Why is it called
The most common nickname of Nevada is "The Silver State", but why is our state called Nevada?
Let's find out why !!!
On October 31, 1933 the Nevada legislature decided to make "Nevada Day" an official state holiday, and originally celebrated it each October 31st.
Today, "Nevada Day" is now officially celebrated on the last Friday in October.
Today, "Nevada Day" is now officially celebrated on the last Friday in October.
Back in 1519 as the "new world" was being discovered, this land of ours was claimed by Spain when a Spanish settler named Hernan Cortes from Cuba lead an expedition to conquer the Aztec Empire.
It was in 1520 that the famous Aztec leader, Montezuma...
...would be killed; and a year later, the final conquest of his empire would take place, becoming a part of "New Spain".
"Mexihco" was the term used for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, and became the "State of Mexico" as a division of New Spain.
New Spain would eventually win independence from Spain in 1821; however, the northern borders of the new "United Mexican States" were quite isolated from the country capital, Mexico City, leading many of the area's inhabitants to feel as if they held little importance.
Wanting to stabilize this area of Mexico, the Mexican government made attempts to encourage migration into what is now Texas; however that attempt failed, which eventually lead to the Texas rebellion and declaration of independence as "The Republic of Texas" in 1836.
"Remember the Alamo"
As years passed border disputes would arise between the United States and Mexico, and in 1844, the United States elected a Jacksonian Democrat named James K. Polk, as its 11th President.
Polk's desire was to fulfill the dreams of his idol, Andrew Jackson; the expansion of the United States to the Pacific shore.
His administration in our history books is referred to as:
Polk fully supported annexation of Texas; however despite Texas being an independent republic, Mexico still considered it a "breakaway province".
Polk was also concerned about Great Britain's influence in supporting Mexico's position.
Then it happened...
...a border dispute between Texas and Mexico as to whether Texas included land extending to the Rio Grande River or the Nueces River.
He tried repeatedly to influence Congress to settle border disputes with Mexico by declaring war; however, the American congress was hesitant to do so.
When Texas President Sam Houston...
...signed the annexation agreement with the United States in 1846, a war with Mexico was inevitable.
Polk had achieved his objective and the United States entered the Mexican War which lasted two years until the conflict was resolved with the "Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo" becoming effective on July 4, 1848.
A part of that treaty...
Mexico ceding a large area of what is now the western United States that fulfilled the Polk dream of US expansion to the Pacific Ocean.
And that...as you can see by viewing the map...
...included an area referred to as....
As far back as 1857 many names were used to refer to the area that became Nevada:
Sierra Nevada Territory
But in 1864 the land emerged as "Nevada", a Spanish word meaning...
From out at sea Spanish sailors gazed upon the beautiful mountain ranges of California. They called these mountains Sierra Nevada (snowy range).
Sierra Nevada seemed an apt name for the new territory that was being carved out of Utah, but when the deed was done in 1859, the name of this new territory had been shortened to Nevada.
On March 2, 1861, this "Nevada territory" separated from the "Utah territory...
...and all was completed when on October 31, 1864, under the administration of Abraham Lincoln...
...in the flag of the United States of America.
Did you know we have an official state song ?
"Home Means Nevada"
Remembering Devotion to Our Nation
100 Years Later
October, 1918...the centennial of some of the bloodiest fighting in the history of the American army.
The Lost Battalion underwent its horrific ordeal October 2-8, 1918.
On October 8, 1918 one of the 82nd Division soldiers who attacked in the desperate effort to rescue Major Whittlesey and his men–Corporal Alvin York...
...killed an estimated 25 Germans and captured 132 more.
On October 7, 1918, John Barkley...
...clambered into an abandoned tank and used its machine gun to beat back several German counterattacks.
On October 12, 1918, Samuel Woodfill ...
...took out several German machine gun nests with expert marksmanship, and out of ammunition, dispatched two Germans with a pick axe.
All of these men (two from the Lost Battalion) won the Medal of Honor.
Forty-three American soldiers won the Medal of Honor in action in the first two weeks of October, 1918.
If you read the medal citations, you will find that most of them were for single-handed attacks on German machine gun positions.
Yes, machine guns were major killers on the Western Front, but the Meuse-Argonne was different than say, the Somme, or the Chemin de Dames, where Allied armies attacked established trench lines in fairly open terrain.
