The political history of Nebraska includes a diversified tenet of political views. Back in 1862, then President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead act into law. Doing so allowed owning a home in Nebraska legal. Under this act, Daniel Freeman became the first American to apply for land in Nebraska. His activeness in the political field led him to become engaged in the Nebraska public school system’s development. Freeman also became an advocate for the separation of church and state.
An American Indian by the name of Chief Standing Bear was pushed out of his homeland. The Ponca Tribe chief was arrested the moment he returned to Nebraska to try and bury his son. In his refusal to let the courts force him out of the land, he stated “The blood that flows will be the same color.” He continued on saying “I am a man. The same God made us both.” Due to his fearless remark, the way American Indians were viewed changed.
The early life of Nebraska’s history was captured by an artist named Willa Cather. She was an independent writer who refused to conform to the norms. Bringing electricity to rural towns all over the state is credited to George Norris. The Republican had faith in both the government and the people. He was also an independent member of the US Congress. The religious leader and populist Democrat Williams Jennings Bryan is also another important actor in the shaping of Nebraska’s political history. His passionate lectures across Nebraska and USA led to many 20th century modern reforms.
As a moderate Democrat, Jim Exon was recognized and respected for his ability to balance the state’s budgets. He served as both Governor of the state of Nebraska and senator. His propensity for serving the country well were part of the reason Jim never lost an election in Nebraska.
The renowned civil rights activist Malcolm X had roots in Nebraska since he was born in Omaha. Many of his words about race and the civil rights movement played a key role. They forced the state and America to see things from a different perspective. Another civil rights movement leader and hero of Nebraska was Mildred Brown. She was a journalist who also became the founder of the Omaha Star. Through the African-American paper, Mildred worked diligently on many issues. Her actions played a key role in making elected leaders in the country act upon employment and social justice issues.
In addition to these great leaders, there are many other players who helped shape and redefine Nebraska’s political history. It’s part of why Nebraskan are considered independents, crusaders and pioneers.