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Illinois in the 19th century


Springfield Illinois
Springfield Illinois

On December 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state of the Union, and in 1820 had a population of 55,000. Kaskaskia became the state capital, and Shadrach Bond was inaugurated as the first governor of the state. Nathaniel Pope, earlier the delegate to the Congress of the United States from the Illinois Territory, had persuaded Congress to set the northern boundary of the new state about 100 km (60 mi) north of the boundary specified in the ordinance that had established the Northwest Territory. As a result Chicago and the Chicago portage became part of the state of Illinois, rather than of Wisconsin.

In 1820 the Illinois legislature declared Vandalia the temporary state capital for a period of up to 20 years to promote the sale of land and to encourage the development of the state’s uninhabited interior. In 1839 the capital was moved permanently to Springfield. In 1825 the Erie Canal opened and provided a route through the Appalachian Mountains. The Erie Canal, an artificial inland waterway, extends from Lake Erie, at Buffalo, New York, to the Hudson River, near Albany, New York.

Subsequently, many settlers from the Northeastern states ventured to central and northern Illinois. Other settlers, primarily from the South, continued to migrate to southern Illinois. Between 1820 and 1830 the total population of the state rose from 55,211 to 157,445.

Black Hawk War


By 1830 most native peoples in Illinois had been forced to move west across the Mississippi. In 1804 the Sac and Fox had agreed, for an annuity of $1,000, to cede to the United States their lands east of the Mississippi River. One Sac chief, Black Hawk, had promptly repudiated this agreement, arguing that the whites had persuaded the Native Americans to sign it after getting the Sac and Fox drunk. Treaties signed in 1815 and 1816 ceded more disputed territory, and in 1823 most of the Sac and Fox settled west of the Mississippi. Black Hawk, however, once more refused to recognize the agreements after white settlers began occupying the vacated lands. The Native Americans were, moreover, suffering from hunger in their new, less fertile lands, and so in April 1832 they returned to the disputed territory to plant crops.

The war began after white settlers shot a peaceful emissary sent by Black Hawk, who had come to realize that he could not defeat the whites. Black Hawk led the Sac to an early victory, but they were defeated near the Wisconsin River on July 21, 1832, and were almost completely annihilated in the Bad Axe Massacre on August 3. Black Hawk escaped the massacre, but then surrendered on August 27. Following Black Hawk’s defeat, the remaining members of the group were settled in Iowa. In 1833 the last treaty relating to the native inhabitants of Illinois was negotiated, and the Potawatomis and two other remaining tribes relinquished all claims to disputed territory in northeastern Illinois.

Mormons


The end of warfare and the removal of the native peoples encouraged white settlement. In 1837 Chicago incorporated as a city of 4,853 residents. However, in the early 1840s the largest city was Nauvoo, founded in 1839 by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called Mormons, on the Mississippi River north of the mouth of the Des Moines River. By 1845 Nauvoo’s population was more than 12,000, many of whom were Mormons. The non-Mormon population of the area did not approve of Mormon religious practices, especially polygyny, the practice of having more than one wife. As Mormon political power grew and Mormon leader Joseph Smith announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency, in February 1844, the hostility of non-Mormons also increased. When a group of dissenting Mormons began publishing a newspaper attacking polygyny and Smith’s leadership, Smith ordered the press destroyed. Smith was arrested and charged with treason and conspiracy in Carthage, Illinois. Despite a promise of safety from the Illinois governor, a mob killed Smith and his brother Hyrum after storming the jail on the night of June 27, 1844. In 1846, after additional conflict with their neighbors, the Mormons abandoned Nauvoo. Led by Brigham Young, they headed west and eventually settled in Utah. "Illinois" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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