1. This law shall be known as the “Law Against Discrimination in Employment.” It shall be deemed an exercise of the police power of the state for the protection of the public welfare, health and peace of the people of this state, and in fulfillment of the provisions of the constitution of this state concerning civil rights; and the Legislature hereby finds and declares that practices of discrimination against any of its inhabitants because of race, creed, color or national origin are a matter of state concern that such discrimination threatens not only the rights and proper privileges of its inhabitants but menaces the institutions and foundation of a free democratic state. A state agency is hereby created with powers with respect to elimination and prevention of discrimination in employment because of race, creed, color or national origin, as herein provided; and the Board established hereunder is hereby given general jurisdiction and power for such purposes.

      SEC. 2. The opportunity to obtain employment without discrimination because of race, creed, color declared national origin is hereby recognized as and declared to be a civil right.


      SEC. 7. (1) It shall be an unfair employment practice for any employer:

      (a) To refuse to hire any person because of such person's race, creed, color, or national origin, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification.

      (b) To discharge or bar any person from employment because of such person's race, creed, color, or national origin.

      (c) To discriminate against any person in compensation or in other terms or conditions of employment because of such person's race, creed, color or national origin.

      (2) It shall be an unfair employment practice for any labor union or labor organization:

      (a) To deny full membership rights and privileges to any person because of such person's race, or national creed, color, or national origin.

      (b) To expel from membership any person because of such person's race, creed, color or national origin; or

      (c) To discriminate against any member, employer, or employee because of such person's creed, color, or national origin.

      (3) It shall be an unfair employment practice for any employment agency, except in the case of a bona fide occupational qualification or need, to fail or refuse to classify properly or refer for employment, or otherwise to discriminate against, any individual because of his race, color, religious creed, national origin or ancestry.

      (4) It shall be an unfair employment practice for any employer, employment agency, or labor union to discharge, expel, or otherwise discriminate against any person because he has opposed any practices forbidden by this act, or because he has filed a charge, testified, or assisted in any proceeding under this act.

      (5) It shall be an unlawful employment practice for any person to aid, abet, encourage, or incite the commission of any unlawful employment practice, or to attempt to obstruct or prevent any other person from complying with the provisions of this act or any order issued thereunder.


      SEC. 10. Any person, employer, labor organization or employment agency, who or which shall wilfully resist, prevent, impede, or interfere with the orders of Board or any of its members or representatives in the performance of duty under this article, or shall wilfully violate an order of the Board, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; but procedure for the review of the order shall not be deemed to be such willful conduct.


      SEC. 12. The provisions of this act shall be construed liberally for the accomplishment of the purposes thereof. Nothing contained in this act shall be deemed to repeal any of the provisions of any other law of this state relating to discrimination because of race, color, creed or national origin.

      SOURCE: State of Washington, Laws of 1949, chapter 183.

      1953: Public Law 280

      Although the Wheeler-Howard Act of 1934 had changed the focus of federal policy toward Native Americans from assimilation to limited self-determination, there were forces in Congress that wanted to terminate the federal responsibility for Indian tribes, despite it being set out in numerous treaties. Public Law 280 was a step in that direction, which removed responsibility for Native peoples, in terms of criminal law, from the federal government and placed it on the states.

      18 U.S.C. $$ 1162. State Jurisdiction over offenses committed by or against Indians in the Indian country

      (a) Each of the States or Territories listed in the following table shall have jurisdiction over offenses committed by or against Indians in the areas of Indian country listed opposite the name of the State or Territory to the same extent that such State or Territory has jurisdiction over offenses committed elsewhere within the State or Territory, and the criminal laws of such State or Territory shall have the same force and effect within such Indian country as they have elsewhere within the State or Territory:

      (b) Nothing in this section shall authorize the alienation, encumbrance, or taxation of any real or personal property, including water rights, belonging to any Indian or any Indian tribe, band, or community that is held in trust by the United States or is subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States; or shall authorize regulation of the use of such property in a manner inconsistent with any Federal treaty, agreement, or statute or with any regulation made pursuant thereto; or shall deprive any Indian or any Indian tribe, band, or community of any right, privilege, or immunity afforded under Federal treaty, agreement, or statute with respect to hunting, trapping, or fishing or the control, licensing, or regulation thereof.

      (c) The provisions of sections 1152 and 1153 of this chapter shall not be applicable within the areas of Indian country listed in subsection (a) of this section as areas over which the several States have exclusive jurisdiction.

      28 U.S.C. $$ 1360. State civil jurisdiction in actions to which Indians are parties

      (a) Each of the States listed in the following table shall have jurisdiction over civil causes of action between Indians or to which Indians are parties which arise in the areas of Indian country listed opposite the name of the State to the same extent that such State has jurisdiction over other civil causes of action, and those civil laws of such State that are of general application to private persons or private property shall have the same force and effect within such Indian country as they have elsewhere within the State:

      (b) Nothing in this section shall authorize the alienation, encumbrance, or taxation of any real or personal property, including water rights, belonging to any Indian or any Indian tribe, band, or community that is held in trust by the United States or is subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States; or shall authorize regulation of the use of such property in a manner inconsistent with any Federal treaty, agreement, or statute or with any regulation made pursuant thereto; or shall confer jurisdiction upon the State to adjudicate, in probate proceedings or otherwise, the ownership or right to possession of such property or any interest therein.

      (c) Any tribal ordinance or custom heretofore or hereafter adopted by an Indian tribe, band, or community in the exercise of any authority which it may possess shall, if not inconsistent with any applicable civil law of the State, be given full force and effect in the determination of civil causes of action pursuant to this section.

      25 U.S.C. $$ 1321. Assumption by State of criminal jurisdiction

      (a) Consent of United States; force and effect of criminal laws

      The consent of the United States is hereby given to any State not having jurisdiction over criminal offenses committed by or against Indians in the areas of Indian country situated within such State to assume, with the consent of the Indian tribe occupying the particular Indian country or part thereof which could be affected by such assumption, such measure of jurisdiction over any or all of such offenses committed within such Indian country or any part thereof as may be determined by such State to the same extent that such State has jurisdiction over any such offense committed elsewhere within the State, and the criminal laws of such State shall have the same force and effect within such Indian country or part thereof as they have elsewhere within that State.

