California's Gold Rush Essay

1240 words - 5 pages

"Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!” shouted Samuel Brannan, a newspaper publicist from San Francisco, following the discovery of gold in California (Rhodes 168). This event sparked a new era of immigration to California in 1848. The gold rush began on January 24, 1848 when gold was found by James Marshall, a foreman for John Sutter, at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California (Bancroft 32). Initially the news was kept a secret due to the risk of a massive wave of gold seekers interfering with Sutter’s land and agricultural plans. However, by March of 1848, Samuel Brannan’s flamboyant confirmation to the rumors created the California gold rush. Hordes of people from around the world ...view middle of the document...

The news of gold in California did not reach the east first. The news instead traveled across the pacific to Asia and Europe (CITATION NEEDED). There was no reliable and quick method of transportation yet from the west to the east and vice versa. On December 5, 1848, President James Polk confirmed the discovery of gold in an address to Congress (Starr 80). By then the news had hit most of Asia and Europe. As the news spread, the Gold Rush fascinated thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and Asia in addition to the Americans. The term “rush” was suitable for that time. By the 1850’s, California's American-and European-born population had increased tenfold, with San Francisco alone growing from a community of 1,000 to an active city of about 35,000 (Johnson 12-14).
San Francisco had a major transformation in only a minor amount of years. As stated before San Francisco was a small town before the gold rush but became a major city with many nationalities forming that huge city that was bustling with activity. On the ports, there were many ships that seemed to be abandoned. Ships that docked in San Francisco Bay at the height of the gold rush actually risked losing their entire crews to the goldfields that were further inland (Johnson 12). There were cities around San Francisco, new roads that accommodated gold seekers and many shops where hopeful miners could buy their tools. Although San Francisco was an American city, the diversity was vast. There were settlers from all around the
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world and they each had their conception for living. These traditions did not affect the melding of all the diverse people. Was it due to their common interest? Yes, though research did not provide a clear answer. The gold rush in California was for many a sharp contrast to the sobriety and respectability of middle-class America. "But they were rough," wrote Mark Twain of the forty-niners in Roughing It. "They fairly reveled in gold, whiskey, fights and were unspeakably happy."(Johnson 14). As the San Francisco area’s prosperity increased seemingly at a daily basis, its popularity created laws and a constitution. The territory was organized ceded into the United States: California was born.
California’s growth in settlers, both American and foreign, gave rise to the idea of creating a state. The term “manifest destiny” had circulated throughout the United States years before and had not died out. As a result of the gold rush, towns and cities were chartered, a state constitution was organized, a state constitution was written, elections were held, and representatives were sent to Washington D.C. to negotiate California’s admission as a...

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