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v .5 
cop. 5 

111. Hist. Survey 

Illinois Centennial $irf)ltcationg 





























A. C. McCLURG & CO. 





77. 3 

/V, * 



I. POPULATION ....... : ...... i 



IV. PRODUCTS OF THE FARM .......... 71 

V. MANUFACTURES ............. 91 





X. THE GOVERNOR ............. 209 





XV. THE STATE JUDICIARY .......... 320 




XIX. STATE FINANCES ............ 421 

XX. STATE TAXATION ............ 433 


APPENDIX .............. 493 

BIBLIOGRAPHY ............. 517 

INDEX . . . ............. 531 














1916 422 


TO WRITE the history of recent events is at no time an 
easy task. But when this history concerns the develop- 
ment of a growing, dynamic body like the people of Illinois, the 
attempt to portray their manifold activities and constant re- 
adjustments becomes doubly difficult. This volume seeks to 
trace the main lines of economic, political, and social develop- 
ment during the past quarter century, and to indicate the meas- 
ure of progress which the people of this state have achieved in 
these departments of human endeavor. After all is said it is a 
record of which any state might well be proud. 

Progress has been particularly marked in all lines of eco- 
nomic activity. The growth of population and of wealth, the 
steadily augmenting output of farm and factory and mine, the 
expansion of railway and other transportation facilities, and 
the improvements in agriculture, manufactures, banking, and 
commerce, all bear witness to the' energy and successful achieve- 
ments of the people. But the story is by no means confined to 
material improvement. With the growth in wealth has come 
an increasing application of that wealth and the interests of the 
people to the advancement of culture, of art, and of learning. 
And with the growth in leisure has come better understanding 
of political problems and a determination to solve them. 
. During the last quarter of a century political development 
in the direction of better and more efficient government has been 
slow but steady. This growth has been especially noticeable in 
connection with the introduction of the merit system of appoint- 
ment to the civil service and the reorganization of the principal 
administrative services on a more integrated and systematic 
basis. The increasing power of the governor over both legisla- 
tion and administration is also noteworthy. Political progress 


in a democracy rests at bottom upon the education and prac- 
tical experience of the mass of the voters in governmental 
affairs. The increasing interest and participation of the peo- 
ple in political activities is, therefore, a healthy sign and indi- 
cates that the political salvation of the state is, in spite of ups 
and downs, being worked out. 

The author of the chapters on economic development wishes 
to make acknowledgment for valuable assistance rendered him 
in the preparation of this volume. Preliminary studies were 
made on different topics by the following persons working as 
research assistants for the Illinois Historical Survey or for the 
Centennial Commission : agriculture, George H. Newlove ; 
manufactures, Yetta Scheftel; trade, and road and water trans- 
portation, Walter Prichard; railroad transportation, Clare E. 
Griffin; labor organization, E. B. Mittelman. 

The author of the chapters on government and politics 
desires to acknowledge his indebtedness for valuable sugges- 
tions and criticisms to Mr. W. F. Dodd, secretary of the Legis- 
lative Reference Bureau, who has read the entire manuscript of 
those chapters. The authors alone, however, are responsible 
for the errors and shortcomings of the work. 

No volume on modern Illinois would seem complete with- 
out mention of the state's part in the World War. By special 
arrangement, therefore, Professor Arthur C. Cole has sup- 
plied chapter twenty-one, which gives a brief survey of that 
subject. Likewise by special arrangement, Mr. Henry B. 
Fuller has contributed a supplementary chapter on arts and 
letters, chapter two. 


URBANA, March 20, igi8. 




THE rapid increase in the population which had charac- 
terized the early days of pioneering and land speculation 
and even the later period of settlement and development had 
carried Illinois to high rank among the states. By 1860 it 
held fourth place and a generation later attained third place, 
a rank which it has since held, being surpassed at present in 
the size of its population only by New York and Pennsylvania. 
Proud of its rapid growth, which it accepted as a sign of 
virility, it boasted with all the hardihood of youth of its accu- 
mulating numbers and sought by every legitimate method to 
attract and hold a still larger population. And to the Illinois 
of 1870, with its teeming untouched resources, its untenanted 
farms, and the wonderful industrial opportunities which men 
of vision saw undeveloped on every hand, a larger population 
was essential. For the fullest realization of its powers, the utili- 
zation of its resources, and the development of the highest 
type of civilization, a people must secure physical and mental 
contact; and for this purpose a fairly dense population is neces- 
sary. For these reasons the rate of increase of the population 
was a question of supreme importance in the growth of the 

Illinois has always been an hospitable state and has wel- 
comed the newcomers with open arms. The measure of its 
welcome has been the political rights and the economic oppor- 
tunities which it has granted, and in both these respects it 
responded lavishly in 1870. Liberal franchise laws soon put 
the stranger upon a political equality with the older citizens. 
The period since the Civil War has been marked primarily 
by the exploitation of the natural and agricultural resources 


of the country, their utilization in expanding manufactures, 
and the improvement and extension of transportation facilities. 
A tremendous demand was thus created for labor and in this 
need Illinois kept pace with the other states. Indeed its neces- 
sities were greater than those of the older states to the east, as 
they were more urgent than those of the less richly endowed 
states to the west or south. The response to its call was prompt 
and unceasing. 

The year 1870 marks the dividing line between a period 
of rapid growth in the population of the state and one of much 
slower growth. During the fifty years from 1810 to 1860 the 
population of Illinois had increased very markedly, the smallest 
rate of increase for any decade being seventy-eight and eight- 
tenths per cent between 1840 and 1850, and in every instance 
showing a growth many times as rapid as that of the country 
as a whole. But by 1870 the rush of settlement had passed 
this state and the rate of growth slowed down decidedly. It 
is characteristic of older settled communities that after the 
early settlement and the first flush of immigration there should 
be a steady decline in the rate of increase. Illinois was no 
exception during the fifty years ending in 1910, and in the last 
decade even reached the low rate of sixteen and nine-tenths per 
cent increase. Indeed in every decade since 1870 the rate of 
increase has fallen below that of the nation as a whole except 
for the period 18901900 the decade of the World's Colum- 
bian exposition. On the other hand, while the rate of increase 
has been falling off, the absolute number of persons added to 
the population has remained fairly constant and has even grown 
slightly. This is perhaps a fairer test of growth than the rate, 
for as the total population increases the latter would normally 
decline. It is certain that Illinois is by no means overcrowded 
and that the population of the state may be expected to continue 
to grow, though at an ever-declining rate, in the future as in 
the past. 

The average density of population in Illinois in 1910 was 
100.6 persons to the square mile ; this was an increase from 45.4 

Population of Illinois, 

1910. Number of 

Inhabitants per 

45 to 90 

90 and over 


in 1870. How dense this is can best be seen by a comparison 
with some of the eastern states. Such a comparison will dissi- 
pate any doubt as to the future growth of the state, or the possi- 
bility of its ability to support a larger population. If Illinois 



Population of 
United States 

Population of 

Rank of 
in union 

Rate of increase for decade 

United States 


1810 .... 

















184.0. . 

1 8 50 



1880 .... 


IQOO. . 

IOIO. . 

had as many persons to the square mile as Rhode Island, which 
was in 1910 the most densely settled state in the union, its popu- 
lation would amount to 28,500,000 instead of 5,600,000; or if 
the people of Illinois were no more numerous than those of 
Massachusetts, the second state in point of density, they would 
number 23,500,000; while if Illinois were to become an indus- 
trial state with a population as dense as that of Belgium, the 
most densely settled state in Europe, it would have 56,800,000 
persons within its limits. It is evident that there is still room 
for expansion. 

The population of the state has been growing, but different 
sections of the state have shared very unequally in this develop- 
ment. The most striking shift that has come about in the dis- 
tribution of the population during the last forty years has been 
the growth of the urban centers, which have absorbed the major 
portion of the newcomers, and in some counties even caused a 
decrease in the rural population. 


While the movement from country to city is national in its 
scope it has been proceeding much more rapidly in Illinois, espe- 
cially in recent years, than in the union as a whole. In 1870 
Illinois, still preponderantly an agricultural state, was more 
rural than the average. Only 17.2 per cent of the population 
lived in cities of 8,000 inhabitants or over as against 20.9 for 
the United States. By 1880 the two percentages were about 
the same; in Illinois about three-tenths of the population lived 
in cities. But in the three decades ending in 1890, 1900, and 
1910 the urbanization of the state has gone on much more rap- 
idly than that of the whole country, so that by the last date 
almost sixty-two per cent of the population were living in towns 
or cities in Illinois, as against forty-six per cent in the United 
States. Illinois is therefore approaching the status of the states 
in the east, as its population becomes steadily more urban. The 
following table shows the distribution of the urban population 
in somewhat greater detail: 





Cities having population 


Per cent 


Total popu- 

Per cent 

1870. . 











IOOO. . 

I QIO. . 



Towns of 2,500 to 25,000 

Rural districts 


Per cent 


Per cent 










1800. . 


IOOO. . . 

1 Thirteenth Census of the United States, i : 68. 


A more careful examination of the statistics, however, 
shows that the apparent urbanization of the population pro- 
ceeds rather from the phenomenal growth of Chicago than 
from a state wide movement from the farms to the cities in 
general. It will be noticed that the population of Chicago grew 
by leaps and bounds, the proportion of persons living in the 
smaller cities of 25,000 to 100,000 increased but slightly, and 
the proportion in those having between 2,500 and 25,000 re- 
mained practically stationary. The only deduction possible is 
that the depopulation of the rural districts has been coincident 
with the growth of the city of Chicago. 

This city has not only steadily grown in relation to the state 
as a whole, with one-tenth of the population in 1870 and almost 
four-tenths in 1910, but has also absorbed most of the rural 
population which during this period has been deserting the 
farms. In the latter year Chicago had actually more inhabi- 
tants than all the rural districts of the state put together. If 
Chicago be excluded entirely from consideration, however, it is 
clear that no such serious change has occurred in the distribu- 
tion of the population of the state outside this city, though even 
in this case there is evident an appreciable movement from rural 
to urban, or to semiurban, districts, especially the latter. 

