American Antiquities Act

(1906)

On June 8, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed into law the American Antiquities Act—or more formally, An Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities. This law gave the president the authority to issue executive orders to restrict the use of public lands owned by the federal government, primarily with the purpose of protecting these lands from “pot hunters,” or private collectors who were looting public lands of prehistoric Indian ruins and artifacts. Throughout the late nineteenth century, archeologists and historians were becoming increasingly concerned about looting...

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Theodore Roosevelt (Library of Congress)

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