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From Famine to Gold

In: Historical Events

Submitted By prockey
Words 695
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GKE1 Task 1

Peggy Rockey
Western Governors University WGU Student ID# 294112

From Famine to Gold One significant geographic factor that led to the expansion of the United States was the California Gold Rush. The lure of gold brought an estimated 80,000 prospectors to California in 1849, and though many came and went, by 1852 the population had grown to 223,856, according to a special census (Udall & Emmons, 2003 p156).
The importance of this geographic factor is not so much in the search for gold, though there is much to be said for the advances of mining techniques and the destruction that resulted. Rather, the importance is in the attraction of the gold itself, which lured so many people west, hoping to get rich quick, but instead settled down and built farms and churches and communities.
San Francisco quickly rose as an international trade port, which brought economic growth to the area. A few merchants got wealthy selling tools and materials to prospectors, and over time built shipyards and textile mills, saw mills and ironworks. Wagon roads were built over the Sierra Nevada's and eventually a transcontinental railroad connected the Nation (Udall & Emmons, 2003 p157).
The building of the transcontinental railroad may have been one of the greatest achievements of the American people during the nineteenth century. It was built primarily by Chinese and Irish immigrants and extended from Omaha, Nebraska to Sacramento, California (Ambrose, 2000 p17).
These Irish Immigrants came to America as a result of the Irish Potato Famine, another significant environmental factor that led to the expansion of the United States. The famine brought over one million immigrants from Ireland to the United States between 1847-1857. These dispossessed immigrants came to the large cities on the East Coast, such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago,...

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