Dawes, Henry L. (ON HOLD)
1893 AQS in Latin by the Mass. US Rep & Senator, supported creating Yellowstone National Park, 1887 Dawes Act ended tribal land ownership and made 90,000 Native Americans landless
Autograph ID: 7183
Condition: Good, light toning at top and right sides
Description: “(1816-1903) Mass. US Rep & Senator (R) notable for the Dawes Act, intended to stimulate assimilation of Native Americans by ending tribal government and control of communal lands. Yale 1816, taught, edited a newspaper, admitted to the Mass. bar 1842. Served in the State House 1848-49 & 1852 and the State Senate 1850. US Rep 1857-75, he became an ardent supporter of creation of Yellowstone National Park and in March 1871 supported financing F. V. Hayden’s 5th geological survey of the territory, driving force in the creation of the Park. When the Act of Dedication bill came before Congress, he was one of its most active supporters. Elected to the US Senate by the state legislature 1875, served to 1893. Prominent in passing anti-slavery and Reconstruction measures, tariff legislation, establishing a fish commission, and initiating daily government weather reports. In the Senate, Dawes chaired the Committee on Indian Affairs and worked to enact laws he believed would benefit Indians. His most prominent achievement was passage of the General Allotment Act of 1887 (The Dawes Act), which authorized the President to survey Indian tribal land and divide the area into allotments for individual Indians or households. It was intended to assimilate Indians by breaking up tribal governments and communal lands and encouraging subsistence farming. The Act was amended in 1891, 1898 by the Curtis Act, and in 1906 by the Burke Act. The Dawes Commission set up under an 1893 Indian Office appropriation bill, was created to try to persuade tribes excluded from the Act by treaties to agree to the allotment plan, and registered members of the Five Civilized Tribes. On leaving the Senate in 1893, he became chairman of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, serving 10 years. He negotiated with them for extinction of communal title to their land and to dissolve tribal governments to make the tribes a constituent part of the US. Native Americans lost 2/3 of their 1887 land base over the life of the Dawes Act; 90,000 Indians were made landless, forced onto small tracts of land far from their kin. The allotment policy ended subsistence hunting, creating a crisis for many tribes. The Coolidge Administration studied the Dawes Act’s effects and current conditions in the 1928 Meriam Report, which found that the Dawes Act illegally deprived Native Americans of their land rights.
AQS in Latin on 7 x 4 ½ “Boston Athletic Association/Exeter Street” letterhead with blue and gilt emblem at top center, June 26 1893. Dawes, who left the US Senate 3 ½ months earlier, writes in Latin: “Sile, et philosopheus esto” (“Be silent, and you will pass as a philosopher”) and signs adding the date.”
Type: Autograph Quotation Signed