Americanization and the Bennett Law

In the mid-nineteenth century, reformers began to view education as a means of social change. As the number of immigrants continued to grow and diversify the population, a series of efforts were launched by policy makers to assimilate these disparate groups into mainstream American culture. Learning the English language became a central focus of many Americanization efforts.

In the 19th century, Wisconsin's first white settlers were mainly Yankees from New York and New England, but in the 1840s large numbers of European immigrants, primarily Germans and Norwegians, began settling in Wisconsin. Waves of ethnic conflict periodically swept through Wisconsin, though... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: A Republican Senator defends the Bennett Law and Governor Hoard, 1890A Republican Senator defends the Bennett Law and Governor Hoard, 1890
Link to article: Ho-Chunk women form a homemaking club, 1933Ho-Chunk women form a homemaking club, 1933
Link to article: Milwaukee's Jewish community honors the work of Lizzie Kander in 1932Milwaukee's Jewish community honors the work of Lizzie Kander in 1932
Link to article: An 1886 visit to the Menominee community of KeshenaAn 1886 visit to the Menominee community of Keshena
Link to article: A white man praises the transformation of Indian children into "Americans,"  1894A white man praises the transformation of Indian children into "Americans," 1894
Link to article: Wisconsin newspapers take a stand on the Bennett Law, 1889.Wisconsin newspapers take a stand on the Bennett Law, 1889.
Link to artifacts: A miniature kit teaches mothers about safe homebirths, 1938A miniature kit teaches mothers about safe homebirths, 1938
Link to artifacts: A hand-made prom dressA hand-made prom dress
Link to book: Reports on the progress of reform in mission kindergartens throughout Milwaukee, 1892Reports on the progress of reform in mission kindergartens throughout Milwaukee, 1892
Link to book: What the government thought Indian girls needed to know (1911)What the government thought Indian girls needed to know (1911)
Link to book: An 1898 manual for running Indian schools.An 1898 manual for running Indian schools.
Link to book: An 1892 rulebook for Indian schoolsAn 1892 rulebook for Indian schools
Link to book: A German American editor provides reasons to oppose the Bennett LawA German American editor provides reasons to oppose the Bennett Law
Link to book: A group of Democrats break from party opposition to the Bennett LawA group of Democrats break from party opposition to the Bennett Law
Link to book: Excerpts from The Settlement CookbookExcerpts from The Settlement Cookbook
Link to book: The "Best" Books for Children, 1890The "Best" Books for Children, 1890
Link to book: Statistics on government schools for Indians, 1899Statistics on government schools for Indians, 1899
Link to book: Conditions on Wisconsin Indian reservations, 1909-1910Conditions on Wisconsin Indian reservations, 1909-1910
Link to book: Theodora Youmans emphasizes the need to educate women votersTheodora Youmans emphasizes the need to educate women voters
Link to book: A Republican Party pamphlet in support of the Bennett LawA Republican Party pamphlet in support of the Bennett Law
Link to images: Pictures of the Potawatomi from the 1820's to the 1920'sPictures of the Potawatomi from the 1820's to the 1920's
Link to images: Ojibwe girls learn to use sewing machines, 1895Ojibwe girls learn to use sewing machines, 1895
Link to images: Oneida Indians at church and school in Hobart, Wis., ca. 1910Oneida Indians at church and school in Hobart, Wis., ca. 1910
Link to manuscript: Alfred Bridgman's English-Menominee word list from the 1870sAlfred Bridgman's English-Menominee word list from the 1870s
Link to manuscript: Frank Bridgman's Menominee vocabulary, 1878Frank Bridgman's Menominee vocabulary, 1878
Link to manuscript: William Dempster Hoard defends the Bennett LawWilliam Dempster Hoard defends the Bennett Law
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