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The Mechanics Of Optimism: Mining Companies, Technology, And The Hot Spring Gold Rush, Montana Territory, 1864-1868 (Mining the American West Series)

The Mechanics Of Optimism: Mining Companies, Technology, And The Hot Spring Gold Rush, Montana Territory, 1864-1868 (Mining the American West Series)

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Book DescriptionFor every successful mining district celebrated in history, there were failed dozens whose stories have been largely forgotten. The Mechanics of Optimism fills a void by documenting, in rare detail, the boom-bust cycle of Hot Spring District, a mid-1860s Montana gold camp that didn’t pay, despite early predictions of a bonanza.

Author and historian Jeffrey J. Safford examines how gold mining ventures were developed and financed during and after the Civil War, and how men, primarily Easterners with scant knowledge of mining, were willing to invest large sums in gold mines that promised quick and lucrative returns.

Safford explains how these mining companies were organized and underwritten, and why a little-known district in southwestern Montana was chosen as a center of operations. What were the businessmen involved in these ventures thinking? Why didn’t new mining technology triumph as predicted? Why did their financial strategies fail to produce lavish profits? Relying on extensive primary sources, Safford answers these and other questions while reminding the reader that the rapid rise and decline of Hot Spring was not unique. The mining frontier is littered with short-lived "sure-fire investments." True bonanzas were the exception, not the rule.