The California Gold Rush Essay

This essay has a total of 915 words and 4 pages.

The California Gold Rush

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 pan, and the only
place to buy them was from Sam Bannan. Levi Strauss, a tailor who happened to have very
popular canvas pants made his fortune from the Gold Rush. Phillip Armour, of Armour Meat
packing company, and John Studebaker just to name a couple more. Unfortunately, not
everybody could get rich, for every one person that struck it big; there were thousands
that didn't. It is not uncommon to hear stories of men leaving their wife, kids and
family, with promises to return in one year with enough money to never have to work again,
they never met their promises. As the gold got more sparse men who hadn't found what they
were looking for turned to gambling, drinking, and crime. "I take this opportunity of
writing these few lines to you hoping to find you in good health. Me and Charley is
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