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A wonderful issue on the California Gold Rush...

Item # 693467

December 06, 1848

THE DAILY UNION, Washington, D.C., Dec. 6, 1848  

* President James K. Polk
* State of the Union Address
* Discovery of California gold

A great newspaper to find the state-of-the-union address by a President, and this issue has all of pages 1, 2, and a bit of page 3 taken up with that signed in type by: James K. Polk.
Within his message, and on the front page, he devotes much space to California and the discovery of gold, including: "...vast mineral wealth recently developed..." in Upper California, noting that: "...It was known that mines of the precious metals existed to a considerable extent in California at the time of its acquisition. Recent discoveries render it probable that these mines are more extensive & valuable than was anticipated..." with more.
Additionally the back page has: "There is no longer any doubt of the abundance of gold in California. Labor there is ahead of capital & commands its own price...The total addition of gold to the resources of the Californias is at a low calculation of $64,000 per day. Even the United States soldiers desert in platoons to dig for gold."
Some historians credit this Address by Polk in doing much to drive the Gold Rush fever, being a formal & governmental confirmation that large quantities of gold had been discovered in California. This lure for gold unleashed the largest migration in U.S. history. California would take the fast-track to statehood, becoming the 31st state in the Union in less than two years after this Address.
Of similar interest, the back page has half a column headed: "California--Gold Region" with the latest on the gold rush, followed by a letter from Monterey, and a "Proclamation" from Monterey, and: "The Gold Mine".
Then page 2 has an editorial headed: "The Message" as well as a nice article: "The Prospect Before Us" concerning the recent end of the Mexican War and the new prospects of California being part of the U.S.
Simply a wonderful issue on the early days of the famous California Gold Rush, and terrific to have in a newspaper from the nation's capital.

Category: Pre-Civil War