California, Cornucopia of the World, Broadside, 1883, RB 248676

"I advise you to rent the farm and make your arrangements to come to California by Oct. next if practicable...this is a country where an industrious man can earn money you can make yourself...independent in five years. The miners will not farm and they must eat." Jesse Smart, a Maine nurseryman, writing to his son from Tuolumne County in January 1853

The impact of the Gold Rush on all aspects of American life—political, social, and economic—cannot be overestimated. It provided the stimulus for developing faster overland mails and for expanded sea-borne commerce. It helped launch the West's mining bonanzas such as Nevada's Comstock Lode with the technical know-how developed in the gold fields. It revolutionized communications and reshaped transportation.

The extraordinary events of the Gold Rush decade also had an enormous impact on ordinary people. Despite the chaos, in spite of the hard luck stories, people who took part in the Gold Rush looked back on the experience as the most important in their lives.

[Image] Despite gold mining's continued importance to California's economy through the 1860s and 1870s, California's agricultural possibilities took on greater significance. During the 1870s and 1880s, broadsides and brochures describing the marvelous opportunities available for farmers proclaimed that a new golden age was at hand for the Golden State.

California 150

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