The real estate
that later became the State of Nevada was acquired by the United States by
virtue of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 which ended the Mexican War
and called for the payment of some 15million dollars to Mexico by the victorious United States.
later, President Lincoln authorized the folks in Nevada, without the required
60,000 inhabitants,to hold a
constitutional convention and apply for admission to the union.
It was 1864. The
Civil War was in full blossom, and Lincoln was running for a second term.The Nevada constitution was adopted on
October 31, just eight days beforethe
election and immediately telegraphed verbatim to Washington, D.C. It was the
most expensive telegraph ever sent, costing $3,416.77.
And so it was, that
on the 31st day of October, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln issued
the following proclamation:
Whereas the Congress of the United States passed an
act, which was approved on the 21st day of March last, entitled "An act to
enable the people of Nevada to form a constitution and State government and for
the admission of such State into the Union on an equal footing with the
original States;" and
Whereas the said constitution and State government have
been formed, pursuant to the conditions prescribed by the fifth section of the
act of Congress aforesaid, and the certificate required by the said act and
also a copy of the constitution and ordinances have been submitted to the
President of the United States:
Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln,
President of the United States, in accordance with the duty imposed upon me by
the act of Congress aforesaid, do hereby declare and proclaim that the said
State of Nevada is admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original
The Constitution of
Nevada, which was approved by the President and the Congress of the United
States begins with these words:
All political power is inherent in the
statement, common to the constitutions of most of the American states, is not a
mere academic observation.Used in a
constitution, it is an assertion of sovereignty.
is sovereignty? Very simply, sovereignty is the right to use force to impose
your will. It is the right to govern. The right to rule. The right to make
other nations, sovereignty in the United States is dual; it is divided between the
states and the national government. The national government has international
sovereignty as a member of the family of nations on the planet. It also has interstate
sovereignty, as defined in the United States Constitution, to regulate commerce
among the several states of the American union.
states have domestic sovereignty, which is often called the police power. It is
the authority to regulate the affairs of the people. It encompasses the full
range of governmental control over the activities of the people; criminal laws,
marriage laws, real estate laws, corporations, education, licensing
professions, occupations and businesses, health care. The list goes on and on.
Basically, the domestic sovereignty of the states includes the right to
legislate on any and every subject, unless there is an express constitutional
The sovereignty of
the national government is just the opposite. The United States may only
legislate on subjects specified in the national constitution.
United States of America owns something like 86 to 89 percent of the real
estate in Nevada. But it does not own that land in the same sense that it owns
Puerto Rico or Guam. It owns that land in the same sense that it owns post
office buildings and federal courthouses all over the country.
owns that land subject to the domestic sovereignty of the State of Nevada. The
United States has no more rights to the land upon which Mr. Bundy has been
grazing his cattle than Exxon or General Motors or Bill Gates would have if
they owned the land.
your dog wanders into my yard, I don’t own your dog. I can’t kill your dog, I
can’t sell you dog and I can’t refuse to give it back to you. If you build a
house on my lot and live there for twenty years, you will own the lot by
adverse possession. If you build a baseball field on my lot and use it for
twenty years, you will, by prescription, create and easement that will allow
you to continue playing baseball there.
rights Mr. Bundy has to graze his cattle on federal land should be determined
by Nevada courts according to Nevada law. Whatever rights the United States has
to keep Bundy from grazing his cattle on federal land should be determined and
enforced by Nevada law.
United States of America may own the land next to Bundy’s home, but it is not
the domestic sovereign on such lands. It does not have police power there. It
can no more shoot people for trespass than any other land owner in Nevada.