California Gold Rush

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  • Topic: United States, California Gold Rush, California
  • Pages : 2 (726 words )
  • Download(s) : 717
  • Published : November 30, 2005
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The California gold rush is undoubtedly one of the major events that shaped the western United States. In a period of civil division and unrest, the gold rush brought about a renewed drive for expansion and entrepreneurship in the U.S. While often criticized for staunch immigrant racism, economic corruption, and environmental devastation, this era ushered forth a new chapter in American history and forever set the foundation for the California enterprising spirit.

Immigrant racism was a major problem during the time of the gold rush in California. Immigrant Chinese, Native American Indians, Mexicans, and South Americans alike were all discriminated against during this period. In this time prior to the civil war, the drive for wealth in the gold fields was the major force behind the segregation of races. Chinese and other immigrants were shunned for fear that their willingness to work for lower wages would deprive whites from jobs in the bustling mining industry. In the aftermath of the Mexican-American War, whites in California looked down upon the Mexicans and other Catholic nationalities. Native Americans quite possible were the least tolerated in this emerging state. Throughout the nation they had been slaughtered as a result of relocation and U.S. territorial expansion, but only here in California did they fall victim to routine civilian acts of violence. These crimes, which were never brought to justice in the courts, were committed to ensure the Native Americans would not join the hunt for gold in the territory. However, these sentiments and practices allowed for the introduction of immigrant labor. While the conditions would get far worse before improving over the next century, the ultimate result was an industrialized country with strong economic base and revolutionary cultural diversity.

Economic corruption certainly was a major problem during the times of gold rush, and through its evils, inspired the enterprising Californian spirit and...
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