Today I will be talking about two distinct events in world history that at first may seem unrelated, but actually tie together in an interesting way after an analysis on aspects such as levels of wealth and migratory phenomena. They are the California Gold Rush (1848 – 1855) and the Irish Potato Famine (1845 – 1852).
The result of this historical research on one event of sudden wealth and one of extreme poverty should provide further evidence on the relation between exchange of resources and sex, and on what is known as Briffault’s Law, in particular its second part that states:
Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place.
So strap in, I’ll fill you in on the details.
Let’s start with the Gold Rush. When in 1848 a sizable quantity of that precious metal was found at Sutter’s Mill it triggered significant changes in California. First and foremost those territories experienced a demographic boom, starting with an estimated 14,000 non-native residents in 1848, this number rose to 92,597 by 1850, and then to 379,994 by 1860. Sadly, since California wasn’t officially part of the United States before 1850 there are no accurate numbers on the size of its population before the Gold Rush, but it can be inferred through other sources that it was a lot smaller. For instance, some accounts claim that by 1848 San Francisco was a settlement of some 800 people, later becoming home to 34,776 people in 1852.
Undeniably the first migratory waves were mostly constituted by men lured westward by the desire to find a fortune in gold, people that would become known as the forty-niners, in reference to the year 1849. This population influx caused such an unbalance in the demographics of California that it got to the point where the male-to-female ratio was 10:1 in the early years of the Gold Rush. The graph below (Fig.1) shows the difference between the numbers of registered men and women between 1850 and 1880, and illustrates what started as an 11 to 1 ratio in 1850, shifting into 2.5 to 1 in 1860, then 1.6 to 1 in 1870 and finally 1.3 to 1 in 1880. As the twentieth century progressed the trend was for those numbers to gradually become more balanced.
So what happened exactly? Well, as the Gold Rush drew a great deal of men that quickly acquired new levels of wealth, California was soon regarded as an untapped market, ripe with opportunity for those wishing to benefit from the newly found riches, and this of course included prostitution along any other forms of trade. It was a perfect opportunity for women seeking to strike a fortune out of selling sex, the demand was huge and the supply short in the first years, so much so, that the cost of sex was inflated as it was pointed out by a Frenchman named Albert Benard de Russailh during a visit to San Francisco:
All in all, the women of easy virtue here earn a tremendous amount of money. To sit with you near the bar or at a card table, a girl charges one ounce ($16) an evening. (…) For anything more you have to pay a fabulous amount. Nearly all these women at home were street-walkers of the cheapest sort. But out here, for only a few minutes, they ask a hundred times as much as they were used to getting in Paris. A whole night costs from $200 to $400.
Accounts present in individual memoirs, as well as in The Annals of San Francisco, mention that female prostitutes would hail from pretty much everywhere around the globe, from France, Germany and Ireland, to Mexico, and Chile, and even as far as China and Australia, all seeking a more advantageous situation and their very own slice of the proverbial gold-incrusted pie. Just like merchants of various other goods, prostitutes were simply capitalizing on a situation of extreme abundance, by exploiting the market and selling their bodies to the highest bidder. After all, sex is just another resource to be traded, as it has been abundantly documented within the manosphere.
Beyond prostitution, this vast wealth coupled with a disproportionate gender ratio had some other interesting implications. In Intimate Frontiers: Sex, Gender, and Culture in Old California, the author provides some insight on how marriage in California functioned after the Gold Rush. For a start, women had the clear advantage on mate selection, considering that the male to female ratios that here as high as 11 to 1, therefore allowing them to select the best possible candidate among the plethora freshly enriched men. The shortage of women resulted in an increase of mixed couples, where for instance, Hispanic and Asian women (races that at the time occupied the lower tiers of social hierarchy) had a chance to climb the ladder by marrying a White man. Another curious aspect to highlight regards divorce. Divorce was easier to attain, a lot more acceptable than in any of the other states, and faced at lot less social repercussion, one can speculate on there being a vested interest by eager single men in increasing the pool of available women. With all these conditions assembled, California became a veritable wonderland for rampant hypergamy that allowed women to grasp the most beneficial associations with men.
Now let’s discuss the Great Famine, or as it is commonly known, the Irish Potato Famine. This event couldn’t be a starker opposite to what happened in California during that period of time, and it was every bit as bad as it sounds, I mean, it doesn’t get called the Great Famine for nothing.
