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Illinois Government & Politics – Free Books & Articles

Illinois Government & Politics - Free Books & Articles

This Webpage has links to free online books & articles related to the Political History and Government in the State of Illinois & the City of Chicago.  Many have descriptions.  Topics include:

Illinois Territorial Government & Laws
Political Factions at the time of the Civil War
History of Chicago Politics
Slavery Laws in Chicago
How Illinois became a State
Lincoln and Illinois Radical Republicans
History of Illinois State Constitutions
Illinois State Government History
Illinois Black Code
Memoirs of Illinois Governor
Structures of Illinois State and Local Government
Anti-Conspiracy Laws
Illinois Prison System
Chicago Justice System
Lincoln-Douglas Debates

See the Menu at the top of every page for Directories of Free Online Fiction and NonFiction Books, Magazines, and more, on 400 pages like this at Century Past

Laws of the Territory of Illinois 1809-1811

Alvord, Clarence W. ed.
Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library 1906

In the Introduction of this 35-page booklet, Professor Alvord explains how the Ordinance of 1787 and the laws created by the government of the Northwest Territory evolved into the laws of the Illinois Territory. Some of the 34 acts contained within are:

-An act concerning the courts of common pleas and county courts
-An act concerning the general court
-A law to prevent frauds and perjuries. An act to authorize the guarding of county jails.
-An act repealing part of a law, entitled, “A law for the prevention of vice and immorality”
-An act to prevent unlawful gaming.
-An act to suppress duelling.
-An act concerning the powers of the Governor of the Territory of Illinois.
-A law concerning militia.

See related historical documents at: Illinois History: Documents & Collections of Records

Also see: Laws of the Territory of Michigan in Michigan History: Politics & Government;
Swan, Gustavus, A Compilation of Laws, Treaties, Resolutions … in Ohio History Politics & Government;
Philbrick, Francis S. ed., The Laws of Indiana Territory 1801-1809 in Indiana History Politics & Government ;
Pease, Theodore C., The Laws of the Northwest Territory, 1788-1800 in Great Lakes History Politics & Government

See our Illinois historic documents

“Illinois Copperheads and the American Civil War”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 3, No. 1, 1996, pp 15-19

Archaimbault, Delores and Barnhart, Terry A.
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

“Chicago’s Public Transportation Policy, 1900-1940s”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 8, No. 1, 2001, pp 25-31

Barrett, Paul
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Politics and Politicians of Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois …

Memorial Volume, 1787-1887; a complete record of municipal, county, state and national politics from the earliest period to the present time

Bennett, Fremont O., compiler
Chicago: Blakely. 1886

The author states in the Preface that, “the book will be found a non-partisan medium of reference for many facts, incidents and reminiscences of national, state and city campaigns and conventions. It is hoped that it will commend itself to every person identified with politics, or interested in the political history of our country and of municipal government.” It does appear to be very comprehensive, and has accounts of every municipal campaign, identification of candidates, biographies of elected officials, and explanations of the main issues.

“Slavery in Illinois: Culture versus Law”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 14, No. 2, 2007, pp 2-6

Boman, Dennis K.
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

“Illinois Becomes a State: 1818 Compromise, Later Conflict”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 2, 1995, pp 2-4

Breen, Catherine E. and others
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Travel and Description, 1765-1865, together with a list of county histories …

atlases, and biographical collections and a list of territorial and state laws

Buck, Solon
Springfield, ILL: Illinois State Historical Library. 1914

This is Volume 2 in the Illinois State Historical Library’s Bibliographical Series. It contains annotated bibliographies of books that are significant in Illinois history for the following subject areas:

Travel and Description, 1765-1865
-County Histories, Atlases and Biographical Collections
-Historiography of Illinois Counties
-Territorial and State Laws

“President Lincoln and the Illinois Radical Republicans”

Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol IV, 1917-18, 417-36

Cole, Arthur C.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Mississippi Valley Historical Association

The author discusses Lincoln and a number of other Illinois Republican political figures in the years leading to the Civil War, especially in regards to their evolving private and public positions on slavery and southern states’ rights.

