Early California

Early California: Dec. 15, 1849

First state legislature meets in San Jose.

Criminal Justice, Early California, Race, Women: 1850

Legislature passes laws:

  • Allowing for the virtual slavery of Indian children and of adult Indians declared “vagrants” by judges. The law expires in 1863.
  • Barring African Americans, Indians, and mulattoes from testifying against whites in criminal cases. The following year, the legislature bans testimony from the same groups in civil trials.
  • Criminalizing abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is endangered.

Early California, LGBT Rights: 1850

Legislature criminalizes sodomy as a felony. For decades, the maximum punishment is life imprisonment.

Early California, Race: 1850

A mob drives Mexican miners out of Tuolumne County, killing many of them.

Early California, Women: 1850

Legislature passes a ban on abortion; in 1858 the law is extended to criminalize disseminating information about abortion.

Early California, Immigrants' Rights: 1850

Foreign Miners’ Tax of $20 a month is levied to discourage Latino miners. The tax is repealed in 1851.

Early California: 1850

California admitted as a state to the union.

Early California, Race: 1851

Congress passes a law declaring that all lands occupied by Indians at the time of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo are public lands unless proof of Mexican land title is demonstrated.

Early California, Criminal Justice: 1851

San Francisco businessmen form the “Committee of Vigilance,” a vigilante organization. By the time the Committee disbands in September, it has executed four men and sentenced 28 to deportation.

After Josefa Segovia (aka “Juanita”), a Mexican woman in Downieville, kills a miner in self-defense, an angry mob conducts a kangaroo court and lynches her.

Early California: 1851

Legislature passes a liberal divorce law, allowing both women and men to sue for divorce for a range of causes.

San Francisco businessmen form the "Committee of Vigilance," a vigilante organization. By the time the Committee disbands in September, it has executed four men and sentenced 28 to deportation.

After Josefa Segovia (aka "Juanita"), a Mexican woman in Downieville, kills a miner in self-defense, an angry mob conducts a kangaroo court and lynches her.

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