Nebraska State Day, Motto, and Nickname
DATE OF ADMISSION TO UNITED STATES
March 1, 1867
RANKING IN STATE ADMISSION
The road to Nebraska statehood was a contentious one. Starting in 1851, repeated applications for territorial status were submitted by the residents of Nebraska and either refused or ignored. Finally on February 10, 1853 after much contention over the issue and increasing conflict between pro- and anti-slavery camps, a bill passed the House of Representatives only to lie dormant in the Senate until the end of the Congressional session.
When Congress reconvened in December of the same year, the bill to organize the Territory of Nebraska was reintroduced in the Senate and met with fierce opposition from pro-slavery elements. After considerable political infighting and wrangling, it was finally decided to split the proposed Nebraska Territory and create two territories: the Kansas Territory to the south and the Nebraska Territory to the north. The boundaries of the Nebraska Territory would continue to change throughout its tenure as a territory in order to address the needs of the balance of power over the issue of slavery.
The continuing war effort, conflict with various Indian nations, and a cessation of emigration to the west delayed any real progress toward Nebraska’s statehood. Several more attempts to send a bill to the president were required before Nebraska would reach its goal. On March 1, 1867, President Andrew Johnson finally proclaimed Nebraska a state.
"Equality Before the Law"
Nebraska does not have an official state motto, but recognizes this quotation from its state seal. It reflects the final changes in the state constitution and sentiments of the people before Nebraska was accepted as a state.
"The Cornhusker State" (official), "Squatters," "The Bugeater State," "The Tree Planter State," "The Beef State"
"The Cornhusker State" was officially accepted in 1945 and has remained the state nickname ever since. It was adopted in honor of the University of Nebraska athletic teams and refers to the process by which corn is stripped of its leaves by hand during harvest. "Squatters" refers to the report that many Nebraska settlers didn’t wait for the surveyors before they moved onto their claims. "The Bugeater State" refers to the 1870s when Nebraska was invaded by swarms of grasshoppers that destroyed crops and caused considerable damage.
"The Tree Planter State" was the first official nickname for Nebraska. It dates to 1895 and refers to the fact that the state is the originator of Arbor Day. Although the nickname "The Beef State" appeared on the state’s license plates from 1956 until 1965, it was never officially recognized as a state nickname. It refers to the state’s beef industry that is supported by the abundant corn industry.
-World Trade Press