In this thoroughly researched volume, drawing upon a wealth of primary sources, Johnson examines the world of the California Gold Rush with emphasis on race, ethnicity, and gender issues. She contrasts the conventional images of Gold Rush participants - Anglo males from the eastern U.S. heading west to sek their fortunes - with the reality. In fact, the Gold Rush brought together people from highly diverse backgrounds and forced them to interact with one another. Native Americans, Latinos from several nations, Anglos from the eastern U.S., European immigrants, and African Americans (both free and enslaved) all played key roles. Women of all backgrounds were also present in small but significant numbers, finding opportunities to work and live with unprecedented independence. Initially Gold Rush society was outside the bounds of accepted U.S. mores, forcing participants to relate to one another in new ways. As more Anglo women moved to California to join male relatives, middle-class standards were brought to bear on the "lawless" Gold Rush country.
- 2000 Susan Lee Johnson
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