Instead of extensive linear trench lines, the German positions in the Argonne Forest and the more open terrain to the east consisted of a dense thicket of machine gun nests.
The terrain was appalling.
Much of it was heavily wooded, cut by dense ravines.
The Americans had to crawl their way through it, yard-by-yard, taking out nest after nest, all the while subject not just to the fire from chattering Maxim guns, but to horrific shelling of high explosive, shrapnel, and gas from German guns posted on the high ground to the north and east.
Most of the American units in the initial waves had not been blooded before.
For instance, the 77th Division (in which the Lost Battalion served) and the 82nd Division (York’s) were rookies. They had to learn the hard way, through bitter experience against an experienced foe fighting from prepared positions.
The inexperience showed initial phases of the American assault.
Although the pivot that the 1st Army made from its attack on the St. Mihiel salient to the east to the Meuse-Argonne sector to the north and west was truly marvelous–and under-appreciated...
...the attack itself was beset by all of the problems of World War I offensive action, compounded by American greenness and a stubborn refusal to learn from bitter British and French experience.
American artillery support was inadequate.
The logistics–admittedly made difficult enough to start with by the wretched state of the roads were botched.
American tactics, inspired by General Pershing’s belief in “open warfare” and the primacy of the offensive (heedless of the horrific fate of the French operating on the same beliefs in 1915 and 1917) were suicidal.
Yet the Americans learned quickly–by necessity.
It was adapt, or die.
Adaptation, combined with an almost preternatural self-confidence and aggressive spirit, ultimately prevailed.
Even as early at the battles of late-May/early-July 1918 (Chateau Thierry, Belleau Wood, Soissons) the Germans were taken aback by the aggressiveness of the Americans in the offense and their stubbornness in the defense.
“The Americans kill everything” wrote a shocked German grenadier. “They showed a bestial brutality.”
World War I was a ghastly combination of inept leadership (often overwhelmed by the mismatch between the defense and offense) and individual courage.
Though the US army came late to the war, its experience from 26 September-11 November 2018 re-enacted this same combination.
And in the end, the incredible bravery and tenacity of the American soldier–farm boys and cowboys and immigrant slum dwellers alike prevailed, and dealt the Germans body blows from which they reeled, and in the end, from which they could not recover.
But today, the centennial is passing almost completely unnoticed.
In the aftermath of the war, the federal government, and many state governments, erected large monuments commemorating American service in the war.
Although the remains of most of the tens-of-thousands slain in the Meuse-Argonne were brought home, many thousands more were interred in large cemeteries, most notably the Aisne-Marne Cemetery to the west of Rheims...
and the Romagne Cemetery...
... to the east.
The monuments are truly epic in scale...
...the US erected nothing comparable in the aftermath of WWII.
The cemeteries are immense.
Romagne is larger than the cemetery at Omaha Beach.
Yet these places are almost forgotten and rarely visited today.
Located in an isolated pocket of France, commemorating a war that is largely outside of the consciousness of modern Americans (for whom even WWII is a vague memory), few Americans see them, either on purpose or by accident.
The isolation and loneliness makes them truly haunting places.
Today, we seldom see even a car on the road while winding across the Argonne, from the ravine to where the Lost Battalion bled, to Chatel-Chéhéry where Alvin York started his advance to Montfaucon, and Romagne where the Americans clawed for yards day after day, to the Heights of the Meuse from where German guns ruthlessly pounded the Americans.
The monuments and cemeteries are now only inhabited only by their ghosts.
In many ways, America came of age in the Meuse-Argonne, but today those who fought in that epic battle are not just forgotten...
...they have never even been known by most Americans...
...most notably by those who would take the life ending devotion those brave individuals endured...
...and all too often, destroying the spirit and the American way of those who so nobly gave their lives in order that they may have the freedoms they enjoy today.
So please, take a moment in these October days to remember, and pay tribute to, men who do not deserve the oblivion to which an easily distracted nation has consigned them.
Constitution Day...Celebrating Its History
(Part One of Two)
Today is Constitution Day, and though we at Anthem Opinions make every attempt to avoid national politics, no matter to which political affiliation you might owe your loyalty...
...there is one fact that neither party can deny, namely...
It's the official document by which our entire legal system is based.
...and our Founding Fathers did their best to create a set of rules the American people would live by and defend.
It's an amazing document, with an amazing history, composed by amazing individuals...
...that has needed "alteration" only 27 times in its 228 year history !
