Capturing California

Joshua Paddison

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:
Capturing California

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This chapter describes some of the visual archival materials that vividly illustrate political and governmental activity and the people associated with it. A tension between order and chaos ran through gold-rush society. Clergymen, businessmen, and entrepreneurs spoke of the need to “tame” wild California—to pacify its itinerant working classes, to subdue its nonwhite groups, and to establish recognizable governmental and financial systems. The rise and expansion of government in California during the decades after the Gold Rush represented one aspect of middle- and upper-class reformers and entrepreneurs' efforts to “tame” the frontier state. Captured by missionaries, businessmen, and artists alike, California continues to inspire utopian dreams of all kinds and to reflect the best and worst aspects of human nature.

Keywords: California; tame; government; Gold Rush; reformers; entrepreneurs; visual archival materials; clergymen; businessmen

Chapter.  4864 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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