Monday, February 18, 2013

The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War

[October 2009] The book starts and ends with the duel between Senator Broderick and California Supreme Court Justice Terry. In between it tells stories from California history from before the gold rush to the civil war. The initial portion of the book focuses on the fairly well known history of early settler's, Sutter, and the stampede for gold. The most intriguing part here was the story of transportation to California and Vanderbilt's vindictiveness against those that wronged him.

The bulk of the book covers the movers and shakers in California at the time. These are the stories of men that left there home states in pursuit of greater political power in California. These stories are tied to the quest of politicians in Washington to balance the free and slave state needs. The story of the southern "Chivs" in California is especially interesting.

The many different threads all seem to tie in to the story of California. However, the story ends before the civil war, with the war only mentioned briefly in the epilogue. With the emphasis of the title I would expect a little more coverage at least up to the start of the war.

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