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California Admission Day and the Compromise of 1850
by Khubaka, Michael Harris
Sunday Aug 20th, 2017 6:44 PM
California Admission Day and the Compromise of 1850 resolved a contentious debate of rapid expansion throughout the western frontier by offering a short lived delicate balance continuing support for “America’s Peculiar Institution.”
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Join us on September 9, 2017 as we celebrate our 167th California Admission Day the ongoing challenge recognizing the legacy of the Compromise of 1850.

"California’s early history is too often neglected in schools and among our citizens,” according to Governor Jerry Brown, who vetoed legislation back in 1976 seeking to eliminate the official holiday of California Admission Day.

In 1984, Governor Deukmejian signed legislation eliminating the traditional observance of Admission Day in favor of an optional “personal” holiday. Today, we should reconsider and reflect deeply upon teaching how and why California became the 31st state, as part of the Compromise of 1850.

Beginning in 1845, at the dawn of the Mexican American War, the doctrine of Manifest Destiny and expanding the United States from “sea to shining sea” sharpened the political divide over chattel slavery in the vast open lands of Mexican Alta California.

The California Gold Rush of 1848 helped facilitate a delicate economic and political balance during the California Constitutional Convention in 1849 required for an official petition the US Congress for statehood.

The Compromise of 1850 resolved a contentious debate of rapid expansion throughout the western frontier by offering a short lived delicate balance continuing support for “America’s Peculiar Institution.”

Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky successfully brokered a multipronged Congressional legislative package, with the support of Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, that allowed California to become the 31st state, strengthen the U.S. Fugitive Slave Act, establish the Utah territorial government, settled a boundary dispute between Texas and New Mexico, while beginning an end to “chattel slave trade” within the District of Columbia, Washington.

Our renaissance of California Admission Day suggests a renewed examination of documented debates, discussions during the California Constitutional Convention that created the original 1849 California State Constitution at Colton Hall, Historic Monterey as fundamental to restoring an educational value to an annual celebration of September 9, 1850.

Together, we can quantify if any ongoing impacts of early systemic disenfranchisement and exclusion by early California Legislative, Judicial and Executive authority remain.

Our esteemed California State Librarian Emeritus, Dr. Kevin Starr, shared a detailed and elevated notion of inclusion and diversity essential for appreciating our unique California mosaic tapestry worthy of elevated scholarship and historic preservation.

Why not also include the heritage and significant contributions made by people of African ancestry throughout the California experience beginning prior to Spanish exploration and conquest in 1535, Mexican Independence in 1821 and the California Bear Flag Revolt in 1846 on the journey to California statehood?

We continue the journey, this 167th Annual California Admission Day, seeking to expanding consideration to share the authentic contributions of all Californians.

Together, we can “seize the day,” and request official collaboration between our libraries and archives to utilize delicate official State of California records and rare primary source documents.

When we highlight the promise of inclusion and diversity, essential to learn from costly lessons from our historic challenges, then we can maximize opportunities expanding our competitive advantage throughout the Great State of California.