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Nevada's political history has been rooted in continuity, with slight variations. Most of the themes and trends that existed during the Comstock Lode's peak years in the 1860s and 1870s recur, albeit in different forms and to different degrees, to the present. The state has been described a “great rotten borough,” suggesting a land of corruption with no business being part of the U.S. government system and representing “conservatism in an open society,” suggesting contradictory interpretations and impulses.
For chronological purposes, Nevada's political history may be divided into four eras: the Comstock era, the Wingfield era, the McCarran era, and the gaming era.
The Comstock Era
From the lode's discovery in 1859 until the end of the nineteenth century, mining and railroad interests dominated the state politically. ...