Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Great Republicans Such as Richard Nixon Came From California

Kevin Starr. California: A History. New York: Modern Library Chronicles Book, 2007.

California in 2005 had a $1.5 trillion economy, which if California were a country, would make it the fifth largest national economy in the world.

Los Angeles is the city with the second largest population of Mexicans worldwide.

California’s 36 million people in 2004 was 12.5% of the U.S. population. In other words, 1 in 8 of every American is a Californian.

California’s 2000 population was 32.4% Latino and almost 11% Asian.

California exported $117 billion to other countries in 2000. The Port of Los Angeles - Long Beach is the U.S.’s busiest port.

Spanish explorers arrived in California in 1533 and six years later they began calling it after a mythic location.

There were probably over 25 generations of Native Americans living in California before the Spanish arrived. Disease and genocide will kill off most of them and their descendants.

Spanish Jesuits built missions in Baja California beginning in the lat 17th century. As  Spain did not have the personnel or resources to expand northward from their settlements, the Jesuits served as a starting point in furthering their reach. The Jesuits protected the Native Americans as they served as their own leadership. In the 18th century, the Jesuit domains and assets were seized by the Spanish government. The Jesuits in Baja California were expelled from their land as part of this seizure. The Spanish leadership feared this left a vacuum that some other country could move into that territory.

Some Jesuits, led by Father Serra, Juan Crespi and Francisco Palou, led mission settlements still northward into California.  Pueblos, which were secular communities, were formed in San Jose de Guadaluoe, in what is now part San Francisco, in 1777 followed by Los Angeles which was formed in 1781. Being sent to a California pueblo then was often a punishment.

Father Serra was upset at the abuses that Spanish soldiers were doing, including sexually abusing Native American women. There were also tensions between the missionaries who were under the Jesuit leadership and the secularist who who under the military Governor. Father Serra brought the matters before the Viceroy of New Spain, Antonio Maria Bucareli.

Native Americans were often forced from their lands and forced to live in the missions where they were often ill treated. Some missions were attacked and missionary parties were killed by Native Americans.

Mexico became independent of Spain in 1821. It was led by a dictatorial Emperor,
Augustin Iturbide. In 1824, Mexico became a federal republic with Alta California and Baja California as its territories. The old social order remained strong and Mexico tended to revert back to a military dictatorship.

Californios generally wanted to be left alone or to govern themselves.There were frequent disagreements between the California padres and the Mexican military officers.  In 1836, Juan Bautista Alvarado declared California a free state and was assisted by Isaac Graham and his followers. The Mexican government responded by changing California from a territory to a department with Alvardao as a mostly autonomous Governor.

The population of Mexican California which were not Native Americans was never more than 7,000 and only 1,000 of those were males. The Native Americans either became wards of Franciscans, fled inland, or had died off.

In 1833, Mexico secularized the missions. In 1834, about 250 colonists moved to Alta California. The California Governor, Jose Figueroa, a Brever General, was against the new colony’s settlement. Figueroa preferred the lands remain with the Native Americas already living there. Figueroa wanted the Native Americans to keep their lands and eventually become Mexican citizens. Figueroa’s plans for secularizing the missions were abandoned after he died.

21 Franciscan missions were built. Most Native Americans were badly treated.

Native Americans attacked Mexican establishments.

About 600 land grants in California were issued by the Mexicans.

English, Russian, and Americans displayed interest in California. Spain did not permit any foreign ships from landing in California.

Mariano Guadalupe Vallego, in 1833, began commanding a military district north of San Francisco. He protected against attacks by Native Americans and Russians.

17 American trappers were the first Americans to arrive in California in 1826. Secretary of State James Buchanan sent word that Californios, if they became independent of Mexico, should then become part of the U.S.

There was a Catholic vs. Protestant religious divide in California. There were plans to accept 10000 Irish Catholics to California. This was in part due to a growing Methodist populaiton. Lyman Beecher, an American preacher, was advocating Protestant settlement of the Western part of the U.S. continent.

Sen. Thomas Hart Benton and others supported the Manifest Destiny which was a belief that God wanted the United States to extend to the Pacific Ocean. Benton’s son-in-law, John Charles Fremont, led expeditions into California. Kit Carson as Chief of Stat on a large army expedition. It was apparent to the Mexican leadership that Fremont wanted to seize California. Fremont claimed President James Polk and Secretary of State James Buchanan secretly asked Fremont to seize California. Scholars believe this claim may be false.

