Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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ILLINOIS, a state of the American Union, formed mainly from territory ceded by Virginia, March 1, 1784. The extreme northern part of the state formed part of the territory ceded to the United States by Massachusetts and Connecticut in 1785-6. From Indiana territory, comprising all of these cessions outside of the modern state of Ohio, the territory of Illinois was erected by act of Feb. 3, 1809, comprising the modern states of Illinois, Wisconsin and part of upper Michigan. (See TERRITORIES, ORDINANCE OF 1787, INDIANA)


—April 18, 1818, an enabling act was passed by congress authorizing the formation of a state government by the inhabitants of that part of Illinois territory included within the following boundaries: "Beginning at the mouth of the Wabash river, thence up the same, and with the line of Indiana, to the northwest corner of said state; thence east, with the line of the same state, to the middle of Lake Michigan; thence north, along the middle of said lake, to north latitude forty-two degrees thirty minutes; thence west to the middle of the Mississippi river, and thence down, along the middle of that river, to the confluence with the Ohio river; and thence up the latter river, along its northwestern shore, to the beginning."


—In accordance with the enabling act, a convention was held at Kaskaskia, Aug. 26, 1818, and adopted the first constitution of the state of Illinois. It gave the right of suffrage to all white males over twenty-one years old on six months residence; fixed the governor's term of office at four years, but prohibited his immediate re-election; prohibited slavery; and fixed the seat of government at Kaskaskia (since changed to Springfield by the legislature). Under this constitution the state was admitted by joint resolution, Dec. 3, 1818. A more symmetrical constitution was adopted in convention at Springfield, Aug. 31, 1848, and ratified by popular vote March 5, 1849. It prolonged the residence necessary for electors to one year, and prohibited the immigration of free negroes into the state or the bringing of slaves into the state to be emancipated. The present constitution was adopted in convention at Springfield, May 13, 1870, and ratified by popular vote, July 2, 1870 Its leading objects were to limit the powers of the legislature and to establish the powers of the state over railroads and other corporations. It forbade special legislation by the legislature in a number of specified cases, the contraction of indebtedness by municipal corporations to are amount in excess of 5 per cent. of their taxable valuation, municipal subscriptions or loans of credit to private corporations, the bringing of suits against the state in its own courts, or the consolidation of parallel or competing railroads: and it declared all railroads hereafter constructed to be public highways, authorized the passage of laws limiting railroad rates, and placed warehouses under state control. It also provided for minority representation as follows: "In all elections of representatives, each qualified voter may east as many votes for one candidate as there are representatives [three in each senatorial district] to be elected, or may distribute the same or equal parts thereof, among the candidates, as he shall see fit; and the candidates highest in votes shall be declared elected" (See CONSTITUTIONS, STATE.)


—The political history of Illinois was for a long time very much influenced by its southern vote. So late as 1850, 16 per cent. of the population of the state was born in southern states, and over half of this fraction was from Kentucky and Tennessee. Geographical names still show the influence of this immigration, particularly in the southern part of the state, commonly called "Egypt"; but soon after 1850 the current of immigration began to come more rapidly from the east. In 1870 this proportion had decreased to 9 per cent. The general rule, however, has been that the southern part of the state has been democratic, and the northern part anti-democratic.


—In national politics the electoral votes of Illinois were invariably democratic until 1860, and have been as invariably republican including and since that year. (See DEMOCRATIC PARTY, V.) In 1848 and 1856 the democratic electoral ticket was successful only by a plurality; in all other years the successful ticket has had a clear majority.


—The congressional elections have followed the course of the presidential elections quite closely. Until 1834 they were regularly democratic. After that year two of the three districts were usually democratic, and one (the northern district) whig by a small majority. The census of 1840 gave the state seven representatives; until 1852, six of these were democratic and one whig. The whig district lay along the Sangamon river. It was represented in 1847-9 by Abraham Lincoln, in 1849-51 by E. D. Baker, and in 1851-5 by Richard Yates. Douglas' district lay west and southwest of it. In 1852, under the new apportionment, the first break was made in the democratic districts by the increase of the free-soil vote. Of the nine representatives, four were so-called northern whigs, afterward anti-Nebraska men and republicans. Their districts embraced the old Sangamon district and thence all the northern and northeastern part of the state, except the Chicago district, which was narrowly carried by John Wentworth, then a democrat. In 1854 the republicans really gained a district farther south by the election of Lyman Trumbull, an anti-Nebraska democrat. The legislature, which was anti-Nebraska, sent Trumbull, who was now a republican, to the senate, the first anti-democratic senator from Illinois. The southern part of the state still remained democratic, and until 1864 congressional elections regularly resulted in heavy democratic majorities in the south, heavy republican majorities in the north, and very small democratic majorities in the centre of the state. In 1858 the election of the state legislature, which was to choose a senator to succeed Douglas, assumed a national importance. Douglas and Lincoln spoke throughout the state in joint debate, and, though Lincoln was beaten, the ability, clearness and simplicity of his speeches gave him a national prominence and the republican nomination for the presidency in 1860. In that year Illinois was called upon to choose between two of her own citizens, Lincoln and Douglas, for the presidency; her electoral vote, after a close contest, was given to Lincoln, but the congressional districts remained as before. The census of 1860 gave the state fourteen representatives; of these the republicans elected those from the five northern districts in 1862, and the democrats the rest, including the congressman at large. In 1864 the republicans carried ten districts and elected the congressman at large. This result was largely due to the accession of war democrats, several of whom carried southern districts hitherto democratic. The congressional proportions then remained almost unchanged until 1874, when eight of the nineteen districts became democratic, seven republican and four independent, two of the democratic districts being in the north. In 1878 the congressional proportion became thirteen republican representatives to six democratic, as it has since remained (to 1883), the democratic districts being still in the southern part of the state.


