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Golden Rush and Building of Railroad in California

The gold discovery in California had accelerated changes that had already been occurring. After President Polk’s announcement about gold discovery, the population of non-native Americans in California had increased dramatically from ten thousand to a hundred thousand within a year (Starr, 2007). California enlarged its territories bypassing territorial status, held elections, and claimed state status from the Union. Within three years of the announcement, the population of non-native Americans increased to 255000 with San Francisco, and a new metropolis emerged from nowhere (Starr, 2007). A rush, or massive migration, caused young and some middle-aged men to come from all over the world, including Australia and China, venturing their lives travelling to California in the hope of making a fortune (Starr, 2007). Unfortunately, Gold Rush made California brutal and dangerous, as people were tempted to steal each other’s earnings that resulted in brawls, mayhem, and murders. The more positive impact of the Golden Rush was California urbanization that led to its organization into the state (Starr, 2007). The effect of the rush of native Americans was devastating. They faced brutality from newcomers, as the latter mined and hunted native group’s hiding places. Indigenous people were eradicated so quickly that there was not any chance to document their experience (California as I saw it: First-person narratives of California’s early years, 1849 to 1900, n.d., para. 14). One of the ethnic groups that were affected by the Gold Rush was Chileans, whose encampments were invaded and trashed by Americans (Starr, 2007). Sixteen Chilenas were executed massively for being accused of murder.

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The building of railroads in California was the main symbol of industrialism and modern life. It linked the state, developed and owned the land, founded the cities, and controlled the politics of Los Angeles and San Francisco (Starr, 2007). Since thirty years after the arrival of the road, California had evolved into American commonwealth. In 1870, Southern California connected to Northern California that made the transition from frontier to province (Starr, 2007). This resulted in significant changes among which were the replacement of kerosene and candles by gaslight, bringing of brick and wood, paving of streets, and laying of tracks for horse-drawn streetcars. The railroad opened a way for health seekers who were massively coming to Southern California searching for recovery (Starr, 2007). A sanatorium culture that grew up there and fresh air helped many people to recover. Railroads also played a crucial role in developing the concept of management and gave rise to significant financial corporations that were usually accompanied by greed and questionable commercial practice. They provided job opportunities for thousands of employees, but the working conditions were terrible. They were mainly Chinese immigrants who worked on the railroad building, and they faced brutality from their employers. In general, the migration of Chinese people was perceived with hostility (Starr, 2007). The case was reported in which these people that came from the Far East were fought off by the Committee of Public Safety patrols. As a result of increased Chinese immigration, the statement was adopted that prohibited the arrival of this community to the US. Still, the proposal to ban Chinese from employment was failed.

References

California as I saw it: First-person narratives of California’s early years. (n. d.). 2020. Web.

Starr, K. (2007). California: A history. Modern Library

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