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Friday, February 3, 2012

The Gold Rush

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The Gold Rush


The California Gold Rush was not everything that the prospectors, or people searching for gold, believed it would be. They had many different expectations. When the gold miners were going to California to look for gold, they were obviously very excited. When they got there, they thought they would find gold and be rich. However, there were definitely many hardships. The weather there was very hot and the air was dry which made the working conditions difficult. In addition, the miners did not get paid well. Life was horrible. It was not the way the miners thought it would be. They expected a simpler job. Obviously, they were very wrong.


Before the gold miners reached California they did not realize what the weather would be like there. They did not think it would be so hot and uncomfortable to work. However, their predictions were incorrect. All day while the people mined for gold, the sun would shine down on them. To make matters worse, the air was very dry. That caused them to be very thirsty. They also go very dirty. One man’s diary entry summed up all these problems by stating, “Our feet are wet all day, while the hot sun shines down upon our heads, and the very air parches the skin like the hot air of an oven.” These working conditions for the miners were unexpected. Gold was not all over the place like they thought it was going to be, thus causing them to work very hard to find it.


Miners worked really hard and yet they got low pay. They would get up early every morning and would go wash mud in a long-Tom which is a type of washing machine which would separate gold from anything. Because the tools miners used were not that good, their work was harder. A miner wrote in a letter that he and his friends together made $.00 in one day. However, he still had to wash five dirty muddy shirts which cost 5 cents each. As a result, his pay was only $11.1 in one day, which he mentioned was more than he normally made in a day. Considering the fact that President James K. Polk once wrote that there was an increase in miners, it sounded like the miners found a lot of gold and did not find the mining to be hard. Unfortunately Polk gave them the wrong idea.


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Once the discovery of gold in California was spread around many people went there to find gold. It was regrettable for them that it was such a difficult task. In some cases the job of mining was a waste of time because few people found much gold in any one day. Then the miners had to pay for food which was very expensive. The food they ate consisted of hard bread and salt pork which was horrible.


It is obvious that the rush for gold was not the experience that the miners expected. They risked their lives to become wealthy and few were successful.





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