See our free Illinois historic newspapers & journals

Constitution Making in Illinois, 1818-1970

Cornelius, Janet
University of Illinois 1972

Government in Illinois

Dodd, Walter Fairleigh and Dodd, Sue Hutchison
Chicago: University of Chicago 1923

Black Code of Illinois

Eastman, Zebina
Chicago?: 1883

“Issued as a portion of a work still incomplete when the author died.”

See our books on What is Business Administration PDF

History of Illinois, from 1778 to 1833; and life and times of Ninian Edwards

Edwards, Ninian Wirt
Springfield: Illinois State Journal 1870

Ninian Edwards (1775-1833) was a founding political figure of the state of Illinois. He served as Governor of Illinois Territory from 1809-1818, U.S. Senator from Illinois from 1818 to 1824, and the third Governor of the State from 1826-1830. The author of this work was Governor Edwards’ son, Ninian Wirt Edwards, who states in the Preface that he produced this at the request of the Chicago Historical Society.

“This is a life of Edwards primarily, a history of Illinois incidentally. Speeches and letters compose more than three fourths of the volume. These are mainly by Edwards, though there is a considerable number of letters written by Wirt, John McLean, Calhoun, and other prominent men. Hence the book furnishes much valuable material for historical purposes. Slavery in Illinois is thoroughly discussed, the “A. B. Plot” exhaustively. A memoir of Daniel P. Cook is also given. The author is accurate, careful and temperate in tone, but has not mastered his materials, and so has produced an unsystematic, amorphous book, written has a bald and prolix style. “
– Literature of American History; a bibliographical guide (1902)

There does not appear to be a Table of Contents, but the volume is in three parts. All three parts consist to a large part or completely of transcriptions of documents. They are:

-Life and Times of Ninian Edwards
-Letters and Speeches of Ninian Edwards
-Letters to Ninian Edwards

For biographies and memoirs of early 19th century governors in the Great Lakes states, see:

St Clair, Arthur and Smith, William H., ed., St. Clair Papers: The Life and Public Services of Arthur St. Clair in Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History;
Esarey, Logan, ed., Messages and Letters of William Henry Harrison in Biographies & Memoirs in Indiana History;
Alvord, Clarence W. ed., Governor Edward Coles in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Reynolds, John, My Own Times, Embracing also the History of my Life in Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Hemans, Lawton Thomas, Life and Times of Stevens Thomson Mason in Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History;
McLauglin, Andrew C., Lewis Cass in Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History

Governmental Reorganization in Illinois

Fairlie, John A.
Philadelphia: American Political Science Review 1915

Reprint of a 6-page journal article.

The Governors’ Letter-books, 1818-1834

Greene, Evarts Boutell and Alvord, Clarence W., eds.
Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library. 1909

This is a collection of the Illinois State Historical Library. This volume contains over 400 letters copied from the Governor’s Letter-books, preceded by an introduction to Illinois political history in the period 1818-1834. A chronological list of all letters in the volume can be found on page 267, followed by a detailed subject and name index.

The Governors’ Letter-books, 1840-1853

Greene, Evarts Boutell and Alvord, Clarence W., eds.
Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library. 1909

This is the second volume in a series. Please see the notes to the first volume, also on this web-page.

Empowerment in Chicago: Grassroots Participation in Economic Development and Poverty Alleviation

Herring, Cedric, et al
University of Illinois at Chicago 1998

See our free Illinois history books & articles

The Government of Illinois

Judson, Harry Pratt
NY: Maynard, Merrill 1901

Basic Illinois government; A Systematic Explanation

Kenney, David
Southern Illinois University 1974

Handbook for Illinois Township Officers

Krausz, N. G. P.
Champagne: Garrard 1957

Politics and Politicians: A Succinct History of the Politics of Illinois from 1856 to 1884 …

with anecdotes and incidents, and appendix from 1809 to 1856

Lusk, D. W.
Springfield: Broker 1884

The Jefferson-Lemen Compact: the relations of Thomas Jefferson and James Lemen in the exclusion of slavery from Illinois and the Northwest Territory …

with related documents, 1781-1818: a paper read before the Chicago Historical Society, February 16, 1915, by Willard C. MacNaul

