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The California Gold Rush In 1849

1134 words - 5 pages

The California Gold Rush in 1849 was the catalyst event for the state that earned them a spot in the U.S. union in 1850. This was not the first gold rush in North America; however, it was one of the most important gold rush events. The story of how the gold was discovered and the stories of the 49ers are well known. Men leaving their families in the East and heading West in hopes of striking it rich are the stories that most of us heard about when we learn about the California Gold Rush. Professors and scholars over the last two decades from various fields of study have taken a deeper look into the Gold Rush phenomena. When California joined the Union in 1850 it helped the U.S. expand ...view middle of the document...

The U.S. government rejected the grant of land and the land owned by Mexicans was transferred to U.S. domain (Orsi and Burns 102). The story of gold being discovered at Sutter’s Mill in California took place on January 24, 1848, which was also occupied by American military due to the Mexican-American war. News of the gold discovery was not widespread until 1849 (Smith, Orsi, and Rawls 32). The development of the United States might have been dramatically different if the treaty was not signed at that particular point in time.
Through the addition of the land from the treaty with Mexico, it created a huge debate within the government over slavery (Finkelman and Kennon 1). As the Gold Rush took off over the next couple of years and thousands of people began to migrate to California, it was added as a free state into the United States with the Compromise of 1850 (Orsi and Burns 12). As more people fled to California, Congress was confronted with the issue of land rights. At the time the state legislature decided on “free mining” and Congress agreed that the land was “public domain for all citizens to use” (Smith, Orsi, and Rawls 128). By 1850 California consisted of immigrants from all over the world who had come to work the gold mines (Rohrbough 228). Americans felt threatened by the non-whites and state legislature imposed a tax on non-white immigrants to reduce the competition (Rohrbough 228). Immigrants were not the only non-white group to be targeted by the Americans. Native Americans were either relocated or murdered for their lands, some who relocated eventually starved to death (Rohrbough 228). Crime rates began to surge over land and most crime was directed toward non-white people. In 1854 the California Supreme Court ruled to limit minority rights, which stated that minorities have no right to give evidence in court (Orsi and Burns 113). These laws had been adopted from the southern states as early as 1850; however, they were used to reduce or eliminate the competition in California (Orsi and Burns 112).
Mining in California was the foundation for technological progress and modern industrial development that continues today in the United States (Smith, Orsi, and Rawls 46). The mining companies that formed during the Gold Rush swayed the transformation of the modern corporate economy in the United States...

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