Race

Early California, Race: Nov. 13, 1849

Constitucion del Estado de CaliforniaConstitucion del Estado de CaliforniaVoters approve the bilingual state constitution, which outlaws slavery.

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, Race: 1850

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

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, Race: March 1851 - Jan. 1852

United States Commissioners meet with 420 California Indian tribes to negotiate treaties in which native people would vacate vast areas in exchange for settlement on “reservations” with livestock and farm equipment. California legislature recommends that the U.S. Senate reject the treaties and remove Indians from California.

Early California, Race: 1852

In closed session, Congress rejects the treaties negotiated with California Indian tribes but not before Indians have left their land.

Legislature passes a Fugitive Slave Law. The law lapses in 1855.

Early California, Criminal Justice, Race: 1854

State supreme court bars Chinese from testifying against whites because, the chief justice reasons, Chinese are racially indistinct from Indians, whose testimony is already prohibited.

Early California, Race: 1855

Legislature rescinds the constitutional requirement that all laws be published in Spanish.

Legislature passes the “Greaser Law,” allowing law enforcement officers to arrest for “vagrancy” people of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry.

Criminal Justice, Early California, Race: 1855

Legislature passes the “Greaser Law,” allowing law enforcement officers to arrest people of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry for “vagrancy.”

Early California, Race: 1856

MasonMasonBiddy Mason, a slave, wins her freedom in a judicial ruling by a Los Angeles judge.

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