huge animals, while chattered the monkey, and flew the gorgeous bird of paradise above them."
Afterward the surrounding country, covered with the richest soil, arose above the water; the climate grew more severe, and the tropical animals and birds gave place to those of a colder climate. One race of men lived here and disappeared, another took their place, but they have passed away, leaving but little trace of their existence; a third, now known as the Indian, luxuriated in the abundant meat of the buffalo, but they are being pushed rapidly off the stage of time and their labors will be as extinct as the two races that have sunk beneath these waves of land, "unwept, unhonored and unsung."
Nebraska was a part of the large unexplored country that was claimed by La Salle for the King of France and named Louisiana. It was said to be full of mines and richer in ingots than Peru. John C. Fremont crossed its borders and opened up a new world. California gold hunters made a lasting path through its waving prairies, and the old trail made by the Mormons on their weary march to the city of saints is not yet obliterated. The origin of Nebraska had great influence upon the fate of our nation. The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, in 1854, threw open the territory to slavery, gave birth to a party that was made up of Whigs, antislavery Democrats and free-soilers, known at first as anti-Nebraska men and later as Republicans. The antislavery branch of the know-nothing party opposed the extension of slavery. Thus did Nebraska, in its infancy, figure in political history.
Nebraska being a portion of the Louisiana territory, divisions were made from time to time, resulting in the formation of Missouri and Arkansas, between 1804 and 1854. In the latter year the Kansas-Nebraska bill became a law and defined Nebraska as that territory between 40 degrees and 49 degrees north latitude, the Missouri River on the east and the Rocky Mountains on the west. In 1863, the year before the question of statehood arose, the final boundaries were established. The enabling act was passed by Congress and approved April 22, 1861.
The bill gave Nebraska one representative in Congress, and granted large tracts of public lands for the purpose of endowing colleges and erecting public buildings necessary in forming a seat of government. It gave the people the right to formulate a constitution and that was to prohibit slavery. In 1866 the Territorial Legislature met and submitted a constitution to the popular vote; in June '66 the vote was cast, and declared accepted by a small majority. This constitution was submitted to Congress with the hope of gaining admission.
An attempt was made to engraft a clause prohibiting discrimination on account of color. The bill was passed without that clause, but the measure was not signed by President Johnson, and did not become a law at that session; but when the next Congress assembled the measure was again called up before that body and on February 8th it was taken up in the Senate and passed over the President's veto by a vote of 120 to 42 amid great applause from the floor and galleries.
The legislature was called in special session on February 20, 1867, by the territorial governor, Alvin Sanders, for the purpose of taking action upon the conditions imposed by Congress. The governor went before the legislature and presented a brief message informing that body that the constitution adopted by the people of the territory in June 1866, restricted the elective franchise to "white male citizens." The condition imposed by Congress was that "this act shall not take effect except upon the