Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864, after telegraphing the Constitution of Nevada to the Congress days before the November 8 presidential election (according to history records, the largest and costliest transmission ever by telegraph). Statehood was rushed to help ensure three electoral votes for Abraham Lincoln’s reelection and add to the Republican congressional majorities. Nevada became the second of two states added to the Union during the Civil War and became known as the “Battle Born State” because it achieved statehood during the Civil War.
As Robert Laxalt (one of the best writers of Nevada history) said in his book Nevada: A History, “In the years I was growing up in Nevada, nearly everyone seemed to be waiting with bated breath for the state to reach the nirvana of one million population. It has happened now; the 1990 census officially pronounced that 1,280,020 people live in Nevada. Las Vegas and Reno in particular were stunned as all the ills of overcrowded cities descended upon them like a plague: air pollution, traffic jams, overflowing schools, murder and burglary and rape, gangs, a devastating shortage of water.”
If Robert Laxalt were alive today he would be ready to start a new book telling us that Nevada has added 1.95 percent of its population from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2017, which brings Nevada’s population to 2.94 million. At this rate, according to experts’ opinions Nevada could welcome its 3 millionth resident in 2017.
As Robert Laxalt said in his book, our cities are overcrowded, especially Las Vegas, and it is no longer fun to even drive in Las Vegas. It is scary to open the newspaper in the mornings because there are nothing but tragedies — more murders, domestic violence on a daily basis, sexual trafficking and all types of crimes.
Politics, campaign parties and election times are not what they used to be many years ago. Our best politicians are no longer around or they just are no longer interested.
Choosing another section of Robert Laxalt’s book, he wrote: “On the political front, Robert List, Richard Bryan, and Bob Miller joined the roster of Nevada governors. Bryan went on to become US Senator. Paul Laxalt went on to serve two six-year terms in the US Senate. Before retiring from politics, Laxalt became the first Nevadan ever to run for president of the United States. The move was audacious but hopeless, and Laxalt withdrew. It may be a long time before another candidate from Nevada runs for the presidency.”
How we wish Robert Laxalt were alive today so we could discuss that section of his book, because Martin Luther King was not the only human being who had a dream. It may not be that long of a time before another Laxalt runs for the presidency.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NEVADA! Times probably have changed you for the worse, but we love you dearly and remember all the good things you have done for us.