By: Preston Isaiah and Marcelino
1.) What are the pros and cons of technological progress during the westward expansion compared to the colonial period?2.) What can we learn about our dealings with Natives in the past that help shape our future?
Life as a Miner
Each mining rush required a town. Many towns had as high as a 9-to-1 male-to-female ratio. The ethnic diversity was great. Mexican immigrants were very common. Native Americans didn’t really go to the mining industry, but mestizos (the kids of Mexican and Native American parents) often did. Many African Americans aspired to the same get-rich-quick idea as the white people had. Until excluded by federal law in 1882, Chinese Americans were numerous in mining towns. Whites owned and managed all of the mines. Poor whites, Mexicans and Chinese Americans worked the mine shafts. A few African Americans joined them but many worked as cooks or artisans. It is these mining towns are thought of as the sterotypical Wild West. Most did have a saloon with swinging doors and a player piano. But miners and prospectors worked all day few had the luxury of spending it at the bar. By nighttime most were too tired to do anything. Weekends might bring folks out to the saloon for gambling or drinking to engage in the occasional bar fight or two. Law enforcement was crude. Many towns could not afford a sheriff, so vigilante justice prevailed. Occasionally a posse or hunting party would be raised to capture a particularly nettlesome miscreant. When the rush was at its peak, the town prospered. But eventually the mines were exhausted or proved fruitless. Slowly its inhabitants would leave, leaving behind nothing but a ghost town.