Roaring Camp Handout: The Basics Essay

Roaring Camp Handout The Basics During Week 14 (4/13? 4/19) there will be a special discussion forum on Roaring Camp: The Social World of the California Gold Rush, by Susan Lee Johnson. Participation in this discussion forum is mandatory. Your term paper on Roaring Camp is due by 10 PM on Monday 5/6 and is worth 100 points. Under no circumstances will I accept a late term paper. There is also an extra credit assignment based on Roaring Camp . Reading the Book & Focus Questions for the Week 14 Discussion Forum Below are a number of focus questions, arranged by chapter.

I wrote these questions with the goal of helping you to identify key arguments in the book as you read. These questions will also serve as the focus questions for the Week 14 discussion forum. Remember that your answers on the Week 14 forum should demonstrate that you have done the reading so discuss specific events, people, and ideas from the book in detail. In addition, make sure to give page references for your quotes and for your specific references to the book. Prologue, “Joaquin Murrieta and the Bandits” 1. Who was Joaquin Murrieta? (Hint: That is not a simple question!

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We can try to reconstruct the “historical” Joaquin Murrieta, but there is also the Joaquin Murrieta of the San Joaquin Republican, the Joaquin Murrieta that emerges from the pages of John Rollin Ridge’s The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Joaquin Murrieta whose memory was preserved by the Murrieta family of Sonora, Mexico, the Murrieta of Chicano writers during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, even the Murrieta of the Hollywood movies starring Antonio Banderas! ) Chapter 1, “On the Eve of Emigration” 2. What types of people flooded into California generally, and the Southern Mines in particular, during the Gold Rush? Think about their economic and social, as well as their ethnic/national, backgrounds. ) What conditions in their native lands made these people willing to make the move the California? 3. Who was already living in the area that would become known as the Southern Mines when the Gold Rush began? Chapter 2, “Domestic Life in the Diggings” 4. Using specific examples from Roaring Camp, explain what Johnson means when she writes: Race, like gender, is a changing set of ideas about human difference and hierarchy, and a relation in which those ideas are put into practice.

In Gold Rush California, its meanings pulsed through everyday life like an erratic heartbeat. For instance, the way that certain tasks, such as cooking or laundry, came to be associated with particular groups of non-Anglo American men demonstrates how constructions of race could be mapped onto constructions of gender in the diggings. (p. 101) 5. Describe the division of labor between male and female Miwok. How did non-Miwok view these labor divisions? HIST 29 Dr. Schaffer 2 Chapter 3, “Bulls, Bears, and Dancing Boys” 6. What was the expected life-trajectory for a white male in mid-nineteenth-century America?

How did the lives of white men in the placers of the Southern Mines differ from that expected trajectory in the late 1840s and 1850s? What accounts for these differences? 7. How did white men characterize the women they met in the Southern Mines? Chapter 4, “Mining Gold and Making War” 8. There were a number of labor systems practiced during the California Gold Rush, among them “Latin American peonage, North American slavery, and, later, Chinese indentured labor” (p. 186). Describe the occurrence of each of these in the Southern Mines. 9. What was the effect of the California Foreign Miners’ Tax (1850)? 10. What was the Mariposa War?

Chapter 5, “Dreams That Died” 11. Two big themes of this chapter are the rise of water companies and Chinese immigration to the Southern Mines. Of these two trends Johnson writes: “The arrival of Chinese in the diggings … coincided with the growth of local capitalist enterprise that threatened the autonomy of white placer miners. In the minds of white miners, then, the two phenomena must have seemed related, since anti-Chinese and anticapitalist legislation shaded into one another and drew in common from emerging languages of class” (p. 249). What does she mean by this? How does it relate to the title of this chapter?

Chapter 6, “The Last Fandango” 12. What was a fandango house? What types of people frequented, worked in, or profited from fandango houses? Why did they fade away at the end of the 1850s? 13. What effect did the arrival of white middle-class women have on life in the Southern Mines? 14. What was going on when in 1858 female Chinese prostitutes paraded down the main street of Volcano in hoop skirts colored red, white and blue? (See pp. 300 ff. ) More generally, what was life like for a Chinese woman in California in the 1850s? Epilogue 15. What can the pamphlets Two Eras in the Life of Felon Grovenor I.

Layton and Murder of M. V. B. Griswold by Five Chinese Assassins tell us about life in the Southern Mines and, more generally, America in the 1850s? 16. In her epilogue, Johnson discusses “The Luck of Roaring Camp”, a story by Bret Harte (see pp. 337 ff. ). Based on Johnson’s discussion of the story and the arguments that she makes throughout the book, why do you think she chose to title her book Roaring Camp? 17. According to Johnson, what is the relationship between history and memory? Why do we need both to understand the past? 18. Johnson uses the Gold Rush Era to explore the relationship between history and memory.

What other events or periods have generated a history and a memory whose relationship is complex? HIST 29 Dr. Schaffer 3 General (These questions serve as the “tying the readings together” questions for Week 14, but the only source on which you need to draw in order to answer them is Roaring Camp. ) 19. How did life in the Northern and Southern Mines differ during the Gold Rush Era? 20. Every society has social norms. Oftentimes these social norms fall by the wayside or are re-interpreted in boundary (or “liminal”) areas where people from different cultures come into contact with each other.

