Slavery in California

Slavery, as we have said, never was a legalized institution in California. In 1829 slavery was abolished from all Mexican territory, and by 1848 there were relatively few negroes in California. In 1849, the constitutional convention excluded slavery from California with practical unanimity, so that when Congress admitted the State into the Union, it came in as a free State. The sentiment of the Golden State in 1849-1850 against the institution of Slavery, however, did not wholly deter slave owners from bringing their slaves with them to California. At the beginning of the gold rush, in fact, quite a number of people from the South brought their slaves with them to work in the mines. Many hoped and believed that California would side with the South on the great slavery question. In 1850, there were nearly one thousand negroes in the State. In 1852, the number had increased to nearly two thousand two hundred,-many in virtual slavery, for contemporary evidence goes to show that many negroes continued in the state of slavery in California for shorter or longer periods after 1849, some not being released from this involuntary servitude until the period of national emancipation.