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National Monuments Act (Antiquities Act)

Theodore Roosevelt

National Monuments Act (Antiquities Act): Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th American President who served in office from September 14, 1901 to March 4, 1909. One of the important events during his presidency was the National Monuments Act also known as the Antiquities Act.

Definition and Summary of the National Monuments Act (Antiquities Act)

Summary and definition: The National Monuments Act, aka the Antiquities Act, was a law passed on June 8, 1906 during the Progressive Era when the ideals of conservation were widely supported.

The purpose of the National Monuments Act was to give the authority to the president, by executive order or proclamation, to restrict the use of specific public lands owned by the federal government for the preservation of historic, prehistoric, and scientific interest. The areas of interest were given the title of "National Monuments."

1906 National Monuments Act for kids
The National Monuments Act was originally passed by President Theodore Roosevelt, a passionate conservationist, due to concerns about protecting ancient, prehistoric ruins and artifacts in locations such as Chaco Canyon, New Mexico and the Devils Tower in Wyoming. The 1906 law was called 'An Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities'.

1906 National Monuments Act for kids
Definition of Antiquities: The word 'Antiquities' describes a relic or monument from ancient times often revealing artifacts of great age that have survived from the past.

Reason for the 1906 National Monuments Act
During the late 1800's conservationists became increasingly concerned about the activities of "pot hunters". The "pot hunters"  was the nickname given to private collectors who were removing ancient artifacts from historic areas of lands and destroying the heritage of the nation.

1906 National Monuments Act for kids: The Devils Tower
Following the passing of the National Monuments Act (1906 American Antiquities Act) on September 24, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt issued a Presidential Proclamation establishing the Devil's Tower in Wyoming, as the nation's first National Monument. The Devils Tower formed 50 - 60 million years ago. The Devils Tower is an important element in the plot of the classic 1977 movie 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'.

What was the Purpose of the National Monuments Act?
What was the purpose of the National Monuments Act? The purpose of the National Monuments Act (1906 American Antiquities Act) was:

  • To respond to the concerns of Conservationists to preserve and protect treasured landscapes and ancient monuments

  • To enable the President to issue Proclamations of national monuments and reservation of lands

  • To prohibit destruction or excavation of American antiquities

  • To issue government permits to scientific or educational institutions and regulate the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the collection of artifacts

  • To enforce strict penalties for the damage or destruction of antiquities

What were the Effects of the National Monuments Act?
Why was the National Monuments Act important? The Effects of the National Monuments Act were to arouse pride in the monuments and heritage of America. Areas of astounding, natural beauty were protected by law from destruction or abuse by man. Many areas designated as National Monuments were later converted into National Parks, for the enjoyment of all Americans. President Roosevelt also used the National Monuments Act (1906 American Antiquities Act) to create the Grand Canyon National Monument, considered by many as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. He created the Grand Canyon Game Preserve by proclamation in 1906 and the Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908. It was eventually designated as a National Park by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 when he passed the Grand Canyon National Park Act. The National Monuments Act (1906 American Antiquities Act) has been used over 100 times to preserve the 

US American History
1881-1913: Maturation Era
Environmentalism History
Conservation Movement

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