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Word Count: 576
For the duration of the voyage to the elusive California coast Richard Henry Dana was nineteen years old working as a sailor aboard the Pilgram engaged in the hide and tallow trade Dana was an elite member of the upper class As a student at Harvard he became infected with a case of the measles that left him with a painful eye condition Dana then began his career at sea as a sailor and set off from Boston around Cape Horn to the coast of California Throughout his voyage Dana kept a journal of his sixteen month adventure In 1840 Danas Two Years Before the Mast was published based on his diaries It contains an in depth account of life on the California coast territory of the Mexican government a decade before the Gold Rush had struck Dana documents stops at the ports of Monterey San Pedro San Diego Santa Barbara and Santa Clara He describes the sailor life at the ports at the beaches where they cured hides and the cruelty on the ship Furthermore he describes the daily life of the diverse Californians of Hispanic Native American and European descent and the land itself Two Years Before the Mast depicts a multicultural society living in an environment of natural beauty and ideal climate a paradise somehow yearning to be improved by American ingenuity Danas Two Years Before the Mast became a world-wide bestseller in 1849 when the discovery of gold hit California Danas book described California the country that appealed to the entire world Two Years Before the Mast was an important element in the process of reform and the beginning of the Manifest Destiny Manifest Destiny is a phrase that describes the belief in which the United States had a divine right to the westward expansion of North America This divine right suggested that the United States were chosen by God to expand their democracy westward to the people who were perceived
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