The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War
In this revelatory study, award-winning historian Leonard L. Richards outlines the links between the Gold Rush and the Civil War.
Richards explains how Southerners envisioned California as a new market for slaves in the gold fields, schemed to tie California to the South via railroad, and imagined splitting off the state’s southern half for a slave state. We see how the Gold Rush influenced other regional and national squabbles, and we meet renegade New York Democrat David Broderick, who became a force in San Francisco politics in 1849, and his archrival, William Gwin, a major Mississippi slaveholder. Richards recounts the political battles alongside the fiery California feuds, duels, and, perhaps, outright murders as the state came shockingly close to being divided in two.
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