Main Menu Documents 26-50


  1. Charter for the Illinois Central Railroad (1851)
    On February 10, 1851, Governor Augustus French signed into law legislation to charter the Illinois Central Railroad.
  2. Illinois Black Law (1853)
    The 1853 Black Law passed in Illinois was considered the harshest of all discriminatory Black Laws passed by northern states before the Civil War.
  3. Campbell v. People, 16 Ill. 17 (1854)
    Decatur Campbell, an African-American, was found guilty of murder and appealed the case to the Illinois Supreme Court. In the appeal, the Court ruled that under the law African-Americans had the same rights as whites.
  4. Notice that Abraham Lincoln declines to serve in the General Assembly (1854)
    Three weeks after his 1854 election, Lincoln declined to serve as state representative in order to run for the U. S. Senate.
  5. Illinois State Normal University Incorporation (1857)
    In 1857, the state legislature passed an "Act for the establishment and maintenance of a Normal University."
  6. Lincoln Letter to Governor Bissell Concerning a Pardon for Samuel & James Jones (1858)
    Abraham Lincoln wrote this letter to Governor William Bissell on March 22, 1858 requesting a pardon for Samuel and James Jones, a father and son from Logan County who had been convicted of stealing.
  7. House Journal Entry on the Election of Stephen Douglas to the Senate (1859)
    Stephen Douglas's defeat of Abraham Lincoln for United States Senate is documented in these pages from the original handwritten 1859 Journal of the Illinois House.
  8. First Joliet prisoner (1859)
    Most early inmates of Joliet prison transferred from the Alton Prison. The first inmate regularly received into Joliet Prison was George Becker of Carroll County, inmate #274.
  9. General Order #1 from the Illinois Adjutant General (1861)
    Two days after the fall of Fort Sumter, Adjutant General Thomas Mather issued General Order No. 1, calling for all existing statewide infantry regiments, cavalry brigades, and artillery divisions to prepare for imminent activation into the Union army.
  10. Proclamation of Governor Yates for a Special Session of the General Assembly (1861)
    In this proclamation Governor Richard Yates orders the General Assembly to commence a special session on April 23, 1861 to take necessary wartime preparations.
  11. General Orders Authorizing Organization of Volunteer Companies (1861)
    On May 8, 1861, Assistant Adjutant General John B. Wyman of Amboy issued orders concerning the organization of new militia regiments and placing Ulysses S. Grant in charge of organizing three of them.
  12. Muster-In Roll for the 21st Illinois Infantry Regiment (1861)
    This page from a muster-in roll of the 21st Illinois Infantry Regiement features Ulysses S. Grant as the regiment's colonel.
  13. Governor Yates' Proclamation Proroguing the General Assembly (1863)
    In a two page hand-written proclamation, Governor Richard Yates adjourns the legislature, whose loyalty to the union cause he questioned.
  14. Letter from General William T. Sherman concerning Orion Howe of Waukegan (1863)
    In this letter Major General William T. Sherman writes to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to recount 14-year-old Orion P. Howe's courage during the siege at Vicksburg.
  15. Telegram from Senator Trumbull to Governor Oglesby on the 13th Amendment (1865)
    Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull was a co-author of the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery. Upon its passage in the U. S. House, Trumbull sent this telegram to Governor Richard Oglesby, urging him to make Illinois the first state to ratify the amendment.
  16. An Act to Incorporate the Union Stock Yard and Transit Company of Chicago (1865)
    The Union Stock Yard and Transit Company incorporated in 1865 to consolidate the operations of several stockyards operating in Chicago.
  17. In re Bradwell, 55 Ill.535 (1869)
    Myra Bradwell was a women's rights activist and publisher from Chicago who in 1869 attempted to become the first woman in the United State to be licensed as an attorney.
  18. Third Illinois Constitution (1870)
    Between 1848 and 1870, a span of only 22 years, the state and nation changed rapidly. The 1848 State Constitution was not equipped for the changes and a new Constitution was approved in 1870.
  19. An Act to Relieve the Lien of the City of Chicago (1871)
    On October 13, 1871, just four days after the Great Chicago Fire ended, a special session of the General Assembly convened to discuss ways to assist the city.
  20. Munn v. People, 69 Ill. 80 (1873)
    Railroads and grain storage facilities had a monopoly in transportation and storage and charged what farmers felt were exorbitant and arbitrary fees. Attempts to regulate these industries were challenged in this historic court case.
  21. An Act to Protect Colored Children in their Rights to Attend School (1874)
    The 1870 State Constitution stated that the General Assembly had an obligation to provide free public schools to all children in Illinois. This bill was designed to protect that right for African-Americans.
  22. United States Census Agricultural Schedule (1880)
    The taking of a decennial census is authorized by the U.S. Constitution in order to determine the apportionment of representation and taxation among the states.
  23. Elizabeth Boynton Harbert Letter to Governor John M. Hamilton (1883)
    After the Civil War, agitation for women's suffrage and women's rights increased nationwide. In this letter Elizabeth Boynton Harbert urges Illinois Governor John Hamilton to support giving women the right to vote.
  24. First State Civil Rights Law (1885)
    The passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution ending slavery and of the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing African-Americans citizen rights did not end discrimination. This bill sought to prevent discrimination in public places.
  25. Samuel Gompers Asks for Clemency for Haymarket Anarchists (1887)
    Samuel Gompers was the president of the American Federation of Labor. In this letter to Governor Richard Oglesby, he asks the governor to commute the death sentences given to anarchists convicted in Chicago's Haymarket riot.