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# In 1887 the Dawes Act legislated wide-scale private ownership

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In 1887 the Dawes Act legislated wide-scale private ownership  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 01 Nov 2018, 18:51
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In 1887 the Dawes Act legislated wide-scale private ownership of reservation lands in the United States for Native Americans. The act allotted plots of 80 acres to each Native American adult. However, the Native Americans were not granted outright title to their lands. The act defined each grant as a “trust patent,” meaning that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the governmental agency in charge of administering policy regarding Native Americans, would hold the allotted land in trust for 25 years, during which time the Native American owners could use, but not alienate (sell) the land. After the 25-year period, the Native American allottee would receive a “fee patent” awarding full legal ownership of the land.

Two main reasons were advanced for the restriction on the Native Americans’ ability to sell their lands. First, it was claimed that free alienability would lead to immediate transfer of large amounts of former reservation land to non-Native Americans, consequently threatening the traditional way of life on those reservations. A second objection to free alienation was that Native Americans were unaccustomed to, and did not desire, a system of private landownership. Their custom, it was said, favored communal use of land.

However, both of these arguments bear only on the transfer of Native American lands to non-Native Americans: neither offers a reason for prohibiting Native Americans from transferring land among themselves. Selling land to each other would not threaten the Native American culture. Additionally, if communal land use remained preferable to Native Americans after allotment, free alienability would have allowed allottees to sell their lands back to the tribe.

When stated rationales for government policies prove empty, using an interest-group model often provides an explanation. While neither Native Americans nor the potential non-Native American purchasers benefited from the restraint on alienation contained in the Dawes Act, one clearly defined group did benefit: the BIA bureaucrats. It has been convincingly demonstrated that bureaucrats seek to maximize the size of their staffs and their budgets in order to compensate for the lack of other sources of fulfillment, such as power and prestige. Additionally, politicians tend to favor the growth of governmental bureaucracy because such growth provides increased opportunity for the exercise of political patronage. The restraint on alienation vastly increased the amount of work, and hence the budgets, necessary to implement the statute. Until allotment was ended in 1934, granting fee patents and leasing Native American lands were among the principal activities of the United States government. One hypothesis, then, for the temporary restriction on alienation in the Dawes Act is that it reflected a compromise between non-Native Americans favoring immediate alienability so they could purchase land and the BIA bureaucrats who administered the privatization system.

1. Which one of the following best summarizes the main idea of the passage?

(A) United States government policy toward Native Americans has tended to disregard their needs and consider instead the needs of non-Native American purchasers of land.
(B) In order to preserve the unique way of life on Native American reservations, use of Native American lands must be communal rather than individual.
(C) The Dawes Act’s restriction on the right of Native Americans to sell their land may have been implemented primarily to serve the interests of politicians and bureaucrats.
(D) The clause restricting free alienability in the Dawes Act greatly expanded United States governmental activity in the area of land administration.
(E) Since passage of the Dawes Act in 1887, Native Americans have not been able to sell or transfer their former reservation land freely.

2. Which one of the following statements concerning the reason for the end of allotment, if true, would provide the most support for the author’s view of politicians?

(A) Politicians realized that allotment was damaging the Native American way of life.
(B) Politicians decided that allotment would be more congruent with the Native American custom of communal land use.
(C) Politicians believed that allotment’s continuation would not enhance their opportunities to exercise patronage.
(D) Politicians felt that the staff and budgets of the BIA had grown too large.
(E) Politicians were concerned that too much Native American land was falling into the hands of non-Native Americans.

3. Which one of the following best describes the organization of the passage?

(A) The passage of a law is analyzed in detail, the benefits and drawbacks of one of its clauses are studied, and a final assessment of the law is offered.
(B) The history of a law is narrated, the effects of one of its clauses on various populations are studied, and repeal of the law is advocated
(C) A law is examined, the political and social backgrounds of one of its clauses are characterized, and the permanent effects of the law are studied.
(D) A law is described, the rationale put forward for one of its clauses is outlined and dismissed, and a different rationale for the clause is presented.
(E) The legal status of an ethnic group is examined with respect to issues of landownership and commercial autonomy, and the benefits to rival groups due to that status are explained.

