Anglo-Women During California Gold Rush

1269 words 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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Young women began to see that this was an exploitative job and many were left abandoned when impregnated. Because the shortage of women and the abundance of gold were striking California, prostitutes were coming from all parts of the world. Women who lived in the mining districts had a hard time disassociating themselves with prostitutes because they were seen as sexual gratifiers. “Many a women had gone west to escape poverty and was tempted into moral ruin by the fast life and ready flow of gold dust” (Hurtado, 84). Woman had the same ambitious drive that men did but many times it caused problems and hardship for them because they were forced into other things. When single women came to California it was very difficult for them because many would be persuaded into things that were not looked at as a right way in life. The virtue of righteous females will not be considered because close association of them both with low character will keep women from their rightful role (Hurtado, 84). Women who have an association with men will not be seen as a righteous woman in society and be considered women of lower class. When women were labeled as lower class, many of them had a hard time finding jobs and would seek prostitution.
Prostitution embodied the relations of power, gender, race, and ethnicity in the context of a market economy that was driven by a deficit of potential female sexual partners (Hurtado, 95). Because women were scarce in California men potentially


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