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California Gold Rush - Assignment Example

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This paper “California Gold Rush” explores the meaning and nature of the Gold Rush by examining the first-hand accounts of James Myers and William Shaw. James Ayers had a brief career as a miner and visited California in 1849. William Shaw was an Englishman living in South Australia…
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California Gold Rush
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Download file to see previous pages San Francisco was a tiny settlement before the start of the rush. The residents would leave their ships and businesses to join the Gold Rush. Many merchants and new people also arrived in the city. The population of San Francisco exploded from one thousand in 1848 to twenty-five thousand in 1850. James Ayer says that gambling was the main business at Portsmouth Square. The streets of San Francisco in 1849 were alive with people from all parts of the world. San Francisco had a magnificent harbor which had no level ground beyond the narrow rim that formed the crescent beach (Ayers 31). Thousands of profiteers were more than willing to separate a miner from his gold. Gold was a magnet that attracted many people from all over the world. San Francisco is described as a cultural mecca by Ayer (Pg. 31). The city had theaters, opera, and more newspapers than any city in the world except London. The collision of cultures was its greatest strength.
San Francisco attracted people of different social and educational backgrounds. Professors from Harvard, Lawyers, and politicians were all busy trying to earn a stake in the gold mines. James Ayer provides a vivid account of San Francisco in which the gamblers were the capitalist bankers of the town (Ayers 34). They would provide loans to aspiring miners and would provide accommodation to merchants. In 1849, San Francisco was bustling with people in a hurry. Native Californians rode into town on fine horses equipped with expensive saddles and bridles. The gambling saloons are described as a meeting place for people of all social classes. Miners, merchants, lawyers, mariners, and professors mixed with each other on a common plane. There were a few duels because everyone kept firearms. However, duels are not common because quarrels could lead to death. Many people were also discouraged from engaging in duels because they could be executed for murder. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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