4. The author’s attitude toward the reasons advanced for the restriction on alienability in the Dawes Act at the time of its passage can best be described as

(A) completely credulous
(B) partially approving
(C) basically indecisive
(D) mildly questioning
(E) highly skeptical

5. It can be inferred from the passage that which one of the following was true of Native American life immediately before passage of the Dawes Act?

(A) Most Native Americans supported themselves through farming.
(B) Not many Native Americans personally owned the land on which they lived.
(C) The land on which most Native Americans lived had been bought from their tribes.
(D) Few Native Americans had much contact with their non-Native American neighbors.
(E) Few Native Americans were willing to sell their land to non-Native Americans.

6. According to the passage, the type of landownership initially obtainable by Native Americans under the Dawes Act differed from the type of ownership obtainable after a 25-year period in that only the latter allowed

(A) owners of land to farm it
(B) owners of land to sell it
(C) government some control over how owners disposed of land
(D) owners of land to build on it with relatively minor governmental restrictions
(E) government to charge owners a fee for developing their land

7. Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the author’s argument regarding the true motivation for the passage of the Dawes Act?

(A) The legislators who voted in favor of the Dawes Act owned land adjacent to Native American reservations.
(B) The majority of Native Americans who were granted fee patents did not sell their land back to their tribes.
(C) Native Americans managed to preserve their traditional culture even when they were geographically dispersed.
(D) The legislators who voted in favor of the Dawes Act were heavily influenced by BIA bureaucrats.
(E) Non-Native Americans who purchased the majority of Native American lands consolidated them into larger farm holdings.

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Originally posted by gmat6nplus1 on 30 Oct 2013, 11:50.
Last edited by workout on 01 Nov 2018, 18:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: In 1887 the Dawes Act legislated wide-scale private ownership  [#permalink]

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30 Oct 2013, 13:08
gmat6nplus1 wrote:
I will provide OAs in few days. Have fun.

In 1887 the Dawes Act legislated wide-scale private ownership of reservation lands in the United States for Native Americans. The act allotted plots of 80 acres to each Native American adult. However, the Native Americans were not granted outright title to their lands. The act defined each grant as a “trust patent,” meaning that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the governmental agency in charge of administering policy regarding Native Americans, would hold the allotted land in trust for 25 years, during which time the Native American owners could use, but not alienate (sell) the land. After the 25-year period, the Native American allottee would receive a “fee patent” awarding full legal ownership of the land.

Two main reasons were advanced for the restriction on the Native Americans’ ability to sell their lands. First, it was claimed that free alienability would lead to immediate transfer of large amounts of former reservation land to non-Native Americans, consequently threatening the traditional way of life on those reservations. A second objection to free alienation was that Native Americans were unaccustomed to, and did not desire, a system of private landownership. Their custom, it was said, favored communal use of land.

However, both of these arguments bear only on the transfer of Native American lands to non-Native Americans: neither offers a reason for prohibiting Native Americans from transferring land among themselves. Selling land to each other would not threaten the Native American culture. Additionally, if communal land use remained preferable to Native Americans after allotment, free alienability would have allowed allottees to sell their lands back to the tribe.

When stated rationales for government policies prove empty, using an interest-group model often provides an explanation. While neither Native Americans nor the potential non-Native American purchasers benefited from the restraint on alienation contained in the Dawes Act, one clearly defined group did benefit: the BIA bureaucrats. It has been convincingly demonstrated that bureaucrats seek to maximize the size of their staffs and their budgets in order to compensate for the lack of other sources of fulfillment, such as power and prestige. Additionally, politicians tend to favor the growth of governmental bureaucracy because such growth provides increased opportunity for the exercise of political patronage. The restraint on alienation vastly increased the amount of work, and hence the budgets, necessary to implement the statute. Until allotment was ended in 1934, granting fee patents and leasing Native American lands were among the principal activities of the United States government. One hypothesis, then, for the temporary restriction on alienation in the Dawes Act is that it reflected a compromise between non-Native Americans favoring immediate alienability so they could purchase land and the BIA bureaucrats who administered the privatization system.

I'll give this a shot
1. Which one of the following best summarizes the main idea of the passage?

