HW 2-20

In our next class, we will be discussing laws that were adopted in California in the early years after it became a state, from 1850 to 1880. In class, six (6) groups of students will teach the rest of us about the early California laws that they researched in preparation for class. 

Students will be assigned to one of six groups (based on the first letter in their last name), and the following specifies the laws that each group is to research. 

Group members should study the document that is linked for their group, and they should research other secondary sources to help understand the topic that is covered in the linked document.

Group 1: Laws Concerning American Indians           (Last Name starts A-Bl)

1850 “An Act for the Government and Protection of Indians"

Group 2: Laws Concerning Mexican Americans       (Last Name Starts Bo-Fe)

In order for the US to verify ownership of the Ranchos of California                                                                        1851 "An Act to Ascertain and Settle Private Land Claims in the State of California

Group 3: Laws Concerning Chinese Americans      (Last Name Starts Fi-G)

1862 "An Act to Protect Free White Labor Against Chinese Coolie Labor" 

1879 California State Constitution of 1879, Article XIX: Chinese 

Group 4: Laws Concerning African Americans         (Last Name Starts H-Mag)

1849-60 California Redefines the Status of African Americans

Group 5: Major Political Party Platforms                   (Last Name Starts Mal-R)

1869 Platforms of the Republican and Democratic Parties

Group 6: Women in Early California                           (Last Name Starts S-Z)

Early Statehood: 1850-1880s Women Rights

Members of this  group will need to do their own research                                                                                                      on women’s rights in early CA history.


In reading and analyzing the materials that your group has been assigned, you should keep in mind that you are going to teach the class about your materials. Therefore, as you read and take notes, it will help if you focus on just a few qustions:

  • What are the main summary points about this material that the class should know in order to understand its general meaning?
  • What “direct quotes” from the material could best convey the essence and thinking contained in these laws?
  • What insights do these materials provide into how democracy was thought about and practiced in early California?

Please come to class prepared to share and plan with the other members of your assigned group. You will not submit any written material in class. However, your participation in the group presentation will demonstrate that you have completed this assignment, and your presentation will serve as the 8th Homework Brief of the term.