California

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By the second half of the nineteenth century, many people rushed to California including Anglo. It can be said that California was entering an era of “Anglo hegemony”. In this paper, I intend to discuss the reason why they traveled to California, their encounters, their remarkable success as well as the role of sex and gender in helping these newcomers assume control of California.

During the Mexican era (before the American-Mexican War), the trade and the lure of land attracted Anglo Americans to travel to California. After gaining independence from Spain in 1821, Mexico (including California) reformed the trade laws of Spain. The hide and tallow trade was very profitable and dominated the Mexican California economy. According to Albert L. Hurtado, it had “a profit handsome enough to attract Yankee investor and competitors from the United States and England” (Hurtado, 23). In addition, Californios were so rich in land because of the new transfer of property created by the government. These irresistibly attractive trade and land made almost Anglo Americans convert to Catholics and married Californians women. One of them was Alfred Robinson, a native of Massachusetts, sailing to California in 1829. His material reason seemed apparent. Moreover, his marriage to Dona Anita, a daughter from an elite family, could secure landholdings and strengthened his social status, which is he could become a part of the gentry.

In the interior, the desire to control house herds - a critical resource in California was the reason for American trappers, horse thieves, Mexican soldiers and rancheros congregate. Sutter’s connection to an Indian woman (p. 39)

Some women came to California with their husbands and children. Men thought of the adventure...

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...’s contentious history. They sometimes saw the implications of race and gender in their stories. Harte ventured to California in 1854, briefly worked in mining, but later decided to become a writer. He flourished here. According to Hurtado, “gold-rush stories like “The luck of Roaring Camp” and “Outcasts of Poker Flat” were best – sellers that brought Harte to the favorable attention of eastern critics as well as western readers” (Hurtado, 137). Mark Twain ventured to California in 1861 where he continued his journalistic career. He wrote about the women’s attire. Ambrose Bierce was the last to come to California. He was not only attracted by California’s local color and the recent gold rush but also by a story of interracial and gender. His bitter story The Haunted Valley “captured some of the icy truths that most Californians wanted to ignore.” (Hurtado 140)

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