Southern California Chivalry

Daniel Lynch
UC Los Angeles

My dissertation focuses on the convergence of male Southerners and Californios in Southern California from 1846 to 1866. The United States defeated both Mexico and the Confederacy within twenty years, expanding national power in the West while confirming it in the South. In the far corner of the Southwest, two influential groups of men worked together to mediate Southern California‚ incorporation into the union: migrants from slave states and the local rancheros of Alta California. Guided by similar seigniorial ideals regarding masculine honor, land ownership and social order, Southerners and Californios joined forces in a Democratic political faction known as the Chivalry. They pushed for separation from the rest of the state; coordinated vigilante activity; and forged hybrid hierarchies of race, class and gender in a complex multiethnic society. Their experience illustrates some of the possibilities of intercultural cooperation in a dynamic period of imperial expansion and sectional conflict.