Taming the Elephant: Politics, Government, and Law in Pioneer California (California History Sesquicentennial Series, Volume 4)
Richard J. Orsi, John F. Burns, Marlene Smith-Baranzini, Joshua Paddison, Teena Stern
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Taming the Elephant is the last of four volumes in the distinguished California History Sesquicentennial Series, an outstanding compilation of original essays by leading historians and writers. These topical, interrelated volumes reexamine the meaning of the founding of modern California during the state's pioneer period. General themes run through all four volumes: the interplay of traditional cultures and frontier innovation in the creation of a distinctive California society; the dynamic interaction of people and nature and the beginnings of massive environmental change; the impact of the California experience on the nation and the world; the influence of pioneer patterns on modern California; and the legacy of ethnic and cultural diversity as a major influence on the state's history.
This fourth volume treats the role of post-Gold Rush California government, politics, and law in the building of a dynamic state, with influences that persist today. Provocative essays investigate the creation of constitutional foundations, law and jurisprudence, the formation of government agencies, and the development of public policy. Authors chart the roles played by diverse groups--criminals and peace officers, entrepreneurs and miners, farmers and public officials, defenders of discrimination and female and African American activists. The essays also explore subjects largely overlooked in the past, such as the significance of local and federal government in pioneer California and early struggles to secure civil rights for women and racial minorities.
Editors: Richard J. Orsi, John F. Burns
Illustrations Editors: Joshua Paddison, Teena Stern
Associate Editor: Marlene Smith-Baranzini
ravine. The bandidos mounted their horses and scattered, leaving behind stolen horses and sacks of gold. Two days later the posse caught one of Murieta’s bandidos and brought him into Jackson. The Chinese identiﬁed him as one of the gang. He admitted that he had participated in the raid but claimed that he had not committed the murders. The miners’ court was unmoved and sentenced him to death. Escorted to a large oak tree in front of the Astor House, he was soon dangling from a prominent limb. He
claims. Responding to the prevailing American sentiment, the state legislature enacted a foreign miners’ tax in 1850.8 By then much blood had already been spilled. The worst episode occurred near Mokelumne Hill in 1849.9 A hundred Chilean peons, indentured to wealthy Chilean masters and under the supervision of ten Chilean overseers, were mining an area that came to be called Chili Gulch. At the southern end of the gulch, two miles distant, was a camp of American miners called Iowa Cabins. The
and the United States to 1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971), and Pitt, Decline of the Californios. 6. Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier, 18–19; Pitt, Decline of the Californios, 14–15, 309; Monroy, Thrown among Strangers, 174– 75. Pitt notes that the term “Anglo” was “unknown in nineteenth-century California.” I use the term here aware of its limitations. Strictly speaking it is not interchangeable with the term “white.” The European Americans (another imprecise
“Equality before the Law,” 35–45; Fisher, “The Political Development of the Black Community,” 14–19. 27. Almquist and Heizer, The Other Californians, 122–23. 28. Rawls and Bean, California: An Interpretive History, 132–33; Taylor, In Search of the Racial Frontier, 72 ( Judge Hayes quoted on 78, 79–80, 90); Lapp, Blacks in Gold Rush California, 120–21; Judith Freeman, “Commemorating an L.A. Pioneer,” Angeles, April 1990, 58–60; Goode, California’s Black Pioneers, 90–91. 29. Lapp, Blacks in Gold
labor leaders and politicians alike. Like anti-Chinese crusaders, environmental conservationists and preservationists successfully turned to the power of the federal and state governments to further their causes. In 1864, the U.S. Congress designated resplendent Yosemite Valley a protected park (the ﬁrst such federal designation in American history) and turned its administration over to the state of California. William Hahn’s famous Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point ( plate 14), one of hundreds