...and two of those "alterations", the 18th & the 21st Amendments, which applied to Prohibition, were subsequently passed to deny and then allow Americans the opportunity to enjoy an alcoholic beverage !
Let's go back in time to the end of the American Revolution in 1783 when, seven years earlier on July 4, 1776, the most courageous individuals made an historic decision to end an affiliation from what was the most powerful nation on earth.
That statement or Declaration...was just that...a mere statement...
...by which their proposed idea of government would require a set of rules on which its citizens would abide and follow.
The Founding Fathers realized their work had just begun in 1776, and they knew that if a "noble experiment" on which that "statement" was passed was to succeed, a government had to be formed that embraced those ideals.
...but that had to wait for a few years until they were convinced the very idea of an independent nation would survive the mighty British army and naval forces.
What most people don't realize is that The Declaration of Independence determined a statement of principles stressing a person's natural rights, but it did not set forth any structure of government on which those rights would be preserved.
Those rights would initially become adopted in 1781 with The Articles of Confederation; however, that document would fall far short of the needs of an independent nation.
What were its faults?
And so...it needed to be changed to reflect the true spirit of the Declaration of Independence.
On September 11, 1786 a convention was called in Annapolis, Maryland to discuss the inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation with 5 states sending delegates to establish standard rules for a new nation.
Up to that point in time, each state was independent from the others and the national government had no authority.
Though no decision was made at Annapolis, it was decided that a constitutional convention would be held in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787.
Their official mission:
The "Federal Constitution" (The Articles of Confederation) was to be changed to meet the requirements of good government and "the preservation of the Union".
It was intended that the Continental Congress would then approve what measures it allowed; then the state legislatures would unanimously confirm whatever changes of those were to take effect.
Twelve state delegations were sent (Rhode Island declined to attend) and it was soon determined that The Articles of Confederation was so flawed, that it required a new design.
The convention was scheduled to begin on May 14, 1787; however, only 2 delegations showed up (Pennsylvania & Virginia) !
They eventually reached a quorum of 7 on May 25, 1787 and the convention then proceeded.
Officers were first elected:
Chairman of The Rules Committee
Chairman of the Committee of the Whole
This I'm sure will surprise many !
The Convention voted to keep the debates secret...
...so that the delegates could speak freely, negotiate, bargain, compromise, and change !
As the convention proceeded, problems initially occurred.
Every few days new delegates would arrive and votes would change as a result of the changing delegation representative...
...creating an increasing concern that the Convention would have to be dissolved and ENTIRELY ABANDONED.
Our new nation, primarily consisting of an agrarian society at that time, meant many of the delegates had to return to their homes for their fall harvests.
After all, commerce was a MAIN CONSIDERATION to all in attendance !
Tomorrow in Part Two, we'll discuss the various individuals and plans proposed at that convention...
...and how the combined dedication of a common goal...
...structured the federal government would finally evolve.
Celebrating the History of The United States Constitution
(Part Two of Two)
In Part One we explained why a formal US Constitution had to be addressed. It was necessary to ensure the words set forth in the Declaration of Independence.
Today, we'll discuss the "players" and the many issuesthat needed to be resolved in order to keep the promises of The Declaration of July 4, 1776.
On May 29, 1787 Edmund Randolph of Virginia...
... would introduce "The Virginia Plan", which stressed that the common defense, security of liberty, and general welfare play a predominant role. It concentrated on the interests of the larger states.
The plan was actually written by 36 year old James Madison of Virginia...
...and called for three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial), a bicameral Congress apportioned by population.
Madison's work and determination has since earned him the title of "The Father of the Constitution".
He would also go on to serve as our 4th President for 8 years.
Madison was a staunch advocate of strong centralized government, and The Virginia Plan granted the United States Senate the power to abrogate any law passed by state governments.
The Virginia Plan also called for the creation of a new constitution that would be ratified by special conventions held in each state, RATHER THAN by the state legislatures.
The result was that The Virginia Plan would be the framework on which the United States Constitution would subsequently be based.
Much of it was passed, and included the following vital provisions:
All the powers in the Articles of Confederation would transfer to the new government.
Congress would have two divisions: the "house" apportioned by population, and a "senate" apportioned equally among each state, which would then enact laws affecting more than one state.
Congress could override a veto.
The President would enforce the law.
The Supreme Court and inferior courts would rule on international, U.S., and state law.
