California During Progressive Era Essay

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California was controlled by Mexico before the gold rush (1849-1855) radically transformed it. It provoked one of the largest migrations in U.S. history, with hundreds of thousands of people coming from all states and across the globe to find gold in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This led to the formation of rapid economic growth and prosperity, railroads, banks, and churches. 'They who came to California were not the self-satisfied, happy and content people, but the adventurous, the restless' (Didion, 2004). The technologies had a key role in the development of the state, it changed it from an isolated territory to one of the fastest-growing and advanced states in the country. The cities were growing fast, San Francisco was 'the closest thing to a metropolis on the west coast'. Even though the gold rush had some positive consequences, 'The environment was impacted negatively and significantly' At the beginning the gold was found throughout placer operations first and lode mining after. ' Placer mining typically was concentrated in these valleys and resulted in the alteration of relatively small areas', (Rohe, 1998) but with the invention of other invasive practices, such as hydraulic mining, entire areas had been destroyed to provide the necessary space for mining, roads, railroads, buildings or even entire cities. Lumber became the main material for mining operations, both the hydraulic and the lode mining required it for building purposes and as fuel for the machinery. 'Hydraulic mining left a noticeable impact wherever it took place. However, the hydraulic process reached its apogee in California, and there exerted its greatest impact” (Rohe, 1998). Forests, rivers, and vegetation are in many areas unrecognizable because extremely different from their original form.

Isaiah 11:9 says: “They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea'. God created the world, he is everywhere and He uses nature to teach us, that we must preserve and take care of his creation and learn from it. 'Each one of these camps is a world of itself. History, romance, tragedy, and poetry, in every one of them (Miller, 1998), and I believe that this story is more of a tragedy because it tells us how the place we live in could be even more beautiful than it is now, moreover, it narrates once more the effect of greed, power, and ignorance on people.

However, all these events (good and bad) are the reasons why California became a state on September 9th, 1850. A year prior delegates met in Monterey in the famous “Constitutional Convention of 1849”, out of the forty-eight delegates, only six were born in California and nineteen of them had lived in the state less than three years. To form the constitution the delegates decided to copy many Constitutional concepts from Iowa, and a few from New York. Moreover, since the Mexican influence was still important for the first 40 years California was a bilingual state which was stated in Section 21, Article XI of the 1849 Constitution which decreed that all laws must be published in Spanish and English. This Constitution was amended only 3 times. On May 7, 1879, a new constitution was written

The government that controlled the area created new regulations and enforced the law but, at the time corruption was extremely high and bribery was common. For these reasons, and as a consequence of the public criticism and outrage of the negative effects that the railroads created on California’s economy and politics, a new constitution was made on May 7, 1879, trying to remedy the corruption, the tax problems, the employment problems and limiting the high power of corporations.

The Progressive Era is a period of US history that followed the Civil War characterized by social activism and political transformation in the United States that thrived from the 1890s to the 1920s. “Initially the movement operated chiefly at local levels; later, it expanded to state and national levels. Progressives drew support from the middle class, and supporters included many lawyers, teachers, physicians, ministers, and business people.” (Lumen)

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Features of the Progressive Era consist of cleansing of the government, innovation, attention to family and education, women’s suffrage, and prohibition. Numerous Progressives wanted to clear the government of corruption, and muckraking became a reform-oriented investigative journalist that uncovered excess, corruption, and scandal on a national level. These difficulties involved the spread of shantytowns and poverty; the abuse of labor; the failure of democratic government in the cities and states caused by the rise of political administrations, or machines, connected with business interests; and a quick movement to economic and industrial attention. Many Americans were scared that their important traditions of responsible democratic government and free economic opportunity for everyone would get ruined by massive combinations of economic and political influence.

Two of the most significant results of the Progressive Era were the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Amendments, the first one passed in 1917 and banned the production, sale, and transport of alcohol, and the second one passed in 1919 and empowered women with the right to vote. Unfortunately, progressives didn’t do a lot for civil rights or the difficulty of African Americans in the outcome of Reconstruction, and the Supreme Court confirmed the constitutionality of various discriminatory Southern laws.

Very professional political administrations, heavily financed by politicians and entrepreneurs wanting superior privileges, controlled the majority of national governments in the late 1890s; these organizations were defied by a growing generation of young and committed anti-organization leaders, striving for control. The same leaders reformed the fine art and practice of politics in the US using strong leadership and using institutional changes like the referendum, the initiative and recall, and the direct election of senators, which aided in reestablishing and refreshing democracy. Further, progressives accomplished their economic and social ideas such as severe regulation of intrastate railroads and public services, regulation to stop child labor and to protect women's labor, penal reform, extended charitable services for the poor, and provided accident coverage systems to deliver reimbursement to employees and their families.

At 42 years old Theodore Roosevelt became the youngest president in US history. He is frequently mentioned as the first Progressive president. Roosevelt had wide democratic sympathies; additionally, thanks to his involvement as police commissioner and governor of New York, he was the first president to have a deep understanding of modern urban complications. Instead of running again for president, Theodore Roosevelt “was so much the idol of the masses of 1908 that he could have easily gained the Republican nomination in that year. After his election in 1904, however, he announced that he would not be a candidate four years later, adhering stubbornly to his pledge” (Naisbitt, 2019) and organized the nomination of William Howard Taft of Ohio, who had strongly supported Roosevelt’s policies and thought of himself as a progressive.

Works Cited

    1. Cohn, S. (2019, Jun 18). Export volume for the first four months of 2019 from California is down roughly 13%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from CNBC:
    2. Didion, J. (2004). Where I Was From. Vintage International.
    3. Dorcas, W., & Koty, A. C. (2019, Oct 24). The US-China Trade War: A Timeline. Retrieved from Chian Briefing:
    4. Lumen. (n.d.). The Progressive Era. Retrieved from Lumen:
    5. Miller, J. (1998). Environmental Deterioration in the Gold Country, 1890. In C. Merchant, Green Versus Gold : Sources In California’s Environmental History. Washington, D.C: Island Press.
    6. Naisbitt, J. (2019, Oct 27). United States. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica:
    7. Rohe, R. (1998). Mining’s Impact on the Land. In C. Merchant, Green Versus Gold : Sources In California’s Environmental History. Washington, D.C: Island Press.
    8. Tully, S. (2019, Oct 8). Trump’s Tariffs Were Supposed to Ding China, But the U.S. Economy Is Getting Hit 2.5x Harder. Retrieved from Fortune:
    9. Zeeshan, A. (2018, Jul 6). Vox. Retrieved from The US-China trade war, explained in under 500 words:
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