      (b) Alienation, encumbrance, taxation, and use of property; hunting, trapping, or fishing

      Nothing in this section shall authorize the alienation, encumbrance, or taxation of any real or personal property, including water rights, belonging to any Indian or any Indian tribe, band, or community that is held in trust by the United States or is subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States; or shall authorize regulation of the use of such property in a manner inconsistent with any Federal treaty, agreement, or statute or with any regulation made pursuant thereto; or shall deprive any Indian or any Indian tribe, band, or community of any right, privilege, or immunity afforded under Federal treaty, agreement, or statute with respect to hunting, trapping, or fishing or the control, licensing, or regulation thereof.

      25 U.S.C. $$ 1322. Assumption by State of civil jurisdiction

      (a) Consent of United States; force and effect of civil laws

      The consent of the United States is hereby given to any State not having jurisdiction over civil causes of action between Indians or to which Indians are parties which arise in the areas of Indian country situated within such State to assume, with the consent of the tribe occupying the particular Indian country or part thereof which would be affected by such assumption, such measure of jurisdiction over any or all such civil causes of action arising within such Indian country or any part thereof as may be determined by such State to the same extent that such State has jurisdiction over other civil causes of action, and those civil laws of such State that are of general application to private persons or private property shall have the same force and effect within such Indian country or part thereof as they have elsewhere within that State.

      (b) Alienation, encumbrance, taxation, use, and probate of property

      Nothing in this section shall authorize the alienation, encumbrance, or taxation of any real or personal property, including water rights, belonging to any Indian or any Indian tribe, band, or community that is held in trust by the United States or is subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States; or shall authorize regulation of the use of such property in a manner inconsistent with any Federal treaty, agreement, or statute, or with any regulation made pursuant thereto; or shall confer jurisdiction upon the State to adjudicate, in probate proceedings or otherwise, the ownership or right to possession of such property or any interest therein.

      (c) Force and effect of tribal ordinances or customs

      Any tribal ordinance or custom heretofore or hereafter adopted by an Indian tribe, band, or community in the exercise of any authority which it may possess shall, if not inconsistent with any applicable civil law of the State, be given full force and effect in the determination of civil causes of action pursuant to this section.

      25 U.S.C. § 1323. Retrocession of jurisdiction by State

      (a) Acceptance by United States

      The United States is authorized to accept a retrocession by any State of all or any measure of the criminal or civil jurisdiction, or both, acquired by such State pursuant to the provisions of section 1162 of title 18, section 1360 of title 28, or section 7 of the Act of August 15, 1953 (67 Stat. 588), as it was in effect prior to its repeal by subsection (b) of this section.

      (b) Repeal of statutory provisions

      Section 7 of the Act of August 15, 1953 (67 Stat. 588), is hereby repealed, but such repeal shall not affect any cession of jurisdiction made pursuant to such section prior to its repeal.

      25 U.S.C. $$ 1324. Amendment of State constitutions or statutes to remove legal impediment; effective date

      Notwithstanding the provisions of any enabling Act for the admission of a State, the consent of the United States is hereby given to the people of any State to amend, where necessary, their State constitution or existing statutes, as the case may be, to remove any legal impediment to the assumption of civil or criminal jurisdiction in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter. The provisions of this subchapter shall not become effective with respect to such assumption of jurisdiction by any such State until the people thereof have appropriately amended their State constitution or statutes, as the case may be.

      25 U.S.C. $$ 1325. Abatement of actions

      (a) Pending actions or proceedings; effect of cession

      No action or proceeding pending before any court or agency of the United States immediately prior to any cession of jurisdiction by the United States pursuant to this subchapter shall abate by reason of that cession. For the purposes of any such action or proceeding, such cession shall take effect on the day following the date of final determination of such action or proceeding.

      (b) Criminal actions; effect of cession

      No cession made by the United States under this subchapter shall deprive any court of the United States of jurisdiction to hear, determine, render judgment, or impose sentence in any criminal action instituted against any person for any offense committed before the effective date of such cession, if the offense charged in such action was cognizable under any law of the United States at the time of the commission of such offense. For the purposes of any such criminal action, such cession shall take effect on the day following the date of final determination of such action.

      25 U.S.C. $$ 1326. Special election

      State jurisdiction acquired pursuant to this subchapter with respect to criminal offenses or civil causes of action, or with respect to both, shall be applicable in Indian country only where the enrolled Indians within the affected area of such Indian country accept such jurisdiction by a majority vote of the adult Indians voting at a special election held for that purpose. The Secretary of the Interior shall call such special election under such rules and regulations as he may prescribe, when requested to do so by the tribal council or other governing body, or by 20 per centum of such enrolled adults.

      SOURCE: Public Law 280 (Pub. L. 83–280, August 15, 1953, codified as 18 U.S.C. § 1162, 28 U.S.C. § 1360, and 25 U.S.C. §§ 1321–1326).

      1960: Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960

      The Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960 gave the federal government in general, and the U.S. Forest Service in particular, the charge to protect all of the resources of the lands so that they would be used in the best interest of the public, but at the same time to achieve the greatest possible yield in terms of natural resources that could be extracted from the land without damaging its productivity.

      (Public Law 86–517; Approved June 12, 1960)

      AN ACT To authorize and direct that the national forests be managed under principles of multiple use and to produce a sustained yield of products and services, and for other purposes

      Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That (16 U.S.C. 528) it is the policy of the Congress that the national forests are established and shall be administered for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, and wildlife and fish purposes. The purposes of this Act are declared to be supplemental to, but not in derogation of, the purposes for which the national forests were established as set forth in the Act of June 4, 1897 (16 U.S.C. 475). Nothing herein shall be construed as affecting the jurisdiction or responsibilities of the several States with respect to wildlife and fish on the national forests. Nothing herein shall be construed so as to affect the use of administration of the mineral resources of national forest lands or to affect the use or administration of Federal lands not within national forests.

      SEC. 2. (16 U.S.C. 529) The Secretary of Agriculture is authorized and directed to develop and administer the renewable surface resources of the national forests for multiple use and sustained yield of the several products and services obtained therefrom. In the administration of the national forests due consideration shall be given to the relative values of the various resources in particular areas. The establishment and maintenance of areas of wilderness are consistent with the purposes and provisions of this Act.

