By Vanessa Ann Gunther

In 1769, Spain took motion to solidify regulate over its northern New global territories by way of developing a chain of missions and presidios in what's now glossy California. To populate those distant institutions, the Spanish crown depended on Franciscan clergymen, whose function it was once to persuade the local Californian inhabitants to desert their conventional non secular practices and undertake Catholicism. in the course of their tutelage, the Indians of California will be indoctrinated into Spanish society, the place they'd examine obedience to the church and crown.
     The criminal approach of Southern California has been utilized by Anglo populations as a social and demographic instrument to manage local american citizens. Following the Mexican-American battle and the 1849 Gold Rush, as California estate values elevated and transportation corridors have been validated, local americans remained a sharply declining presence in lots of groups, and have been more likely to be charged with crimes. The sentences they got have been lighter than these given to Anglo offenders, indicating that the criminal method was once used as a method of harassment. also, courts chronicled the decline of the as soon as flourishing local populations with each one case of drunkenness, attack, or rape that seemed sooner than the bench. Nineteenth-century American society had little sympathy for the plight of Indians or for the destruction in their tradition. Many believed that the Indians of Southern California could fade from historical past due to their lack of ability to evolve to a altering global. whereas many features in their conventional tradition were irreparably misplaced, the folks of southern California are, however, trying to recreate the cultures that have been challenged by way of the inflow of Europeans and later americans to their lands.

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Additional info for Ambiguous Justice: Native Americans and the Law in Southern California, 1848-1890

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In a state that was promising to be wealthy and immensely successful, the ideas presented by Benton and the Indian Office agents were seduc- 18 Ambiguous Justice tive. While the Indian commissioners were busy scurrying around the state, public opinion was making its way more quickly across the continent. Public opinion in California as expressed by the state’s representatives strongly opposed the ratification of the California treaties. As the Anglo population in California grew, its tolerance of Indian land claims fell.

Aware that the quality of life on the reservations had been declining significantly over the previous years, and that many Indians refused to live on them, the statute also allowed abandoned reservations to be appraised and sold at auction. 12 Indians who refused to go to the reservations would forfeit any protection they might have been afforded by the government. However, while this draconian bill had support from the California politicians, the federal government never executed its provisions.

The call for vigilante justice was not limited to the growing urban areas, or solely used as a means of controlling the non-Anglo community. In most instances, the use of extralegal justice was born out of the frustration Anglo-Americans felt when their attempts to control the rampant crime in their communities failed. The anonymous nature of most of the crimes committed in the area led many to find an easy scapegoat for the disintegration of their communities. 47 Many times Indians were accused of perpetrating a crime despite evidence to the contrary.

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