Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly [GPQ 8 (Summer 1988): 172-182].Copyright 1988 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska—Lincoln.


Early in 1857 Mark W. Izard, in a letter to Senator Stephen A. Douglas, summed up the frustrations that marked his tenure as governor of Nebraska Territory. "If there is anything on earth I desire more than all others," he told the Illinois senator, "it is to make this the model territory, and my faith is that if Congress will extend her a moderate share of liberality, the sacred doctrine of popular rights will fully be vindicated in her example." "But," he continued, "the path of your humble servant is extremely narrow and thickly set with snares on every side."l Chief among the "snares" that Izard spoke of was a bitter controversy over location of the capital, an issue that disrupted territorial politics and was much prolonged by personal disputes, townsite rivalries, and sectional divisions within the territory.