Anglo-Women During California Gold Rush

Topics: California Gold Rush, California, Marriage Pages: 3 (1283 words) Published: February 27, 2012
The Alteration of Anglo-Women during the California Gold Rush The Gold Rush of California was a “shot heard” round the world that caught the ears of many individuals who were seeking the golden opportunities of the West. (Chan & Olin 1992). With the dreams of wealth on the horizon, the Gold Rush brought on a drastic change in American society. For the women of this period, their lives would be altered in ways that would change the Western frontier. With an eagerness for wealth and equality women now found themselves struggling to survive in a society that was mainly male dominant and branch out from the normalcy of womanhood, which would transform occupational drive, prostitution and marital status. Before women could pursue the opportunities that California had to offer, they had to embark on and endure the onerous journey to California. Through the tough terrains, survival was difficult. Many of the travelers chose the route that took five to seven months through the Cape Horn route, and the Isthmus of Panama which was difficult due to a small boat and mule. Another way of traveling was on land with wagon or on foot, going through deserts and plains with the difficulty of keeping their family safe and free of disease. Many women journeyed with their father, brother, or husband to the land of golden opportunity leaving behind their entire livelihood. Women who came to California were driven. They thrived, despite daunting challenges that typically society had deemed a man’s job. This often included, digging for gold, and taking on other male dominated jobs. When mining became difficult for women, some turned to marketing domestic skills such as washing, cooking, ironing and running a boarding house. The money earned by women was higher than the wages of men because they would pay more due to scarcity of females. With independent and determined women the idea of stereotyping against them as a suffering and sad pioneer wife with a male dominant society counter...
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