Western Expansion, Manifest Destiny, and the Mexican-American War Questions and Answers

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How did the discovery of gold in California impact Westward expansion?  

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When the United States initially aquired California (as well as other western territories) as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, there was little interest in settling these faraway places. That all drastically changed with the discovery of gold in California. Very quickly people from the East Coast (and even from abroad) were lured West by the promise of riches.

The Gold Rush led to a population boom in California. By 1853, as many as 250,000 people were living in the San Fransisco Bay area, which had been sparsely populated before the discovery of gold. Most of these people were not gold prospectors themselves but rather people who came to provide services to miners. This led to the transformation of many parts of the American West into regional business and banking centers. As a result if this quick population growth, California became a state in 1850.

By luring more people from elsewhere to the region, the discovery of gold led to the displacement of thousands of Native...

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