The Chronicle -

By Finn J.D. John
Chronicle columnist 

Mining law answered plan to seize gold mines with military force


August 15, 2019

Postcard Provided

An early-1900s vintage picture postcard shows five different methods of mining gold: quartz stamping, hydraulic, dredging (with an old-school bucket-line dredge), use of a doodlebug, and panning.

In the years that followed the American Civil War, the American federal government was gasping for cash.

The war had been largely financed by borrowing huge sums of money from abroad, mostly from England. There weren't many other options. America's two main export crops, cotton and tobacco, were products of the South – which is why President Lincoln spent so heavily to throw a blockade around Southern ports.

By the time it was over, the Union government was having serious heartburn over debt service. And, of course, its revenue-generating options were fairly limited in those pre-income-t...

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