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Choose Your Weapon

The Duel in California, 1847–1861

Christopher Burchfield

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Geschichte

Beschreibung

In Gold Rush–era California, gunfighters weren’t outlaws or desperadoes ― they were were prominent journalists, legislators, governors, and judges. Choose Your Weapon brings to life a now-forgotten time, when California was a raw new state with politics as violent as any banana republic. This was the Golden Age of dueling, when prominent citizens would settle their political and personal disputes with gunfire, according to the venerable law of the code duello. Choose Your Weapon documents every notable duel to have occurred in California, from the arrival of U.S. dueling culture with the first American settlers to the end of dueling’s popularity on the eve of the Civil War. In the heyday of dueling culture, men from all walks of life, from politicians to manual laborers, fought formal duels. Duels could be triggered by political battles to shape state government―or they could be fought over a woman or a personal slight. Braggarts often proved to be cowards on the field of honor, and many a quiet and peaceable man could shoot with deadly accuracy when reputation was at stake. For the California gentlemen of the 1850s, honor or dishonor―and life or death―could be decided with a single shot.

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