As a result of the gains of the cities and towns of the state, 
aside from the growth of Chicago, the rural population was 
steadily declining, from 87 per cent of the non-Chicago total in 
1870 to 62 per cent in 1910. While the small towns of under 
25,000 inhabitants gained most of this rural loss down to 1890, 
the last two censuses show a greater gain for the medium sized 
cities. Or perhaps it would be more correct to say that the 
gains of the smaller towns have been so great that they have 
risen in time to the dignity of cities of twenty-five to one hun- 
dred thousand. In 1870 there was no city in the state in this 
group, but by 1910 the number had grown to eleven. At the 
same time the number of smaller towns had increased from 46 
in 1870 to 132 in 1910. 

In order to estimate the tendency of the population move- 


ment now going on in the state it is not sufficient, however, to 
study the distribution between city and country at different 
periods; the rate of growth of the various divisions from one 
census period to another must also be noted. The rate of in- 
crease of the population of the state as a whole has shown a 
steady decline, as pointed out above. Chicago's development 
has been subject to wild fluctuations, increasing by 174 per cent 
in the decade 1 860-1 870, by only 68 percent in the next decade, 
spurting forward again between 1880 and 1890, since which 
time the rate of growth has steadily fallen off. The growth of 
the smaller cities of the state has shown similar variations, due 
in part to the growth of smaller towns from one decade to an- 
other and their inclusion in the list of cities in the later census 
enumerations. Next to the growth of Chicago, however, the 
most significant thing is the decline in the population of the 
rural districts, which in 1890 and again in 1910 shows a de- 
crease instead of an increase. 

A closer study of the rate of growth of the twelve cities in 
the state with a population in 1910 of over 25,000 reveals some 
interesting changes. In the decade 18601870 the greatest 
growth was made by Danville (191.1 per cent), though Chicago 
was a close second (173.6). In the decade 1870 1880 Chicago 
led with 68.3 per cent, Danville (62.8), East St. Louis (62.7), 
Elgin (61.5), and Joliet ( 60.5 ) following close behind. There 
was a decided falling off in the rate of growth of the population 
of the state as a whole during this decade, due probably to the 
exaggerations of the census of 1870; and this was evidenced in 
the slowing down of the rate of increase of the urban popula- 
tion. During the decade 18801890 Chicago was again far in 
the lead with a gain of 1 18.6 per cent, second place being taken 
by Elgin with 102.8. The rate of growth of Chicago now de- 
clined, though the absolute increase for the next decade 1890- 
1900, was even greater than the previous one, and the lead was 
taken by East St. Louis (95.5 per cent), with Chicago second 
(54.4). For the last decade 19001910, East St. Louis again 
showed the greatest growth (97.4 per cent), while Danville 


took second place (70.4), Chicago meanwhile sinking to sixth 
place. The smallest increase for this decade was shown by 
Quincy, which grew only 0.9 per cent. 

It would seem from these figures of the rate of growth of 
the different cities that there might be some hope in the future 
of a more equal distribution of the urban population among 
the twelve cities with a population of over 25,000, but the per- 
centages of rate of increase are somewhat misleading. The 
larger the population of Chicago the smaller the rate of in- 
crease will become, even though an equal number of inhabitants 
be added each year. If the absolute growth of the population 
be taken as a basis of comparison, there is not shown any likeli- 
hood that the other cities of the state will close the gap between 
themselves and Chicago. For instance, in the decade 1900 
1910 the population of Chicago increased 486,708, that of the 
other eleven cities together increased only 110,851 and all the 
rest of the state 2 19,482. 

One peculiarity about the distribution of the population in 
Illinois between city and country, which is brought out clearly 
by a study of these figures, is the growing importance of Chi- 
cago in the development and life of the state, until today it 
occupies a dominating position. There is a wide gap between 
Chicago and East St. Louis with its 75,000 inhabitants, the sec- 
ond city in the state as regards size. Only four cities outside of 
Chicago have as many as 50,000 inhabitants, and only eleven 
have 25,000 or more. The population of the twelve leading 
cities in the state was estimated as follows in 1916: Chicago, 
2,497,722 ; East St. Louis, 74,708 ; Peoria, 71,458 ; Springfield, 
61,120; Rockford, 55,185; Decatur, 39,631; Joliet, 38,010; 
Quincy, 36,798; Aurora, 34,204; Danville, 32,261; Elgin, 
28,203; Bloomington, 27,258. 2 

The rise of Chicago from a trading station of less than a 
dozen houses in 1818 and its first incorporation as a city in 
1837 to that of its present dominating position as the leading 
city of the Mississippi valley, the second in size in the United 

2 Estimates of Population of the United States, 20. 


States and the fourth in the world, is one of the marvels of the 
nineteenth century. And yet this was only the logical outcome 
of the economic and physical factors which made it inevitable 
that a great city should develop on the southern shores of Lake 
Michigan. The cause of the growth of Chicago was at first its 
commerce, due to its advantageous situation for lake and river 
trade. With the advent of railroads, the supremacy of the city 
as the chief commercial center of the west was only more firmly 
established. She became the gateway of the northwest and the 
terminus of innumerable lines radiating in every direction. To 
the commercial importance of Chicago the agricultural expan- 
sion of the state and of the whole western country contributed 

More recently, within the lifetime of the present genera- 
tion, a still firmer and more enduring basis has been given to the 
growth and future greatness of Chicago by the development of 
manufactures. As an industrial city her growth dates from the 
eighties. Chicago is greatly favored by the possession of prac- 
tically all the requisites for supremacy in manufacturing: raw 
materials, especially those derived from field and forest and 
mine, within the boundaries of Illinois or those of neighboring 
states, cheap power obtained from the low-grade coal of south- 
ern Illinois and Indiana, a magnificent system of transportation 
by water and rail which has given it the cheapest rates in the 
world, and finally an abundant and high-grade supply of labor. 
By this last is meant not alone the manual workers who have 
contributed their mechanical skill or muscular strength to the 
upbuilding of the city, but even more the men of capacity and 
vision who foresaw the possibilities of the future and devoted 
their energies and ability to the realization of their dreams. 

The modern city of Chicago dates from 1871 when the 
great fire swept away many of the existing structures. Half a 
century, therefore, has seen the construction of the material 
monuments of the city of today the massive business build- 
ings and the countless homes of the people, the schools and 
other public institutions, the water, sewer, and lighting systems, 


the railways, the streets, and public parks. Marvelous as this 
has been, it is not more striking than the spirit of the people 
which has made it possible. Energetic, daring, undismayed, 
charged with hope and high faith in the future, withal at times 
a little brusque and with a breeziness born of the lake near 
which they dwell, the people of Chicago have achieved much 
and won for themselves the admiration and wonder of the rest 
of the world. The statistics of population record the growth of 
the physical city, but the human qualities which have made Chi- 
cago great are not reducible to measurement. 8 

Not only Chicago but the state of Illinois has become in- 
creasingly industrial, and as a result the population has tended 
to become more urban. Indeed one of the remarkable features 
about the development of Illinois is the fact that while it holds 
first place in the union as an agricultural state, it ranks second 
in the value of the products of the mines, and third in those of 
manufactures. If Illinois be compared with other states in the 
union as regards the urbanization of the population, that is 
the proportion living in cities of 25,000 or over, it is found to 
rank sixteenth in this respect in 1880, eleventh in 1890, and 
seventh in both 1900 and 1910. In the last year, it was out- 
ranked by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New 
York, and New Jersey, and equalled by California. It is evi- 
dent from this grouping that from 1900 on, Illinois must be 
classed among the industrial states with a large urban popula- 
tion engaged in industrial pursuits. 

More important for the sake of throwing light upon the 
causes of the growth and distribution of the population even 
than the study of the urban development is the investigation of 
the growth of the separate counties. If a list were made of the 
ten most populous counties for each of the five census periods 
from 1870 to 1910, seven would be found to occur in every 
list; 4 two of those in the original list of 1870 (Adams and Mc- 

3 The population of Chicago grew from 298,977 in 1870 to 503,185 in 1880, 
1,099,850 in 1890, 1,698,575 in 1900, 2,185,283 in 1910, and 2,393,325 in 1917. This 
is a record equaled by no other city. 

4 These are Cook, St. Clair, Peoria, Kane, Sangamon, La Salle, and Will. 
Madison occurs in every list except that for 1900. 


Lean) drop out in 1910, to have their places taken by two 
others (Vermilion and Rock Island) which had sprung into im- 
portance in the interval. It is evident that most of these coun- 
ties are among the most densely settled because in them are to 
be found the larger cities in the state. Their growth must be 
attributed to the growth of the urban population within their 
boundaries rather than to a general thickening of the popula- 
tion over their entire area. Thus, the city of Chicago is to be 
found in Cook county, La Salle in La Salle, Quincy in Adams, 
Bloomington in McLean, East St. Louis in St. Clair, Peoria in 
Peoria, Springfield in Sangamon, Alton in Madison, Joliet in 
Will, Danville in Vermilion, Rock Island in Rock Island, and 
Aurora and Elgin in Kane. Indeed those counties which show 
the largest population have the largest cities, and the one, 
namely Kane, which has shown the most rapid rise, has two 
cities within its limits. 

Of those counties which showed the greatest increase 
for the last two decades, 18901910, at least six owe their rapid 
growth to the exploitation of the coal underlying their surface, 
while the other three have built up manufacturing industries 
based upon the utilization of this coal and the cheap iron ores 
brought down from the Minnesota mines. On the other hand, 
the counties which have shown an actual decline in their popula- 
tion are predominantly agricultural and have no industrial basis. 

