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The California Gold Rush: Mining and Its Impact on the Growth of San Francisco

Devin Simon History 110! Honors

Devin Simon

on 28 April 2010

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Transcript of The California Gold Rush: Mining and Its Impact on the Growth of San Francisco

The California Gold Rush:
Mining And Its Impact on the Growth of San Francisco

Devin Simon

HIstory 110! Honors

"The whole country from San Francisco to Los Angeles and from the seashore to the base of the Sierra Nevada resounds the cry of gold! GOLD! GOLD!"
America witnessed a mass migration to the West following the discovery of gold in 1848.
Cities develop quickly with the arrival of the Gold Rush.
Movement to the frontier, especially San Francisco, was very sporadic and population growth became very chaotic; the city at first couldn’t handle it.


Although gold mining temporarily spurred the economy and settlement in the Bay Area during the mid 1800s, the exploitation of gold created chaotic and population growth in San Francisco, requiring government regulation to maintain order.
This population surge resulted in crime and injustice, and the government was needed to provide stability.
Donald Worster agrues the land was systematically organized and transformed from a local subsistence mode to a state capitalist mode.
If an outside source monitored the distribution of resources, growth would be promoted.
A powerful presence over the miners was required to stabilize the conditions in San Francisco and promote order.
Laws and regulations on miners became necessary.

Mexico cedes territory to the United States after the Mexican-American War in 1848.
Land lightly populated with Mexicans and the Ohlone Native Americans.
Land abundant with wild game, timber, water.
Towns are spread out, economy is extremely small.


Because the economy of the region was so insignificant, marketplaces couldn't develop.
Trading objects and other resources was very common instead of using currency.
Capital is limited due to small work force and minimal organization.
Newly ceded land had no central government, people distributed authority within their communities.
Small scale management of resources. DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN 1848

James Marshall one day noticed yellow particles in the river by Sutter's Mill and declared he had found gold.
General Sutter and Marshall try to keep the discovery a secret, but within 48 hours word had spread of the discovery.
Gold becomes one of the first major sources of capital in California; families rushed across the country to obtain wealth.

Newspapers praise the discovery and urge Americans from the east to travel to California.
Steamboats allow advertising, and easier routes to San Francisco increase.
Boosters and land speculaters encouraged citizens to voyage westward, settle on land, and extract gold.
Boosters deceived the public, advertising the false impession everyone would be successful at mining. EASTERNERS AND IMMIGRANTS FLOOD INTO SAN FRANCISCO

Immigrants from Mexico, Peru, Chile, France, Germany, and many other countries learned about the discovery of gold.
Population of San Francisco becomes very diverse, still evident today.
Thousands of workers would provide the workforce required for expansive mining.
Growth assists in the development of the port, which at first seemed mediocre.
1849: 60 vessels had sailed from Atlantic ports carrying 8,000 men, and 70 more were up for passage.

With increased population, more capital and a stronger economy were available.
Advances in technology allowed miners to gain more profit and extract more gold.
Additional technology required more organization; an individual was no match against mining companies.
A large work force and increased control of the mining companies on mining transformed San Francisco into a state agrarian mode.
Benefits of the Gold Rush to San Francisco

1849: Gold production made $4.9 million annually.
1856: Gold production made over $58.2 million annually.
Success of mining allows for other non-mining activities to occur in city.
San Francisco becomes central to trade in the West and the Pacific Ocean.
By 1852 San Francisco built a regional marketplace for minerals and became a metropolis.

Was not a land comprised of complete freedom and democracy.
Original government not strong enough to keep order.
Continuous movement from the city to the mining fields "reflected the instability that gripped the city after the discovery of gold."
Miners had no limitations; would claim any land they wished and trespassed on others' land to find gold.
Lack of government resulted in crime and injustice in the mining industry.
The people ask for the government to implement new laws to control the miners and bring order to an unorganized city. GOVERNMENT BEGINS TO TAKE ACTION

Sought to regulate the miners so they didn't have as much control and influence over others.
Many mining companies are asks to make contracts depicting what land they would buy, the roles of each member, what they would mine and how the wealth would be spread among the workers.
Previously, the mining companies were allowed to do as they pleased because the territory ceded by Mexico did not have a central government in place.
Increased government influence led to the passing of various laws. MINING ACT OF 1872

Miners were allowed to hold claims on the land they occupied, eliminating trespassing and the theft of one's rightful wealth.
Mining companies limited to the amount of minerals they could extract besides gold. The government soon controlled leasing public land that the companies could purchase and use.
Laws are applied to a once lawless land.
Examples: Chaffee Laws of 1866, Timber and Stone Act of 1878, many more in the 1900s.
A strong authority was established, and the final transformation from local subsistence to state capital was complete.


San Francisco started as a small town independent of government and consisted of a local economy.
Gold created a massive flux in the population growth of San Francisco, but also provided the city with capital and resources vital to become a metropolis.
Government intervention was necessary to bring order to a city suffering from chaotic growth and injustice.
The exploitation of gold and its modification into a commodity was crucial to the rise of this West Coast city.
San Francisco had a diffcult time adjusting to the Gold Rush yet prospered due to government oversight. Go to www. prezi.com to make a powerpoint like this.
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