The California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush of 1849 is one of the most interesting and exiting events of the United States. From the wild stories of men striking it big, to the heart wrenching tales of people losing everything, these are what make it so alluring. There are many aspects of the California Gold Rush; effects on California; individual stories of struggle; and effects on the United States as a young country looking for stability.
San Francisco was a small town of a few hundred people in 1840, but by 1850 it was a huge city whose economy was injected with gold money. This rapid growth and development was brought on by an accidental discovery by James Marshall. “I reached my hand down and picked it up; it made my heart thump, for I was certain it was gold. The piece was about half the size and shape of a pea. Then I saw another.” Marshall had been working on a lumber mill for John Sutter, when he made his discovery. Early efforts were made in the beginning to keep the discovery quiet, but they soon failed, and lead way to one of the single largest migration of American’s across the continent.
California saw many changes very fast. Most of these play part in shaping it into what it is today. From Hollywood to San Francisco, today’s lifestyles in California have roots in the Gold Rush. Because the failure rate was so high, it became common to come out to California looking for gold and end up losing it all. California was a state of risk takers and adventurers. Today people still go out to California to find fame and fortune and many fail, as did many of the ‘49’ers. The economy of California is still a major risk taking economy, as it was back in the days of the Gold Rush. Computer companies start and go broke everyday in silicon-valley, producers spend millions of dollars on movies, sometimes hitting it big, and other times going bust. California has gained many of its traits and characteristics from the Gold Rush of 1849, shaping into what it is today.
What effects did the Gold Rush have on people? Some became forever rich, and some lost everything. In 1849, California was a rather uncivilized place, especially San Francisco. Miner’s came from every where to try to find their fortune, but most fortunes weren’t made mining gold, they were made because of mining. Sam Brannan was one such man who made his fortune this way. Brannan bought every shovel, pan, and every other mining related tool he could in the region. A twenty-cent metal pan now became a fifteen-dollar...