%> Nevada Riches: The Land and People of the Silver State
Nevada Government & Politics
Territory & Statehood
(1848-1864)

Establishing a State

On February 8, 1864 a senator from Wisconsin introduced a bill that would enable the people of Nevada Territory to write a constitution and form a state government.  Territorial Governor Nye called for an election to select delegates to create the constitution.  From July 4 through July 27, 35 delegates met and produced a constitution.  Some delegates did not want to use the name "Nevada" for the new state because there were already a number of places in California using that name.  They suggested Washoe, Humboldt or Esmeralda instead, but Congress had used the name Nevada in the enabling act and that was the name that was chosen.  The Constitution was ratified in an election held September 7.  President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation on October 31, 1864, and Nevada became a state.

The outline of Nevada, however, looked much different than it does now.  Part of eastern Nevada still belonged to Utah and Clark County and Las Vegas were in New Mexico Territory.  The last of the additional territory was added by 1867 and the familiar shape of Nevada was complete.
 

Photo Credit:
Nevada State Library and Archives