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Antiquities Act
Great Seal of the United States
Long titleAn act for the preservation of American antiquities.
Enacted bythe 59th United States Congress
EffectiveJune 8, 1906
Citations
Public lawPub.L. 59–209
Statutes at Large34 Stat. 225
Codification
U.S.C. sections created
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 11016 by John F. Lacey (RIA) on January 9, 1906
  • Committee consideration by Public Lands
  • Passed the House on June 5, 1906 
  • Passed the Senate on June 7, 1906  with amendment
  • House agreed to Senate amendment on June 8, 1906 ()
  • Signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt on June 8, 1906
United States Supreme Court cases
Cameron v. United States
Cappaert v. United States
United States v. California
Devils Tower, the first National Monument

The Antiquities Act of 1906, (Pub.L. 59–209, 34 Stat. Pub.L. 59–209, 34 Stat. 225, 54 U.S.C. §§ 320301320303), is an act that was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt on June 8, 1906. This law gives the President of the United States the authority to, by presidential proclamation, create national monuments from federal lands to protect significant natural, cultural, or scientific features. The Act has been used more than a hundred times since its passage.

History

The Antiquities Act was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt during his second term in office. The act resulted from concerns about protecting mostly prehistoric Native American ruins and artifacts -- collectively termed "antiquities" -- on federal lands in the West, such as at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Removal of artifacts from these lands by private collectors, "pot hunters," had become a serious problem by the end of the 19th century. In 1902, Iowa Congressman John F. Lacey, who chaired the House Committee on the Public Lands, traveled to the Southwest with the rising anthropologist Edgar Lee Hewett, to see for himself the extent of the pot hunters' impact. His findings, supported by an exhaustive report by Hewett to Congress detailing the archaeological resources of the region, provided the necessary impetus for the passage of the legislation.[1]

Since the Antiquities Act became law, all but four presidents, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, have chosen to enlarge or dedicate new national monuments.[2] President Obama established more monuments than any President before him, with 26.[3] The previous record was held by President Theodore Roosevelt with 18 monuments.[4]

On April 26, 2017, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13792 directing a review of the law and its uses.[5]

Uses

The Act was intended to allow the President to set aside certain valuable public natural areas as park and conservation land. The 1906 act stated that it was intended for: "... the protection of objects of historic and scientific interest." These areas are given the title of "National Monuments." It also allows the President to

The Antiquities Act was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt during his second term in office. The act resulted from concerns about protecting mostly prehistoric Native American ruins and artifacts -- collectively termed "antiquities" -- on federal lands in the West, such as at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Removal of artifacts from these lands by private collectors, "pot hunters," had become a serious problem by the end of the 19th century. In 1902, Iowa Congressman John F. Lacey, who chaired the House Committee on the Public Lands, traveled to the Southwest with the rising anthropologist Edgar Lee Hewett, to see for himself the extent of the pot hunters' impact. His findings, supported by an exhaustive report by Hewett to Congress detailing the archaeological resources of the region, provided the necessary impetus for the passage of the legislation.[1]

Since the Antiquities Act became law, all but four presidents, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, have chosen to enlarge or dedicate new national monuments.[2] President Obama established more monuments than any President before him, with 26.[3] The previous record was held by President Theodore Roosevelt with 18 monuments.[4]

On April 26, 2017, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13792 directing a review of the law and its uses.[5]

Uses