      SEC. 3. (16 U.S.C. 530) In the effectuation of this Act the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to cooperate with interested State and local governmental agencies and others in the development and management of the national forests.

      SEC. 4. (16 U.S.C. 531) As used in this Act, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

      (a) “Multiple use” means: The management of all the various renewable surface resources of the national forests so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the needs of the American people; making the most judicious use of the land for some or all of these resources or related services over areas large enough to provide sufficient latitude for periodic adjustments in use to conform to changing needs and conditions; that some land will be used for less than all of the resources; and harmonious and coordinated management of the various resources, each with the other, without impairment of the productivity of the land, with consideration being given to the relative values of the various resources, and not necessarily the combination of uses that will give the greatest dollar return or the greatest unit output.

      (b) “Sustained yield of the several products and services” means the achievement and maintenance in perpetuity of a high level annual or regular periodic output of the various renewable resources of the national forests without impairment of the productivity of the land.

      SEC. 5. (16 U.S.C. 528 note) This Act may be cited as the “Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act of 1960”.

      SOURCE: U.S. Statutes at Large, vol. CXXIV.

      1964: Wilderness Act

      The Wilderness Act of 1964 was written to create a legal definition for the term wilderness in American law, and by so doing, place approximately nine million acres under protection, designating them as National Wilderness Areas, and withdrawing them from natural resource extraction activities.

      An Act To establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people, and for other purposes….

      Wilderness System Established Statement of Policy

      Sec. 2. (a) In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness. For this purpose there is hereby established a National Wilderness Preservation System to be composed of federally owned areas designated by Congress as “wilderness areas,” and these shall be administered for the use and enjoyment of the American people in such manner as will leave them unimpaired for future use and enjoyment as wilderness; and no Federal lands shall be designated as “wilderness areas” except as provided for in this Act or by a subsequent Act.


      Definition of Wilderness

      (c) A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value.

      National Wilderness Preservation System—Extent of System

      Sec. 3. (a) All areas within the national forests classified at least 30 days before the effective date of this Act by the Secretary of Agriculture or the Chief of the Forest Service as “wilderness,” “wild,” or “canoe” are hereby designated as wilderness areas. The Secretary of Agriculture shall—(1) Within one year after the effective date of this Act, file a map and legal description of each wilderness area with the Interior and Insular Affairs Committees of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, and such descriptions shall have the same force and effect as if included in this Act: Provided, however, That correction of clerical and typographical errors in such legal descriptions and maps may be made.

      (2) Maintain, available to the public, records pertaining to said wilderness areas, including maps and legal descriptions, copies of regulations governing them, copies of public notices of, and reports submitted to Congress regarding pending additions, eliminations, or modifications. Maps, legal descriptions, and regulations pertaining to wilderness areas within their respective jurisdictions also shall be available to the public in the offices of regional foresters, national forest supervisors, and forest rangers.

      (b) The Secretary of Agriculture shall, within ten years after the enactment of this Act, review, as to its suitability or nonsuitability for preservation as wilderness, each area in the national forests classified on the effective date of this Act by the Secretary of Agriculture or the Chief of the Forest Service as “primitive” and report his findings to the President. The President shall advise the United States Senate and House of Representatives of his recommendations with respect to the designation as “wilderness” or other reclassification of each area on which review has been completed, together with maps and a definition of boundaries. Such advice shall be given with respect to not less than one-third of all the areas now classified as “primitive” within three years after the enactment of this Act, not less than two-thirds within seven years after the enactment of this Act, and the remaining areas within ten years after the enactment of this Act. Each recommendation of the President for designation as “wilderness” shall become effective only if so provided by an Act of Congress. Areas classified as “primitive” on the effective date of this Act shall continue to be administered under the rules and regulations affecting such areas on the effective date of this Act until Congress has determined otherwise. Any such area may be increased in size by the President at the time he submits his recommendation to the Congress by not more than five thousand acres with no more than one thousand two hundred and eighty acres of such increase in any one compact unit; if it is proposed to increase the size of any such area by more than five thousand acres or by more than one thousand two hundred and eighty acres in any one compact unit the increase in size shall not become effective until acted upon by Congress. Nothing herein contained shall limit the President in proposing, as part of his recommendations to Congress, the alteration of existing boundaries of primitive areas or recommending the addition of any contiguous area of national forest lands predominantly of wilderness value. Not withstanding any other provisions of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture may complete his review and delete such area as may be necessary, but not to exceed seven thousand acres, from the southern tip of the Gore Range-Eagles Nest Primitive Area, Colorado, if the Secretary determines that such action is in the public interest.

      (c) Within ten years after the effective date of this Act the Secretary of the Interior shall review every roadless area of five thousand contiguous acres or more in the national parks, monuments and other units of the national park system and every such area of, and every roadless island within, the national wildlife refuges and game ranges, under his jurisdiction on the effective date of this Act and shall report to the President his recommendation as to the suitability or nonsuitability of each such area or island for preservation as wilderness. The President shall advise the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of his recommendation with respect to the designation as wilderness of each such area or island on which review has been completed, together with a map thereof and a definition of its boundaries. Such advice shall be given with respect to not less than one-third of the areas and islands to be reviewed under this subsection within three years after enactment of this Act, not less than two-thirds within seven years of enactment of this Act, and the remainder within ten years of enactment of this Act. A recommendation of the President for designation as wilderness shall become effective only if so provided by an Act of Congress. Nothing contained herein shall, by implication or otherwise, be construed to lessen the present statutory authority of the Secretary of the Interior with respect to the maintenance of roadless areas within units of the national park system.


