Book Chapter

Gold and the public in the nineteenth-century gold rushes

D Goodman

A Global History of Gold Rushes | Published : 2018


In the great nineteenth-century British world cycle of gold rushes, individualist wealth seeking became associated with democratic politics, and views about the public rather than private benefits of gold became increasingly the preserve of conservatives. In Georgia, governor George Gilmer declared in 1830 that the gold diggers were “appropriating riches to themselves, which of right equally belong to every other citizen of the state,” but he soon suffered electoral defeat. In 1850s California and Australia, individual miners were rapidly associated with a democratic and egalitarian future, even with the public good. This helps explain the oddly uncontested decisions to allow mining on publi..

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