The Economic Impact Of The Gold Rush In Northern California

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During 1849, the gold in Northern California brought people from all over the country and eventually, the world. People were headed to San Fransico any way possible. By boat, wagon, horseback or even on foot and leaving many towns completely empty. This increased profit for businesses selling pans, shovels and picks, but they weren’t the only ones ( Competing Visions 111). “ Luzena Stanley Wilson, who came with her husband and family to the Gold Rush country, remembered selling her freshly made biscuits for five dollars each” ( Competing Visions 111). Ranchers also saw a boost in cattle value, as the demand for food increased.

The tone at the beginning of this era, was claim and peaceful. However, it did not remain that way. The thousands of gold seekers “ found a region far removed from traditional structures of law and political authority” ( Competing Visions 116 ). They formed their own authority structures and designated people to settle disagreements. Although camp life was referred to as “rough and tumble”, at times it was the same for all miners. “Classes, races and genders were all mixed up” tents, food and amusements were shared amongst everyone. Miners and campers spent time playing games and “other” leisure activities, to keep from missing home.
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In 1850, miners were taxed $20 per month, for the privilege to mine gold in California. Among those taxed, were Chinese, Latin Americans, French and Germans. The tax was responsible for the profit damage to gold country merchants and later repealed. In 1852, a new Foreign Miner’s Tax was enforced and would state that non citizens pay three dollars a month to mine in California. The tax revenue from mining would bring California millions of dollars and can be considered a positive impact to its economy ( Competing Visions 121
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