Illinois History Politics & Government


The books and articles below are about the political and legal history of Illinois. See the right column for more info about this website.


Laws of the Territory of Illinois 1809-1811

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

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See related historical documents at: Illinois History: Documents & Collections of Records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

Illinois Territory, Illinois legislation, Ordinance of 1787, Northwest Territory, Governor of the Territory of Illinois, laws, free online books

“Illinois Copperheads and the American Civil War”

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

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


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

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

Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Barrett, PaulGo to Article


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

Chicago: Blakely. 1886
Bennett, Fremont O., compiler Go to Book

(title continued) “… Memorial Volume, 1787-1887; a complete record of municipal, county, state and national politics from the earliest period to the present time”

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.

Chicago politics, Cook county Illinois history, political campaigns, municipal government history, biographies, Illinois history, public domain

“Slavery in Illinois: Culture versus Law”

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

Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Boman, Dennis K.Go to Article


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

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

Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Breen, Catherine E. and othersGo to Article


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

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

(title continued) “… atlases, and biographical collections and a list of territorial and state laws”

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

Illinois history, county history, atlases, Illinois laws, biography, bibliography, free online books

Illinois History Politics & Government

“President Lincoln and the Illinois Radical Republicans”

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

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

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.

Government in Illinois

Chicago: University of Chicago 1923
Dodd, Walter Fairleigh and Dodd, Sue HutchisonGo to Book


Black Code of Illinois

Chicago?: 1883
Eastman, ZebinaGo to Book

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

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

Springfield: Illinois State Journal 1870
Edwards, Ninian WirtGo to Book

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

Governor Ninian Edwards, history of Illinois, Illinois Territory, biography, political history, statehood, ebooks online

Governmental Reorganization in Illinois

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

Reprint of a 6-page journal article.

The Governors’ Letter-books, 1818-1834

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

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.

Illinois governors, administration, official records, governor’s letter-books, political history, online book

The Governors’ Letter-books, 1840-1853

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

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

Illinois governors, administration, official records, governor’s letter-books, political history, online book

Illinois History Politics & Government

The Government of Illinois

NY: Maynard, Merrill 1901
Judson, Harry PrattGo to Book


Handbook for Illinois Township Officers

Champagne: Garrard 1957
Krausz, N. G. P.Go to Book


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

Springfield: Broker 1884
Lusk, D. W.Go to Book

(title continued) “… with anecdotes and incidents, and appendix from 1809 to 1856”

Illinois political history, 19th century Illinois history

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

Chicago: University of Chicago 1915
MacNaul, Willard C.Go to Book

(title continued) “… with related documents, 1781-1818: a paper read before the Chicago Historical Society, February 16, 1915, by Willard C. MacNaul”

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.

Illinois history, slavery, anti-slavery, Northwest Territory, political history, history paper

The Government of Illinois

NY: Macmillan 1927
Mahoney, Lewis A.Go to Book


Township Government in Illinois

University of Illinois 1901
Newell, Mason HarderGo to Book

M.A. Thesis

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

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

Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Newton-Matza, MitchellGo to Article


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

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

Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Peck, Graham A.Go to Article


The Constitution of Illinois Simplified and Explained

Evanston: Row, Peterson 1955
Posey, Rollin BennettGo to Book


The Prison System in Illinois: A Report to the Governor of Illinois by the Illinois Prison Inquiry Commission

Springfield: State of Illinois 1937
Schlarman, Joseph H., ChairmanGo to Book


The Transition in Illinois from British to American Government

NY: Columbia University 1909
Schuyler, Robert L. Go to Book

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

Illinois history, Northwest Territory, British colonial government, 18th century, books online

Illinois History Politics & Government

Illinois Constitutions

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

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

Illinois history, political history, Illinois constitution, Illinois Territory, statehood, books free

“The Lincoln-Douglas Debates”

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

Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Wilson, Douglas L.Go to Article


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

Chicago: Flanagan. 1906
Winchell, Samuel R. Go to Book

(title continued) “… History, Government, Officials, their duties and salaries. Also County, State, and United States Government Officials of special interest to the general public”

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

Chicago history, Chicago government, local government, municipal government, Cook county, books online free, public domain


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