      Use of Wilderness Areas

      Sec. 4. (a) The purposes of this Act are hereby declared to be within and supplemental to the purposes for which national forests and units of the national park and national wildlife refuge systems are established and administered and—

      • Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to be in interference with the purpose for which national forests are established as set forth in the Act of June 4, 1897 (30 Stat. 11), and the Multiple Use Sustained-Yield Act of June 12, 1960 (74 Stat. 215).
      • Nothing in this Act shall modify the restrictions and provisions of the ShipsteadNolan Act (Public Law 539, Seventy-first Congress, July 10, 1930; 46 Stat. 1020), the Thye-Blatnik Act (Public Law 733, Eightieth Congress, June 22, 1948; 62 Stat. 568), and the Humphrey-Thye-Blatnik-Andresen Act (Public Law 607, Eighty-fourth Congress, June 22.1965; 70 Stat. 326), as applying to the Superior National Forest or the regulations of the Secretary of Agriculture.
      • Nothing in this Act shall modify the statutory authority under which units of the national park system are created. Further, the designation of any area of any park, monument, or other unit of the national park system as a wilderness area pursuant to this Act shall in no manner lower the standards evolved for the use and preservation of such park, monument, or other unit of the national park system in accordance with the Act of August 25, 1916, the statutory authority under which the area was created, or any other Act of Congress which might pertain to or affect such area, including, but not limited to, the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225; 16 U.S.C. 432 et seq.); section 3(2) of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 796 (2)); and the Act of August 21,1935 (49 Stat. 666; 16 U.S.C. 461 et seq.).

      (b) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, each agency administering any area designated as wilderness shall be responsible for preserving the wilderness character of the area and shall so administer such area for such other purposes for which it may have been established as also to preserve its wilderness character. Except as otherwise provided in this Act, wilderness areas shall be devoted to the public purposes of recreational, scenic, scientific, educational, conservation, and historical use.

      Prohibition of Certain Uses

      (c) Except as specifically provided for in this Act, and subject to existing private rights, there shall be no commercial enterprise and no permanent road within any wilderness area designated by this Act and, except as necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area for the purpose of this Act (including measures required in emergencies involving the health and safety of persons within the area), there shall be no temporary road, no use of motor vehicles, motorized equipment or motorboats, no landing of aircraft, no other form of mechanical transport, and no structure or installation within any such area. …

      SOURCE: U.S. Statutes at Large, vol. CXXVIII.

      1978: Proposition 13 (California)

      In 1978 California taxpayers revolted against the rising property taxes that came with the dramatic increases in real estate values in the state. Led by reformer Howard Jarvis, Proposition 13 amended the California Constitution to base property taxes on the value of the home when it was acquired rather than the continually escalating appraisals. However, opponents have seen the proposition as problematic, as it has greatly limited the ability of local governments to raise revenue, as the bulk of local government revenue came from property taxes.

      That Article XIII A is added to the Constitution to read:

      Section 1.

      (a) The maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property shall not exceed one percent (1%) of the full cash value of such property. The one percent (1%) tax to be collected by the counties and apportioned according to law to the districts within the counties.

      (b) The limitation provided for in subdivision (a) shall not apply to ad valorem taxes or special assessments to pay the interest and redemption charges on any indebtedness approved by the voters prior to the time this section becomes effective.

      Section 2.

      (a) The full cash value means the County Assessors valuation of real property as shown on the 1975–76 tax bill under “full cash value,” or thereafter, the appraised value of real property when purchased, newly constructed, or a change in ownership has occurred after the 1975 assessment. All real property not already assessed up to the 1975–76 tax levels may be reassessed to reflect that valuation.

      (b) The fair market value base may reflect from year to year the inflationary rate not to exceed two percent (2%) for any given year or reduction as shown in the consumer price index or comparable data for the area under taxing jurisdiction.

      Section 3.

      From and after the effective date of this article, any changes in State taxes enacted for the purpose of increasing revenues collected pursuant thereto whether by increased rates or changes in methods of computation must be imposed by an Act passed by not less than two-thirds of all members elected to each of the two houses of the Legislature, except that no new ad valorem taxes on real property, or sales or transaction taxes on the sales of real property may be imposed.

      Section 4.

      Cities, Counties and special districts, by a two-thirds vote of the qualified electors of such district, may impose special taxes on such district, except ad valorem taxes on real property or a transaction tax or sales tax on the sale of real property within such City, County or special district.

      Section 5.

      This article shall take effect for the tax year beginning on July 1 following the passage of this Amendment, except Section 3 which shall become effective upon the passage of this article.

      Section 6.

      If any section, part, clause, or phrase hereof is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, the remaining sections shall not be affected but will remain in full force and effect.

      SOURCE: California Constitution, Article 13A.

      1978: University of California Regents v. Bakke

      An outcome of the Civil Rights Movement, the policy known as affirmative action advocated that members of minority groups receive additional consideration when applying for work (especially with government agencies) and state-run colleges and universities. In 1973, a white male applied to the Medical School at the University of California, Davis, but was denied enrollment in favor of members of minority groups who were of a similar economic background. He sued, arguing that it was unfair that he was denied enrollment while other lower scoring students were enrolled on the basis of their race.

