Genocide Of California Indians In The California Gold Rush

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Humans have caused a number of genocides in the past, like the Holocaust when around 60% of the Jews living in Europe were obliterated (Lipka). Contrary to the Holocaust, the genocide of California Native Americans during the Gold Rush, where 80% of them were killed off, is widely overlooked. In 1948, the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide coined the term “genocide” and defined it as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in a whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as: killing members of the group, causing serious bodily mental harm to members of group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring its physical destruction as a whole, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and forcibly transferring children of the group to another” (Article II). All of these methods were used to exterminate the California natives. While …show more content…
Later on, with the lack of resources, Indians began to steal the non-natives’ livestock, especially mules, to replace the deer that have become scarce due to the American game hunting hobby (Johnson 224). This caused the Americans to portray Indians as “brutal savages,” which further encouraged them to induce violence upon the natives. Racism worked with the European capitalist ideologies, Protestantism and liberalism, to justify the mistreatment of Indians. Anglo Americans competed with everyone, but only physically attacked the non-white miners because they had a sense of racial superiority. Their capitalist values and expansionist theories promoted ideological racism, and the rapid change of the state’s demographics—the population of settlers jumping to 700,000 and that of Indians plummeting to 30,000 by the end of 1870 (Feller)—gave them more

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