Name: Kale Aschoff
School: Southern Highlands Preparatory School

In my opinion, making Nevada a state not only played a large role in the development of our country in the 19thCentury, but also helped shape the way our nation looks now.  Lincoln made us a state for political reasons and even today Presidents continue to use Nevada for political reasons.  Our state’s “wild west” attitude and independent spirit led to the growth of gambling as a legitimate business and we continue to lead the way today.

If Nevada was never a state then Abraham Lincoln would have never been re-elected President.  The United States of America was split between North and South and in the midst of a Civil War.  Lincoln needed a state like ours because at the time the Nevada Territory leaned Republican and was more pro-Union than other Territories, like Utah, that wanted to become states.  Abraham Lincoln pushed Nevada to the front of the line over other areas that wanted to become states so that he would have another state in his pocket.  Nevada became a state on October 31st, 1864, just before the election that year.  Nevadans were allowed to vote in that election and they voted for Abraham Lincoln.  That vote could have cost him the election and could have changed the outcome of the end of the civil war.  A couple years after the Civil War the 13th Amendment got rid of slavery.  I am not sure if that would have happened as quickly if Nevada had not been made a state so quickly.

The discovery of Comstock Lode in 1859 also was a critical part of making Nevada a state.  The Comstock Lode was the discovery of a large deposit of gold and silver. In fact, Nevada is named the Silver State because we have more silver than almost anyone in the world!

There was a lot of gold in Nevada as well.  The federal government, and Abraham Lincoln, wanted to make sure they had access to these very valuable assets.  This played a large part in their decision to move Nevada ahead to statehood as money is always something to consider when politics are involved.

Nevada was the first state to have legalized gambling which.  Nevada remains the greatest gambling center in the world!  Nevada gets most of its money from the tourists who come to gamble and play poker, and generates millions of dollars for the country through tax revenue.  The gaming industry grew incredibly fast after World War 2 because the war was finally over and people were looking for a way to blow off steam.  The casinos that were set up here created rules and regulations that told people what they could and couldn’t do regarding gambling.  In the 1980s, corporations came in and took over gaming from the individual people and organized crime, further making it a legitimate business.  They created more rules and regulations, especially in the sports gaming field.  In fact, Nevada leads the world in regulating sports gaming and in many ways we act as the “policemen” of the sports gaming industry.

Nevada was an important state politically in the 1800s and remains so today.  During the  2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections, Nevada became a swing-state with many Presidential candidates visiting here and competing for our electoral votes.  Nevadans’ opposition to the

Yucca Mountain nuclear waste disposal site, which Bush approved, became a big issue for voters here.  Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn vetoed the project, but the US Congress overrode his veto. President Bush signed Congress’s joint resolution into law, and Yucca Mountain became the nation’s nuclear waste repository site.   Since then, President Obama, with the help of Harry

Reid, John Ensign, Governor Sandoval, Congresswoman Berkley, Congresswoman Titus, Congressman Heck, Congressman Porter, and many others have helped keep nuclear waste out of our state.

Nevada is a big state physically, a small state population-wise, but has a large impact on our nation. Las Vegas is one of the most famous “brands” and cities in the world.  We are the leader in casino and sports gaming as we have been since we became a state.  Our political “capital” (my Mom told me that one-she worked for Congresswoman Berkley) is very high with all these close elections.  Mining continues to be a large part of our state as well and the revenue we bring as a state helps the entire country.