We might view the Southern Mines in the 1850s as one such liminal place ? apart from Native American groups, all were immigrants, usually of fairly recent arrival. What social norms were abandoned or adapted by these groups? How did Native American groups adapt or respond to the influx of immigrants? 21. History involves constructing a view of the past – there is no one “correct” view of the past, rather there are a multitude of viewpoints from which one must attempt to fashion as complete a view of the past as possible.

Moreover, some viewpoints are better represented than others and so we are often dependent on sources written by white middle-class Americans for our understanding of, for example, Native Americans or the earliest Chinese immigrants to California who, by and large, did not leave written testimonials of their own. Likewise, despite the near certainty that some miners entered into homosexual relationships, our understanding of the experiences of these men is hampered by social taboos against homosexuality in nineteenth-century America and the coded language in which such relationships were (possibly) described.

So how do we get at the experiences of these people? Can we ever hope to understand their experiences if we are largely restricted to viewing them through the writings of white, often middle-class, Americans? How does Johnson try to construct a history of these and other non-white groups in the Southern Mines? Johnson’s book touches on a number of topics, in addition to the Gold Rush, that you will also encounter in your textbook and other assigned sources. Keeping an eye out for these topics as you read will help you to better understand how Roaring Camp fits within the larger context of American history. he Cherokee / John Ridge cult of domesticity temperance Mexican-American War (1846? 48) californios Jacksonian Democracy John C. Fremont Manifest Destiny industrialization free labor / wage slavery Compromise of 1850 / Fugitive Slave Law HIST 29 Dr. Schaffer 4 The Term Paper (100 points): Due by 10 PM on Monday 5/6 Focusing on gender, ethnicity, class, or any combination of these, discuss what life was like in the Southern Mines during the Gold Rush and how it changed from the 1840s to the late 1850s. Requirements: ? Your paper should be 1,800? 2,200 words long, excluding references.

Your paper should be typed: Times New Roman 12 pt font and double-spaced. These parameters should yield a paper of around 6 pages. o Papers that are shorter than 1,800 words long will not earn passing grades. ? You MUST formulate an argument based on the above term paper topic. That is, your paper must have a thesis statement that you support by discussing specific sections of Roaring Camp. o A thesis statement is not merely a restatement of the above writing topic. I strongly suggest you run your thesis statement via email before writing your paper nd read the sections in A Pocket Guide to Writing History on writing history papers. ? How to go about constructing a thesis statement? I recommend answering a couple of the focus questions that most interested you and then seeing if you can construct a thesis statement based on your answers to those questions. o I am happy to meet with you in person in order to go over a draft of your paper. Please contact me about meeting a week in advance. Alternatively, if you can make it to my Friday OH in Brentwood, feel free to just drop by.

You can also call me at the Brentwood Center during my OH there: (925) 513-1625 (this is the number for the front desk; they can transfer you to my office). ? Your paper should demonstrate to me that you have read the entire book – you should choose your examples from Roaring Camp accordingly. ? With regard to writing style and providing page references, adhere to your Guidelines for Written Work (in the Course Information section of Blackboard) and/or Rampolla’s Pocket Guide to Writing in History. In addition: o In addition, note that double quotes “” are used when quoting a source (like Johnson).

If your quote contains both the words of Johnson and a source that she is quoting, use single quotes ‘’ inside the double quotes. For example: ? Johnson quotes one newspaperman who described a fandango in 1851 and marveled that dancing pairs were so close to each other that “only when the music stopped was it clear that ‘there were really two persons in the performance’ … the dancers were ‘going at it with a perfect looseness’” (Roaring Camp, p. 278). o If your quote is longer than three lines, you should to set it off from the rest of your paragraph by indenting as, for example Johnson does on p. 142 of Roaring Camp.

But note: use long quotes sparingly! The bulk of the paper should be your ideas, not quotes from the book. HIST 29 Dr. Schaffer 5 ? ? The term paper is worth 20% of your grade. I therefore expect you to produce a polished, errorfree piece of writing. Poor grammar, spelling mistakes, and other errors will lower your grade. Please do not waste my time and yours by plagiarizing any part of your term paper. Submitting Your Term Paper ? ? ? ? Go to Assignments Click “Term Paper – Roaring Camp” Add your term paper as an attachment: preferably a Word or RTF (Rich Text Format) file; a text file is also acceptable.

You can work on your term paper in the assignment section of Blackboard and “save” it to come back to later. However, once you click “Submit” the term paper is sent to me and you can no longer access your work. Do not wait until the last minute to submit your term paper. That way, if you encounter any technical difficulties, you have time to sort them out and still submit your paper on time. ? Roaring Camp EC: Due by 10 PM on Friday 3/15 In order to encourage you to begin reading the book sooner, rather than later, I will give you 10? 15 points of extra credit for answering one of the focus questions early. ? If you answer one of the focus questions from the Prologue to the Epilogue I will give you up to 10 points EC. If you answer one of the “General questions” on p. 3 I will give you up to 15 points EC. If you do choose to answer one of the “General questions” your answer should demonstrate that you have read multiple chapters of the book. Your answers should be 300? 450 words long. You should submit your answers in the Assignments section of Blackboard: click on “Roaring Camp EC”. You may not answer the same question for both your EC assignment and the Week 14 discussion board. HIST 29 Dr. Schaffer


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