(A) United States government policy toward Native Americans has tended to disregard their needs and consider instead the needs of non-Native American
purchasers of land.
(B) In order to preserve the unique way of life on Native American reservations, use of Native American lands must be communal rather than individual.
(C) The Dawes Act’s restriction on the right of Native Americans to sell their land may have been implemented primarily to serve the interests of
politicians and bureaucrats.- I chose this as the correct answer because the author states: " While neither Native Americans nor the potential non-Native American purchasers benefited from the restraint on alienation contained in the Dawes Act, one clearly defined group did benefit: the BIA bureaucrats", in the last paragraph
(D) The clause restricting free alienability in the Dawes Act greatly expanded United States governmental activity in the area of land administration.
(E) Since passage of the Dawes Act in 1887, Native Americans have not been able to sell or transfer their former reservation land freely.

2. Which one of the following statements concerning the reason for the end of allotment, if true, would provide the most support for the author’s view of politicians? I was stuck between C and D here but I ended up going with C becaue D says that the BIA had grown too large, but it says in the reading that bueracrats wanted to make their staffs larger. Thus i eliminated A, B, and E because they were out of scopeNA's and nowhere in the passage did it talk about politicans caring about NA people or to whom the land was sold. They were concerned about the BIA thus I was left with C

(A) Politicians realized that allotment was damaging the Native American way of life.
(B) Politicians decided that allotment would be more congruent with the Native American custom of communal land use.
(C) Politicians believed that allotment’s continuation would not enhance their opportunities to exercise patronage.
(D) Politicians felt that the staff and budgets of the BIA had grown too large.
(E) Politicians were concerned that too much Native American land was falling into the hands of non-Native Americans.

3. Which one of the following best describes the organization of the passage?
I chose D here because the author states the clause presented, then provides his own clause(the BIA agenda)

(A) The passage of a law is analyzed in detail, the benefits and drawbacks of one of its clauses are studied, and a final assessment of the law is offered.
(B) The history of a law is narrated, the effects of one of its clauses on various populations are studied, and repeal of the law is advocated
(C) A law is examined, the political and social backgrounds of one of its clauses are characterized, and the permanent effects of the law are studied.
(D) A law is described, the rationale put forward for one of its clauses is outlined and dismissed, and a different rationale for the clause is presented.
(E) The legal status of an ethnic group is examined with respect to issues of landownership and commercial autonomy, and the benefits to rival groups
due to that status are explained.

4. The author’s attitude toward the reasons advanced for the restriction on alienability in the Dawes Act at the time of its passage can best be described as
I couldnt figure out what A meant, but I chose E, because the author seeems to beleive the Dawes act was not enacted with the NA people in mind but because the BIA wanted to get bigger and more money, thus he was highly skeptical of it
(A) completely credulous
(B) partially approving
(C) basically indecisive
(D) mildly questioning
(E) highly skeptical

5. It can be inferred from the passage that which one of the following was true of Native American life immediately before passage of the Dawes Act?
They lived in tribes and did not necessarily own their own land
(A) Most Native Americans supported themselves through farming.
(B) Not many Native Americans personally owned the land on which they lived.
(C) The land on which most Native Americans lived had been bought from their tribes.
(D) Few Native Americans had much contact with their non-Native American neighbors.
(E) Few Native Americans were willing to sell their land to non-Native Americans.

6. According to the passage, the type of landownership initially obtainable by Native Americans under the Dawes Act differed from the type of ownership obtainable after a 25-year period in that only the latter allowed
B, its in the passage
(A) owners of land to farm it
(B) owners of land to sell it
(C) government some control over how owners disposed of land
(D) owners of land to build on it with relatively minor governmental restrictions
(E) government to charge owners a fee for developing their land

7. Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the author’s argument regarding the true motivation for the passage of the Dawes Act?
A, because if they passed, and NA moved from their lands then legislators now could purchase or have this land??
(A) The legislators who voted in favor of the Dawes Act owned land adjacent to Native American reservations.
(B) The majority of Native Americans who were granted fee patents did not sell their land back to their tribes.
(C) Native Americans managed to preserve their traditional culture even when they were geographically dispersed.
(D) The legislators who voted in favor of the Dawes Act were heavily influenced by BIA bureaucrats.
(E) Non-Native Americans who purchased the majority of Native American lands consolidated them into larger farm holdings.
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Joined: 31 Aug 2011
Posts: 162
Re: In 1887 the Dawes Act legislated wide-scale private ownership  [#permalink]

