Mary Casey's essay on mission history traces the tendency of early SCQ articles, in parallel with contemporaneous educational standards and cultural productions, to idealize the padres' work and romanticize the mission era, a trend that persisted into the late 1960s. It was only at that point that a more critical appraisal emerged. Critical analysis and new methodologies revealed the padres' ill treatment of Indigenous peoples, the mission system's role in imperial conquest, and the mission plants as instruments of control. The multiple perspectives and interactions of multiple groups of historical actors placed in the context of a wider borderlands in the recent articles in the Southern California Quarterly extend California history from a California-exceptionist mold into a richer understanding of continental history.

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