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Return to Gold Fever Part 1


Law, Order, and Justice for Some

Law and Order

Delegates debated the rights of citizens--even who had a right to be a citizen. Although the Constitution was a bilingual document, the rights of the Californios, and most other people of color in California were severely compromised. California's native people were accorded no rights at all, and were the target of many discriminatory laws and violent attacks. Even after the Constitution established a formal code of laws, disorder and dishonesty reigned. Groups of citizens in San Francisco organized in Committees of Vigilance to enforce their own interpretation of law, order, and justice.

Sharp Shooter Vigalantes

Top: Law and Order, Photo by Catherine Buchanan
Bottom: Sharp Shooter Vigalantes, Collection of Oakland Museum of California


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