California Gold Rush

Submitted By jessann5
Words: 3075
Pages: 13

Section One: The California Gold Rush
Geography and the development/diffusion of society
The gold rush of 1849 caused a population boom in the California territory
Prior to 1848, the population of the California territory was estimated to be 1,000 people
By the end of 1849, the population was estimated to be over 100,000 people
Brought a diverse crowd from many different countries
Changed the cultural and historical landscape forever
(Eyewitness to History, 2003; The Gold Rush of 1849, 2014)
The First Discovery of Gold
First discovered in California on January 24, 1848 by James Wilson Marshall
Discovered flakes of gold in the American River at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains located at a saw mill named “Sutter’s Mill” near the town of Coloma, California
By June of 1849 three-quarters of the male population of San Francisco had left town for the gold mines
People flooding to the area in search of gold were nicknamed the ‘49ers after the year 1849
Resulted in commerce expansion in the area.
Lawlessness and crime grew, increasing local law enforcement and local government
(Eyewitness to History, 2003; The Gold Rush of 1849, 2014)

Changes in the United States
1849, California applied to enter the union of the United States (U.S.) as a free state with a constitution preventing slavery
Provoked crisis in the senate and among U.S. citizens, as slavery was still legal in other states and territories
Gold rush was responsible for speeding up the admission to the union, and the possibility of wealth out weighed the fact that California had applied as a free state
In 1850, California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state
(Eyewitness to History, 2003; The Gold Rush of 1849, 2014)

Lasting Effects
After 1850 surface gold in California had mostly disappeared and the gold became more difficult to reach
Caused the invention and development of large machines that were utilized to dig deep in the earth to extract gold- expensive
Only wealthy individuals and mining companies could afford the machinery and tools necessary to continue excavation.
Many of the ‘49ers were no longer able to mine with simple hand tools resulting in a majority of the independent miners becoming employed by mining companies
Mining continued through the 1850’s and peaked by 1852
Estimated that during the gold rush two billion dollars worth of gold had been mined from the California hills
(The Gold Rush of 1849, 2014)
Lasting Effects Cont’d
Settlers continued to flock to California throughout the remainder of the decade despite most of the gold being gone By the end of the 1850’s, the population of the state was estimated to be at 380,000 people up from 1,000 at the decades beginning
Gold rush changed the local, state, national, and world population by causing a migration to California
The admission of California to the union as a free state caused a national response regarding the slavery debate and lead the way for other states and territories to become free states
Helped foster support for the passing of the 13th amendment in 1865, abolishing slavery in the United States
Lead to rapid development of commerce and government with the development and technology of new machinery, mining methods, and modern excavation equipment
(The Gold Rush of 1849, 2014)

Gold Rush Conclusion
The gold rush signified the beginning of an era in the U.S. and helped solidify our reputation as the land of opportunity
California, with it’s new status as the 31st state and a free state at that, was seen as a safe heaven for oppressed slaves and many of them made the dangerous journey to California in hopes of finding a place to belong
The promise of wealth, and freedom brought people from all over the country and the globe to California causing a massive population boom, local business growth, government expansion, the invention of new machinery, and an estimated two billion dollars worth of gold
(Eyewitness to History,