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The discovery of gold in California sparked a massive emigration across the continent to the Pacific coast by Americans searching for wealth This massive migration of people brought Jeffersons dream of a continental American empire to reality and began to establish the United States as the dominant country in North America This massive migration also prompted the need to bridge the nation for the purpose of making the trip from one coast to another easier This resulting need to bridge the nation might be the greatest contribution of the gold rush to the history of the United States On January 24th 1848 James Marshall discovered what he believed to be Gold dust in the bed of a creek right outside his mill He brought this sample of the shiny material up to Ft Sutter in Sacramento where it was deemed indeed to be gold and thus the migration of massive amounts of people we call the gold rush began In two years after the discovery of gold the population of California was 90000 people At the time of the discovery California was relatively uninhabited by Americans The United States had finally realized its dream of a country reaching from sea to shining sea but now that the lands were there the United States had to figure out how to get its people to settle these lands so they would actually be worth having It is great for a country to have a lot of land but if they remain uninhabited and underdeveloped then the land really isnt worth much The gold rush consisted of many prospectors seeking to find their fortunes in the mines of California The emigration of so many Americans to the very western boundary of the country was exactly what the Government needed for the lands it just purchased to be seen as a wise investment In the two years since the discovery of gold the population of California ballooned to
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