The Mexican American War Essay

The Mexican American War Essay

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In the mid Nineteenth Century, one man struck it rich. Little did he know, it would cause the greatest migration of people in the history of the United States. Thousands sought the idea of becoming rich quick, and living the American dream. On January 24th, 1848, James Marshall found some pieces of gold in the American River at Sutter’s Mill in the small port town of San Francisco (Sonneborn). At this time in the U.S., America was at war with Mexico. However, just nine days after the great discovery of gold, the U.S. and Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty ended the Mexican-American War, and by paying Mexico $15 million, the U.S. received territory including Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and California (Sonneborn). In 1848, news traveled at such a slow pace that the people of California did not learn of the Treaty until August that year. Communication was also a factor that contributed to Mexico selling California to the U.S. If they had known about the gold findings, and the potential economic expansion that could result from it, Mexico may have been much less likely to make the deal with the U.S. which declared California American territory. Once news spread of the presence of gold in California, thousands of people began migrating into California. This created a mass demand for mining supplies, shelter and food, and many new job opportunities arose (Ketchum). It resulted in the rapid expansion of California as a Western territory in the United States. Although there were negative aspects as well, including increases in violence, crime, racism, prostitution and gambling, the California Gold Rush was beneficial overall towards the expansion of Western society in America.
Even with th...

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...with them. In April of 1850, they imposed a tariff on all non-American miners, for $20 a month. The reason was for the “privilege of taking from our country the vast treasure to which they have no right.” It caused some miners to retreat back to their homeland, but it did not benefit everyone. With foreign miners leaving, merchants who relied on the sales of them became exposed. This caused the tax to be revoked a year after it had been installed (Sonneborn, 59).
The number one reason that the Gold Rush was overall beneficial towards the expansion of California was the surge of economic opportunity that arose with the discovery of gold. Soon after groups of men began to mine for gold, businesses in San Francisco set up shop. They offered clothing, tools and food staples in exchange for gold. They were essentially “mining the miners (Sonneborn, 67).”

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