Old Glory 1863
The Silver State

Clip art courtesy of

During the Civil War, the Nevada territory was pro-Union. President Lincoln appointed Governor James Warren Nye, a former Police Commissioner in New York City, to ensure that it stayed that way.1 It did not have a large enough population to become a state. New states were needed to re-elect Lincoln in support of his reconstruction policies for the South.

While running for re-election in 1864, one of President Lincoln's proposed policies was a 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution which would ban slavery. The United States Congress was anxious to have the support of the Republican-dominated Nevada Territory.2 As the Civil War started to wind down, a “silver lining” was on the horizon for the Union.

Nevadans approved their new Constitution in September 1864 after it was written two months prior. Governor Nye would transmit the document to President Lincoln. It was the longest and the most expensive telegram ever sent up until that time.3

Lincoln proclaimed Nevada's admission to the Union as the 36th state on October 31, 1864. He recognized the importance of Nevada's silver and gold to the Union's Civil War effort.4 Because of its rich silver resources and admittance to the Union during the Civil War, two of Nevada's nicknames are “The Silver State” and “The Battle Born State.”