      The Medical School of the University of California at Davis (hereinafter Davis) had two admissions programs for the entering class of 100 students—the regular admissions program and the special admissions program. Under the regular procedure, candidates whose overall under-graduate grade point averages fell below 2.5 on a scale of 4.0 were summarily rejected. About one out of six applicants was then given an interview, following which he was rated on a scale of 1 to 100 by each of the committee members (five in 1973 and six in 1974), his rating being based on the interviewers’ summaries, his overall grade point average, his science courses grade point average, his Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) scores, letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, and other biographical data, all of which resulted in a total “benchmark score.” The full admissions committee then made offers of admission on the basis of their review of the applicant's file and his score, considering and acting upon applications as they were received. The committee chairman was responsible for placing names on the waiting list and had discretion to include persons with “special skills.” A separate committee, a majority of whom were members of minority groups, operated the special admissions program. The 1973 and 1974 application forms, respectively, asked candidates whether they wished to be considered as “economically and/or educationally disadvantaged” applicants and members of a “minority group” (blacks, Chicanos, Asians, American Indians). If an applicant of a minority group was found to be “disadvantaged,” he would be rated in a manner similar to the one employed by the general admissions committee. Special candidates, however, did not have to meet the 2.5 grade point cutoff and were not ranked against candidates in the general admissions process. About one-fifth of the special applicants were invited for interviews in 1973 and 1974, following which they were given benchmark scores, and the top choices were then given to the general admissions committee, which could reject special candidates for failure to meet course requirements or other specific deficiencies. The special committee continued to recommend candidates until 16 special admission selections had been made. During a four-year period 63 minority students were admitted to Davis under the special program and 44 under the general program. No disadvantaged whites were admitted under the special program, though many applied. Respondent, a white male, applied to Davis in 1973 and 1974, in both years being considered only under the general admissions program. Though he had a 468 out of 500 score in 1973, he was rejected since no general applicants with scores less than 470 were being accepted after respondent's application, which was filed late in the year, had been processed and completed. At that time four special admission slots were still unfilled. In 1974 respondent applied early, and though he had a total score of 549 out of 600, he was again rejected. In neither year was his name placed on the discretionary waiting list. In both years special applicants were admitted with significantly lower scores than respondent's. After his second rejection, respondent filed this action in state court for mandatory, injunctive, and declaratory relief to compel his admission to Davis, alleging that the special admissions program operated to exclude him on the basis of his race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, a provision of the California Constitution, and 601 of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provides, inter alia, that no person shall on the ground of race or color be excluded from participating in any program receiving federal financial assistance. Petitioner cross-claimed for a declaration that its special admissions program was lawful. The trial court found that the special program operated as a racial quota, because minority applicants in that program were rated only against one another, and 16 places in the class of 100 were reserved for them. Declaring that petitioner could not take race into account in making admissions decisions, the program was held to violate the Federal and State Constitutions and Title VI. Respondent's admission was not ordered, however, for lack of proof that he would have been admitted but for the special program. The California Supreme Court, applying a strict-scrutiny standard, concluded that the special admissions program was not the least intrusive means of achieving the goals of the admittedly compelling state interests of integrating the medical profession and increasing the number of doctors willing to serve minority patients. Without passing on the state constitutional or federal statutory grounds the court held that petitioner's special admissions program violated the Equal Protection Clause. Since petitioner could not satisfy its burden of demonstrating that respondent, absent the special program, would not have been admitted, the court ordered his admission to Davis.

      Held: The judgment below is affirmed insofar as it orders respondent's admission to Davis and invalidates petitioner's special admissions program, but is reversed insofar as it prohibits petitioner from taking race into account as a factor in its future admissions decisions.

      18 Cal.3d 34, 553 P.2d 1152, affirmed in part and reversed in part.

      SOURCE: University of California Regents v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978).

      1987: California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians

      As Native American tribal lands are governed by the federal government rather than the state government, tribes that had few economic development opportunities began to turn to casino gaming as a source of revenue and employment for tribal members. The state of California sued the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, arguing that the impact of the presence of a casino is mainly on the non-Indian population of the region, thus it should fall under the laws of the state.

      Appellee Indian Tribes (the Cabazon and Morongo Bands of Mission Indians) occupy reservations in Riverside County, Cal. Each Band, pursuant to its federally approved ordinance, conducts on its reservation bingo games that are open to the public. The Cabazon Band also operates a card club for playing draw poker and other card games. The gambling games are open to the public, and are played predominantly by non-Indians coming onto the reservations. California sought to apply to the Tribes its statute governing the operation of bingo games. Riverside County also sought to apply its ordinance regulating bingo, as well as its ordinance prohibiting the playing of draw poker and other card games. The Tribes instituted an action for declaratory relief in Federal District Court, which entered summary judgment for the Tribes, holding that neither the State nor the county had any authority to enforce its gambling laws within the reservations. The Court of Appeals affirmed.


      • Although state laws may be applied to tribal Indians on their reservations if Congress has expressly consented, Congress has not done so here either by Pub. L. 280 or by the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 (OCCA). Pp. 480 U. S. 207–214.

        (a) In Pub.L. 280, the primary concern of which was combating lawlessness on reservations, California was granted broad criminal jurisdiction over offenses committed by or against Indians within all Indian country within the State but more limited, nonregulatory civil jurisdiction. When a State seeks to enforce a law within an Indian reservation under the authority of Pub.L. 280, it must be determined whether the state law is criminal in nature, and thus fully applicable to the reservation, or civil in nature and applicable only as it may be relevant to private civil litigation in state court. There is a fair basis for the Court of Appeals’ conclusion that California's statutes which permits bingo games to be conducted only by certain types of organizations under certain restrictions, is not a “criminal/prohibitory” statute falling within Pub.L. 280's grant of criminal jurisdiction, but instead is a “civil/regulatory” statute not authorized by Pub.L. 280 to be enforced on Indian reservations. That an otherwise regulatory law is enforceable (as here) by criminal as well as civil means does not necessarily convert it into a criminal law within Pub.L. 280's meaning.

        (b) Enforcement of OCCA, which makes certain violations of state and local gambling laws violations of federal criminal law, is an exercise of federal, rather than state, authority. There is nothing in OCCA indicating that the States are to have any part in enforcing the federal laws or are authorized to make arrests on Indian reservations that, in the absence of OCCA, they could not effect. California may not make arrests on reservations and thus, through OCCA, enforce its gambling laws against Indian tribes. Pp. 480 U. S. 207–212.

      • Even though not expressly authorized by Congress, state and local laws may be applied to on-reservation activities of tribes and tribal members under certain circumstances. The decision in this case turns on whether state authority is preempted by the operation of federal law. State jurisdiction is preempted if it interferes or is incompatible with federal and tribal interests reflected in federal law, unless the state interests at stake are sufficient to justify the assertion of state authority. The federal interests in Indian self-government, including the goal of encouraging tribal self-sufficiency and economic development, are important, and federal agencies, acting under federal laws, have sought to implement them by promoting and overseeing tribal bingo and gambling enterprises. Such policies and actions are of particular relevance in this case, since the tribal games provide the sole source of revenues for the operation of the tribal governments, and are the major sources of employment for tribal members. To the extent that the State seeks to prevent all bingo games on tribal lands while permitting regulated off-reservation games, the asserted state interest in preventing the infiltration of the tribal games by organized crime is irrelevant, and the state and county laws are preempted. Even to the extent that the State and county seek to regulate short of prohibition, the laws are preempted, since the asserted state interest is not sufficient to escape the preemptive force of the federal and tribal interests apparent in this case. Pp. 480 U. S. 214–222.

      783 F.2d 900, affirmed and remanded.

      SOURCE: California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, 480 U.S. 202 (1987).

