Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Linda English

Second Advisor

Dr. Amy Hay

Third Advisor

Dr. Maritza De La Trinidad


The California Gold Rush started in 1848 and lasted to the mid-1850s. Though short in duration, the impact the Gold Rush had in the United States, along with populations from many areas in the rest of the world, proved detrimental to many different ethnic groups that arrived to the mines and came into contact with various cultures, principally the white Anglo-American culture. This thesis focuses on themes such as race, gender roles, free labor versus unfree labor, extra-legal violence, and informal laws passed in the mines to exclude foreigners. It addresses why certain nationalities were taxed and targeted as foes, while others were not, as well as what factors influenced racial discrimination in the California goldfields. The ethnicities that are represented in this thesis include the Spanish-speaking miners from Mexico, Chile, and the native born Spanish-speaking Californians, the Chinese, African-Americans, the French, and women in the West.


Copyright 2015 Raul David Lopez. All Rights Reserved.

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