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Facts About Nebraska History: 6 Things You Might Not Know

By    |   Monday, 13 Apr 2015 07:17 PM

There's much more to the Cornhusker State than the Cornhusker football team. The state is home to Warren Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha,” as well as the people who control the nation's nuclear forces.

These seven facts about Nebraska will surprise even the most die-hard Husker fan.

1. Nebraska has a unicameral and nonpartisan legislative branch.

The state legislature is the only state house in the nation that uses a one-house, non-partisan legislative branch. U.S. Senator George Norris of Nebraska believed the bicameral system of a house and a senate was too much like the British House of Commons and House of Lords, which Norris said was inherently undemocratic, according to a Nebraska legislative history website. The 1937 change made all Nebraska legislators “senators.” 

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2. Only state admitted over a presidential veto.

While other would-be states have failed to get Congressional approval to be admitted to the Union, Nebraska has the distinction of being the only state admitted by overriding a presidential veto. President Andrew Johnson vetoed the bill to make Nebraska a state because the original state constitution didn't allow blacks to vote, the Miller Center said. Congress's admission bill forced the change in the state constitution to allow voting rights without regard to race. However, Johnson believed Congress didn't have the right to force the change without a new vote by the residents.

3. Oregon Trail, Pony Express, and Transcontinental Railroad shaped the state.

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The routes of the Oregon Trail, Pony Express, and Transcontinental Railroad went through Nebraska along the flat Platte River. Kearney, Nebraska, became an important way station for each of the routes because of its centralized location within the country. The gently sloping river route allowed the railroad company to lay track at almost a mile per day. 

4. Destination for refugees.

Nebraska is an unlikely but common destination for refugees coming to the United States from war-torn and impoverished countries around the world. Almost 1,000 refugees were settled in Nebraska in 2013, according to an article in the Schulyer Sun. The state has an 80 percent success rate in helping refugees find jobs within the first 60 days.

5. Home of Kool-Aid.

Hastings, Nebraska, was the birthplace of Kool-Aid. Edwin Perkins developed the drink mix in 1927 under the original name of Fruit Smack, according to the Hastings Museum. Powdered fruity foods were in the family's blood. Perkins childhood friend and eventual wife was involved in the development of Jell-O.

6. Munitions, Nukes, and 9/11.

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In addition to explosive facts about Nebraska from its Civil War political birth, Nebraska has been home to some serious firepower since World War II. The Naval Ammunition Depot in Hastings was the largest naval munitions plant in the country, the Hastings County Historical Society said. The site was chosen because of easy access to the railroad and distance from the coasts to guard against enemy bomber attacks. 40 percent of the Navy's ammunition was built at the plant. Offutt Air Force Base is home to U.S. Strategic Command, which controls the country's nuclear forces and global strike capabilities. The hardened command centers at the base were where Pres. George W. Bush directed the country's initial response to the 9/11 attacks before it was determined it was safe to return to Washington, D.C.

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There's much more to the Cornhusker State than the Cornhusker football team. The state is home to Warren Buffett, the "Oracle of Omaha," as well as the people who control the nation's nuclear forces. These seven facts about Nebraska will surprise you.
facts, nebraska, history
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2015-17-13
Monday, 13 Apr 2015 07:17 PM
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