      1994: Proposition 187 (California)

      During the 1990s, California was a hotbed of anti-immigrant sentiment, focusing specifically on Hispanic (mostly Mexican) undocumented immigrants, seeing them as receiving state services but not contributing to the operation of the state. Proposition 187 was an effort to discontinue all benefits to undocumented immigrants—including any publicly funded health care—and place the representatives of the state (police officers) in the position of reporting the presence of undocumented immigrants to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service for possible deportation. The law, however, has never been enforced because of constant litigation over its legality.

      This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8 of the Constitution.

      This initiative measure adds sections to various codes; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.

      Proposed Law

      SECTION 1. Findings and Declaration.

      The People of California find and declare as follows:

      That they have suffered and are suffering economic hardship caused by the presence of illegal aliens in this state.

      That they have suffered and are suffering personal injury and damage caused by the criminal conduct of illegal aliens in this state.

      That they have a right to the protection of their government from any person or persons entering this country unlawfully.

      Therefore, the People of California declare their intention to provide for cooperation between their agencies of state and local government with the federal government, and to establish a system of required notification by and between such agencies to prevent illegal aliens in the United States from receiving benefits or public services in the State of California.

      SECTION 2. Manufacture, Distribution or Sale of False Citizenship or Resident Alien Documents: Crime and Punishment.

      Section 113 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

      113. Any person who manufactures, distributes or sells false documents to conceal the true citizenship or resident alien status of another person is guilty of a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for five years or by a fine of seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000).

      SECTION 3. Use of False Citizenship or Resident Alien Documents: Crime and Punishment.

      Section 114 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

      114. Any person who uses false documents to conceal his or her true citizenship or resident alien status is guilty of a felony, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for five years or by a fine of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).

      SECTION 4. Law Enforcement Cooperation with INS.

      Section 834b is added to the Penal Code, to read:

      834b. (a) Every law enforcement agency in California shall fully cooperate with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any person who is arrested if he or she is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws.

      (b) With respect to any such person who is arrested, and suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, every law enforcement agency shall do the following:

      • Attempt to verify the legal status of such person as a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, an alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time or as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of immigration laws. The verification process may include, but shall not be limited to, questioning the person regarding his or her date and place of birth, and entry into the United States, and demanding documentation to indicate his or her legal status.

      • Notify the person of his or her apparent status as an alien who is present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws and inform him or her that, apart from any criminal justice proceedings, he or she must either obtain legal status or leave the United States.

      • Notify the Attorney General of California and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status and provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.

      (c) Any legislative, administrative, or other action by a city, county, or other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries, or by a law enforcement agency, to prevent or limit the cooperation required by subdivision (a) is expressly prohibited.

      SECTION 5. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Public Social Services.

      Section 10001.5 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

      10001.5. (a) In order to carry out the intention of the People of California that only citizens of the United States and aliens lawfully admitted to the United States may receive the benefits of public social services and to ensure that all persons employed in the providing of those services shall diligently protect public funds from misuse, the provisions of this section are adopted.

      (b) A person shall not receive any public social services to which he or she may be otherwise entitled until the legal status of that person has been verified as one of the following:

      • A citizen of the United States.

      • An alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident.

      • An alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time.

      (c) If any public entity in this state to whom a person has applied for public social services determines or reasonably suspects, based upon the information provided to it, that the person is an alien in the United States in violation of federal law, the following procedures shall be followed by the public entity:

      • The entity shall not provide the person with benefits or services.

      • The entity shall, in writing, notify the person of his or her apparent illegal immigration status, and that the person must either obtain legal status or leave the United States.

      • The entity shall also notify the State Director of Social Services, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status, and shall provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.

      SECTION 6. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Publicly Funded Health Care.

      Chapter 1.3 (commencing with Section 130) is added to Part 1 of Division 1 of the Health and Safety Code, to read:

      Chapter 1.3. Publicly-Funded Health Care Services

      130. (a) In order to carry out the intention of the People of California that, excepting emergency medical care as required by federal law, only citizens of the United States and aliens lawfully admitted to the United States may receive the benefits of publicly-funded health care, and to ensure that all persons employed in the providing of those services shall diligently protect public funds from misuse, the provisions of this section are adopted.

      (b) A person shall not receive any health care services from a publicly-funded health care facility, to which he or she is otherwise entitled until the legal status of that person has been verified as one of the following:

      • A citizen of the United States.

      • An alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident.

      • An alien lawfully admitted for a temporary period of time.

      (c) If any publicly-funded health care facility in this state from whom a person seeks health care services, other than emergency medical care as required by federal law, determines or reasonably suspects, based upon the information provided to it, that the person is an alien in the United States in violation of federal law, the following procedures shall be followed by the facility:

      • The facility shall not provide the person with services.

      • The facility shall, in writing, notify the person of his or her apparent illegal immigration status, and that the person must either obtain legal status or leave the United States.

      • The facility shall also notify the State Director of Health Services, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service of the apparent illegal status, and shall provide any additional information that may be requested by any other public entity.

      (d) For purposes of this section “publicly-funded health care facility” shall be defined as specified in Sections 1200 and 1250 of this code as of January 1, 1993.

      SECTION 7. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Public Elementary and Secondary Schools.

      Section 48215 is added to the Education Code, to read: 48215. (a) No public elementary or secondary school shall admit, or permit the attendance of, any child who is not a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident, or a person who is otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States.

      (b) Commencing January 1, 1995, each school district shall verify the legal status of each child enrolling in the school district for the first time in order to ensure the enrollment or attendance only of citizens, aliens lawfully admitted as permanent residents, or persons who are otherwise authorized to be present in the United States.

      (c) By January 1, 1996, each school district shall have verified the legal status of each child already enrolled and in attendance in the school district in order to ensure the enrollment or attendance only of citizens, aliens lawfully admitted as permanent residents, or persons who are otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States.

      (d) By January 1, 1996, each school district shall also have verified the legal status of each parent or guardian of each child referred to in subdivisions (b) and (c), to determine whether such parent or guardian is one of the following:

      • A citizen of the United States.

      • An alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident.

      • An alien admitted lawfully for a temporary period of time.

      (e) Each school district shall provide information to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding any enrollee or pupil, or parent or guardian, attending a public elementary or secondary school in the school district determined or reasonably suspected to be in violation of federal immigration laws within forty-five days after becoming aware of an apparent violation. The notice shall also be provided to the parent or legal guardian of the enrollee or pupil, and shall state that an existing pupil may not continue to attend the school after ninety calendar days from the date of the notice, unless legal status is established.