Admiral John Drake Sloat learned of Fremont’s actions and sailed to Monterey and San Francisco to capture them for the U.S. Commodore Robert Field Stockton took command and named Fremont Brevet Major of the California Battalion of Mounted Riflemen.

Kit Carson led a “bloodthirsty” march that slaughtered Native American villages and murdered two sons of a leading Mexicans. Andres Pico, the Mexican Governor’s brother, led an attack that killed 23 Americans. The Americans responded with a larger group that seized Los Angeles. California was surrendered to Fremont, believing hie was the most understanding of the American attackers.

Fremont and Stockton both believed they were the new Governor. A Military Governor, Colonel Richard Mason, was named as Governor. Fremont was arrested for mutiny. Fremont was found guilty yet was fully pardoned by President Polk.

Fremont would later be the Republican Party’s first nominee for President in 1856.

The United States and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The U.S. received all Mexican territories north of the Rio Grande. The U.S. paid Mexico $15 million plus paid claims agains the U.S. made by Mexican citizens of $3,250,000. California was governed according to international law as a wartime occupied enemy territory.

Whether California should have slavery delayed California becoming a territory. California was governed by military civil administration alongside local law governance. Allcaide law, which came from Islamic and Christian Spanish influences, was use as a military form of governance where the military were chief executives, judges, and juries.

Intermarriage between Americans and Mexicans was common.

Mormons escaping persecution moved to California. Many Mormons served as needed manual laborers.

Captain John Augustus Sutter brought New York military personnel plus discharged Mormons to settle in what became known as Sacramento. A prosperous sawmill attracted more settlers. Captain James Wilson Marshall in 1848 discovered gold in the mill’s gravel bed. A rush of people began looking for gold. A regional rush in 1848 became an international rush in 1849. California went from under 10,000 non-Native Americans in 1848 to almost 100,000 non-Native Americans in 1850 to 250,000 in 1851.

1 in 12 gold prospectors died during the travel or while searching for gold Claims disputes were common and often met with violence. The homicide rate in Los Angeles from September 1850 to September 1851 was 1,240 per 100,000, its highest rate ever,

The gold belonged to whoever found it and got it to an assay center. $594 million (about $10 billion in 2001 dollar) was found.

A license tax of $20 per month on foreigners looking for gold drove away 10,000 of the estimated 15,000 Mexican gold miners.

By 1870, San Francisco was the tenth largest U.S. city.

Brigadier General Bennett Riley was the last of the military Governors. He had the public elect a Constitutional Convention of 48 Delegates. The public ratified the Constitution in 1849 by 12,061 in favor to 811 against.

Peter Burnett was the first elected Governor. The state legislature was known as the “Legislature of a Thousand Drinks” as State Sen. Thomas Jefferson Green would announce at adjournment “Well, boys, let’s go and take a thousand drinks”.

The U.S. Senators were chosen by the legislature to negotiate for statehood. John Charles Fremont was unanimously elected, William Gwin was elected after three ballots.

Gwin was pro-slavery. Sen. John Calhoun’s last speech, which had to be read fo him, was against admitting California without Congressional approval. Sen. Daniel Webster was detrimental to Southern Senators while arguing that California and New Mexico did not have terrain where slavery could be used. Sen. William Seward argued California had legally formed a government and that no one should expect people to remain under military rule.

President Zachary Taylor wanted California admitted as a state with no reference to slavery. Taylor died. The new President, Millard Fillmore, supported California statehood.

Sen. Henry Clay proposed California become a free state while New Mexico and Utah would become territories without referring to slavery in addition to abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia while enacting a stronger fugitive slave law.

Sen. Stephen Douglas proposed admitting California as a free state. His bill passed the Senate 34 to 18 and the House by 150 t 56 and President Fillmore signed it.

California, while a free state, elected pro-slavery members of Congress. Gwin handled Federal patronage. Gwin kept control of patronage when David Broderick was elected as an anti-slavery Senator. Broderick died in a duel.

Numerous Native Americans were forced into servitude similar to slavery. The state government sanctioned this. Genocidal massacres of Native Americans happened in several parts of California.