MacNaul, Willard C.
Chicago: University of Chicago 1915

McNaul argues in this address to the Chicago Historical Society that James Lemen, who he describes as a ‘young protégé’ of Thomas Jefferson, was sent by Jefferson in the 1780s to Illinois country to struggle against slavery, which was already well-established in that region before the Ordinance of 1787 prohibited it. Although the evidence for a substantive connection between Jefferson and Lemen doesn’t seem very strong, this is a useful description of the course of the slavery issue in the early years of Illinois.

The Government of Illinois

Mahoney, Lewis A.
NY: Macmillan 1927

See our Free PDF Magazine Back Issues

Township Government in Illinois

Newell, Mason Harder
University of Illinois 1901

M.A. Thesis

See our free books on Illinois cultural topics

“Proving Guilt: Illinois Anti-Conspiracy Laws of the Nineteenth Century”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 12, No. 1, 2005, pp 33-37

Newton-Matza, Mitchell
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

“Stephen A. Douglas and the Northern Democratic Origins of the Kansas-Nebraska Act”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 10, No. 1, 2003, pp 2-7

Peck, Graham A.
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

The Constitution of Illinois Simplified and Explained

Posey, Rollin Bennett
Evanston: Row, Peterson 1955

Remaking Chicago: The Political Origins of Urban Industrial Change

Rast, Joel
Northern Illinois University 1999

The Transition in Illinois from British to American Government

Schuyler, Robert L.
NY: Columbia University 1909

The author was a history instructor at Yale University. He writes in the Preface that, “an attempt has been made to describe conditions in Illinois during the period of British administration, to trace the progress of events which resulted in the overthrow of British rule and the substitution for it of government by one of the American commonwealths, to show the operation of that government, and to explain conditions in the country at the close of the Revolution. The study concludes with a consideration of the peace negotiations of 1782, so far as they relate to the West…”

See also: Carter, Clarence E. , Great Britain and the Illinois country, 1763-1774 in Illinois General History

We have thousands of free books online to read at Century Past

Illinois Constitutions

Verlie, Emil J., ed.
Springfield, ILL: Illinois State Historical Library. 1919

These topics are in the Table of Contents: History of the Constitutions. Ordinance of 1787. Act of Congress, May 7, 1800. Act of Congress, February 3, 1809. Act of Congress, April 18, 1818. Ordinance of 1818. Constitution of 1818. Constitution of 1848. Constitution of 1870. Table of Cases. Index to Constitution of 1870.

See related historical documents at: Illinois History: Documents & Collections of Records

City of Courts: Socializing Justice in Progressive Era Chicago

Willrich, Michael
Cambridge University 2003

“The Lincoln-Douglas Debates”

Illinois History Teacher Vol 8, No. 2, 2001, pp 11-14

Wilson, Douglas L.
Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

Chicago Past and Present; A Manual for the Citizen, the Teacher and the Student …

History, Government, Officials, their duties and salaries. Also County, State, and United States Government Officials of special interest to the general public”

Winchell, Samuel R.
Chicago: Flanagan. 1906

These statements are from the author’s Preface: [his purpose is] “to mention the most important events in [Chicago’s] most remarkable history, and to set forth briefly the leading features of its present condition and government. These facts are of interest to every citizen, and many of them are required to be taught in the public schools.
Some of the chapter headings are:

-The History of Chicago
-The City Government
-Legislative Department
-Executive Department
-Public Safety
-The Fire Department
-The Health Department
-Chicago Institutions and Industries
-Some of the Leading Features of Chicago
-Cook County

See related works, especially: Chicago Historical Museum, Encyclopedia of Chicago in History of Illinois Cities, Counties & Regions

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