      (f) For each child who cannot establish legal status in the United States, each school district shall continue to provide education for a period of ninety days from the date of the notice. Such ninety day period shall be utilized to accomplish an orderly transition to a school in the child's country of origin. Each school district shall fully cooperate in this transition effort to ensure that the educational needs of the child are best served for that period of time.

      SECTION 8. Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Public Postsecondary Educational Institutions.

      Section 66010.8 is added to the Education Code, to read: 66010.8. (a) No public institution of postsecondary education shall admit, enroll, or permit the attendance of any person who is not a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted as a permanent resident in the United States, or a person who is otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States.

      (b) Commencing with the first term or semester that begins after January 1, 1995, and at the commencement of each term or semester thereafter, each public postsecondary educational institution shall verify the status of each person enrolled or in attendance at that institution in order to ensure the enrollment or attendance only of United States citizens, aliens lawfully admitted as permanent residents in the United States, and persons who are otherwise authorized under federal law to be present in the United States.

      (c) No later than 45 days after the admissions officer of a public postsecondary educational institution becomes aware of the application, enrollment, or attendance of a person determined to be, or who is under reasonable suspicion of being, in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws, that officer shall provide that information to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Attorney General of California, and the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. The information shall also be provided to the applicant, enrollee, or person admitted.

      SECTION 9. Attorney General Cooperation with the INS.

      Section 53069.65 is added to the Government Code, to read:

      53069.65. Whenever the state or a city, or a county, or any other legally authorized local governmental entity with jurisdictional boundaries reports the presence of a person who is suspected of being present in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws to the Attorney General of California, that report shall be transmitted to the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Attorney General shall be responsible for maintaining on-going and accurate records of such reports, and shall provide any additional information that may be requested by any other government entity.

      SECTION 10. Amendment and Severability.

      The statutory provisions contained in this measure may not be amended by the Legislature except to further its purposes by statute passed in each house by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring, or by a statute that becomes effective only when approved by the voters.

      In the event that any portion of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect any other provision or application of the act, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to that end the provisions of this act are severable.

      SOURCE: California Ballot Pamphlet, November 8, 1994, General Election, http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/California_Proposition_187_(1994).

      1996: Proposition 209 (California)

      California's Proposition 209 was passed in November 1996, amending the California Constitution to prevent further implementation of affirmative action programs by the state government. Specifically, the state was barred from considering race, ethnicity, or sex when considering candidates for public contracting, public employment, or public education.

      This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8 of the Constitution. This initiative measure expressly amends the Constitution by adding a section thereto; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.

      Proposed Amendment to Article I

      Section 31 is added to Article I of the California Constitution as follows:

      SEC. 31.

      • The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
      • This section shall apply only to action taken after the section's effective date.
      • Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide qualifications based on sex which are reasonably necessary to the nor mal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.
      • Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as invalidating any court order or consent decree which is in force as of the effective date of this section.
      • Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting action which must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.
      • For the purposes of this section, “state” shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the state itself, any city, county, city and county, public university system, including the University of California, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the state.
      • The remedies available for violations of this section shall be the same, regardless of the injured party's race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, as are otherwise available for violations of then-existing California antidiscrimination law.
      • This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with federal law or the United States Constitution, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that federal law and the United States Constitution permit. Any provision held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.

      SOURCE: California Secretary of State, http://vote96.sos.ca.gov/BP/209text.htm.

      2003: Lawrence v. Texas

      States had long held so-called sodomy laws, which prohibited homosexual activity. In 2003, when the case of Lawrence v. Texas was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, some fourteen states still had such laws on the books. In the case, the Court held that sexual conduct between consenting adults was protected under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law.

      Responding to a reported weapons disturbance in a private residence, Houston police entered petitioner Lawrence's apartment and saw him and another adult man, petitioner Garner, engaging in a private, consensual sexual act. Petitioners were arrested and convicted of deviate sexual intercourse in violation of a Texas statute forbidding two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct. In affirming, the State Court of Appeals held, inter alia, that the statute was not unconstitutional under the Due

      Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court considered Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U. S. 186, controlling on that point.

      Held: The Texas statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct violates the Due Process

      Clause. Pp. 564–579.

