The Cattle on a Thousand Hills: Southern California, 1850-1870

The Cattle on a Thousand Hills: Southern California, 1850-1870

The Cattle on a Thousand Hills: Southern California, 1850-1870

The Cattle on a Thousand Hills: Southern California, 1850-1870

Excerpt

Because of rich and varied resources, certain distinctive industries, and a vigorous though as yet amorphous culture, the southern California of today plays no mean part in the life and thought and making of the world. But men still living can recall when the region, now so populous, highly developed, and renowned, was only an isolated cattle frontier, without an exact counterpart among the other frontiers of the Old West.

This book is an economic and social history of the southern California of those half-forgotten, formative years. It is chiefly concerned with the impact of AngloSaxon customs and institutions upon the pastoral life of the Spanish-Californians, with the conversion of great grazing ranchos into farms and settlements, with the gradual displacement of frontier violence and instability by a more restrained, law-abiding society, and with the transformation of the so-called "Cow Counties" of the post-Gold Rush era into the small beginnings of the southern California of our own time.

Although complete in itself, the book was originally designed to serve as the introductory volume in a series of kindred studies, covering the whole field of southern California's economic and social development, from the time of the American conquest down to the present day. It is hoped that the plan, though now in abeyance, may eventually be carried to completion.

With the exception of the first two chapters, devoted to an account of the Spanish-Mexican land-grant system, the study is chiefly confined to the period which lay be-

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