The Constitution is the supreme law and all state officers swear to uphold the Constitution.
Every state was a republic, and new states could be admitted.
Amendments were possible without Congress.
The Convention recommendations then went from Congress to the states.
State legislatures set the election rules for ratification conventions, and the people "expressly" chose representatives to consider and decide about the Constitution.
On June 15, 1787, William Patterson of New Jersey...
...would introduce "The New Jersey Plan" which favored the interests of the smaller states.
Though much of the plan failed, some vital provisions did survive.
The Senate would be elected by the states, at first by the state legislatures.
Congress would pass acts for revenue collected directly in the states, and the rulings of state courts could be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
State apportionment for taxes failed, but the "house" would be apportioned by the population count of "free" inhabitants and three-fifths of others originally.
States could be added to the Union.
Presidents would appoint federal judges.
Treaties entered into by Congress would be considered the supreme law of the land.
All state judiciaries would be bound to enforce treaties, state laws notwithstanding.
The President had the authority to raise an army to enforce treaties in any state.
States would treat a violation of law in another state as though it happened there.
The contentious issue of slavery was too controversial to be resolved during the Convention; however, the Convention eventually adopted the existing "federal ratio" for taxing states by three-fifths of slaves held.
To break any stalemates, on June 11, 1787 Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed...
Representation in Congress should be both by states and by population.
There, he was voted down by the small states in favor of all being treated equally, with each state having one vote only.
After four attempts at passage, on July 16, 1787, a final version was passed.
Every state was to have equal numbers in the United States Senate.
Thus, we now have a House of Representatives based on population and a Senate based on state equality.
While all of the above was taking place, on June 7, 1787the "national executive" was also taken up at the Convention.
The "chief magistrate" or "presidency" was of serious concern for a formerly colonial people fearful of concentrated power in one person.
To secure a "vigorous executive", nationalist delegates such as...
James Wilson of Pennsylvania
Charles Pinckney of South Carolina
John Dickenson of Delaware
...favored a single officer.
And...they had a certain someone in mind whom everyone could trust to start off the new system, George Washington...
...a proposal that almost immediately raised protest by three prominent members of the convention:
Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Edmund Randolph of Virginia, and Pierce Butler of South Carolina.
Pierce Butler of South Carolina
They preferred two or three individuals as presidents...
...but when the vote was taken, the "One Man Presidency" carried by a vote of 7-3 with only New York, Delaware, and Maryland voting against the measure.
That is how it was determined to establish the "single presidency".
There was one more vital element that had to be considered....
...on June 19, 1787, the issue of a national court system was addressed by Edmund Randolph of Virginia in what has come to be known as
"Randolph's Ninth Resolve"...
...and that too, brought vibrant discussion among the delegates before the final version of our current Supreme Court was passed.
On September 28, 1787, a compromise was finally reached, and a measure was enacted to send the agreement to the state legislatures for ratification as per the new constitutional procedure.
Delaware, on December 7, 1787, became the first State to ratify the new Constitution, with its vote being unanimous.
Pennsylvania ratified on December 11, 1787, by a vote of 46 to 23 (66.67%).
New Jersey ratified on December 18, 1787.
Georgia ratified on January 2, 1788,
Massachusetts followed on February 6, 1788
Maryland, on April 26, 1788
South Carolina, on May 23, 1788
...and on June 21, 1787 New Hampshire became the ninth and deciding state to welcome the new Constitution as the official "law of the land".
New York would follow on July 26, 1788.
North Carolina would ratify on November 21, 1788
...and to conclude the unanimous vote ....
Rhode Island would become the 13th state to ratify the Constitution on May 29, 1790.
The US Constitution thus created a new, unprecedented form of government by reallocating powers of government.
It was an experiment that no nation had ever accomplished. This American "rule book" changed the world...
..proved that, given the opportunity...
..."the People"" could indeed govern themselves through power-sharing, by decisions made by the elements that composed a nation...
Now, 228 years later after the last state ratified that historic document, we still live by what those brave men designed with few modifications.
Why was this article written?
For two reasons.
First, to make you aware of the tedious dedication of those who were responsible for its creation...
Second, to ask all Americans to appreciate it; to accept it as our law, and especially in the world in which we now live...
...honor and respect the courageous great individuals who are charged each and every day with enforcing it.
Join me in standing and reciting its powerful Preamble !