Gold Rush

19.1 California Gold Rush
Main Idea
Gold was found in
California, and
thousands rushed to
that territory. CA
quickly becomes a
Why It Matters Now
The gold rush made
CA grow rapidly and
helped bring about
CA’s cultural diversity.
• 8.8.2 Describe the purpose, challenges, and economic
incentives associated with westward expansion,
including the concept of Manifest Destiny (e.g., the
Lewis and Clark expedition, accounts of the removal of
Indians, the Cherokees’ “Trail of Tears,” settlement of
the Great Plains) and the territorial acquisitions that
spread numerous decades.
• 8.8.3 Describe the role of the pioneer women and the
new status that western women achieved (e.g., Laura
Ingalls Wilder, Anne Bidwell; slave women gaining
freedom in the West; Wyoming granting suffrage to
women in 1869).
• 8.8.4 Examine the importance of the great
rivers and the struggle over water rights.
• 8.8.6 Describe the Texas War for
Independence and the Mexican-American
War, including territorial settlements, the
aftermath of the wars, and the effects the
wars had on the lives of Americans, including
Mexican-Americans todays.
Daily Guided Questions
1. How did the gold rush lead to
changes in the west?
2. Why were water rights an important
issue in the west?
3. How did the gold rush permanently
alter the make-up of California’s
• Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
formally ends war.
• Mexican Cession, territory lost
California, Nevada, Utah, parts of
Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, and
New Mexico.
• USA gives Mexico $18 million.
California Gold Rush
• In 1848, about 10,000 Californios (MexicanCalifornians) lived on large ranchos.
• 1849, gold is found at Sutter’s mill.
-80,000 people seek their fortunes, known as
forty-niners (people coming to California in
search of gold).
• Over 100,000 people living in California by
Life in Mining Towns
• Sprung up as fast as they would emptied,
due to gold strikes.
• Rough living and expensive.
-Food, supplies, and entertainment.
• Punishment for crimes were quick and
• Vigilantes (self-appointed law enforcers)
punished people for crimes, but had no
legal right to do it.
• Ratio of Men to women was 20 to 1.
-Women worked in boarding houses,
hotels, restaurants, laundries, and
• Few 49er’s became rich, many
continued to search for gold or silver
throughout the west.
California Changing Population
• By 1860, 40% of California’s population
was foreign-born.
• 45,000 Chinese, worked doing menial
work, cooking, or doing laundry.
-Built railroads or farmed.
• African-Americans faced discrimination
and segregation. Slavery banned.
• Native Americans
-Lands taken away.
-Vigilante gangs killed them.
-2/3 died during the gold rush.
• Californios
-Lost political power.
-Heavily taxed.
-lands taken away.
• California becomes a state in 1850.
-As part of the Compromise of 1850.
• Lead to national crisis.
Primary Source pg. 633
• Read the primary source, Gold
Rush Journal by David Rohrer
Leeper on textbook pg. 633.
• Make sure to read everything on
the page and answer the
questions at the end.
Water Rights
• Legal rights to use water in a river, streams, or
other body.
• Water needed for irrigation and mining.
• Range Rights
-Ownership of a stream meant control of all the
land around it.
• People could use the water on their land the
way they want to and it was illegal to cut off
water to one’s neighbors.
• Laws were ignored.
Law of Prior Appropriation
• Water belongs to the 1st person who
uses it.
• Use it only for beneficial purposes.
• Community good outweighs
individual good.
• Rule followed in most western states.
Bureau of Reclamation, 1902
• Gov. agency that constructed
irrigation works which enabled
farmers to settle and grow more
crops on western lands.
• Create a vocabulary chart using
RESULT graphic organizer.
• Choose three of your own words.
• Use pages 318-341.
Study Guide pg. 151
• For deeper understanding and review,
complete a study guide for the section on
the Mormon settlement of Utah and the
California Gold Rush.
• Copy and complete the study guide on
pg. 151.
• Use your notes or textbook pg. 336-341
to complete it.

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