In the decade 18601870, only one county in the state 
Kendall sustained a net loss in its population, but in the next 
decennial period the movement from the country to the city or 
from the state altogether began to show itself more strongly. 
Nine counties showed a decline in their population in the decade 
18701880, and twenty-eight in the following ten-year period. 
During the decade 18901900 there was a tremendous increase 
of the population of the state by almost a million souls, and 
only six counties showed a falling off. Either this increase offset 
the rural depopulation which had been going on or the move- 
ment toward the cities slowed up, owing to industrial depres- 
sion. But the lull was only temporary, for during the next dec- 


ade the decline took on new vigor and in the period 1900-1910 
some fifty counties or almost half of all those in the state 
1 02 lost in population. 5 At the same time that the state was 
expanding and developing in numbers there was going on within 
the boundaries of the state a most interesting and significant 
shift of the population from one set of counties namely the 
agricultural to another set of counties the industrial and 
mining. There was also a large number of other counties 
whose population was practically stationary, but which another 
decade will probably see join the class of those counties with a 
declining population. 

Perhaps it is too much to say that there has been a shift 
from one set of counties to another. All that is known con- 
fidently is that certain counties have lost and others have gained. 
The persons who have left the counties with declining popula- 
tions may have died or they may have left the state and moved 
farther west during this period. And on the other hand, the 
additions to the population in the growing counties may have 
resulted largely from immigration. Probably both of these 
movements have taken place, as may be seen by the statistics of 
interstate migration and by those showing the composition of 
the population according to nativity. 

A glance at a map of the state in connection with a list of the 
counties in which the population has decreased in any one of the 
past four decades shows in which sections the movement was 
strongest. During the decade 18701880, the loss was prac- 
tically confined to a few counties in the middle western section. 
Between 1880 and 1890 there was a movement away from the 

5 The following is the list of counties which showed a loss in their population 
between 1900 and 1910, the accompanying figure being the percentage of loss: 
Adams (3.7), Boone (2), Brown (10), Calhoun (3.4), Carroll (4.9), Clark (2.1), 
Clay (4.6), Cumberland (11.4), DeWitt (0.3), Edgar (3.3), Edwards (2.9), Ef- 
fingham (2), Ford (6.9), Gallatin (7.6), Greene (4.4), Hamilton (9.8), Hancock 
(4.9), Hardin (5.8), Henderson (10.3), Iroquois (6.5), Jasper (9.9), Jersey (4.5). 
Jo Daviess (7.6), Johnson (8.5), Kendall (6), Lee (7.2), Livingston (3.7), Mc- 
Donough (5.4), Marshall (4.2), Mason (0.7), Menard (10.7), Mercer (5.8), 
Monroe (2.4), Morgan (1.7), Moultrie (3.9), Ogle (4.3), Piatt (7.5), Pike (94), 
Pope (17.4), Richland (2.6), Schuyler (7.9), Scott (3. 7), Shelby (1.3), Stark (0.9), 
Union (3.3), Washington (3. 9), Wayne (7), White (9.2), Whiteside (0.6), Wood 
ford (6). 


counties all along the western border. In fact only five counties 
touching the Mississippi have not shown a loss at some time in 
the last forty years. There was little change between 1890 and 
1900, but during the decade 19001910 most of the counties 
already listed showed additional losses, and they were joined 
by a number of new ones, especially in the southern and south- 
eastern parts of the state. 

In order to understand more clearly the causes of the de- 
cline in the population of practically half the counties in the 
state between 1900 and 1910 it is necessary to differentiate the 
rural population somewhat more carefully. This may be 
divided into those living in incorporated places of less than 
2,500 inhabitants and those living on farms or in unincorpo- 
rated places ; the latter may be called the farm population and 
the former the village population. Distinguishing these two 
groups it is found that the small increase of the rural popula- 
tion of three-tenths per cent for the decade was due to the posi- 
tive decline of the farm population by over seven per cent, for 
the village population increased eleven and one-tenth per cent. 
It is evident therefore that any inquiry into the causes of the 
loss of population in the rural districts of Illinois resolves itself 
into an inquiry as to the reasons for the decline of the farm 

In the older sections of the country the obvious explanation 
would be the abandonment of the farms, but the addition during 
the decade of 349,104 acres to the improved farm area of the 
state makes it necessary to seek a different answer for Illinois. 
Another explanation of the movement from the farm to the 
city is the smaller size of families and the barrenness of rural 
social life. But the former would be difficult to establish statis- 
tically, and the latter is decidedly less true with each passing 
year. The introduction of rural free delivery, of the telephone, 
of automobiles and interurbans, has tended to bring the city 
nearer the farm. 

A more correct explanation undoubtedly is that with the in- 
creased use of farm machinery less labor is needed on the farm 


and the labor thus set free naturally gravitates to the cities and 
towns where it is absorbed by the expanding manufactures. 6 
That this is true of Illinois is evidenced by the fact that during 
the decade 19001910 the value of farm implements and ma- 
chinery on the farms of the state increased from $44,977,310 
to $73,724,074 or 63.9 per cent, which was double the rate of 
increase for the previous decade. At the same time the number 
of separate farms in the state declined five per cent, from 264,- 
151 to 250,853. This was due to the fact that with the aid of 
improved machinery a man could manage a bigger farm unit 
than formerly. Between 1900 and 1910 the average size of 
the farms in Illinois grew from 124.2 acres to 129.1 acres. The 
number of horses and of gasoline engines on farms has also 
shown a large increase. In other words human labor has been 
supplanted by animal and other power, which, applied to im- 
proved farm machinery, has greatly increased the efficiency of 
the individual farmer and enabled him to work a larger farm, 
increase his output, and at the same time dispense with part of 
the labor force previously needed. If this explanation is cor- 
rect, the movement of the population from the farms must be 
regarded as an economic gain. 

If the United States is the melting pot of the nationalities 
of the world, Illinois certainly does its share in the fusing proc- 
ess. Illinois has always been a favorite resort of immigrants. 
Since 1870 it has ranked first in respect to the absolute number 
of foreign born in the north central division, though Minnesota; 
Wisconsin, and North Dakota have a larger proportion of for- 
eign born. In the United States as a whole Illinois has been 
exceeded since 1870 only by New York and Pennsylvania in 
the total number of foreign born within the state. That they 
have not constituted a larger percentage in the population of 
the state is due to the equally rapid increase of the native popu- 
.lation, which has kept the proportion very steady. 

The proportion of the foreign born element in the popula- 

6 Bogart, " Farm Ownership in the United States," Journal of Political 
Economy, id: 203. 


tion has remained fairly steady for the past forty years, at about 
twenty per cent of the total. There are seventeen other states 
which have a larger proportion of foreign born, and twenty-six 
which have a larger percentage of Negroes. But the problem 
of assimilating these alien elements is not measured merely by 
the number of the foreign born, for it usually takes more than 
one generation to fuse them thoroughly into the body of Amer- 
ican citizens. If therefore to those of foreign birth there be 
added those persons, one or both of whose parents has been of 
foreign birth, and whose home environment has therefore had a 
considerable foreign flavor,, a truer index of the problem of 
assimilation laid upon the people of Illinois will be given. 
Throughout all five decades the proportion of this alien element 
has been greater in Illinois than in the union as a whole. 

In 1870 the two groups of foreign born and native born 
with foreign or mixed parentage made up 59 per cent of the 
total population in Illinois as compared with 55 per cent for the 
whole country; in 1880 no comparison is possible as these sta- 
tistics were not compiled by the census of that year ; in 1 890 the 
figures were respectively 50 for Illinois and 45 for the United 
States; in 1900 they were 53 and 46 per cent, and in 1910, 54 
and 46 per cent. The proportion of alien elements was much 
higher in 1 870 than in any subsequent period, as during the next 
two decades there was a considerable movement of the native 
born population into Illinois from states farther to the east. It 
reached the lowest point in 1890 and since that time has gradu- 
ally increased again, though in 1910 it had not yet reached the 
proportion of 1870. 

The problem here presented is too important to dismiss 
with a bare record of the statistics involved. Its seriousness 
for the economic, social, and political life of Illinois depends 
upon several factors which cannot be given in any statistical 
presentation. Much depends upon the nationality of the immi- 
grants. The English and Irish, the Germans and Swedes of the 
past generation were much more easily assimilated with the 
native population than are the recent Latin and Slavic elements. 


The Intelligence, age, training, plasticity, and other characteris- 
tics of individuals must also be taken into account. Some come 
with the intention of becoming permanent citizens; others are 
simply sojourners and are possibly hostile to our institutions. 
The " alienage," so to speak, of different groups and of indi- 
viduals within each group will therefore be very different. The 
continuance of the strength of the foreign influence which sur- 
rounds the immigrant depends largely upon the environment in 
which he is placed in his new home. Where he settles among 
members of the same nationality, tlje foreign language, customs, 
and habits of thought are apt to be perpetuated and the Amer- 
icanization of the immigrant becomes more difficult. It is this 
fact more than any other that has created such serious problems 
in cities like Chicago, Joliet, Rockford, and other rapidly grow- 
ing industrial towns. 

There are no statistics of immigration into Illinois, so that 
the table of foreign born in Illinois merely shows the number 
of each nationality living in the state at the specified period. 
Unless death or emigration removed those who were in the 
state in 1870, they would be added to the newcomers between 
1870 and 1880 and so on, so^ that normally each successive 
census enumeration would show a larger number until the 
earliest immigrants began to die off. This process is beginning 
to show itself in the case of those nationalities which were al- 
ready settled in the state in large numbers by 1870. Now, 
almost fifty years later, the earlier settlers are disappearing and 
the later immigrants are not coming in fast enough to maintain 
the group. Thus, the crest of the wave for British, Irish, Ger- 
mans, and French was reached in 1890, since which date their 
numbers have been declining. 

The Germans still remain the most numerous element in 
the foreign born population, constituting 26.5 per cent of this 
group in 1 9 1 o ; 7 in fact only one other state, namely New York, 
contained a greater number of persons of German birth than 

7 The native Germans plus those born in this country, one or both of whose 
parents were German, constituted 34.7 per cent. 


did Illinois. Certain sections of the state, as St. Clair county, 
were settled by German immigrants as early as i83O, 8 and the 
steady stream of Settlers of the same nationality since that time 
has contributed a sturdy stock to the peopling of the state. 

