During the Civil War (1861-1865), U.S. President Abraham Lincoln realized Nebraska’s voters would be a political asset in the struggle with the Confederacy, and in 1864 the U.S. Congress passed an act enabling the people of Nebraska to draw up a constitution and seek admission to the Union. Nebraskans were divided on the desirability of statehood, with opponents (mostly Democrats) arguing that the expense of state government would offset any benefits. Voters rejected statehood in 1864, but in 1866 they narrowly approved a constitution that had been drafted by the territorial legislature.
They also elected people to fill posts in the new state, including two U.S. senators. Because Democratic opposition to the Civil War and to the homestead laws had alienated many Nebraskans, all but one of these officials were Republicans. However, President Andrew Johnson, a Democrat who had become president after Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, vetoed the act admitting Nebraska to the Union, arguing that the admission process violated the Constitution of the United States. But Congress granted statehood over Johnson’s veto, and on March 1, 1867, Nebraska became the 37th state of the Union. In 1867 a special commission selected the village of Lancaster, located on the banks of Salt Creek, as the new state capital and renamed it Lincoln. The principal state offices were moved to Lincoln at the end of 1868. "Nebraska" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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