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Research Papers on the California Gold Rush

Research papers on the California Gold Rush look to many various sources for reference material on exactly what took place during the Gold Rush. Your research paper should include information on prospectors, mining, cattle trade, shipping and digging for gold in the Northern California hills. Paper Masters can help write a research paper on this period in United States History that spurred off industrialism and western expansionism. We also recommend Susan Lee Johnson's book Roaring Camp as an excellent resource for learning about the California Gold Rush.

California Gold Rush research paper due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?

The California Gold Rush was a period of regional insanity.  At one point, so many abandoned ships filled San Francisco harbor that the port was effectively closed.  The crews had run off to the gold fields.  What this national fever created was something more than history.  It became myth, legend, apocrypha, and collective memories based on history.  Susan Lee Johnson’s Roaring Camp: The Social World of the California Gold Rush is an exploration of forgotten history.  It has become taboo in historical circles to bring out the tales of those not included in traditional (i.e. white male) history, “stories not customarily nourished by the dominant culture”.  Johnson devotes her efforts to doing just that with the Gold Rush.

California Gold Rush

California Gold Rush and Manifest Destiny

Most traditional histories of America start on the East Coast and move westward. Reaching California became a matter of Manifest Destiny, as the United States expanded in that direction.  But as other historians such as Richard White (It’s Your Misfortune and None of My Own) and Patricia Nelson Limerick (Legacy of Conquest) have pointed out, there was a significant population for whom California, Texas, Arizona, etc. was el Norte, the North.  Not everyone came to the Gold Rush camps from the East.  Johnson begins her account with the narrative history of the Gold Rush bandit Joaquin Murrierta.

For Anglos, Murrierta was a bandit, whose eventual killing, decapitation and display of the severed head was a triumph of law and order.  Hispanic people, especially the many branches of the Murrierta family have a different story.  For them, the Gold Rush is “a series of outrages upon their people”.  In this version of the story, Murrieta and his male relatives were taking revenge upon Anglos who had attacked their family.  The Murrierta family also serves as an example of the way in which “the West” is a misnomer.  Theirs was a family that had been migrating north for three centuries, towards the outreaches of the Old Spanish Empire.  They reached Sonora in the waning days of Spanish control, and established lives in the three main activities considered stereotypical “Western”:

Capitalism and California Gold Rush

Johnson points out, that contrary to popular myth that “the world rushed in” to Northern California in 1849, migration to the region was concentrated from certain regions, and subject to both the allure of capitalism and geopolitical realities.  “Mexico and Chile sent more immigrant north to California than any other Latin American nation did”.  But immigration patterns from these two newly independent nations were different, and characterized the mining camps in different ways.  Those who came from Sonora, like the Murrieta clan, left for California because of years of political and social chaos and war.

Related Research Paper Topics

The Oregon Trail - The early frontier pioneers as they began to move along the Oregon Trail and settle the new lands of Oregon and California.

Cherokees and the Trail of Tears - At the time, the English wanted the Indians out of the way because God gave them that land and Manifest Destiny proves that its theirs rather than the Indians.

McKinley and American Imperialism - There were several reasons for this change in policy during this time, including the end of Manifest Destiny, financial motivations, religious and moral reasons.