The last years of the 19th century were a time of tremendous changes in the United States of America. Having put the Civil War behind them, the American people began looking abroad. The Old West was in the process of being tamed, and the old territories of the Louisiana Purchase, the Mexican Cession, and Oregon Country were being divided into new states, ready to take their place as equals to Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

Railroads and telephone lines were connecting the country, and the early years of the 20th century would shrink the world even more with automobiles and airplanes. Families were still migrating to Idaho in covered wagons when President Abraham Lincoln created the Idaho Territory in 1863, but just a few months after statehood in 1890, future senator William Borah arrived in Boise by train.

Six states were created during one year of President Benjamin Harrison’s administration, a record. This period put the finishing touches on the map of the continental United States that looks so familiar to us today.

Wikimedia Commons by Golbez

Idaho has never produced a president, and has been stuck at only four electoral votes since 1912. What most Americans know about Idaho starts and ends with potatoes, or maybe the Statue of Liberty play in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl for football fans. Nevertheless, the Gem State is a unique and integral part of these united states of America. It is geographically diverse, from the Craters of the Moon to Lake Coeur d’Alene to Hells Canyon. Its history includes mining, the mob, and even Wyatt Earp. Idaho gave our country Albertsons and Winco, Simplot and Micron, and famous figures such as Ezra Taft Benson, Sarah Palin, Frank Church, Ezra Pound, Patty Duke, Harmon Killebrew, and Picabo Street. Idaho was the final earthly home of Ernest Hemingway and Maureen O’Hara, among many others.

Though I only moved here in 2018, my family has had connections to Idaho for many years. After his Army tour, which included work in occupied Japan, my granduncle moved his family to Nampa in the 1950s, and I have many second and third cousins I have not yet met. The same thing that attracted him 75 years ago called to my family too. Three of my five children were born here, and God willing, we will all die here after long and fruitful lives.

Idaho has long been called the American Redoubt, the last stand in a nation gone mad. Figures such as Pastor Doug Wilson and radio host Glenn Beck have put down roots here because they know that no matter what happens to the other states, Idaho will always stand strong for freedom and individual rights.

It’s fitting that Idaho’s statehood came just one day before Independence Day. Our Founding Fathers fought and died to preserve liberty in the New World, a liberty that I believe finds its strongest expression in the Gem State. Idaho is my home, there is no other place I would rather be. My mission is to work every day to ensure my children and their children can continue to live here in peace, prosperity, and freedom.

Happy Idaho Day, and esto perpetua.

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