      • Resolution of this case depends on whether petitioners were free as adults to engage in private conduct in the exercise of their liberty under the Due Process Clause. For this inquiry the Court deems it necessary to reconsider its Bowers holding. The Bowers Court's initial substantive statement—“The issue presented is whether the Federal Constitution confers a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy…,” 478 U. S., at 190—discloses the Court's failure to appreciate the extent of the liberty at stake. To say that the issue in Bowers was simply the right to engage in certain sexual conduct demeans the claim the individual put forward, just as it would demean a married couple were it said that marriage is just about the right to have sexual intercourse. Although the laws involved in Bowers and here purport to do no more than prohibit a particular sexual act, their penalties and purposes have more far-reaching consequences, touching upon the most private human conduct, sexual behavior, and in the most private of places, the home. They seek to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to choose to enter upon relationships in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons. Pp. 564–567.
      • Having misapprehended the liberty claim presented to it, the Bowers Court stated that proscriptions against sodomy have ancient roots. 478 U. S., at 192. It should be noted, however, that there is no longstanding history in this country of laws directed at homosexual conduct as a distinct matter. Early American sodomy laws were not directed at homosexuals as such but instead sought to prohibit nonprocreative sexual activity more generally, whether between men and women or men and men. Moreover, early sodomy laws seem not to have been enforced against consenting adults acting in private. Instead, sodomy prosecutions often involved predatory acts against those who could not or did not consent: relations between men and minor girls or boys, between adults involving force, between adults implicating disparity in status, or between men and animals. The longstanding criminal prohibition of homosexual sodomy upon which Bowers placed such reliance is as consistent with a general condemnation of nonprocreative sex as it is with an established tradition of prosecuting acts because of their homosexual character. Far from possessing “ancient roots,” ibid., American laws targeting same-sex couples did not develop until the last third of the 20th century. Even now, only nine States have singled out same-sex relations for criminal prosecution. Thus, the historical grounds relied upon in Bowers are more complex than the majority opinion and the concurring opinion by Chief Justice Burger there indicated. They are not without doubt and, at the very least, are overstated. The Bowers Court was, of course, making the broader point that for centuries there have been powerful voices to condemn homosexual conduct as immoral, but this Court's obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate its own moral code, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833, 850. The Nation's laws and traditions in the past half century are most relevant here. They show an emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex. See County of Sacramento v. Lewis, 523 U. S. 833, 857. Pp. 567–573.
      • Bowers’ deficiencies became even more apparent in the years following its announcement. The 25 States with laws prohibiting the conduct referenced in Bowers are reduced now to 13, of which 4 enforce their laws only against homosexual conduct. In those States, including Texas, that still proscribe sodomy (whether for same-sex or heterosexual conduct), there is a pattern of nonenforcement with respect to consenting adults acting in private. Casey, supra, at 851—which confirmed that the Due Process Clause protects personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education—and Romer v. Evans, 517 U. S. 620, 624—which struck down class-based legislation directed at homosexuals—cast Bowers’ holding into even more doubt. The stigma the Texas criminal statute imposes, moreover, is not trivial. Although the offense is but a minor misdemeanor, it remains a criminal offense with all that imports for the dignity of the persons charged, including notation of convictions on their records and on job application forms, and registration as sex offenders under state law. Where a case's foundations have sustained serious erosion, criticism from other sources is of greater significance. In the United States, criticism of Bowers has been substantial and continuing, disapproving of its reasoning in all respects, not just as to its historical assumptions. And, to the extent Bowers relied on values shared with a wider civilization, the case's reasoning and holding have been rejected by the European Court of Human Rights, and that other nations have taken action consistent with an affirmation of the protected right of homosexual adults to engage in intimate, consensual conduct. There has been no showing that in this country the governmental interest in circumscribing personal choice is somehow more legitimate or urgent. Stare decisis is not an inexorable command. Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U. S. 808, 828. Bowers’ holding has not induced detrimental reliance of the sort that could counsel against overturning it once there are compelling reasons to do so. Casey, supra, at 855–856. Bowers causes uncertainty, for the precedents before and after it contradict its central holding. Pp. 573–577.
      • Bowers’ rationale does not withstand careful analysis. In his dissenting opinion in Bowers Justice Stevens concluded that (1) the fact that a State's governing majority has traditionally viewed a particular practice as immoral is not a sufficient reason for upholding a law prohibiting the practice, and (2) individual decisions concerning the intimacies of physical relationships, even when not intended to produce offspring, are a form of “liberty” protected by due process. That analysis should have controlled Bowers, and it controls here. Bowers was not correct when it was decided, is not correct today, and is hereby overruled. This case does not involve minors, persons who might be injured or coerced, those who might not easily refuse consent, or public conduct or prostitution. It does involve two adults who, with full and mutual consent, engaged in sexual practices common to a homosexual lifestyle. Petitioners’ right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in private conduct without government intervention. Casey, supra, at 847. The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the individual's personal and private life.

      SOURCE: Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003).

      2008: Proposition 8 (California)

      During the late 2000s, the biggest issue in the Gay Rights Movement had to do with the ability of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to marry. The city of San Francisco began to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples duringFebruary and March 2004, but the California Supreme Court halted the weddings and voided all of the licenses in August of that year. The issue came before the people of the state for a vote in November 2008, with the proposition winning a narrow victory.

      This initiative measure is submitted to the people in accordance with the provisions of Article II, Section 8, of the California Constitution.

      This initiative measure expressly amends the California Constitution by adding a section thereto; therefore, new provisions proposed to be added are printed in italic type to indicate that they are new.

      SECTION 1. Title This measure shall be known and may be cited as the “California Marriage Protection Act.”

      SECTION 2. Section 7.5 is added to Article I of the California Constitution, to read:

      SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

      SOURCE: California Secretary of State, http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/past/2008/general/title-sum/prop8-title-sum.htm.

      2008: State of Hawai'i Statement on the Birth Certificate of Barack Hussein Obama II

      During the 2008 presidential election between Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), some people questioned whether Obama was truly born in the United States, as his father had been born in Kenya. Although the State of Hawai'i Department of Health released the short-form birth certificate and Obama's birth was announced in two Honolulu newspapers, conspiracy theories espoused by the so-called birthers, most notably by California dentist Orly Taitz, continued, even after Obama was elected president.


      There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama's official birth certificate. State law (Hawai'i Revised Statutes §338–18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record.

      Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai'i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai'i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures.

      No state official, including Governor Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawai'i.

      SOURCE: State of Hawai'i Department of Health, http://hawaii.gov/health/about/pr/2008/08-93.pdf.

      2010: Senate Bill 1070 (Arizona)

      Although undocumented immigration declined during the late 2000s, many in the American Southwest felt that the federal government had been negligent in protecting the borders and enforcing the nation's immigration laws. In Arizona, state senator Russell Pearce (R) proposed Senate Bill 1070, which charged the state's law enforcement agencies with the task of determining the immigration status of the state's population. Encouraged to request identification or other paperwork proving legal status from anyone the officer suspected of being in the country illegally, many argued that this would lead to racial profiling. In September 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three of the law's four provisions.

      The legislature finds that there is a compelling interest in the cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws throughout all of Arizona. The legislature declares that the intent of this act is to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona. The provisions of this act are intended to work together to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States.


      A. No official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may limit or restrict the enforcement of federal immigration laws to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.

      B. For any lawful contact made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation. Any person who is arrested shall have the person's immigration status determined before the person is released. The person's immigration status shall be verified with the federal government pursuant to 8 United States Code section 1373(c). A

      law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not solely consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of this subsection except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution. A person is presumed not to be an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States if the person provides to the law enforcement officer or agency any of the following:

      1. A valid Arizona driver's license. 2. A valid Arizona Nonoperating identification license. 3. A valid tribal enrollment card or other form of tribal identification. 4. If the entity requires proof of legal presence in the United States before issuance, any valid United States federal, state or local government issued identification.

      SOURCE: Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, State of Arizona: 2010 Arizona Session Laws, Chapter 113, 49th Legislature, 2nd regular sess., Senate Bill 1070, April 23, 2010.

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