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02 Nov 2013, 11:46
3

1. Which one of the following best summarizes the main idea of the passage?

(A) United States government policy toward Native Americans has tended to disregard their needs and consider instead the needs of non-Native American
purchasers of land.
(B) In order to preserve the unique way of life on Native American reservations, use of Native American lands must be communal rather than individual.
(C) The Dawes Act’s restriction on the right of Native Americans to sell their land may have been implemented primarily to serve the interests of politicians and bureaucrats. from last para
(D) The clause restricting free alienability in the Dawes Act greatly expanded United States governmental activity in the area of land administration.
(E) Since passage of the Dawes Act in 1887, Native Americans have not been able to sell or transfer their former reservation land freely.

2. Which one of the following statements concerning the reason for the end of allotment, if true, would provide the most support for the author’s view of politicians?

(A) Politicians realized that allotment was damaging the Native American way of life.
(B) Politicians decided that allotment would be more congruent with the Native American custom of communal land use.
(C) Politicians believed that allotment’s continuation would not enhance their opportunities to exercise patronage. only one line mentioned about politicians and thats in last para
(D) Politicians felt that the staff and budgets of the BIA had grown too large.
(E) Politicians were concerned that too much Native American land was falling into the hands of non-Native Americans.

3. Which one of the following best describes the organization of the passage?

(A) The passage of a law is analyzed in detail, the benefits and drawbacks of one of its clauses are studied, and a final assessment of the law is offered.
(B) The history of a law is narrated, the effects of one of its clauses on various populations are studied, and repeal of the law is advocated
(C) A law is examined, the political and social backgrounds of one of its clauses are characterized, and the permanent effects of the law are studied.
(D) A law is described, the rationale put forward for one of its clauses is outlined and dismissed, and a different rationale for the clause is presented. first para law, 2nd para rationale, 3rd para its dismissal and 4th different rationale
(E) The legal status of an ethnic group is examined with respect to issues of landownership and commercial autonomy, and the benefits to rival groups
due to that status are explained.

4. The author’s attitude toward the reasons advanced for the restriction on alienability in the Dawes Act at the time of its passage can best be described as

(A) completely credulous
(B) partially approving
(C) basically indecisive
(D) mildly questioning
(E) highly skeptical as from 3rd para he thinks the given reasons are flawed

5. It can be inferred from the passage that which one of the following was true of Native American life immediately before passage of the Dawes Act?

(A) Most Native Americans supported themselves through farming.
(B) Not many Native Americans personally owned the land on which they lived. 2nd para Their custom, it was said, favored communal use of land.
(C) The land on which most Native Americans lived had been bought from their tribes.
(D) Few Native Americans had much contact with their non-Native American neighbors.
(E) Few Native Americans were willing to sell their land to non-Native Americans.

6. According to the passage, the type of landownership initially obtainable by Native Americans under the Dawes Act differed from the type of ownership obtainable after a 25-year period in that only the latter allowed

(A) owners of land to farm it
(B) owners of land to sell it first para last line
(C) government some control over how owners disposed of land
(D) owners of land to build on it with relatively minor governmental restrictions
(E) government to charge owners a fee for developing their land

7. Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the author’s argument regarding the true motivation for the passage of the Dawes Act?

(A) The legislators who voted in favor of the Dawes Act owned land adjacent to Native American reservations.
(B) The majority of Native Americans who were granted fee patents did not sell their land back to their tribes.
(C) Native Americans managed to preserve their traditional culture even when they were geographically dispersed.
(D) The legislators who voted in favor of the Dawes Act were heavily influenced by BIA bureaucrats. last para summary
(E) Non-Native Americans who purchased the majority of Native American lands consolidated them into larger farm holdings.
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Re: In 1887 the Dawes Act legislated wide-scale private ownership  [#permalink]

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01 Nov 2018, 19:01

+1 kudos to the posts containing answer explanations of all questions

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Re: In 1887 the Dawes Act legislated wide-scale private ownership &nbs [#permalink] 01 Nov 2018, 19:01
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# In 1887 the Dawes Act legislated wide-scale private ownership

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