By D. Michael Bottoms
In the South after the Civil conflict, the reassertion of white supremacy tended to pit white opposed to black. within the West, against this, a appreciably 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 even if extending suffrage to black Californians may additionally result in the political participation of millions of chinese language immigrants.
As historian D. Michael Bottoms exhibits in An Aristocracy of Color, many white Californians observed during this and different Reconstruction laws a probability to the delicate racial hierarchy they'd imposed at the state’s felony procedure throughout the 1850s. yet nonwhite Californians—blacks and chinese language in particular—recognized an unparalleled chance to reshape the state’s race kinfolk. Drawing on court docket files, political debates, and eyewitness money owed, Bottoms brings to lifestyles the enormous conflict that followed.
Bottoms starts off via reading white Californians’ mid-century efforts to ban nonwhite testimony opposed to whites in court docket. demanding situations to those legislation by means of blacks and chinese language in the course of Reconstruction a trajectory that may be repeated in later contests. every one minority challenged the others for larger prestige in court docket, on the polls, in schooling, and in different places, utilizing stereotypes and ideas 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 that allows you to preserve the chinese language and California Indians at a disadvantage.
These dynamics reverberated in different country felony platforms through the West within the mid- to overdue 1800s and national within the 20th century. As An Aristocracy of Color finds, Reconstruction outdoor of the South in short promised a chance for broader equality yet finally reinforced and preserved the racial hierarchy that favorite whites.
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Extra info 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