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Chapters 4-6 in our reader present a view of a state trying to establish its identity amidst rapid economic, social and demographic change. The abuses of power during the Gilded Age produced social and political unrest which, in turn, created anxiety among middle-class, native-born white Americans. More important, this turmoil often involved immigrant populations that often were seen as a threat to 'American values.' Specifically threatening were people of color and generally people who were not quite "American." Keep in mind that "American" at the time was defined as 'white Anglo-Saxon Protestant'. Only white people, and, after 1870, people of African descent could become naturalized citizens, according to law. The progressive reform era was partly a response to these anxieties about the future of the American system of capitalism and attempted to reform the worst abuses of power to prevent a more radical revolution. In addition, progressives took on immigration reform which led to even further restrictions on immigration in the 1920s.

As you read the sources in this chapter in the context of the background provided in our lectures and the textbook, and as you write your post, take into consideration the study questions offered at the end of each chapter of the reader. Your discussion posts should relate these readings to modern-day California. You can take one of three approaches in your post (be sure to clearly label your discussion to reflect your approach):

  1. You can considerthe legacies of the racial and ethnic phobias of the turn of the last century.
    • What do the documents suggest about Californians and their concerns about peoples of color?
    • How did progressives view immigration and immigrants?
    • Do you see similarities to more recent discussions of race and ethnicity in the state? Differences? And what do these similarities and differences suggest about Californians today?
    • To what extent are debates about immigration also debates about our identity as Californians?
  2. You can consider the role of women
    • What do the different views about woman suffrage suggest about women's roles in California during the progressive era? Why was the issue a soruce of debate to begin with?
    • How do concerns about prostitution and morality reflect the notions about gender in progressive-era California?
    • In what ways did women's roles change by the 1920s? How do the images reflect perceptions of women at the time?
    • What connections do you see in these debates to the ways in which we approach gender in today's California? Similarities/differences?
  3. You can consider politics
    • What did the progressives mean with the notion of "good government?" What prompted this approach to government?
    • How did they propose to create this 'good government?"
    • How does their immigration policy connect to their political reforms?
    • How did progressives shape modern California

