The West’s Contribution to the Union

“[Abraham Lincoln] viewed the region and its mineral wealth as vital to the Union cause. It was a keen insight, and during the war California’s mines contributed $185 million to help finance the war, with Nevada adding another $45 million.

One of Lincoln’s forgotten achievements was ‘to organize the entire West into viable political units, each with a government that was loyal to the Union.’ This led to the creation of Dakota, Colorado, and Nevada territories in 1861, Idaho in 1862, Arizona in 1863, and Montana in 1864. These territories, Lincoln said in 1864, would soon be prosperous enough to be admitted to the Union as states.”