Gold Rush Influence on Western America.
In the early 1840's, California was a distant area that only a few Americans had seen. San Francisco had barely a few hundred residents. One of the wealthiest people in the region was John Sutter. He was a Swiss immigrant who came to California in 1839 to build his own private empire. He built a fort, gathered 12,000 cattle, and took hundreds of workers. He owed money to creditors but still had a dream of owning a "vast agricultural domain." By the mid 1840's, more Americans were entering the west by wagon and ship. In 1847, Sutter sent men to the river to build a sawmill to provide lumber…
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