The California Dream of striking it rich

01 Jun

The largest waves of migration to California were due in part to the dream of striking it rich through the Gold Rush. The idea that one could strike it rich brought men to California in droves.At the time the dream of the Gold Rush was best advertised through song that traveled quickly across america. This songs often played on the dream, spread tales of imminent and easy wealth. The author, Lipsitz further elaborates on this truth, stating “people who come to California…already have a rich inventory of references about the state…because of the power of popular music.” However, once prospective miners arrived they found the reality of the Gold Rush to be much different from the rosy pictures painted through song. The song prospecting dream by Gardnier and Kirk sang a different tune altogether. The reality of mining the land sounded more like, “swelled up with scurvy”, “I struck it here, and right down there, I dug, I panned and tommed awhile, till I had but a dollar, I could not raise the color”.

The song Prospecting Dream dispelled the myths surrounding the dream of striking it rich in California and instead told the cold, hard truth. Even though many men made it to California to follow this dream very few found the wealth of gold they were searching for.

Lipsitz, George. “Music, Migration, and Myth: The California Connection.” Reading California: Art, Image, and Identity, 1900-2000. Eds. Stephanie Barron, Sheri Bernstein, and Ilene Susan Fort. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. 153-169. Print.

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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Uncategorized


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