The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927 Page: 42
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42 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
by President Fillmore was favored in California, especially among
II. The Period of Laissez Faire, 1851-1866
The policy of "non-interference" was practically followed until
the passage of the acts of July, 1866, and July, 1870. During
this period, however, the mineral land question continued to be
a vital issue in state politics. In the first place, there was the
feeling of uncertainty and fear that speculators might influence
Congress to take up again the proposition to sell the mineral lands.
Hence it was deemed necessary at the party convention, and in
annual messages of the governors to reiterate that public opinion
in California was opposed to leasing or selling the mineral lands.27
Foreign Miners' Tax. Then there was the vexatious question
of the foreign miners. The American miners who considered the
gold fields as the heritage of the American people, looked with
jealousy on the continual influx of Asiatics and Latin Americans
into the mines. To check the influx of undesirable foreign miners,
and to insure a large revenue to the state, the first legislature
passed an act prohibiting non-American citizens from digging gold
in California without a foreign miners' license. The license fee
was twenty dollars a month.28
The foreign miners protested and evaded the law. The Amer-
ican miners and their sympathizers criticized the evading for-
eign miners as ungrateful people, intruders upon American soil.
But the merchants, whose interests suffered by the exodus of a
large number of customers, denounced the act as impolitic, un-
just, and illegal. The Picayune questioned the right of the state
to legislate and control property belonging to the United States.
It pointed out that the foreign miners' act was in violation of
commercial treaties between the United States and Mexico, where
it was provided that the citizens of both countries should not be
subjected to any other charges, or contributions of taxes than such
as are paid by the citizens of the states in which they reside. The
act, therefore, violated Article 6 of the United States Constitu-
6"Cal. Assembly Jour., 1853, App. Doc. 35, pp. 4.
"Cal. Sen. Jour., 1853, 23; 1854, 23; 1855, 41-42; Davis, Political Con-
ventions in California, 13, 20, 36.
"sCal. Legislature Jours., 1850, 217, 493-497; Cal. Statutes, 1850, 221-223.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927, periodical, 1926; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117142/m1/50/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.