California forms a government

From the end of the War with Mexico in 1846 until entry into the union in 1850, California differed from every other territory of the United States. In the beginning, while the war continued, it was ruled by the military as conquered territory. Then, after the cessation of hostilities and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, it became an integral part of the public domain and subject to the rule of congress. But congress failed to act and the president, because of the rapidly growing immigration to California, found it necessary to continue the authority of the military governors who ruled over a territory still controlled primarily by old Mexican laws and customs.

Bennett Riley

Then in 1849, during the governorship of General Bennett Riley, the state constitution convention assembled. There was no legal warrant to hold such proceedings and by doing so the people of California claimed the right inherent to them as American citizens to meet and elect a government and they did so quite effectively. And when, in 1850, California was admitted into the union as a state and placed on the same level as the other states, it in effect ratified all that had been done at the constitutional convention as having been entirely legal from the outset. There could no longer be any doubt as to the validity of the constitution, the government formed under it, any of the laws or statutes enacted by the legislature, or actions taken by subordinate boards and tribunals enacted by these statutes. California was now a sovereign state of the United States of America.



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