The Irish made up 7.8 per cent of the foreign born in Illi- 
nois, and the English 5 per cent, but if there were included the 
English Canadians the figure for the British would be 8.1 per 
cent. Owing to the fact that these two groups speak the Eng- 
lish language they have never constituted so conspicuous or 
definite an element of the population as the people from con- 
tinental Europe and have been easily assimilated. 

The French made up in 1910 less than one per cent of the 
foreign born population in the state ; and even if to the natives 
of France there be added those of Belgium, Switzerland, and 
French Canada, the total would be only 2.8 per cent. In the 
case of all the Latin countries the immigration has always been 
small, except from Italy, whose sons and daughters in ever in- 
creasing numbers have sought in this land of opportunity refuge 
from hard conditions of life at home. The Italians made up 
six per cent of the foreign born in the state in 1910. 

Immigration from the Scandinavian countries is large and 
has been steadily increasing, especially of those from Sweden. 
In 1910 the natives of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden together 
constituted 13.7 per cent of the foreign born population; and if 
Holland's contribution be added the total from these four coun- 
tries would be 14.9 per cent. 

But the most striking and important change has been the 
enormous increase in the Slavic elements of our population, 
which began seriously in the eighties. So rapid has been the 
immigration from Austria-Hungary and from Russia that it 
has brought with it new and difficult problems of assimilation 
and adjustment that were not presented in connection with the 
earlier immigration. These are particularly serious because the 
more recent immigration has coincided with a period of indus- 
trial development and of urban concentration and has therefore 

8 Faust, German Element in the United States, i : 457. 


resulted in a concentration of the newer comers in the cities, par- 
ticularly in Chicago. Thus, while the proportion of the foreign 
born in the male population twenty-one years of age or over was 
33.5 for Illinois in 1900, for Chicago it was 53.5, for Joliet 
49.8, and for Rockford 47. 6. 9 Natives of Austria now rank 
second only to the Germans in the foreign born population of 
Illinois ( 13.6 per cent in 1910) ; if the natives of Hungary be 
added the two together would constitute 16.9 per cent. The 
Russian born population of Illinois ranks third among the for- 
eign born elements in the state ( 12.4 per cent) . The following 
table shows the country of origin of the foreign born popula- 
tion of Illinois for the last five census periods : 








Great Britain 1 
Ireland J 







British America 




































France , 

























.... 2,099 



18,212 ] 


.... 7,350 



38,570 L 






6,734 J 





28,707 \ 
67,949 J" 








Total 515,1 

'Included in "others." 

J,576 842,347 966,747 1,205,314 

9 Reports of the Immigration Commission, 1911, 1:15. 

10 The most recent addition to the conglomerate population of Illinois is 
Mexicans, of whom it is reported that there are 12,000 scattered within a radius 
of 120 miles of Chicago. Chicago Tribune, May 14, 1917. 


Any attempt to determine the distribution of the foreign 
born population throughout the state of Illinois must be based 
upon the statistics of county population, as township statistics 
are not given by the census. But even within these wide areas 
certain significant tendencies reveal themselves. There were 
twenty-nine counties which at one or another of the last five 
census periods had a larger percentage of foreign born than the 
average for the state as a whole. In 1870 about one-fifth or 
20.3 per cent of the population of the state was foreign born, 
but a still larger proportion was to be found in the following 
twenty-five counties: Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago, 
Boone, Lake, Cook, Du Page, Kane, Lee, Rock Island, Henry, 
La Salle, Kendall, Grundy, Will, Kankakee, Ford, Woodford, 
Peoria, Adams, Madison, St. Clair, Monroe, Clinton, and 
Washington. By 1910 this list of counties with an excess pro- 
portion of foreign born had shrunk to eleven, which comprised 
the following: Winnebago, Lake, Cook, Kane, Rock Island, 
Bureau, La Salle, Grundy, Will, Peoria and Madison. 

The first thing to be noticed about the distribution of the 
foreign born is their comparatively wide distribution through- 
out the state in 1870 and 1880, and their increasing concentra- 
tion in a smaller number of counties since that time. In 1870 
and 1880 the proportion of foreign born exceeded the general 
average for the state in 25 counties; this number fell to 15 in 
1890, to 12 in 1900, and to 1 1 in 1910. On the other hand the 
number of counties, the proportion of whose foreign born was 
less than ten per cent of their total population, rose steadily 
from 43 in 1870 to 46 in 1880, to 50 in 1890, to 60 in 1900, 
and to 66 in 1910. Inasmuch as the proportion of the foreign 
born element in the state as a whole remained almost constant 
20.3 percent in 1870 and 21.3 percent in 1910 these facts 
indicate a tremendous concentration of the foreign born in a 
small number of counties. In 1910 over 82 per cent of the for- 
eign born population in the state were concentrated in 10 coun- 
ties, and 72 per cent in the single county of Cook. 

The second significant fact about the distribution of the for- 


eign born element in the state is the way in which they hug the 
northern border. If a line be drawn across the state from 
Will county on the east to Rock Island on the west there would 
be found in the list for 1910 only two counties south of this line, 
namely Peoria and Madison. The few counties in the southern 
and central parts of the state that were listed for 1870 and 
1880 became more thoroughly saturated with native stock with 
each successive census year. Madison and St. Clair still show 
a considerable number of foreign born, but the proportion to 
the total population has steadily fallen. The explanation of 
this movement is to be found in the tendency of immigrants, 
especially those from northern Europe, who have until recently 
made up the bulk of the foreign born element in this state, to 
settle along northern lines of latitude in their desire to be near 
to kinsmen in Wisconsin and other neighboring states peopled^ 
largely by foreigners; and more recently in the extreme concen- 
tration of the immigrants in Chicago, there to find employment 
in the growing manufactures. 

If the twelve cities in Illinois which at the census of 1910 
had a total population of over 25,000 each be taken, there is to 
be found in them the same concentration of the foreign born 
that was observed in the case of the counties, only here it is 
even more pronounced. While the foreign born made up only 
2 1.3 per cent of the total population of the state on this date, in 
the twelve cities named they constituted 32.6 per cent. In 1 870, 
with the exception of Decatur, each city had more than one-fifth 
of its population of alien birth, and ten of them had over one- 
quarter. By 1880 the distribution was less widespread and with 
each successive decade there has been a stronger concentration 
of the alien elements in Chicago and a proportionate shrinkage 
in most of the other cities. In the year 1910 Chicago had 65 
per cent of all the foreign born in the state. But there are also 
some small mining and manufacturing towns which do not ap- 
pear in this group, a large share of whose population consists 
of immigrants. 

If the group of these twelve cities be considered as a whole, 


a steadily increasing proportion of the foreign born elements 
of the state population is to be found concentrated there. In 
1870 only 35.3 per cent of the foreign born were to be found in 
these cities, most of them residing in rural districts. In 1880 
the percentage was 41.5, it was 60.0 in 1890, 66.5 in 1900, and 
70.9 in 1910. In other words, at the beginning of the last half 
century the foreign born element was predominantly rural; to- 
day it is overwhelmingly urban. 

The causes for the concentration of the immigrants or for- 
eign born in the large cities and especially in Chicago is first of 
all to be found in the exhaustion of the free or cheap land which 
took the earlier settlers on to the farms. This outlet is now 
practically closed, but the earlier immigration of Germans or 
English two generations ago consisted of farmers who took up 
the land and settled in groups. There is today many a com- 
munity in the state which is predominantly of one racial strain 
or another as a result of this colonizing movement. 11 

A second cause of urban concentration is the development 
of factory industry which attracts and employs the immigrant 
in urban industrial centers. The industrial development of Illi- 
nois dates only from the eighties and has consequently been 
operative only a comparatively short time. The city itself is a 
recent growth, which has been made possible by improved 
means of transportation and communication and by the use of 
machinery. In 1870 Chicago was the only city in the state with 
a population over twenty-five thousand. Consequently there 
could not as yet have been much urban concentration. 

Another reason for the increasing concentration of the for- 
eign born in cities is their desire to be near friends and kinsmen 
who speak their own language. This is especially true of the 
recent Italian and Slavic immigrants. Handicapped by igno- 
rance, poverty, and lack of training, they must find immediate 
employment in an unskilled occupation, and this the city offers. 

11 Wilson, History and Directory for Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois 
(1875-1876), illustrates this idea when he says that the inhabitants of Clinton 
county are principally Germans (p. 163), the people of Jackson county are mostly 
English (p. 165), and Monroe county is settled mostly by Germans (p. 175). 


Moreover, they are better able to adjust themselves to their 
new environment if they are near members of their own nation- 
ality who can advise and succor them. 

And finally, as an explanation of this massing of the alien 
elements in Chicago, it must be remembered that Chicago is the 
great distributing point for immigrants to the west and north- 
west. Some of those now resident there may move on to other 
sections after they have learned the language and become ac- 
quainted with the industrial opportunities open to them else- 

Half way between the native stock and the foreign born 
stands the Negro population, practically all of whom have 
drifted into the state since the Civil War. In 1870 there were 
only 28,762 Negroes in Illinois, but since that time they have 
been increasing steadily and, with the exception of the decade 
18801890, at a more rapid rate than the white population. 
Especially rapid was the growth in the decade ending with 
1 870, when it was 277 per cent or almost four times the rate of 
increase of the white population. As a result of this influx of 
Negroes the proportion which they constitute of the total popu- 
lation has increased very steadily from i.i per cent in 1870 to 
1.9 per cent in 1910. But the absolute number is still small, 
amounting only to 109,049 at the last census. 

They are strongly massed in the southern counties and in 
three of them constitute a considerable proportion of the total 
population. Thus in Pulaski in 1910 they made up 37.3 per 
cent, in Alexander 35.6 per cent, and in Massac 19.5 per cent. 
In no other county did they constitute as much as eight per cent. 
From these southern counties they gradually filter through the 
rest of the state. Like the foreign born they show a consider- 
able tendency to concentrate in cities, but Cairo is the only 
city in the state whose population is markedly affected by them, 
37.5 per cent of its population in 1910 consisting of Negroes. 
No other city has as much as 10 per cent. 

