The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War by Leonard L. Richards

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From award-winning historian Leonard L. Richards, an authoritative and revealing portrait of an overlooked harbinger of the terrible battle yet to come.

When gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill in 1848, Americans of all stripes saw the potential for both wealth and power. Among the more calculating were Southern slave owners. By making California a slave state, they could increase the value of their slaves—by 50 percent at least, and maybe much more. They could also gain additional influence in Congress and expand Southern economic clout, abetted by a new transcontinental railroad that would run through the South. Yet, despite their machinations, California entered the union as a free state. Disillusioned Southerners would agitate for even more slave territory, leading to the Kansas-Nebraska Act and, ultimately, to the Civil War itself.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Leonard L. Richards

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Leonard L. Richards, Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, grew up in California, and earned his AB, MA, and Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley and Davis. He has also taught at San Francisco State College and the University of Hawaii. His "Gentlemen of Property and Standing": Anti-Abolition Mobs in Jacksonian America won the American Historical Association's Albert J. Beveridge Award in 1970. The Life and Times of Congressman John Quincy Adams was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1987 and The Slave Power: The Free North and Southern Domination, 1780-1860 took the second-place Lincoln Prize in 2001. He is also the author, with William Graebner, of The American Record (1981, 1987, 1995, 2000, 2005) and of Shay's Rebellion: The American Revolution's Final Battle (2002). He and his wife live in Amherst, Massachusetts.
 
Published February 13, 2007 by Vintage. 304 pages
Genres: History, War, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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He tells the intricate story of California’s admission as a free state in 1850, a galvanizing moment in the contest for power between slave and non-slave states.

Dec 01 2006 | Read Full Review of The California Gold Rush and ...

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