By D. Michael Bottoms
In the South after the Civil battle, the reassertion of white supremacy tended to pit white opposed to black. within the West, in contrast, a substantially diverse drama emerged, rather in multiracial, multiethnic California. nation elections in California to ratify Reconstruction-era amendments to the U.S. structure raised the query of no matter if extending suffrage to black Californians may also bring about the political participation of millions of chinese language immigrants.
As historian D. Michael Bottoms indicates in An Aristocracy of Color, many white Californians observed during this and different Reconstruction laws a possibility to the delicate racial hierarchy that they had imposed at the state’s felony process in the course of the 1850s. yet nonwhite Californians—blacks and chinese language in particular—recognized an exceptional chance to reshape the state’s race kinfolk. Drawing on courtroom files, political debates, and eyewitness money owed, Bottoms brings to lifestyles the huge conflict that followed.
Bottoms starts off by means of studying white Californians’ mid-century efforts to ban nonwhite testimony opposed to whites in court docket. demanding situations to those legislation through blacks and chinese language in the course of Reconstruction a trajectory that will be repeated in later contests. every one minority challenged the others for larger prestige in courtroom, on the polls, in schooling, and in other places, applying stereotypes and concepts of racial distinction renowned between whites to argue for its personal rightful position in “civilized” society. Whites contributed to the melee via sometimes yielding to blacks with a purpose to hold the chinese language and California Indians at a disadvantage.
These dynamics reverberated in different country felony structures during the West within the mid- to past due 1800s and national within the 20th century. As An Aristocracy of Color finds, Reconstruction outdoors of the South in short promised a chance for broader equality yet after all bolstered and preserved the racial hierarchy that favourite whites.
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Additional resources for An Aristocracy of Color: Race and Reconstruction in California and the West, 1850–1890 (Race and Culture in the American West Series)
An Aristocracy of Color: Race and Reconstruction in California and the West, 1850–1890 (Race and Culture in the American West Series) by D. Michael Bottoms