Nebraska’s 150th statehood anniversary is approaching; many people however have forgotten many key factors about Nebraska’s entry into statehood. Nebraska was admitted into statehood on March 1, 1867, about two years after the Civil War, making Nebraska the 37th state.
Nebraska did not start seeing major settlement until the California Gold Rush in 1848, with many people who once were settlers making the decision to be homesteaders in an almost uncharted territory in the 1860s. Things were not easy in the beginning for the homesteaders. Many had to face multiple climate changes and wildlife that they were unfamiliar with, but things became easier over time. Per 50states.com, the name Nebraska is based on an Otoe Indian word meaning “flat water,” which is about the Platte River, according to onlyinyourstate.com.
Once Nebraska was granted statehood, the homesteaders worked swiftly to put a governing body and state capital in place. Originally, the territorial capital was in Omaha but once they were granted statehood they chose to move it to Lancaster. Lancaster was soon renamed to Lincoln after former President Abraham Lincoln who had been recently assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.
In 1867, Nebraska adopted the phrase “equality before the law,” and is considered to be one of the more unique mottos amongst the states. It is similar to Wyoming’s motto which is simply “Equal Rights.” Both mottos were created during post-Civil War times and relate to minorities of any race and women. Since entering statehood, Nebraska has always stood for equality which is important to remember because equality gets overlooked so easily today.
Celebrating Nebraska’s 150th anniversary is important not only because we are all residents of the state whether it be because of school or growing up here. Nebraska has been a state driven to help the people instead of corporations, and it has been that way since entering statehood. Nebraska may not be a place that you hear many people who aren’t from here talk about, but it’s still as important as any other state. Many famous inventors, actors, athletes, and politicians were all born right here in the state and are proud of it.
The 150th anniversary of Nebraska’s statehood should be a day filled with pride as we look back and remember what those brave settlers and homesteaders had to go through as they embarked on a new, uncertain journey.
In the last 150 years, Nebraska has gone from almost unknown territory to a thriving state with 1.8 million residents. Nebraska is expanding rapidly so this celebration should be about growth and prospering and hoping that the next 150 years are just as prosperous as the last 150 years.