California’s Admission Day: A “Decline of Popular Politics”?

September 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Citizenship & Civil Religion at the Dawn of the Progressive Era:

California Admission Day

San Francisco Call image of the Native Sons of the Golden West

162 years ago California was admitted as the 31st state in the Union. Does admission day (September 9) mean anything anymore?

Certainly contemporaries in 19th century California saw a great significance in celebrating the admission of their Pacific Coast republic. As it was celebrated by the Native Sons of the Golden West in San Francisco, parades, speeches, and entertainment enlivened a mass community to celebration. During the 1890’s California’s Admission Day celebrations were huge affairs of historical pageantry, carnival, and expositions. Most significantly, Admission Day also provided a public venue for elite sanctioned versions of the history of California. For instance, many attractions at Admission Day’s would carry interpretations of the significance of the Anglo-gold rush to San Francisco and the state. It emphasized the removal of the Mexican nation from sovereignty in Alta California, and California’s significance overall to national prestige.

California Admission Day, 1897

Front page image of the San Francisco Chronicle on California Admission Day, September 9, 1897

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