Joaquín Murrieta and the American 1848

Shelley Streeby

in Post-Nationalist American Studies

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2000 | ISBN: 9780520224384
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925267 | DOI:
Joaquín Murrieta and the American 1848

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This chapter looks at the ways U.S. racial economies and class relationships were reshaped by a redrawing of the boundaries that followed the Gold Rush and the U.S.-Mexican War. It also aims to show that identifying the intersecting trajectories of the various revisions of the Murrieta crime narrative can reveal many interdependent relationships. These include the mid-nineteenth-century popularization of a fictive, transcontinental, white, American identity and the long, uneven postwar re-racialization of former Mexican nationals and other Spanish speakers. The chapter determines that the different versions of the Murrieta story suggest how whiteness took hold as a unifying transcontinental and national structure of feeling. The ways the structure's parameters started to shift during the postwar period to include previously despised European groups and to exclude the majority of the newly conquered peoples in the West are also studied.

Keywords: racial economies; class relationships; Murrieta crime narrative; interdependent relationships; structure of feeling

Chapter.  16194 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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