An Overview Of The Gold Rush Essay

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An Overview Of The Gold Rush Essay, Research Paper An Overview of the Gold Rush California has always been associated with cutting edge development and ideas. For over a century and a half it has been the leader of what the rest of the country follows. No single event has been as groundbreaking (literally and metaphorically) as the Gold Rush of 1849. This historic event single-handedly connected the East to the West in what proved to be the perfect model of expansion. It was what brought hundreds of thousands of Americans and immigrants alike to the fast-paced, ever-changing world of California. To fully understand the history of the Goldrush, one must know what was actually happening before the lure of gold overwhelmed the country. In 1844, John C. Fremont ordered the U.S.

Army to lead a scientific expedition to California. During a second trip in 1846, he encouraged ranchers located in northern area to revolt. These events lead to the seizure of Sonoma and the proclamation of a republic. The flag that they raised that year was a figure of a bear. It was not yet known that the Mexican War had started and that troops had been sent to quall the battles. According to the New Standard Encyclopedia, ?there was little fighting in the north, and the south was taken quickly under the forces of General Stephen W. Kearny and Commodore Robert F. Stockton? (C38a). In 1849, Mexico ceded California to the United States. (New Standard Encyclopedia C-38 and C38a) One of the most little understood men of the gold rush, John Augustus Sutter, had fled from

Switzerland to avoid his debtors in the mid 1800s. Abandoning his family and friends he came to America in hopes of making it big and making a fortune. In July of 1839 he arrived in California and acquired a land grant from the Mexican government. He dreamed of one day owning a vast empire of agricultural lands. It was a dream that ultimately ruined him. According to a biography done on him by California State Library, he built Sutter?s Fort and sold important supplies to the new inflow of people traveling to California. His fort still lies on the present-day site of Sacramento. (Cal State Library, 1) Luckily for Sutter, he got the local Indians to work for him. In a book written by Donald Jackson, the Indians harvested his wheat and ate in animal troughs in the courtyard of his

adobe fort. He had Mexican Vaqueros tending to vast herds that roamed the fort and its surroundings. He also grew vineyards that??European-born vintners looked after? (8). All in all, Sutter was building what he though to be his future dream castle. (Jackson 7,8) After the war with Mexico, John Sutter was left with the spoils that had been left in the aftermath. The book Gold Dust states that about 150 Mormons who had been soldiers of the war had been ordered to stay in California by Mormon leaders in Utah. A messenger from Salt Lake had ?told them to stay there through the winter due to the lack of food in Zion? (8). The 150 Mormons consisted of carpenters, tanners, wagonmakers, and mechanics. Sutter had badly wanted to build a flower mill and a sawmill. This gave him the

opportunity to do so immediately. (Jackson 8, 9) The sawmill was ?located forty-five miles up the American River in Coloma Valley? (8). To supervise the building of the sawmill he employed the services of James Marshall. Marshall was ?a strange, sober man?who had wondered down from Oregon two years earlier? (8). Jackson states that Marshall believed that he could see visions of the future, which caused him to be labeled as ?peculiar.? (Jackson 8) It was January 24 when James Marshall noticed a few glimmers of something in the mud a few miles upstream from the mill. He and his crew had been working on widening a tailrace for Sutter?s Mill. He only had a faint idea of the types of minerals in the area, yet seeing the glimmers of the mineral excited him. When he told his workers of