Dawes Act Essay

There were benefits and sacrifices for adapting the Dawes Act in 1887. It allowed Native Americans to merge with Americans through U. S. citizenship. It also opened land for settlers to move West, but at the same time allotted Native Americans a selective amount of land. Native Americans were required to register with an English name on the Dawes Poll to be considered in the land distribution. The Act is perceived by some that it benefited the American people more than the Native Americans.

The Dawes Act was intended to be done in a reasonable and humane way. If the Dawes program was not corrupt by its Agents, it may have been successful. Native Americans would have kept a substantial amount of their land along with having the right to be a U. S. citizen. Unfortunately, the system was corrupt with Agents. Some of the Agents put their relatives and friends on the Dawes Poll, which was intended for Native Americans. Native Americans lost most of their territory as a result of this corruption.

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As it appears the Dawes Act was the best solution. It gave Native Americans the opportunity to be a part of American society and own land. The option of “removal” would have created territory issues. “Removal” would be a large sacrifice for the Native Americans and take them from all that they have known. The solution of “nation within a nation” would have resulted in war eventually. The two governments would not have been able to co-exist without disagreements and conflicts.

Also, the land that the Native Americans occupied would eventually not be enough to accommodate their growing population. The Dawes Act in its original content, without corruption, was a moderate solution. It allowed Native Americans to keep part of their land, let settlers move into the surplus and introduced the Native Americans to American society through U. S. citizenship. The Act was a fair, reasonable and humane solution, having benefits and sacrifices on both parties. Unfortunately, due to corruption in the system, it failed the Native American people.


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