There is no authoritative history of how “All for Our Country” came to be the state motto of Nevada, but there are theories. The main theory centers on the fact that Nevada became a state in 1864, toward the end of the Civil War. One popular and often repeated tale, even though it is erroneous, says that Nevada was brought into the Union as the 36th state because the Union forces needed Nevada’s wealth of minerals, including silver.
Former state archivist Guy Rocha, who retired in 2009, wrote about the many erroneous myths surrounding the state, including this one. He called it the state’s “number one legend.” He said Nevada was inducted into the Union more for politics than for minerals at the end of the bloody Civil War, and that's how the then-federal territory went on to later earn the official state motto of Nevada, “All for Our Country,” as well as its nickname, “Battle Born.” Mr. Rocha said, “So Nevada was, in fact, the ‘Battle Born’ state because of its entrance into the Union during the Civil War, but not for the reasons we find in the popular mythology.”
Unlike the mottos of many other states, the state motto of Nevada is not included on its flag. The flag, which is a brilliant blue, instead displays the nickname “Battle Born” on the upper left corner. A silver star with five points sits below that nickname and above “Nevada.”
The story that the Union wanted the Nevada territory’s mineral wealth has some basis in fact, even though it did not lead to the selection of the official state motto of Nevada. The United States purchased Nevada’s silver as well as its gold to back up its own legal tender. Mr. Rocha argues that Nevada’s status as a territory since 1861 guaranteed that the mineral wealth and the territory’s taxes would both go the Union, whether or not it became a state. Abraham Lincoln, the president of the United States at the time of the Civil War, appointed a territorial governor to ensure there would be no support in Nevada of the Confederacy’s opposition forces.
Silver mining played a huge role in Nevada’s history, so much so that "The Mining State" and "The Silver State" also became nicknames for Nevada. Silver is the official metal of the state, thanks in part to the huge vein of silver discovered there in 1859, known as the Comstock Lode. In 2006, Nevada followed only one other state, Alaska, in silver production.