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Ambiguous Justice: Native Americans and the Law in Southern California, 1848-1890 (Native American)

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Ambiguous Justice: Native Americans and the Law in Southern California, 1848-1890 (Native American) Cover

 

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Publisher Comments:

In 1769, Spain took action to solidify control over its northern New World territories by establishing a series of missions and presidios in what is now modern California. To populate these remote establishments, the Spanish crown relied on Franciscan priests, whose role it was to convince the Native Californian population to abandon their traditional religious practices and adopt Catholicism. During their tutelage, the Indians of California would be indoctrinated into Spanish society, where they would learn obedience to the church and crown.

     The legal system of Southern California has been used by Anglo populations as a social and demographic tool to control Native Americans. Following the Mexican-American War and the 1849 Gold Rush, as California property values increased and transportation corridors were established, Native Americans remained a sharply declining presence in many communities, and were likely to be charged with crimes. The sentences they received were lighter than those given to Anglo offenders, indicating that the legal system was used as a means of harassment. Additionally, courts chronicled the decline of the once flourishing native populations with each case of drunkenness, assault, or rape that appeared before the bench. Nineteenth-century American society had little sympathy for the plight of Indians or for the destruction of their culture. Many believed that the Indians of Southern California would fade from history because of their inability to adapt to a changing world. While many aspects of their traditional culture have been irreparably lost, the people of southern California are, nevertheless, attempting to recreate the cultures that were challenged by the influx of Europeans and later Americans to their lands.

Book News Annotation:

A family crime was a family affair until the missionaries stepped in. Native Americans who committed murder fully expected to be executed by their kin. In contrast, the state and the church, as interpreted by the Spanish colonists, was expected to set and exact the law, especially in the case of those considered undesirable. Gunther analyzes records spanning the time and place carefully, showing how the ambitions of Spain to solidify what was a rather tenuous grasp on California led to inconsistent and often harsh enactment of criminal law. Taught by the missionary Franciscans sent specifically to ensure Spain's ascendancy, the various tribes found themselves constantly failing to meet expectations of an entirely different concept and practice of justice. Set in a turbulent and often violent time, this shows exactly how to severely damage a culture and a people in less than 50 years. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

The legal system of Southern California has been used by Anglo populations as a social and demographic tool to control Native Americans. Following the Mexican-American War and the 1849 Gold Rush, as California property values increased and transportation corridors were established, Native Americans remained a sharply declining presence in many communities, and were likely to be charged with crimes. The sentences they received were lighter than those given to Anglo offenders, indicating that the legal system was used as a means of harassment. Many believed that the Indians of Southern California would fade from history because of their inability to adapt to a changing world. While many aspects of their traditional culture have been irreparably lost, the people of southern California are, nevertheless, attempting to recreate the cultures that were challenged by the influx of Europeans and later Americans to their lands.

Synopsis:

Additionally, courts chronicled the decline of the once flourishing native populations with each case of drunkenness, assault, or [illegible] that appeared before the bench. Nineteenth-century American society had little sympathy for the plight of Indians or for the destruction of their culture. Many believed that the Indians of Southern California would fade from history because of their inability to adapt to a changing world. While many aspects of their traditional culture have been irreparably lost, the people of southern California are nevertheless attempting to recreate the cultures that were challenged by the influx of Europeans and later Americans to their lands.

About the Author

Vanessa Ann Gunther is adjunct professor of history, California State University, Fullerton. She has published Ambiguous Justice: Native Americans and the Law in Southern California, 1848-1890, and has contributed to several compilations on the American West and Native American history.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780870137792
Author:
Gunther, Vanessa
Publisher:
Michigan State University Press
Author:
Gunther, Vanessa Ann
Subject:
History
Subject:
Indians of north america
Subject:
Legal History
Subject:
Native American
Subject:
United States - State & Local - General
Subject:
United States - State & Local - West
Subject:
United States - State & Local
Subject:
Native American-General Native American Studies
Edition Description:
Paperback
Series:
American Indian Studies
Publication Date:
20061031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
191
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » Native American » California
History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

Ambiguous Justice: Native Americans and the Law in Southern California, 1848-1890 (Native American) New Trade Paper
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Product details 191 pages Michigan State University Press - English 9780870137792 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

The legal system of Southern California has been used by Anglo populations as a social and demographic tool to control Native Americans. Following the Mexican-American War and the 1849 Gold Rush, as California property values increased and transportation corridors were established, Native Americans remained a sharply declining presence in many communities, and were likely to be charged with crimes. The sentences they received were lighter than those given to Anglo offenders, indicating that the legal system was used as a means of harassment. Many believed that the Indians of Southern California would fade from history because of their inability to adapt to a changing world. While many aspects of their traditional culture have been irreparably lost, the people of southern California are, nevertheless, attempting to recreate the cultures that were challenged by the influx of Europeans and later Americans to their lands.

"Synopsis" by , Additionally, courts chronicled the decline of the once flourishing native populations with each case of drunkenness, assault, or [illegible] that appeared before the bench. Nineteenth-century American society had little sympathy for the plight of Indians or for the destruction of their culture. Many believed that the Indians of Southern California would fade from history because of their inability to adapt to a changing world. While many aspects of their traditional culture have been irreparably lost, the people of southern California are nevertheless attempting to recreate the cultures that were challenged by the influx of Europeans and later Americans to their lands.
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