The picture of the foreign born population is necessarily 
one of change and movement; scarcely less so is that of the 


native born population. In 1818, just a hundred years ago, 
John Bristed, in his Resources of America, said the Americans 
were the "most locomotive people" he had ever seen. This 
characterization is still true, and Illinoisians are today appar- 
ently among the most restless of the seething people of this 
country. Any discussion of the movement of the native born 
population in Illinois must consider two phases of the subject, 
namely, the immigration of native born whites from other states 
to Illinois, and the emigration of natives of Illinois to other 
states. These will be taken up in turn. 

It was of course natural, in fact necessary, that Illinois, one 
of the newer states, should be peopled by settlers from the older 
sections. The native born population in 1870 was a remark- 
able alloy of north and south, those in the northern half of the 
state being descended largely from New England pioneers, but 
those in the southern half tracing their ancestry back to cavalier 
or other southern stock. While the northerners exhibit many 
Yankee traits, "the 'Egyptians,' as they call the natives of 
Cairo, Thebes, and other grotesque namesakes of Old Nile, are 
in looks, in dialect, in habits of thought, and in instincts and 
traditions, markedly of the South." 12 

From the population statistics of the census it is possible 
to construct a table which will show the extent to which the 
American born population of Illinois is made up of natives of 
other states and of those born within the state boundaries. The 
table on the following page shows these facts for the last five 
census periods. 

This table shows that the process of settlement was by no 
means completed by 1870; two generations only had grown 
up within the state since it was first settled, and most of the 
people then residing in it had been born outside the state. Only 
48 per cent of the population in 1870 had been born in Illinois, 
but this proportion steadily increased, reaching 56 per cent in 
1880, 57 per cent in 1890, 60 per cent in 1900, and 68 per cent 
in 1910. That is to say, while the Illinois stock made up less 

12 Munroe, "The Heart of the United States," Atlantic Monthly, 102:325. 


than half the population of the state in 1870, it constituted 
over two-thirds in 1910. At the same time the aggregate 
American born element remained almost constant, at about 80 
per cent of the total population. 





Per cent 
of total 


Per cent 
of total 

Total population of Illinois 
American born populatior 
of Illinois 










Born in Illinoi 






Per cent 
of total 


Per cent 
of total 


Per cent 
of total 











It is manifest, however, that if the percentage of native 
stock remains constant while those born within the state con- 
stitute an increasing proportion of the whole, the infusion of 
native born from outside the state must be declining relatively, 
if not absolutely. An examination of the statistics of move- 
ment to and from the state shows this to be the case. The per- 
centage of the American born in Illinois coming from other 
states in the union steadily declined during this period from 
41.7 per cent of the native born population in 1870 to 31.5 per 
cent in 1880, 25.7 per cent in 1890, 24.9 per cent in 1900, and 
22.6 per cent in 1910. 

This was of course a perfectly natural movement, for not 
only was Illinois itself being filled up, but the states farther 
west offered even greater inducements to settlement in the way 
of free homesteads. Indeed, during the decades 1870-1880 
and 1 880-1 890 there was an absolute falling off in the numbers 


of native born Americans migrating into Illinois. Transcon- 
tinental railways carried intending settlers rapidly past Illinois 
to the free farms of the boundless west. Not until the desirable 
public domain was practically exhausted did this movement 
spend itself and the settlement of Illinois begin again. Thus in 
the two decades ending in 1900 and 1910 the number of natives 
of other states settling in Illinois has increased absolutely, 
though relatively the movement has not maintained itself. 
Moreover it is interesting to note that whereas most of this 
group down to 1900 had been recruited from the eastern states, 
in 1910 there was a distinct back-eddy and Missouri appears 
among the five states most important in this regard, with a 
contribution of 85,161 to the population of Illinois. 

A further inquiry in detail as to which states of the union 
supplied Illinois with the American born stock, which flowed in 
almost as rapidly as the foreign born, shows that the most con- 
spicuous contributors were the states to the east. The largest 
numbers came from the five states of New York, Pennsylvania, 
Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, although as just stated MissouiT 
should be included in the list in 1910. In general the move- 
ment into Illinois followed the same lines as foreign immigra- 
tion, moving with curious directness along parallels of latitude. 
From New York and Pennsylvania, through Ohio and Indiana, 
and even from Kentucky into the southern counties of the state, 
the movement proceeded almost straight west. 

The inflow of citizens from Indiana increased steadily from 
1870 to 1910 and was the only one of the chief contributing 
states to show a constant increase. The contributions from 
New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania decreased pretty steadily 
from decade to decade with only a slight recovery in the decade 
ending with 1900, while that from Kentucky, after declining for 
thirty years, now shows an upward tendency. The reason for 
these differences is doubtless to be found in the fact that the 
industrial opportunities of Illinois are better than those of her 
nearest neighbors, Indiana and Kentucky, while they are not 
sufficiently different from those to be found in the other three 


states to attract their citizens in increasing volume. In every 
case, however, the percentage of persons residing in Illinois 
and born in the specified state has declined in proportion to the 
whole native born population. 

It is not possible to state in further detail in what part of 
Illinois the immigrants from other states settled in Illinois, ex- 
cept for the years 1870 and 1880, as the data on this point are 
not given in subsequent census reports. In 1870 the largest 
number from New York state settled in Kane and Winnebago 
counties; in 1880 in Cook and Will. For persons from Penn- 
sylvania, Stephenson and Cook counties were the favorite ob- 
jective in both 1 870 and 1880. Ohioans settled in McLean and 
Champaign in 1870 and in Cook and McLean in 1880; Indiana 
residents moved to Vermilion and Champaign in 1870 and to 
Vermilion and Cook in 1880; while those from Kentucky set- 
tled first in the counties of Sangamon and McLean, and later in 
Cook and Sangamon. The fact that in four out of five cases 
Cook county attracted the largest number of settlers and in the 
fifth case next to the largest number in 1880 already indicates 
what probably has held true ever since, namely that Chicago 
rather than the agricultural counties has proved the lodestone 
to persons moving into the state from other parts of the United 

Even more striking than the movement of native born 
Americans into Illinois has been the exodus of those born 
within the state to other El Dorados farther west. New as the 
state is, it is not so new as other states and to them Illinois has 
lost heavily of its sons and daughters. In 1870 and 1880 more 
native Americans moved to Illinois than left it, but by 1890 the 
tide had turned and with each succeeding decade the exodus be- 
came greater. In 1870 the proportion of persons born in Illi- 
nois and leaving the state was one-fifth, in 1880 one-fourth, and 
in 1890, 1900, and 1910 over one-fourth. Five states have 
absorbed most of these wanderers, namely: Indiana, Iowa, 
Kansas : Missouri, and Nebraska, though at each census period 
other states have appeared as temporary rivals. 


In 1870 about one-fifth ( 19.5 per cent) of the persons born 
in Illinois were living outside the state, the largest number being 
found in Missouri (72,324) ; in addition to the states named 
above, Wisconsin and Minnesota had also received consider- 
able contributions. By 1880 the proportion of Illinoisians liv- 
ing outside the state was almost exactly a quarter (24.5 per 
cent), most of whom were in Kansas (106,670). The situa- 
tion shows clearly a strong westward movement, spilling the 
surplus population of Illinois over Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and 
Nebraska, with smaller splotches in Texas and California and a 
back-eddy into Indiana. 13 

By 1890 the proportion of the native population of Illinois 
who have left the state is still greater (27.1 per cent) ; Kansas 
again claims the largest number (?37,9O3), 14 but together 
with Nebraska ( 107,262), reaches in this decade the climax of 
its popularity, for after this the number in eacn of these states 
declines. In addition to the states listed, California and Colo- 
rado each attract growing numbers. 

The decade ending with 1900 shows a slight decline in the 
proportion of the natives of Illinois who have settled elsewhere 
to 25.9 per cent though the absolute number keeps grow- 
ing. Missouri (179,342) has become the most popular state. 
Iowa (142,234) has reached its zenith, and the continuance of 
the far westward movement gives to California 42,304 per- 
sons. The census for 1910 shows little change, except a strong 
movement to Oklahoma (71,085), while the number in Cali- 
fornia grows to 87,291. 

The facts just cited leave no doubt as to the mobility of the 
population of Illinois. The people slip easily over the state 
lines, whether moving in or out. 15 This mobility is not peculiar 
to the state, but is and always has been a marked characteristic 
of the American people, wherever located. It seems to be 

13 See an excellent map in Tenth Census of the United States, i : 385. 

14 In curious confirmation of this fact the writer is informed by Mr. J. A. 
Farrand of Griggsville, Illinois, that in the early nineties, a larger proportion of 
the members of the Griggsville Baptist church were living in Kansas than at home. 

15 This is doubtless true also of county lines, but unfortunately no statistical 
data exist to prove it. 


somewhat more marked, however, in the case of Illinois than 
of most other states. For instance, in 1910 the proportion of 
persons in the United States as a whole who lived outside of the 
state of their birth was 21.7 per cent, but for Illinois it was 27.7 
per cent. For the same year Illinois was exceeded only by New 
York in the number of persons born in and leaving the state and 
only by Oklahoma in the number of domestic immigrants who 
settled in the state. 

To make the effect of this interstate migration upon the 
composition of the population of Illinois a little more concrete, 
let it be supposed that every native born person in the United 
States should return to the place of his birth. What would be 
the effect of such a home-coming upon Illinois? In 1870 Illi- 
nois would have lost 835,190 domestic immigrants, but on the 
other hand would have gained 288,418 natives of the state who 
had moved to other states ; the total population would have been 
less by 546,772. In 1880 the loss would have been 784,775, 
and the gain 553,889 ; or a net loss of 230,886. In 1890 for the 
first time the number of domestic immigrants, 758,822, was less 
than the natives of Illinois living in other states, or 817,717; 
consequently the state would have gained 58,895 from an ex- 
change. In 1900 and 1910 the same thing was true, and in 
these two years a universal home-coming would have netted the 
state 51,691 and 310,896 respectively. 

