How did the discovery of gold in California impact westward expansion?
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Although westward expansion had been going on for a while before the discovery of gold, the Gold Rush increased the pace of that expansion.
The Gold Rush led to tens of thousands of people trying to make it to California. This highlighted, among other things, the need for a better way to get to California (other than wagon train or ship). That need helped lead to the construction of the transcontinental railroad. The railroads would become the greatest drivers of westward expansion because they brought people west and allowed the things they produced to be shipped east.
So, the Gold Rush led to the railroads which led to a major boom in westward expansion.
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