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The California Gold Rush Of 1849: A Dream For Some, A Nightmare For Others

1124 words - 5 pages

Many people spend their whole lives trying to make money and become rich. One imagines a lifestyle where they do not have to work to provide for their families and they can enjoy the finer things in life. Some may go to great lengths to find this source of richness, even if this involves packing up and moving far away. Many people found a way to make this dream of being rich a reality on January 24, 1848. While constructing a sawmill for John Sutter, James W. Marshall discovered gold in the American River. Many people flocked to California in search of the golden treasure and to follow their dream. This was the start of the California Gold Rush. The California Gold Rush was an important part ...view middle of the document...

The Panama Railway ensured people would continue to settle throughout the west in search for gold. With the increase of population that the California Gold Rush brought, California prospered and so did its economy.
Second, the California Gold rush helped the economy of California prosper due to the founding of new markets, higher miner pay, and tax revenue. With the increase of foreign immigrants, California was able to profit off of the people traveling from many other countries. This opened many new markets for California. The economy of California also prospered due to the increase of wages the miners received. Miners could get up to $20 a day to work in the mines, which was considerably higher than other portions of the United States. This allowed the workers to spend more while in California, or even open their own business. The next positive move for California’s economy was the Foreign Miners Tax. “In 1850, the California legislature enacted the Foreign Miners Tax, which levied a monthly $20 tax on each foreign miner”. This tax ensured that the United States citizens could control the mines. This angered the Chinese immigrants and most left to avoid the tax all together. The increase in markets and the Foreign Miners Tax were two of the reasons the California Gold Rush helped the economy of California.
Finally, the outcome of the California Gold Rush was not all positive and the Native Americans living in the western United States were negatively impacted. They were forced to give up their lands and their livelihoods. In the span of a decade, 100,000 of the 170,000 Native Americans living in California had died. In 1848, just as the rush for gold was starting, over 4,000 Native Americans and only 2,000 white men were working in gold fields. California’s Indian Act of 1850, made homeless and orphaned Native Americans liable for indentured servitude. During the gold rush, over 3,000 Native American children were sold into slavery for $50 to $200 apiece. “California's legal "apprentice" system allowed settlers to keep homeless or jobless Indians indentured until they were 30”. Many women resorted to darkening their children’s faces in order to save them from being sold into slavery. “In 1851, Congress negotiated 18 treaties of "peace and friendship" with 402 California tribal leaders. The [Native Americans] were promised 8.5 million acres on 10 reservations in exchange for the rest of...

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