Gold Mountain Turned to Dust
Essays on the Legal History of the Chinese in the Nineteenth-Century American West
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
Some half million Chinese immigrants settled in the American West in the nineteenth century. In spite of their vital contributions to the economy in gold mining, railroad construction, the founding of small businesses, and land reclamation, the Chinese were targets of systematic political discrimination and widespread violence. This legal history of the Chinese experience in the American West, based on the author's lifetime of research in legal sources all over the West--from California to Montana to New Mexico--serves as a basic account of the legal treatment of Chinese immigrants in the West.
The first two essays deal with anti-Chinese racial violence and judicial discrimination. The remainder of the book examines legal precedents and judicial doctrines derived from Chinese cases in specific western states. The Chinese, Wunder shows, used the American legal system to protect their rights and test a variety of legal doctrines, making vital contributions to the legal history of the American West.
"In many cases, Wunder did the painstaking work of counting instances. Readers will find a ready reference of key details such as tabulated incidents of anti-Chinese violence from 1850 to 1910 and 'Chinese Litigants before Southwest Supreme Courts, 1849-1902.' . . . Adding to the value of these essays is the Foreword by Liping Zhu, which contextualizes the significance of the Chinese cases and Wunder's recovery of them."--Victor Jew, Western Historical Quarterly
"Possessing a JD as well as a PhD in history, Wunder is exceptionally well qualified to tackle the issues of the legal treatment of the Chinese in nineteenth-century America."--California History
"An understanding of the legal position and problems that Chinese Americans faced in the nineteenth century is crucial to an understanding of Chinese American and Asian American history, and this single book provides the foundation necessary."--Southern California Quarterly
"[Wunder] extends the history of local and state laws beyond California to the greater American West, including the states and territories of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and New Mexico. Given the overrepresentation of California in Chinese American history more broadly, this is a vital contribution in and of itself."--Beth Lew-Williams, Journal of Arizona History
"Wunder excels in his breadth of coverage of legal trends relating to the Chinese in the American West and in the depth of his research in archives across the region. His prose humanizes these cases by sharing the personal stories, motivations, choices, and impacts on the people involved, while clearly explaining the legal issues under consideration."--Montana The Magazine of Western History
"Very few other historians of Chinese America can match [Wunder's] ability to place Chinese legal issues so securely within the context of national events and relations among ethnic groups."--Oregon Historical Quarterly
Foreword. No Equal Justice for Chinese
Preface. A Personal Commentary
Chapter One. Anti-Chinese Violence in the American West, 1850-1910
Chapter Two. Chinese in Trouble: Criminal Law and Race on the Trans-Mississippi West Frontier
Chapter Three. People v. Hall (Cal, 1854) Revisited
Chapter Four. The Chinese and California: A Torturous Legal Relationship
Chapter Five. Chinese Laundries and the Fourteenth Amendment
Chapter Six. The Chinese and the Courts in the Pacific Northwest: Justice Denied?
Chapter Seven. The Courts and the Chinese in Frontier Idaho
Chapter Eight. Law and Chinese in Frontier Montana
Chapter Nine. Law and the Chinese on the Southwest Frontier, 1850s-1902
Chapter Ten. Territory of New Mexico v. Yee Shun: A Turning Point in Chinese Legal Relationships in the Trans-Mississippi West