U.S. History/Gold Rush


Hi. I am an eight grader at Morehead Middle School in El Paso Texas.  I am doing a research project on the history of the gold rush.  I was wondering if you could help me answer a couple of questions.

1. How did the gold rush influence the4 California boundary over time?
2. How can the gold rush be considered a turning point in American history?
3. Why is the gold rush still important today?  How did it change the way we live today?
4. How did the gold rush affect the economy?

Thank you very much and I look forward to hearing back from you.

1. California was originally considered to go from the coast to the Sierra Mountains.  However, When California applied for Statehood, its residents demanded additional land in to the east of the mountains.  The primary reason for this was that they suspected those lands contained additional gold fields that California wanted within its borders.  Congress agreed because it was eager to have California enter as a State rather than form its own independent country.

2. I'm not sure I would consider the Gold Rush a particular turning point.  America was defined, both before and after the rush, with an obsession to acquire wealth quickly.  There were many other gold and silver rushes before and after, although this was clearly the largest.  I guess it could be considered a turning point in that after acquiring California, the US generally ended its focus on western expansion and began focusing more on developing the land already acquired.

3. The Gold rush populated California and ensured it would be an important part of the US.  It provided the US with a great deal of wealth that helped spur international trade and industrial development.  It certainly played a role in helping to make the US the wealthiest nation on earth.

4. The immediate affect of the Gold Rush was that gold fell in value as there was more of it.  An entire industry developed around increasing transportation to California for the thousands of immigrants.  It also saw increased trade from other Pacific countries such as China, Hawaii, and Australia.

I hope this helps!
- Mike  

U.S. History

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Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

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