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1846 (Polk) - US takes over all of Oregon
1848 (Polk) - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed
1848 (Polk) - Gold discovered at Sutter's Mill in California
This declared that California was now a part of the U.S which started the destiny. And the search for gold
1849 (Taylor) - California applies for statehood
This allowed for the U.S to move into California without worrying about entering the Mexicans territory and creating a problem.
The journey was worth it they found the gold. This created hope and opportunity for lots of people to get rich with some even opening up shops which would actually make the most money.
With the gold rush came huge rise in population and with all of the money that people were making they thought that they would be able to become a free non slavery state.