Today’s post comes from James Zeender, Senior Registrar at the National Archives.
The Emancipation Proclamation will be on exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art for 36 hours from October 30 to November 2, 2014.
This will be the capstone to the museum’s exhibition “The 36th Star: Nevada’s Journey from Territory to State,” which opened on August 2. It features other original documents from the National Archives, including President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation establishing Nevada as the 36th state in the Union and the state’s constitution transmitted by the Nevada Governor to Secretary of State William Seward. (The Governor sent the constitution in a 175-page telegram that cost $4313.27 at the time (over $60,000 in 2014 dollars).
Nevada became the 36th state in the Union just before the 1864 Presidential election. Its two Electoral College votes for Lincoln played little role in the outcome of the election—Lincoln handily defeated his opponent, Gen. George McClellan, in the popular vote, getting 55% of the popular vote to McClellan’s 45%, and overwhelmed him in the Electoral College vote of 212 to 21.
However, Nevada’s votes in Congress for the 13th Amendment—where Lincoln’s opponents posed more of a threat—played more of a decisive role in the amendment’s eventual passage.
In April 1864, a vote in the House of Representatives on the 13th Amendment fell short of the necessary two-thirds majority, despite a lopsided victory in the Senate. After the November elections and the arrival of the Nevadan congressional delegation—and among other factors—Lincoln’s hand was strengthened.
Ultimately, the amendment passed by a 119 to 56 vote on January 31, 1865, narrowly exceeding the two-thirds majority.
At a press conference on July 29, the Governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, said, “This is something that will make all Nevadans proud. We [Nevadans] were there when we abolished slavery.”