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• What do the different views about woman suffrage suggest about women's roles in California during the progressive era? Why was the issue a source of debate to begin with? The progressive era in California was significant because it brought attention to many intersections regarding civil rights. This was a prosperous time in California, yet differing opinions would interfere with business matters, and political corruption ensued. While there were strong women who wanted the right to fight the corruption, such as Ellen Colton in Ellen M. Colton v. Leland Stanford et al, there were also women who did not agree with the suffrage movement. In The Article Against Suffrage, an article from the San Francisco Call (1894), challenges the reasons why women feel they are unfit to vote. For example, it is stated in the article that women are not fit to be in the military, in the police, or involved in politics, therefore they should not vote. On the other hand, the argument that men may also be perceived as unfit for these positions was discussed, and those men are still able to vote (Osborne, 2013). There were women who were very comfortable and happy being housewives, yet there were also women like Ellen Colton who wanted to fight for her rights, yet lost a court case due to the legislation as well as her opponent’s monopolistic advantage. Suffragettes understood their desire to be taken seriously in the political and social sphere, but also saw their movement as a moral issue. Hand in hand with the Suffrage movement was the desire for prohibition, since women believed that, “ If reform-minded women could obtain the ballot, so they reasoned, they could more effectively elevate public morality” (Hoikkala & Wallis, 2016). Women did not like when their husbands would become intoxicated, and although this opinion varied from female to female, it was seen as immoral under the religious lense. It is also important to note, however, that fighting for women’s rights was a caucasian woman’s privilege at the time, since many minorities had to fight racial factors before gendered discrimination. • How do concerns about prostitution and morality reflect the notions about gender in progressive-era California? Many of the concerns suffragettes during the late 1800s and early 1900s regard their preconceived opinions on morality. Much of morality was based on religion, and since caucasian women during this time happened to be Christian, we can see the overlap in suffragette rhetoric. As a result, we see issues involving drugs, gambling and prostitution at the forefront of their propositions and as the priority of their desire to vote (Osborne, 2013). We can see the way women are expected to be modest and obedient at the time, which is still a gendered expectation many cultures have to this day. For example, many of their prohibition requests included measures such as closing bars (Osborne, 2013), which many women today would oppose since they themselves drink. We can see, however, that the culture of California was more open minded and in fact, progressive compared to many other states, in the way they wanted to approach prostitution. New age thinking is evident in the Article Progressive Reform and Morality, which outlines the issues addressed in the Red Light and Injunction Bill (Hoikkala & Wallis, 2016). This text states that segregation is not the solution to the problem, since Europe employed such a legislation and still had major issues with prostitution. What an innovative thought: making something illegal or segregating the “immoral” group members does not necessarily solve the issue. Although ideas like this did empower women and eventually address further social issues, we can see how women still had very rigid roles and expectations they wanted to challenge during this time. • In what ways did women's roles change by the 1920s? How do the images reflect perceptions of women at the time? Women began to gain more access to political and social expression in the 1920s. With the emergence of Hollywood, women in California now had an influential source of media, and as a result, new social pressures and ideals. For example, Women in Hollywood shows Mary Pickford portrayed as “America’s Sweetheart”, wearing an angelic flowy dress and a large hat (Hoikkala & Wallis, 2016). She is portrayed as a sweet, innocent young girl during her silent film career in 1925. In the same section, we also see five years down the line, in 1930, how women’s roles had evolved. With the right to vote also came more deviation from these “good girl” norms, especially with the promise of profit on Hollywood’s doormat. Clara Bow is also shown in this section, wearing a small dress and heels, her legs in full focus. Clara Bow was known as the “It” girl, which demonstrates the evolution of societal pressures and superficial expectations in the California film industry (Hoikkala & Wallis, 2016) . • What connections do you see in these debates to the ways in which we approach gender in today's California? Similarities/differences? In comparison to the late 1800s, early 1900s, women do have more rights: we can vote, we can be lawmakers, in the military, police officers, and generally speaking have more opportunities. There are still many progressive issues regarding Women’s rights that are being debated today. For example, Women’s salaries are often a topic of concern, since it is not only an issue of gender, but also of race. Women are generally paid less for the same kinds of jobs their male counterparts perform, and women of color are paid even less than white women (with the exception of Asian women) ( Generally speaking, much of the justification behind this gendered stereotyping and discrimination is based on biology, specifically the reproductive systems of women. Certain groups are under the perception that our hormones are far too complex and for that reason we don’t make effective leaders. Also, a big issue today is maternity leave, since many women must decide between having a child or devoting themselves to a career. Also, women in California feel empowered and independent, since this is the land of opportunity. Just like the suffragettes, however, many women in the entire United States still must protest for their rights. We can see the unity of many diverse groups of women at events like the Women’s March. ...
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Immigration in California


What do the documents suggest about Californians and their concerns about peoples of
These documents reveal the feelings the people California held about the people of
color they encountered. People of color were seen as a threat to the type of livelihood the
Anglo-Saxons were used to. This group felt that the people of color would interfere with the
ways of life to which these people were accustomed. It is at this time that the region
underwent massive changes in how civil issues were handled. Prior to that, however, people
of color were treated as undesirables who did not deserve to be in the country. As such, they
were denied either total or partial access to rights that were otherwise accessible to whites.
For instance, people of color faced immense discrimination in mining camps, to the extent
that they were required by law to pay a taxation fee in order to continue mining. The fee was
inaccessible to most, who ended up quitting. Californians felt that the people of color would
take advantage of the economic opportunities that arose.
How did progressives view immigration and immigrants?
Progressives were usually open to immigrants and felt that the change was not as
half bad as it was often depicted. These are people of the liberal mind, who had no problem
rising above the racial differences that seemed to dictate events in the social and political
arena. According to these people, immigrants were not the problem. They deserved equal
chances, being fellow humans. The progressives felt that it was their duty to effect reform in
the country, given the toll it was suffering following divisiveness along racial lines. To this
effect, they strove to aid ...

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