John Augustus Sutter received numerous land grant. The U.S. agreed to honor land grants awarded by previous Mexican and Spanish governments. Many Mexican claims were vague. There were numerous settlers on land Sutter claimed. Sutter wanted them removed. Over two days of riots and confrontations, the Sheriff, several Deputy Sheriffs, and the City Assessor were dead and the Mayor was seriously hurt.

813 land claims went before the courts. 604 claims were upheld. It took 17 years for some cases to be heard and go through appeals. Many holders of land grants lost their holdings due to legal costs. Many of these were Hispanics who concluded that this would “a legalized form of theft.”

The railroad became California’s largest land owner.

Several South Californians asked that Southern California be admitted to the U.S. as a separate state. Several bills in the state legislature in the 1850s proposed this.

The Masons sought to keep Irish Catholics out of San Francisco. By 1870, San Francisco’s population was one third Irish Catholic.

A state prison at Point San Quentin was built in 1852. The prison management was subcontracted to those seeking profits. Prisoners were once not fed for a week. Politically connected prisoners were given special privileges including being released.

Agoston Haraszthy heralded creating a wine industry. He wrote a report for the State Agricultural Society in 1859 and another for the state legislature in 1863. He delivered to California 200,000 cuttings of 1,400 grape varieties.

In 1874, Governor Newton Booth was elected to the U.S. Senate. Lt. Gov. Romualdo Pacheo became Governor, becoming the only Hispanic Governor during the U.S. era.

The California public was mostly pro-Union during the Civil War Several pro-Confederate groups exists. Since California did not use the draft, men avoiding the draft moved to California.

There were desires to improve transporting goods in and out of California as well as concerns about the British invading California as well as fears about succession-ist sentiments along the West Coast. In 1862, the Union Pacific was granted a right of way to build a railroad from Omaha while the Central Pacific was given a right of way to build a railroad from Sacramento. Each would own 40 miles of width along their rails.

Railroad owners raised $15,800 for what would earn them over $200 million over the next few decades. Governor Leland Stanford also served as the same time as President of the Central Pacific.

There were not enough men to build the rails. 50 Chinese laborers, whose ethnicity made it difficult for them to find work, were hired as rail workers in 1865, They worked well and impressed the railroad owners, Eventually 10,000 Chinese would be hired for the rest of project.

There were marches against capitalism including protesting the political and economic powers of the unregulated railroads and the unregulated banks. A new state Constitution was called for in 1877. The protest movement quieted after that. Still, the railroads and banks dominated California’s economy and politics.

California was the state that grew the most wheat in the 1870s and the 1880s until Minnesota began growing more wheat in the early 1890s. The wheat grows in northern California.

Refrigerated rail cars could get California produce, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit, to Europe within a week.

In 1900, almost half of the California population of 1,485,053 lived in the San Francisco Bay area, over 100,000 lived in Los Angeles, and about 18,000 lives in San Diego. The addition of Big Red Cars, which delivered freight across the state, into Los Angeles helped drive the Los Angeles populatkon to 319,198 in 1910.

The Big Red Cars executives had large political influence in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The public impression of railroads was cemented in the results of a shootout between ranchers unable to pay the escalated land prices to railroads and the U.S. Marshals that attempted to evict them which left seven dead.

The University of California at Berkeley, beginning in 1868, followed by Stanford, admitted women on equal consideration as given to men.

Political corruption led to the rise of opposition political organizations including Progressives, Fabian Socialists, and Red Socialists.

The 1908 San Francisco earthquakes killed about 3,000 people and devastated numerous communities.

The California legislature passed the Draining Act of 1878 which provided for $100,000 for studies of irrigation, drainage, and navigation and created a State Engineer. The State Engineer, William Hammond Hall, conducted studies for a decade.

An 1877 lawsuit on riparian rights created a compromise allowing different parties to take water at different times from a river. This was the type of model compromise that others sought in subsequent disputes.

The Wright Act of 1877, heralded by State Sen. C.C. Wright, created local irrigation districts that could take land by eminent domain, divert river water for irrigation and / or flood control, and could tax and issue revenue bonds.

A canal diverted water from the Colorado River into the Salton Sink which was renamed Imperial Valley.

