Early California

Early California: Dec. 15, 1849

First state legislature meets in San Jose.

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 The tax is repealed in 1851.

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: 1850

California admitted as a state to the union.

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.

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.

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