Anglo-Women During California Gold Rush Essay

1298 Words Feb 15th, 2012 6 Pages
The Alteration of Anglo-Women during the California Gold Rush
The Gold Rush of California was a “shot heard” round the world that caught the ears of many individuals who were seeking the golden opportunities of the West. (Chan & Olin 1992). With the dreams of wealth on the horizon, the Gold Rush brought on a drastic change in American society. For the women of this period, their lives would be altered in ways that would change the Western frontier. With an eagerness for wealth and equality women now found themselves struggling to survive in a society that was mainly male dominant and branch out from the normalcy of womanhood, which would transform occupational drive, prostitution and marital status.
Before women could pursue the
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Gold fever raged in epidemic proportions, and women were not immune”(122). Women experienced the same hardships as men on the journey to California. The out burst of gold allowed women to endeavor their pursuits in becoming equal to men in the work force and not being seen as only a caregiver. When work did not go according to plan women resided to what they did best. Women such as Louisa Clapp stated that “I have become a mineress; this is, if the [sic] having washed a pan of dirt with my own hands, and procured there from three dollars and twenty-five cents in gold dust…well entitle me to the name”(123). Being referred to as a mineress, has given women the entitlement of being accepted into a male dominant society. Women were able to have the same opportunities as men did and it gave them the satisfaction knowing that they could just as a man did.
California was structured off the population that was determined about sex and gender in the golden state. The gold rush population was mainly made up of young males, which gave them a hard time finding females who would engage in conversation, sex and marriage. Many times men would lean towards prostitution to have some companionship. Many of the prostitutes were women of color or lower class; those of the middle or higher class would not participate in these sexual businesses. Bordellos were located in the major cities where young men would engage in this

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