Nevada wasn’t crucial in preserving Union
As a visitor to your state, I enjoyed the article about the Carson City resident who portrays President Lincoln to school children. Imaginative, live presentations are excellent teaching tools. However, I was disappointed in the quality of some of the “history” thus presented.
Mr. Earhart has Lincoln say, “Had it not been for Nevada, today we might
have two separate nations. Division of the nation was imminent and Nevada
was crucial to the preservation because of its votes ….”
I understand the desire for home state “boosterism.”But not by teaching
myths! What “crucial” role did Nevada play in preserving the Union?
Division of the nation was not “imminent” when Nevada became a state. It
had already occurred in 1861. But by October 1864, defeat of the secessionists had been essentially completed. It was the demise of the
Confederacy, not the separation of the Union, that was imminent. Sherman
had taken Atlanta, marched to the sea, and split the Confederacy in two.
Total surrender followed the following April. All without Nevada’s vote.
It is true that Lincoln welcomed the creation of another “free” state to ensure ratification of the anticipated 13th Amendment, which would confirm
his previous emancipation of slaves. But ratification was a certainty
without Nevada since only Union states and “reconstructed” Southern states
were able to vote in 1865.
I hope that Mr. Earhart continues to portray Mr. Lincoln in schools. But I
also hope that teachers check out the content of the history taught in their
classes. We already teach enough myths as “history.” Let’s not create or
perpetuate myths just because we find an interesting medium, or because it
makes us feel good about the state.