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north along the middle of said lake to north latitude fortytwo degrees thirty minutes; thence west to the middle of the Mississippi River, and thence down along the middle of that river to its confluence with the Ohio River; and thence up the latter river along its northwestern shore to the beginning."
This change was proposed because an outlet on Lake Michigan would afford additional security to the perpetuity of the Union, for thereby Illinois would be connected with the States of Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York through the Lakes, and it was considered an easy matter to open a canal between Lake Michigan and Illinois River. The proposed change would give the New State the port of Chicago on the Lake. There is no question but that this change in the boundary line had much to do with the prosperous growth of the State. In the first place it added a considerable territory which would have otherwise gone to Wisconsin. The land added included the fourteen northern counties, making an area of eight thousand five hundred square miles made up of some of the richest farm lands in the State. This section was destined to become a place of wealth and business activity, a portion of the State in which there arose prosperous and busy cities, including the greatest city of the West, Chicago. "But for the amendment, this city would have been Chicago, Wisconsin, instead of Chicago, Illinois; and Illinois would have become a State of small importance compared with what it is at present. Whether Illinois had more or less territory or whether Chicago was in Illinois or Wisconsin is a matter of greater importance than appears at first. The relation of the State to national questions depended largely upon its commercial relations. This outlet through the lakes gave the State a close business connection with the north and east as its situation on Mississippi and Ohio Rivers gave it unsurpassed facilities for communication with the South. It is very probable that Illinois remained in the Union at the time of the Civil War because of this connection
with the east through the lakes. The southern part of the State was strongly pro-slavery in sentiment, but the northern tiers of counties had been filled up with men from the east and there were enough of these to counteract the disunion tendencies of the Secessionists. What the result would have been, had Illinois thrown the weight of its great influence in favor of disunion, is now difficult to determine, but it is certain that the struggle to keep the national unity would have been a much more difficult one.
The Constitution was modelled in general after that of the older States but with a disposition to keep the power out of the hands of the people. The instrument itself was not submitted to the people for their acceptance or rejection.
Some features of the Constitution worth noticing are these: Nearly all the State governors had a limited veto upon the Acts of the General Assembly. This was not so in Illinois. Instead of giving this power to its governor, a council of revision was appointed, composed of the governor and the judges of the Supreme Court or a majority of them, whose duty it was to revise every bill about to be passed into a law by the General Assembly. If the council approved the bill, it at once became a law, but if the majority of the council disapproved, the bill was returned with the objections of the council to that branch of the legislative body in which it had originated. If the bill again passed both Houses, it became a law without regard to the objection of the council. It will be seen by this that the governor had little to do with law making, his power in this respect amounting only to giving advice to the General Assembly.
The justices of the Supreme Court and the judges of the inferior courts were to be appointed by joint ballot of both branches of the General Assembly.
Imprisonment for debt was prohibited. It was made the duty of the General Assembly to enact such laws as might be necessary to put a stop to the practice of duelling.
The marked feature of the Constitution was the power it placed in the hands of the General Assembly. The law
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Documents signed by Daniel Boone.
Originals in possession of the Wisconsin Historical Society and
of the Missouri Historical Society.
making was wholly in the power of that body with nothing but an advisory veto from the governor. The General Assembly could appoint the judges, and, what led to much trouble, they had the power to establish and regulate a State bank and its branches.
The Constitution did not prohibit slavery, but provided in Section 1, that, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall hereafter be introduced into this State otherwise than for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, nor shall any male person arrived at the age of twenty-one years, nor female person arrived at the age of eighteen years, be held to serve any person as a servant, under any indenture hereafter made, unless such persons shall enter into such indenture while in a state of perfect freedom and on condition of a bona fide consideration received or to be received for their service, nor shall any indenture of any negro or mulatto hereafter made and executed out of this State, or if made in the State, where the term of service exceeds one year, be of the least validity, except those given in the case of apprenticeship.”
Section 2. "No person, bound to labor in any other State, shall be hired to labor in this State, except within the tract reserved for the Salt Works near Shawneetown, nor even at that place for a longer period than one year at any one time; nor shall it be allowed there after the year 1825. Any violation of this article shall effect the emancipation of such person from his obligation to service."
Section 3. "Each and every person who has been bound to service by contract or indenture in virtue of the laws of Illinois Territory, heretofore existing, and in conformity to the provisions of the same, without fraud or collusion, shall be held to a specific performance of their contracts or indentures; and such negroes and mulattoes as have been registered in conformity with the aforesaid laws shall serve out the time appointed by said laws, provided, however, that the children hereafter born of such persons, negroes or mulattoes, shall become free, the males at the age of twenty-one,