—In state politics every governor until 1857 was a democrat, and every governor since that year has been a republican. Until 1854, when an anti-Nebraska legislature was chosen, the legislatures were democratic; since that year they have been quite steadily republican, and have elected republican United States senators with three exceptions. In 1858, as above stated, Douglas was elected to the senate. In 1863 Wm. A. Richardson, a democrat, was chosen to serve out Douglas' unexpired term. In 1877 David Davis, an independent, was sent to the senate by a combination of democrats and independents. The system of minority representation in the lower house of the legislature, above referred to, went into operation in 1872, and worked so exactly as to give each party within four-tenths of one per cent. of its legitimate representation, according to its vote for governor. Since 1872 the only important movement in strictly state politics has related to the attempts to control and limit the rates of the railroads of the state, in accordance with the provision of the constitution of 1870 under that head. Several state judges gave decisions unfavorable to the constitutionality of the railroad laws, and efforts were successfully made to prevent the re-election of the offending judges. The case of Chief Justice C. B. Lawrence was the most notable.


—Three of the most distinguished leaders in American politics, Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas and Ulysses S. Grant, have been citizens of Illinois. (See those names.) The names of others, prominent in state and national politics, will be found in the list of governors of the state. In addition to these, brief reference should be made to Edward D. Baker, whig representative in 1845-6, and 1849-51, senator from Oregon 1860-61, killed at Ball's Bluff; Sidney Breese, democratic senator, 1843-9, state circuit judge 1855, and chief justice 1873; Orville H. Browning, republican United States senator 1861-3, afterward secretary of the interior (see ADMINISTRATIONS); John F. Farnsworth, republican representative 1857-61 and 1863-73; Ebon C. Ingersoll, republican representative 1864-71; Robert J. Ingersoll, noted as a republican orator; John A. Logan, democratic representative 1859-61, republican congressman at large 1867-71, and United States senator 1871-7 and 1879-85; John A. McClernand, democratic representative 1843-51 and 1859-61; James Shields, democratic United States senator 1849-55; Lyman Trumbull, republican United States senator 1855-73; Elihu B. Washburne, whig and republican representative 1853-69, and minister to France 1869-77; and John Wentworth, democratic representative 1843-51 and 1853-5, and republican representative 1865-7.


—The name of the state was given from that of its principal river, the Illinois, which is said to have been named from the Illini, an Indian tribe formerly living near it. The popular name for the state is the "prairie state," and for the people "suckers." The latter term, of doubtful derivation, is accepted without demur by the people of Illinois.


—GOVERNORS: Shadrach Bond (1818-22), Edward Coles (1822-6), Ninian Edwards (1826-30), John Reynolds (1830-34), Joseph Duncan (1834-8), Thomas Carlin (1838-42), Thomas Ford (1842-6), Augustus C. French (1846-53), Joel A. Matteson (1853-7), William H. Bissell (1857-61), Richard Yates (1861-5), Richard J. Oglesby (1865-9), John M. Palmer (1869-73), Richard J. Oglesby (1873, resigned), John L. Beveridge (1873-7), Shelby M. Cullom (1877-85).


—See Poore's Federal and State Constitutions, and Political Register; Reynolds' Pioneer History of Illinois (to 1818); Birkbeck's Letters from Illinois (1818); Ford's History of Putnam [and other] Counties (1860); Beck's Gazetteer of Illinois (1823); Edwards' History of Illinois (to 1833); Mitchell's Illinois in 1837; Brown's History of Illinois (to 1844); Ford's History of Illinois (to 1847); Carpenter's History of Illinois (to 1854); Gerhard's Illinois as it is (1857): Eddy's Patriotism of Illinois; Wright's Chicago (1870); Davidson and Stuvé's History of Illinois (to 1873); Matson's French and Indians of the Illinois River (1875); the act of Feb. 3, 1809, is in 2 Stat. at Large, 514; the act of April 18, and the resolution of Dec. 3, 1818, are in 3 Stat. at Large, 428, 536; Porter's West in 1880, 157.


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