California seeks statehood, and a debate begins whether to allow slavery or deem it a free state.


With a booming population due to the interest in gold in California, leaders in the territory attempt to be admitted to the United States.

In this period, life in California was very difficult and demanding. In 1850, 75% of the reporting population in California was engaged in the practicing of mining. Miners, in general, either lived under a simple canvas tent or stacked logs patched with clay to create walls, and lay a canvas tent over the top to create a make-shift roof. Miners lived in these conditions year-round in the Sierra Nevada region, despite the extreme winter weather. In cities like San Francisco and Sacramento, construction was more robust and legitimate buildings offered housing, storefronts, and lodging for visitors. At this time, much of Southern California was still occupied by first peoples, and the Pueblo of Los Angeles was a flourishing Spanish marketplace. 

California was ultimately admitted to the United States in 1850 as a free state, and since its admission would tip the scales to create more free states than slave states, other states were altered.

The Compromise of 1850 amended the Fugitive Slave Act, abolished the Slave Trade in Washington, DC, and created new territorial governments in Utah and New Mexico.

Sources we used and further reading on this era of Long Beach:

“El Dorado, California. View of scattered log cabins,” 1848-1953,  Library of Congress .

“El Dorado, California. View of scattered log cabins,” 1848-1953, Library of Congress.