California And The American Dream Essay

1497 words - 6 pages

Since 1848 to the present, California has had strong periods of representing the American Dream with its egalitarian advances and times of overwhelmingly democratic positions. Also, California was once a place for economic opportunity, attracting people from all over the nation. Since 1990, however, California has witnessed a reverse migration. Once a land of hope and opportunity, California has slowly been turning into a land of despair.
California started its statehood unlike any other state before or after it succession. California entered the nation as a free state in 1950, during the time of the Gold Rush. From the Gold Rush came the term “California Dream” which is the “psychological motivation to gain fast wealth or fame in a new land” (Manhattan-Institute.org). From the time of the Gold Rush up until recent years, California has been associated with obtaining fast wealth and fame. This encouraged people from all over the world to come to California in hopes of striking it rich, just as people continued to do up until the 90's. The discovery of gold in California in 1848 immensely accelerated certain changes that had been in the making for decades. For instance, California was already filled with different races and cultures, but when the Gold Rush struck, California became an international frontier where people from every continent were joining together. “California also set an important precedent for civil societies with diverse populations” (page 121). By 1850, California was flooded with over 300,000 people seeking gold. The fact that California has always attracted so many different people has created a land filled with many languages, cultures, and social customs. “The arrival and departure of thousands of immigrants, the intensely multicultural nature of society, and the newness of American institutions made Gold Rush California a chaotic, confusing landscape for natives and newcomers alike” (calisphere.universityofcalifornia.edu). Not much has changed in that aspect. California continues in its chaos and remains the largest melting pot in the nation. California began as the place to obtain the American Dream and continued to be the destination where hopes and dreams were fulfilled long after the Gold Rush. However, in recent years, individual's desire to come to California has decreased substantially. According to Forbes, Vermont is currently the number one state where a person is most likely to achieve the American Dream, with California ranked at an unimpressive 33 out of 51 (Forbes.com).
After World War II, people from around the nation continued to flock to California. To them, California was a place with more jobs, more opportunities, and the perfect weather. California's population continued to grow, reaching an increase of 137 percent from 1960 to 1990. “However, this golden age of migration into the state is over. For the past two decades, California has been sending more people to other...

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