An Uncertain Influence: The Role of the Federal Government in California, 1846–1880

Robert J. Chandler

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:
An Uncertain Influence: The Role of the Federal Government in California, 1846–1880

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This chapter states that federal involvement was vital in certain arenas; chief among them was the creation of California's transportation system, including the railroads. After the war, the federal government began to exceed some state and private efforts in economic affairs and assert more influence over politics, but the same imprecision existed. Federal assistance, including by the armed services, was vital in building California's transportation system. Complicating the federal role in Indian policy, intense conflict erupted in California after 1846. The Civil War ended Indian-settler conflict in California. General federal land law for California became more troublesome than that governing mineral lands. As the twentieth century approached, new economic and environmental areas caused federal government concern. Conservation, land use and water rights, and abuses by huge monopolies such as the government-spawned Southern Pacific Railroad, would bring regulation. The new century would give the national government the dominant role.

Keywords: federal government; California; Southern Pacific Railroad; Civil War; Indian policy; mineral lands; federal land law; conservation; water rights; land use

Chapter.  21814 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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