An inadequately and illegally made second canal flooded Southern California when the Colorado River shifted course. 1,500 men poured 2,500 carloads of rock, gravel, and clay to combat the flooding. President Theodore Roosevelt promised to compensate the Southern Pacific Railway for its damages yet Congress did not approve this.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct of 235 miles of canals, tunnels, conduit, and similar facilities took six years to build.

The O’Shaughnessey Dam project of four dams, 100 miles of pipes, and 60 miles of tunnels took 11 years go build. 90 died working on this.

The U.S. and Japan agreed to allow 30,000 Japanese women into the U.S for the Japanese custom of arranged marriages to men who their localities in Japan for the U.S.

The Boulder Dam, constructed from 1931 to 1935, later renamed the Hoover Dam, provided more water to Southern California.

Automobiles were popular in Los Angeles. There were 310,000 automobiles per day in Los Angeles in 1924, which was more than the total number of cars in New York State. The corner of Figueroa and Adams in Los Angeles was the busiest vehicle intersection in the entire nation. Streetcar usage in 1933 was half what it was in its peak year of 1924.

San Francisco also saw sharply increased vehicle traffic. The San Francisco Ferry Building was the second busiest ferry terminal in the world behind one in London in the mid-1920s. San Francisco built bridges to met growing vehicle demands.

Amadeo Peter Giannini believed banks could serve others than the rich and that large numbers of smaller financial depositors could make a sturdy bank. He studied how Canada did branch banking and opened 64 branch banks of the Bank of Italy throughout California. The Bank of Italy as well as the Bank of American created loans that resulted in much home construction, office buildings, public utilities, agricultural ventures, and the film industry in the early third of the 20th century. The Bank of America was an important financier of building the Golden Gate Bridge, which was built from 1933 to 1937.

The economic diversity of California led to the Depression hitting California later than it did the industrial areas.

Migratory farm labor has been a consistency in California’s economy since the 19th century. Whites and Chinese was the primary migrant farm workers in the 1880s and 1890s, Japanese and East Indians entered this profession in the 1900s followed by Mexicans and African Americans in the 1920s.

In the early 20th century, labor unions gained strength, followed by a “Red Scare” reaction, in California as well as nationally.  In 1919, California passed the Criminal Syndication Act which made it a felony to advocate violence for political or industrial control changes. This law was used to sent about forty members of the International Workers of the World to prison. This law was declared unconstitutional in 1969.

Upton Sinclair, a socialist writer, was on the verge of being elected Governor in 1934. The film industry responded with fake films of hobos in Russian accents claiming they were moving to California for the revolution. Frank Merriman was elected.

There was a shortage of migrant labor during World War II. A program of bringing Mexican workers in by train began and continued until 1964.

Culbert Olson was elected Governor. He promised, and delivered on this promise, to release Tom Mooney from prison. Mooney had served 26 years in prison for a labor struggle bombing which most believe he was innocent. Earl Warren was elected Governor against Olson. Warren promised the first thing he would do as Governor would be to fire Carey McWilliams as Commissioner of Immigration and Housing for his activist support of better immigrant conditions.

During World War II a “Yellow Peril” movement began that made people suspicious of Japanese Americans. This fear dated prior going back to the Alien Land Act which the legislature adopted in 1913 which disallowed Japanese from owning land. President Woodrow Wilson argued against the bill yet Governor Hiram Johnson, a progressive Republican, signed it into law. Even a progressive Democrat, Senator James Phelan, spoke against the Japanese. During World War II, the Governor, Attorney General, both Senators, and Mayors of San Francisco and Los Angeles called for evacuating Japanese. 110,000 Japanese were removed from their homes and placed in relocation camps.

Riots broke out in 1943 people Mexican Americans, mostly teenagers, wearing zoot suits versus men in military uniforms, mostly teenagers. Zoot suits became a symbol of adolescent rebellion.

From 1940 to 1950 California’s population grew by 53% from 6.9 million to 10.6 million. Disneyland helped create growth in southern California.

The anti-Communist movement led to dismissals of faculty members who refused to sign a loyalty oath. The movement helped elect Richard Nixon to Congress and then to the Senate.

The film industry became well established in California. It never suffered an economic slum. The arts of various kinds flourished in California.

The angry crowd reactions of white police officers arrested several Blacks led to five days of riots in Watts in 1965. In 1972, riots broke out again in Los Angeles only this time Blacks and Hispanics were pitted against whites and Koreans.


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