Gold Rush and Settlement of California (jan 24, 1848 – may 13, 1855)
When workers at John Sutter's mill in California found gold flakes, word spread rapidly, spurring many Americans to move westward to California to become rich. With the great influx of United States citizens moving into California, it seemed only logical for it to become part of the United States. When Californians requested to join the union as a free state, it caused many issues for pro-slavery supporters. It seemed unfair to have more free states than slave states and would interfere with the balance between the two in general and in government representation. It in turn provoked disputes over whether or not slave owners would be allowed to move west without giving up their "property." John Calhoun, who had presented this idea, also appealed for two separate presidencies to prevent bias towards one side. Others wanted to instead split California into two separate states. The newly sparked interest in slavery in western lands because of the recent vast westward migration was bringing with it thoughts of further separation between the free half of the United States and the slave half of it. Disagreements over fairness and how to deal with new lands were leading to musings of a fully separated nation, and this created more unease between the north and south. Since southerners were beginning to lean towards secession, the north would have to figure out how to appease them or get ready to fight them to keep the nation together, as northerners believed the southerners had no right to leave for their own personal gain.
Added to timeline:
Events Leading to the Civil War