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Taming the ElephantPolitics, Government, and Law in Pioneer California$
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John Burns, Vivian Louie, and Roberto Suro

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520234116

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520234116.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 01 August 2021

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

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

(p.96) 4 “We Feel the Want of Protection”: The Politics of Law and Race in California, 1848–1878
Taming the Elephant

Shirley Ann Wilson Moore

University of California Press

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

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