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Unformatted text preview: “Essay on the Foundation of California” Final Draft One’s Dream is Another’s Nightmare ¶1 It has been almost one hundred sixty years since gold was first discovered in California, and the Gold Rush that came afterward changed California and the United States forever. On January 24th, 1848, James Marshall found a gold nugget near the American River, and Marshall’s discovery ignited one of massive migration of human history. By early 1849, thousands of 49ers reached the Sierra foothills and staked their claims. The early 49ers find out true of the story that there are plenty of gold for anyone willing to dig for it. Unlike other gold fields in the world, the gold in California could be easily accessed, and early 49ers could mine the precious metal with simple tools. Also, the accidental discovery redefines the American Dream that “the simple life would no longer enough” (Boettcher and Trinkin, 1996). This new dream is known as the “California Dream”. The “California Dream” is the dream of instant wealth for anyone who comes to California. What did this dream mean to the people at the time of the Gold Rush era? For the 49ers, the Gold Rush provided the dream of a life of riches. On the other hand, it was a nightmare for the original residents of California. ¶2 For the 49ers, California offers the means to escape from the simple life that they and their fathers and grandfathers have lived. Before the Gold Rush many 49ers worked on farms and in traditional industrial jobs, and some of them were even prominent professionals and merchants. For the most part, these men were dissatisfied with the simple life that they are born and lived (Boettcher and 1 Trinkin, 1996). When the news of the Gold Rush reach these people, they realized that the Gold Rush is the opportunity that they have been waiting for to escape the simple life and to be something more than what they were before. As one 49ers says in his letter, ‘I left you and the boys for no other reason than this: To come here and procure a little property by the sweat of my brow so that we could have a place of our own, that I might not be a dog for other people any longer.’ (Wiegand, 1998). The 49ers, with their new found wealth, could change their lives in a way that was impossible before. Although these people are from different backgrounds, they have one common goal that is to dig for gold and return home as wealthy individuals ¶3 Consumed by the gold fever, the 49ers uses any necessary means to mine gold, wherever and however they can mine and attain it. These gold-mine gold, wherever and however they can mine and attain it....
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- Spring '08
- Gold Rush, California Indians, 49ers