The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War

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California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War, Leonard L. Richards Paperback

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Men headed West in record numbers, hoping to escape the wage labor economy and strike it rich. Women were mostly left at home to raise families, tend farms, and run businesses on their own. Countless families took out loans or spent their life savings in pursuit of their dream. By , the non-native population of California had reached almost , Prospectors soon learned that mining was grueling, dangerous work. Hiram Pierce held a funeral for one young man who died of gangrene after accidentally shooting himself in the leg.


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  • Despite these conditions, miners continued pouring into California. And how could they resist? Not everyone was convinced that this westward migration was worth the risk; in Edgar Allan Poe even undertook a bizarre hoax to dissuade people from going. Competition grew increasingly fierce, and soon Anglo-American miners were growing territorial.

    They often resorted to violence, forcing others of different nationalities from their land. As the surface gold disappeared, miners found themselves with no option but to work for larger mining corporations with the technology to mine gold deeper underground.

    The California Gold Rush cartoon 1849 (The Wild West)

    The vast majority of men who went in search of gold failed to strike it rich. One such failed prospector was Hinton Rowan Helper. He went to the gold fields in and returned after only a matter of months. Helper also took up another hot-button national issue: slavery.

    The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War - eBook

    Racism ran deep in California, and one would think that Helper was not alone in his pro-slavery sentiment. Such was not the case; the issue was much more complicated. However, no laws banned slavery in the early days of the Gold Rush. After the US won California, a bitter dispute ensued over whether the state should be a free or slave state. Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. Do you work in the book industry? Which of the following best describes you? Literary Agent. Publicist or Marketing Professional.

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