Murder State: California's Native American Genocide, 1846-1873

Murder State: California's Native American Genocide, 1846-1873

by Brendan C. Lindsay

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Murder State: California's Native American Genocide, 1846-1873 by Brendan C. Lindsay

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Euro-American citizenry of California carried out mass genocide against the Native population of their state, using the processes and mechanisms of democracy to secure land and resources for themselves and their private interests. The murder, rape, and enslavement of thousands of Native people were legitimized by notions of democracy—in this case mob rule—through a discreetly organized and brutally effective series of petitions, referenda, town hall meetings, and votes at every level of California government.

Murder State is a comprehensive examination of these events and their early legacy. Preconceptions about Native Americans as shaped by the popular press and by immigrants’ experiences on the Overland Trail to California were used to further justify the elimination of Native people in the newcomers’ quest for land. The allegedly “violent nature” of Native people was often merely their reaction to the atrocities committed against them as they were driven from their ancestral lands and alienated from their traditional resources.

In this narrative history employing numerous primary sources and the latest interdisciplinary scholarship on genocide, Brendan C. Lindsay examines the darker side of California history, one rarely studied in detail, and the motives of both Native Americans and Euro-Americans at the time. Murder State calls attention to the misuse of democracy to justify and commit genocide.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780803269668
Publisher: UNP - Nebraska
Publication date: 03/01/2015
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 456
Sales rank: 1,233,528
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Brendan C. Lindsay is an assistant professor of history at California State University, Sacramento.

Table of Contents

List of Tables viii

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: Defining Genocide 1

Part 1 Imagining Genocide

Introduction 35

1 The Core Values of Genocide 43

2 Emigrant Guides 70

3 The Overland Trail Experience 109

Part 2 Perpetrating Genocide

Introduction 127

4 The Economics of Genocide in Southern California 135

5 Democratic Death Squads of Northern California 179

Part 3 Supporting Genocide

Introduction 225

6 The Murder State 231

7 Federal Bystanders to and Agents of Genocide 271

8 Advertising Genocide 313

Conclusion: At a Crossroads in the Genocide 335

Epilogue: Forgetting and Remembering Genocide 349

Notes 361

Bibliography 407

Index 427

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