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Race And Homicide In Nineteenth-Century California

Clare McKanna

Publication Year: 2002

Published by: University of Nevada Press

Series: Wilbur S. Shepperson Series in History and Humanities


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TItle Page, Copyright, Dedication

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p. xii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

I especially want to thank Felice Levine, former program director of the Law and Social Sciences Division, National Science Foundation, and seven anonymous reviewers. Felice and the reviewers offered encouragement and provided useful insights that made my final proposal acceptable. The National Science Foundation provided a generous Law and Social Sciences Division Grant (nsf # ses 87-...

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Prologue: Race and Homicide

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pp. 1-12

In the early afternoon of Wednesday, July 24, 1878, José Luís Osuna, a California Indian, rode out to Carl Everhart’s ranch in rural San Diego County, where he had been working as a ranch hand. As Osuna approached the ranch he observed John Judkins repairing a pitchfork with a “shotgun laying beside him.”1 After an argument, Osuna pulled his revolver, shot, and killed Judkins. Later,...

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Chapter One. Red Man: White Justice

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pp. 13-31

This item in a local newspaper partially reveals the dilemma that legal authorities faced in California. How do you provide justice for American Indians when the majority population harbors such hostility? The conventional view sees homicide as a violent act between two people of the same cultural group. Recent historical scholarship has demonstrated that most people—at least in the twentieth...

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Chapter TwoChinese TongsGroup Solidarity

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pp. 32-51

In nineteenth-century California Chinese accused of committing crimes were well represented by counsel in the courts. However, an important question needs to be asked: were Chinese who were accused of homicides treated the same way as other defendants were? Recent research has opened a dialogue on the fairness accorded Chinese within criminal justice systems in the American West. John...

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Chapter Three. Hispanics: Justice in a Conquered Land

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pp. 52-72

Indigents charged with murder, most of whom knew virtually nothing about law, faced the paralyzing dilemma of whether to plead guilty, in the hope that by thus speeding up the criminal justice process and saving taxpayers’ money they would be given a light sentence, or to insist on their innocence, with the strong chance that they would ultimately suffer the maximum punishment for the alleged...

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Chapter Four. White Man: White Justice

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pp. 73-96

This dramatic image of a shoot-out that occurred in 1865 on the streets of Old Town San Diego follows the famous cinema tradition.1 In the film epic High Noon the gunfight was supposed to take place at “high noon” with a marshal facing three men just released from prison in the streets of a dusty little town. It indeed was a myth. In the San Diego “gun battle,” Cave Johnson Couts, an influential...

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Epilogue: Prison, Homicide Rates, and Justice

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pp. 97-108

A basic legal dictum states that the punishment should fit the crime. The data presented indicate that this was not necessarily true, at least for nonwhite defendants. Penal control, of course, is considered to be the strongest form of social sanction used to correct “deviant” behavior.1 The enforcement of norms tends to divide society between those who are “respectable” and those who fail to meet...


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pp. 109-138

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 139-141


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pp. 143-148

E-ISBN-13: 9780874175530
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874175158

Page Count: 168
Illustrations: 18 B/W ILLUSTRATIONS, 1 MAP
Publication Year: 2002

Series Title: Wilbur S. Shepperson Series in History and Humanities
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OCLC Number: 52870656
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Race And Homicide In Nineteenth-Century California

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Subject Headings

  • California -- Social conditions -- 19th century.
  • California -- Race relations -- History -- 19th century.
  • Homicide -- California -- History -- 19th century.
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