“We Feel the Want of Protection”: The Politics of Law and Race in California, 1848–1878

Shirley Ann Wilson Moore

in Taming the Elephant

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520234116
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936485 | DOI:
“We Feel the Want of Protection”: The Politics of Law and Race in California, 1848–1878

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This chapter provides insight in respect to some of the important and troubling issues on racial prejudice and discrimination. It shows that active responses were undertaken by some individuals and groups, especially African Americans, as they often successfully contested California's legal strictures and began to challenge second-class citizenship. The world may have rushed in to California when gold was discovered, but racial and cultural egalitarianism were in short supply in the gold fields. The complexity of California's multiracial political dynamic is apparent in the way people of color sometimes perceived one another and their bids for equality. While post-Civil War legislation provided people of color in California with the beginnings of legal relief, their daily reality revealed that de facto and de jure segregation and discrimination would continue to make them vulnerable to violence and exploitation.

Keywords: racial prejudice; racial discrimination; California; African Americans; egalitarianism; multiracial political dynamic; legislation

Chapter.  10904 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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