These figures indicate to some extent the loss which Illinois 
has suffered by the emigration of her native born population; 
and the loss is not confined to the number of those who leave, 
for the descendants of those who left during the earlier decades 
are themselves now grown up and they and their children would 
have been counted in the population of Illinois, had their father 
or grandfather not left the state. Moreover, as the figures 
show only the number of those living in the given localities on 
the date specified, and as the number of natives of Illinois in 
other states has been constantly growing at each successive cen- 
sus, it must be concluded, in view of the mortality which must 
have occurred among those enumerated at the earlier periods, 

that the number of emigrants from Illinois is even greater than 
the statistics show and that there has been a steadily increas- 
ing stream out of the state between the decennial census periods. 

The facts are fairly obvious, but the causal explanation of 
these facts is more difficult. How can the great restlessness, 
the high degree of mobility of the American born population 
be explained? The earlier movement into the state was prob- 
ably occasioned by the agricultural opportunities; in 1870 many 
came and few left. But 1 870 witnessed the height of the move- 
ment into Illinois up "to that time; the next two decades saw a 
decided falling off. In 1900 and 1910, however, the industrial 
attractiveness of Chicago more than compensated for the 
lessened lure of Illinois land, and the number of native immi- 
grants increased again, absolutely if not relatively. Much of 
the movement into and out of the state has been merely across 
state lines, which often denotes a less radical change than the 
transfer from the farm to the city within the same state. Indi- 
ana and Kentucky contributed a considerable proportion of 
domestic immigrants to Illinois, while from a third to a half 
of those who left the state settled in adjoining states. Illinois 
seems to have occupied the position of a sort of halfway house, 
whose restless population sojourned there awhile but never 
really settled down. 

The principal cause of the emigration of the natives of 
Illinois to other states farther west whither most of them 
have gone has undoubtedly been the existence of cheaper land 
there. With the increase of population and the filling up of the 
state the price of land has gone up and more careful and inten- 
sive methods of agriculture have become necessary. Many an 
early settler has thought it to his advantage to sell out his farm 
at a higher price, pocket the "unearned increment," and move 
farther west to cheaper land, where he could repeat the process. 

But another factor, closely connected with this, has prob- 
ably been even more important in inducing emigration from 
Illinois. For many of the early settlers and natives of the state, 
bred to primitive conditions, with consequent careless tillage 


and a one crop system, a change in methods of farming would 
have proved more difficult than a physical transfer of their 
families and themselves to another state where they could con- 
tinue the same practices. Men changed more easily than meth- 
ods. Hence there may be noted a steady movement to the 
newer settlements, in turn, of Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Ne- 
braska, Texas, and Oklahoma. There, with new land, they may 
repeat the exploitative methods of farming which are no longer 
profitable in Illinois, but to which they are bound by long cus- 
tom. The growing migration of residents of Illinois to Cali- 
fornia may be explained in part by the desire for a more con- 
genial climate than their native state affords, and in part by the 
growing wealth of Illinoisians which permits them to gratify 
their inclinations in this regard. 

Mere size or growth in numbers is not in itself a desirable 
thing. The most populous state is not necessarily the best off 
economically. But in the case of Illinois during the past half 
century the growth of population has undoubtedly responded 
to improving economic conditions, and has in turn stimulated 
the production of wealth and promoted the economic well-being 
of the people. The increasing concentration of the population 
in cities is a universal phenomenon to which Illinois is no excep- 
tion, and is a result of improvements in methods of transporta- 
tion and production. 

In spite of the comparative newness of the state and the 
large immigration of foreign born, the population of Illinois is 
predominantly of native stock. But it has undoubtedly gained 
from the admixture of racial elements within its borders. The 
typical son of Illinois sturdy, independent, restless even, yet 
conservative and loyal shows in his composite nature some of 
the best qualities which have been contributed from so many 
diverse quarters. In its people Illinois possesses some of the 
best stock of the nation, whose value cannot be estimated by a 
mere counting of heads, but whose qualities may be trusted to 
maintain the state upon the proud eminence to which they have 
already elevated it. 




THE World's Columbian exposition of 1893 marked an 
era in the general development of the United States. 
Especially strong, of course, was its influence on the state of 
Illinois and on the city of Chicago. Art and its amenities were 
found to be desirable and necessary in the life of the people. 
The elaborate celebration of an important historical anniver- 
sary developed in the state a heightened consciousness of the sig- 
nificance and dignity of its own past. A wide and hearty union 
for a great endeavor of a nature largely festal and aesthetic, 
presently led the way to an ampler cooperation in handling 
the practical problems and difficulties of the times. Effects may 
be deep and lasting, however, without being immediate. In 
Chicago itself a dozen years or so were to elapse before a com- 
prehensive plan should be formulated and announced for apply- 
ing the artistic lessons learned in the White City to the needs of 
the city at large. A much shorter length of time, fortunately, 
elapsed before the administrative skill gained in the handling of 
a novel problem predominantly aesthetic was applied practically 
to the amelioration of the social and political conditions of 
the day. 

Meanwhile the impetus communicated to educational inter- 
ests proceeded with an ever-increasing acceleration. Building 
became active with each of the three great universities of the 
state. The University of Chicago, whose first halls and dormi- 
tories had been put up during the building of the Columbian 
exposition itself and in the same vicinity, added other halls and 
dormitories to meet its rapidly increasing needs: it became 
almost a fashion among Chicago's wealthy and well-disposed 
to set their names commemoratively among the gargoyles and 



crocketed gables of scholastic Gothic facades. The most 
notable group of structures erected during this time was that of 
the four physical laboratories ranged round Hull Court. North- 
western University, between the years 1893 and 1898, erected 
on its campus a succession of buildings varied in physiognomy 
and serving various purposes a library, a music hall, an as- 
sembly hall, and others. The University of Illinois, under the 
presidency of Andrew S. Draper, aided by the friendly interest 
and cooperation of Governor John P. Altgeld, which was imme- 
diate from the first day of President Draper's term, also entered 
upon a new period of building. The state legislature of 1905 
made a liberal appropriation, and there followed a library, an 
observatory, a president's house, a power house, and certain 
shops. The handsome Agricultural Building was author- 
ized in 1898. During the decade 1891-1901 both Northwest- 
ern University and the University of Illinois established (or 
took over) the former early, the latter rather later differ- 
ent professional schools in Chicago. 

During these same years the educational system of the state 
underwent a great extension, noticeably in the matter of new 
normal schools; and building in this direction, too, was active. 
The Illinois State Normal University at Normal (1857) and 
the Southern Illinois State Normal University at Carbondale 
(1869) were supplemented by three new institutions appropri- 
ately placed: the Eastern Illinois State Normal School at 
Charleston, and the Northern Illinois State Normal School at 
De Kalb, both authorized by the legislature in 1895; and the 
Western (or Military Tract) State Normal School at Macomb, 
authorized in 1899. The buildings at Charleston and De Kalb 
were constructed in a romantic, castellated style in consonance 
with the personal preferences of Governor Altgeld himself, as 
was a library and gymnasium building erected at Normal dur- 
ing the same period. The building at Macomb expressed an 
easy command of the classically palatial, and more recent con- 
structions round it have heightened the effect. 

During the nineties, under Dr. John W. Cook, a new spirit 


developed at Normal ; and its effect was felt in the other schools 
of the system. The endeavor was to put instruction on a basis 
of psychology, developing a consistent educational philosophy 
as a rational foundation for method ; to give greater recognition 
to natural science and a larger place to drawing, music, and 
physical training; to bring about a material increase in the num- 
ber of buildings; to give greater definiteness to the work of the 
training department; to modify courses so as to bring students 
of a better grade of scholarship; and to develop a shorter 
course for advanced students and thus increase the number of 
graduates. The normal university at Carbondale, by reason of 
its geographical situation and of the special social characteris- 
tics of the section, served in large measure the purposes of a 
high school; the other schools, however, have come, in vary- 
ing degree, to assimilate themselves with or to impose them- 
selves upon the primary school systems of the towns in which 
they are situated, thus finding abundant material and oppor- 
tunity for practice in the detailed work of teaching. 

Several technological schools were founded during this 
same period. In Chicago, the Armour Institute of Technology, 
which had originated in the Armour Mission (1886), opened 
its principal building in 1893. The Lewis Institute began its 
career in 1896. From 1897 dated the Bradley Polytechnic In- 
stitute of Peoria. It enjoyed, at its inception, the advice of the 
president of the University of Chicago and the services of the 
university architect ; its Horology Hall is unique in the state. It 
is affiliated with the University of Chicago. In 1901, the Chi- 
cago Institute, which had profited from the direction of Colonel 
Francis W. Parker, was incorporated in the same institution, 
and the new building designed for its use was occupied in 1903. 
In 1898, Archbishop Spalding of Peoria, established there the 
Spalding Institute, a high school, with some technological fea- 
tures, for young Catholics. 

During the two decades between the " great fire " and the 
Columbian exposition the public school system of Chicago kept 
up a regular and rapid growth. The number of pupils enrolled 


rose from less than forty thousand to more than one hundred 
and forty thousand, and the number of teachers was more than 

The middle nineties were important years for the four great 
libraries of Chicago. The Newberry Library, a free library 
of reference, had been able, after legal delays, to begin its 
course in iSSy, 1 under Dr. William F. Poole, and occupied its 
own new building in 1893. Its collection of books, pamphlets, 
plates, manuscripts, and maps had come to number, in 1917, 
some three hundred and sixty-five thousand items. The John 
Crerar Library was incorporated in 1894, as a free library of 
reference, with the design of confining itself to scientific and 
technical literature. Although the construction of its own build- 
ing, long planned, has been delayed, a collection of five hundred 
thousand books and pamphlets has been brought together. The 
library of the University of Chicago had its foundation, or at 
least its nucleus, in a large purchase of books and pamphlets 
made in Germany. In 1917, seven hundred thousand repre- 
sented the total figure of its collection. The Chicago Public 
Library, which had been founded in 1872 and had occupied, 
during a quarter of a century, varying accommodations of 
greater or less suitability, was established in its own new building 
in 1 897. During the succeeding twenty years it was to put out a 
hundred branches and some nine hundred agencies, reaching the 
stage where it served twenty thousand persons daily, and annu- 
ally circulated five million volumes, in seventeen languages, for 
home use. In 1893 was incorporated the Chicago Library 
Club; and in 1896 there was devised among several of the 
larger libraries a scheme of cooperation by which specialization 
was introduced and a duplication of departments avoided. In 
various parts of the state a growing local consciousness came to 
be expressed in the town libraries. Thus, the Withers Library, 
at Bloomington, made a special collection of the works of 

1 The death of the wife of the testator, Walter L. Newberry, in December, 
1885, ultimately made a fund of two million five hundred thousand dollars avail- 
able for library purposes. Chicago Tribune, December n, 12, 1885. 