In 1845, the outbreak of the Potato Blight (Phytophtora infestans) triggered a period of extreme poverty that can be traced to a combination of root-causes, that included the fact that farmlands were mostly owned by English landlords, which in turn meant that the Irish peasants had no property of their own. The farmers had to pay rents, in values that were regarded as higher that normal, while the bulk of the yields were destined as exports. Besides that, there was the fact that the impoverished Irish families found out that by growing potatoes they could provide a cheap and very efficient way to feed an entire family, however if potato crops failed there was no alternative to fall back to. With the bottom one-third of the population almost exclusively dependent on the potato, the end result was tragic, with an estimated death toll of 1 million people.
Another consequence of the Great Famine was a massive wave of emigration to the U.S. and Quebec, as well as to Scotland, England and Australia. It is loosely estimated that another million people emigrated in the years after the Famine, and although more precise numbers on Irish emigration can only be found since the 1871 census, there are other stats gathered in the book: The Irish; Emigration, Marriage and Fertility, that will help to paint a demographic picture of Ireland in the years of the Great Famine and the decades that followed. (Note: Ireland in this case refers to the entire island, not just the present day Republic of Ireland).
First of all, let’s watch how the population progressed from a couple of decades prior to the Famine, until the dawn of the 20th century (Fig.2), in order to have some context.
So this data displays quite clearly a sharp drop in the size of the population during the Famine, as expected, but also shows a steady drop in population in the aftermath of that event, brought about by a decline in the number of births, coupled with a significant number of emigrants. This in turn led me to another interesting statistic, one regarding single people and their gender.
Here we can see how the Post-Famine decades, characterized by mass poverty, precarious living conditions, and the ever-looming threat of starvation influenced the rates of marriage in Ireland. The trend was for an overall postponement of marriages, however men tended to remain single for longer than women. This indicates that it was very likely that, women who were marrying in their youth were opting for older partners, ones who possibly had a better capacity to provide for the household. This notion becomes clearer once the following set of statistical data on the male-to-female ratio for the four provinces of Ireland is taken into consideration.
Firstly it’s necessary to point out that the province of Leinster is the most urban among the four, for instance it contains Dublin, while Connacht and Ulster were mostly rural. Now, what this chart intends to show are the migratory flows between rural and urban areas, basically between the poor countryside and the slightly more affluent cities. We can see that the more urban Leinster held a larger proportion of women, than rural Connacht or Ulster. In sum, all this combined information shows that women are forgoing association (marriage) with males, where no benefit can be attained, and quickly moving on to better circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not passing judgment here, saying that they are vile women, or whatever, for seeking the best possible opportunity for them. This is descriptive. It simply is what it is. And it’s Briffault’s Law in a nutshell.
Back to the Irish emigration, one can find some degree of information on the male-to-female proportion among emigrants in the second half of the 19th century, which shows that it was around 50-50 on average. These were people that had nothing to lose. They were escaping from a dreadful situation, and just wanted to find better life prospects. For single women, those better prospects were many times achieved through prostitution, since the work in factories and mills was intensive and generally low pay, overall not much different from what they could have gotten in Dublin. By that time, word of the California Gold Rush had reached far and wide, and as it was previously mentioned, a good number of those Irish women set sails westward in search of their golden opportunities.
Prostitution among young Irish women migrants was not a rare occurrence by any stretch of the imagination, even as certain unsavory sources point out. (You know, the unsavory sources that drone on about: “Those poor subjugated women, that were no more than sex slaves… The patriarchal oppression… Blah, blah, blah.) For instance, just as prostitution was practiced in North America, there are also accounts of groups of very young Irish women arriving to New South Wales, Australia, to then work in brothels.
Out of curiosity, let’s have a really quick look into the history of New South Wales and see if we can find something relevant taking place during the time period of the Great Famine (1845-1852).
No way!!! Now that’s quite interesting, wouldn’t you say?
In conclusion, the facts presented in this analysis of two distinct events in world history, such as the California Gold Rush and the Great Famine, further reinforce the idea contained within Briffault’s Law, and the concept of female hypergamy, which are already well known to the MGTOW community. They show as well that women are not by a long shot the helpless creatures, vulnerable to the machinations of men, as feminists would have you believe. Female hypoagency is merely a thing of myth. As these examples have clearly demonstrated, women actively sought out the best possible opportunities for improving their livelihood, and did not shy away from trading their most valuable resource, sex, in order to line their purses with the gold of wealthier men.
The decision to present two completely different events, with two very different sets of circumstances, whether cultural, social or economical, in two places with distinct historic backgrounds, was purposeful. All things considered, they seem to illustrate quite well that despite those differences, there isn’t a perceptible change in the human behavioral patterns. Perhaps this research can weigh in on the eternal debate between cultural influences and innate biology, and the level of their preponderance on the behavior of mankind.
That is all for now gentlemen. If you’re interested in more MGTOW perspectives on world history, let me know.
Have a wonderful night.