McLean county authors. Collections of local authors were 
formed by the public libraries of Evanston and Galena. Knox 
College, at Galesburg, established a collection of the authors 
among its faculty and alumni. The public library of Belleville 
expressed the particular trend of its culture in a large collection, 
one-third of which was in the German language. 

Though the influences of the Columbian exposition, in their 
widest reaches, were still reserved as concerned Chicago 
for the future, a number of interesting cultural developments, 
more or less immediate, may be noted, both in art and in litera- 
ture. In the autumn of 1 893 was incorporated the Field Colum- 
bian Museum, made possible by the gift of Mr. Marshall Field ; 
the collection was based in large part upon the various speci- 
mens left behind by the Columbian exposition, and was housed 
in the extensive and beautiful Art Building of the exposition, 
which had been preserved for the purpose. The Art Institute 
received the gift of the Ryerson Library, a building which 
should care adequately for its growing collections of books, 
prints, and photographs. Between 1893 and 1895, the Central 
Art Association, composed of a group of artists and writers, 
formed collections of works of art by western men and sent 
them on tours through Illinois and states adjacent. In 1896 
took place in Chicago the first annual exposition of the Society 
of Western Artists. Shortly afterwards came the revival of 
the Chicago Society of Artists, or rather, an amalgamation of 
several art societies including the Cosmopolitan Art Club, a 
polyglot organization which had been active during the con- 
struction period of the fair. The effect of the great scheme of 
mural decoration at Chicago had been felt throughout the state. 
In 1896, the Peoria Public Library, which had been built the 
year before and was to house an art club and a society of the 
allied arts, was decorated with a series of great panels the 
work of a pair of Chicago artists, and one of the most striking 
manifestations of wall decoration in the state. In 1898 an ex- 
tensive set of murals was painted by Professor Newton A. 
Wells for the stately forecourt of the Library of the University 


of Illinois. During this period of building activity a state 
board of examiners of architects was established in 1897 at 

During the early nineties, under the encouragement of the 
general conditions, a literary group lifted its wings in Chicago. 
Novels appeared. Some of them drew on the past history of 
the state. 2 Others endeavored to fix the life of the place and 
the day as it rose. In 1895 was formed the Caxton Club, de- 
voted to bookishness ; also the characteristically-named Culture 
Club, besides other clubs (composed largely of women) , of like 
aims, even if not so explicitly labeled. The year before, The 
Chap Book, first and best of a long line of miniature magazines, 
had been transferred from Cambridge to Chicago by a Chicago 
student. It enjoyed an easy command of novel European facil- 
ities and lived on in an atmosphere of increased cosmopolitan- 
ism for several years. It came to be companioned by The 
House Beautiful, which applied in such manner some of the 
lessons learned at the fair as to extend the amenities of house- 
furnishing and decoration well into home life. And so far 
did interest in the home outrun interest in literary culture that 
The House Beautiful became the more successful and lasting 
of the pair. 

A cultural influence felt widely and beneficially throughout 
the state has been that exerted by the Illinois Farmers' Institute, 
established in 1895 under Governor Yates. It was designed to 
assist and encourage useful education among the farmers and to 
develop the agricultural resources of the state among its di- 
rectors the superintendent of public instruction, the professor 
of agriculture at the University of Illinois, and the presidents 
of the state board of agriculture, of the State Horticultural So- 
ciety, and of the State Dairymen's Association. A network of 
congressional and county organizations was soon formed, with 

2 Among historical novelists who have dealt with Illinois at various periods 
are: Mary Hartwell Catherwood, The Story of Tonty; Emerson Hough, The 
Mississippi Bubble; Randall Parrish, When Wilderness Was King; Edward 
Eggleston, The Graysons ; Joseph Kirkland, Zury and The McVeys ; and Clark E. 
Carr, The lllini. 


the hearty cooperation of the state's public school system and of 
the University of Illinois, which in a large measure led the way. 
Good work has been done through local meetings, held in every 
county once a year. 

In the last decade of the century, out-of-door life and the 
general interest in sport entered upon new phases. Football, as 
at present known, came in shortly after 1890 and was well 
established among western universities by 1895. Each of the 
three large universities of the state arranged its athletic field 
with especial reference to football. The concrete grandstand 
of the University of Chicago developed interesting features in 
construction and in architectural style. 

These sanre years saw the establishment of the first golf 
clubs in Illinois. The Chicago Golf Club was organized in 
1894, and was transferred to Wheaton the next year. Clubs 
were organized at Lake Forest in 1895 and 1896; and the next 
few years witnessed the planting of numerous new clubs in other 
Chicago suburbs, north, south, and west. From the golf club 
to the country club was but a step a natural and inevitable 
one. Thus rose a purely American institution, made possible 
by the special conditions of American society and made neces- 
sary by the demand for a larger infusion of nature in a life 
which was tending more and more to the urban. This type of 
social bacillus, once established, propagated itself rapidly; all 
over the state rose country clubs, the need of which was rather 
less imperative than for the great urban center, yet the social 
life of which became as rich in wholesomeness and in the general 
development of the amenities. 

It was but a short step from the life of the country club to 
that of the country house. Estates began to shape themselves 
on favorable sites along Lake Michigan's north shore, and 
in the interior of the state along the choicer reaches of such 
rivers as the Illinois and the Rock. An " artist colony" on the 
Rock river, near Oregon, in the midst of country estates, com- 
pleted its twentieth year in 1917. 

All this fair superstructure had not arisen during a time 


which had given no thought to the sober fundamentals. Con- 
sideration of political and social betterment were much in evi- 
dence. The Civic Federation of Chicago began its useful career 
in i894, 3 though a Citizen's Association had been formed 
twenty years earlier. From the federation's committee on 
political action was organized in 1896, the Municipal Voters 
League which, within a few years, did so much to raise alder- 
manic standard in Chicago. In 1901 followed naturally the 
Legislative Voters League, which endeavored to do for the 
state legislature what the other league had done for Chicago's 
common council. 4 In 1903 was organized the City Club, which 
was to busy itself fruitfully with Chicago's municipal affairs in 
general. Hull House, which had been opened in 1889, was fol- 
lowed, in 1894, by Chicago Commons, an ameliorative institu- 
tion of similar type. The settlements of Northwestern Uni-> 
versity and the University of Chicago, established in the early 
nineties, were incorporated in 1898. Each of these and vari- 
ous others besides had for its object the bringing of social 
light and social betterment into some one of the hitherto neg- 
lected districts of the city. 5 

In 1907, when the number of children in the public schools 
of the state had come to be close upon a million, .the legislature 
created an educational commission, with Honorable Francis G. 
Blair, state superintendent of public instruction, as chairman. 
This body reported in 1909 a re-codification of existing school 
laws. In 1911 the school fund of the state was raised from one 
million to two million ; and two years later there was an increase 
of another million. During the decade from 1900 to 1910 
there was naturally a corresponding advance among the uni- 
versities and the privately endowed colleges. With the installa- 
tion of Dr. Edmund J. James at Urbana, after he had left the 
presidency of Northwestern for that of Illinois, an era of easier 
and more fruitful relations with the state legislature ensued. 

8 Bulletins and leaflets of the Civic Federation, 1911, 1913, and 1916. 

4 Bulletins of the League, 1914, 1915, and 1917. 

5 Carbaugh, Human Welfare Work in Chicago. 


The university's widened scope and increasing prosperity were 
evidenced tangibly in the number and variety of buildings 
erected upon the campus, and near it, from 1905 onward. To 
pass over some of the minor structures put up during President 
James' first years, there may be noted the Physics Building 
(1908), the addition to the Natural History Building (1908 
1909), and Lincoln Hall (19101911). An equal activity was 
displayed by the University of Chicago. The most noteworthy 
buildings erected there at about this time were the four which 
formed the Tower Group ( 1903) : Hutchinson Hall, the Rey- 
nolds Club, Mitchell Tower, and Mandel Assembly Hall. 
Northwestern's original contribution during this period was a 
school of commerce (1908), sponsored by some sixty of Chi- 
cago's business men. A school of commerce and finance was 
also established at James Millikin University, Decatur, an in- 
stitution which, superimposed on an earlier university at Lin- 
coln, had suddenly sprung in 1903, into prominence and pros- 
perity. This example was presently followed at Illinois and at 
Chicago : a college of commerce at the former, and a school of 
commerce and administration at the latter. During these same 
years there was a period of marked building activity for the Illi- 
nois Woman's College, at Jacksonville, and a general financial 
and constructional quickening at Knox. 6 At Illinois College the 
presence of a president from Chicago brought welcome aid 
from Dr. D. K. Pearsons, whose wide and well-known philan- 
thropies always favored educational institutions. Rockford 
Seminary (Rockford College since 1892), which has always 
maintained an easy primacy among the women's colleges of the 
state, celebrated, in 1904, the fiftieth anniversary of the gradua- 
tion of its first class, when an elaborate "Jubilee Book" was 
published by its alumnae association. 

6 In 1908 Knox, stimulated by the promise of conditional gifts amounting 
to one hundred thousand dollars, entered upon a campaign to secure additional 
contributions toward a total endowment fund of a quarter of a million. The 
full amount secured was two hundred and sixty thousand dollars, a sum sufficient 
to cover all past indebtedness and to meet all annual expenses; and the Central 
Church became the scene of an enthusiastic celebration. Webster, Seventy-five 
Significant Years. The Story of Knox College, 1837-1912, p. 106. 


In 1899 tne Illinois State Historical Society was organ- 
ized at Springfield, and an act of the general assembly in 1903 
brought it into organic relations with the state historical library. 
The society began almost at once publication of its Transactions 
and of its quarterly Journal, and has continued to hold annual 
meetings for the presentation of papers. In 1909 was formed 
the Illinois library extension commission; and in the same year 
the state art commission was organized. ' Such a union of activ- 
ities, literary, historical, and artistic, was paralleled and con- 
tinued by corresponding activities in the state legislature. Be- 
tween 1901 and 1913 numerous commissions were appointed 
for the suitable commemoration of historical events (as the 
participation of Illinois soldiers at Vicksburg) ; for the com- 
memoration of state governors, early or recent (as Carlin, 
Oglesby, and Altgeld) ; or for the marking or preservation of 
historic sites (as those of Fort Massac and Fort Edwards). 
The University of Illinois, working both at Urbana and 
Springfield, became a strong factor in the promotion of this 
acute historical consciousness. In 1901, and again in 1903, the 
state had granted small appropriations for collecting and pub- 
lishing documents relating to the northwest and to the state of 
Illinois. In 1905, the trustees of the state historical library, 
influenced by the discovery of a mass of old French documents 
records of Cahokia, which had been transferred to the court- 
house of St. Clair county, at Belleville organized an advisory 
commission composed of professors of history in six of the 
leading colleges and normal schools of the state; research at 
once became active and a series of publications edited at Urbana 
was begun in 1907. In the autumn of 1909 the University of 
Illinois decided to supplement officially the work of the state his- 
torical library, and plans were laid which led to the organiza- 
tion of the Illinois historical survey as a department of the 
graduate school. The work that of a laboratory of state his- 
tory came to center in Professor C. W. Alvord, of the history 
department, with the design of facilitating research, of encour- 
aging the production of monographs on Illinois history, and 


of producing ultimately a really scientific history of the 

One curious phase of this general movement was the trans- 
fer of the old Cahokia courthouse, dating from the eighteenth 
century (which had been shown at the St. Louis exposition in 
1904), to the island in Jackson Park, the site of the earlier ex- 
position in Chicago. The transfer was completed in 1906, 
under the auspices of the Chicago Historical Society. The up- 
right logs of hewn walnut were reassembled under the three 
flags of France, Great Britain, and the United States; and the 
ceremony was attended by the twenty-eight judges of the new 
municipal court in a body. Certain furniture and documents 
accompanied the building itself. Another curious turn in the 
way of historical celebration was made possible by the retention 
of the three Columbus caravels in the waters of Jackson Park. 
For several years, intermittently, the Knights of Columbus, a 
Catholic organization, gave pageants on the basis afforded by 
these ships. In the vicinity of the still-existing facsimile repro- 
duction of La Rabida convent, Ferdinand and Isabella often 
held court in suitable costuming; and Columbus, from the deck 
of the Santa Maria, discovered America again and again. Nor 
should some other dues paid the historical sense go unnoticed. 
In Chicago the Calumet Club for many years gave an annual old 
settlers' reception as long in fact, as the club itself lasted and 
the old settlers remained to be received. Through many parts 
of the state old settlers' societies had come to be established; 
that of La Salle county, among others, gained some promi- 
nence. And as these faded from the scene Colonial Dames and 
Daughters of the Revolution came forward to give a continu- 
ing stimulus to our heightened sense of the historic past. 

Still emphasizing improved transportation and communica- 
tion as valuable and vital adjuncts to cultural development, one 
must touch upon the advance, during these years, of the motor 
car, the extension of the trolley, local and interurban, of the 
telephone, and of rural free delivery. Though the first auto- 
mobile show in America was held only in 1900, the number of 


cars in the state of Illinois alone has risen to more than a quarter 
of a million. " Highways," variously named, began to traverse 
the state, and plans for a comprehensive system of good roads 
to engage the attention of the public. During the decade 1902 
1912, the mileage of Illinois' electric roads rose from fifteen 
hundred to more than three thousand. There was an extensive 
radiation of lines from Chicago and a still more notable exten- 
sion of interurban service through the central counties of the 
state particularly between Danville and Springfield, with 
extensions northward to Peoria and Bloomington, and south- 
ward to East St. Louis and beyond. During the same dec- 
ade the number of telephones in use in the state rose from 
428,301 to 1,689,074 a quadrupling which spoke eloquently 
for the banishment of isolation from the rural districts. The 
system of rural free delivery had begun experimentally al- 
most on probation in 1897; the postmaster-general was 
given a small appropriation of forty thousand dollars. In 1900 
there were but 1,276 routes established throughout the whole 
country. In 1902, the year when a permanent organization was 
effected, there were 8,466; in 1904 there were over twenty-five 
thousand routes in operation, and the annual appropriation for 
1904-1905 had risen to twenty million dollars. In the spread 
of this advantageous new feature of country life, Illinois 
profited by its proportionate share. 

About the year 1900 Chicago became aware of the inade- 
quacy of its earlier park system. This chain of pleasure- 
grounds and boulevards, authorized in 1869 but interrupted in 
its completion by the " great fire " of 1871, had long been com- 
pleted and long outgrown. New parks and playgrounds were 
needed outside the original system and particularly within it. 
A special park commission had been created in 1899, with a 
view to providing municipal playgrounds ; and in 1905 the three 
park systems of the city were authorized to take steps that led, 
within a few years, to the creation of a triple system of small 
parks, for neighborhoods at a distance from the large parks. 
Within a few years the south park commission had opened ten 

4 2 

all-the-year-round recreation parks, ranging in area from three 
acres to sixty, and had spent five million dollars on grounds, 
building and equipment, field houses, gymnasia, bathing-pools 
and all the recently realized paraphernalia of right urban living. 
The project developed along lines purely original, following no 
outside models; it arose naturally to meet with adequacy the 
needs of the local situation. Within a short time the field 
houses became headquarters for hundreds of neighborhood 
clubs, social and educational; branches of the Public Library 
were also established in most of them. The system, once under 
way, spread until the south side had some twenty-five of these 
parks and the north and west sides almost as many more. The 
city's own system of municipal playgrounds and of bathhouses 
kept pace with the advance made by the park commissions. In 
1907 was initiated the Play Festival which was promoted by the 
Playground Association of Chicago. The festival of 1908, 
held in Ogden Park, lasted all day; its three sessions morn- 
ing, afternoon, and evening brought into cooperation two 
thousand young people and school children of a score of nation- 
alities, in national costumes; their games, songs, drills, and 
dances drew audiences in excess of twenty-five thousand 

It was about this time, too, that Chicago finally struck its 
first full note in response to the ordered beauty of the great 
fair of 1893. In 1907 two clubs, the Merchants' and the Com- 
mercial, uniting under the name of the latter, took the first steps 
toward what became known as the Plan of Chicago a com- 
prehensive scheme for the rectification and beautification of the 
entire city, with special reference to the neglected frontage 
along Lake Michigan. In 1909 the mayor appointed a large 
commission of representative citizens to further the idea ; and 
in 1911 the elaborate plans and perspective drawings prepared 
to illustrate the undertaking the product of skilled artists and 
architects and the result of a notable financial outlay were 
put on exhibition at the Art Institute. 7 In some aspects they 

7 Moody, tVacker's Manual of the Plan of Chicago. 


raised, perhaps, an unattainable ideal; yet a man's reach should 
exceed his grasp. The plan gave a rallying point for the gen- 
eral aims and ambitions of municipal betterment; and though 
conflicting interests and powers, private and official, have inter- 
fered with the realization of its major features, encouraging 
progress has been made in carrying out some of its minor ones. 

In 1910 appeared at Springfield the first and only number 
of The Village Magazine, the work of Nicholas Vachel Lind- 
say, artist and poet. In picture and in verse the author sought 
to awaken the state capital to its artistic delinquencies and to 
propel it toward better things; one symptom in the general 

Meanwhile, Chicago just as it stood had become the 
beneficiary of another invoker of beauty. In 1904 a wealthy 
lumberman, resident in the city, died; and in 1905 the Fergu- 
son monument fund of more than a million dollars became avail- 
able for the "erection and maintenance of enduring statuary 
and monuments ... in the parks, along the boulevards, or 
in the public places within the City of Chicago, commemorating 
worthy men and women of America or important events in our 
history." The annual income from this fund was found to 
amount to thirty thousand dollars. The first work of art rea- 
lized from it was Lorado Taft's " fountain of the Great 
Lakes" in Grant Park. Several years' income has been di- 
verted to carry out an elaborate plan for the embellishment of 
the Midway Plaisance. A further employment of the fund was 
for the erection of a memorial column, with sculptured base, in 
one of the city's northwestern parks, designed to mark the 
hundredth anniversary of the admission of Illinois into the 
union. 8 

In 1903 the city's art lovers began to benefit from another 
fund. The Scammon lectures, given in annual series at the Art 
Institute, were due to the bequest of Mrs. Maria S. Scammon, 
who died in 1901. The first series was delivered by John La- 

8 Exercises at the dedication of the Ferguson fountain of the Great Lakes. 
September 9, 1913. 


Farge; others, given by eminent painters, sculptors, and archi- 
tects, have continued the series through fifteen years. The Art 
Institute, since the days of 1893, has grown architecturally by 
the addition of the Ryerson Library, the Fullerton Assembly 
Hall, the Blackstone Gallery, and the great central stairway 
all being gifts of wealthy art-loving Chicagoans. The comple- 
tion of the third of these provided the scene for a gorgeous 
"pageant of the Renaissance," and that of the fourth the set- 
ting for a picturesque and stirring " masque of Montezuma " 
both by an art director whose skillful hand was to be felt in the 
various commemorative celebrations held later in Illinois, as a 
consequence of the revival of interest in the state's past A 
Municipal Art League, organized in Chicago, in 1899, was fol- 
lowed a few years later by a city art commission. This, unlike 
the state art commission ( 1 909 ) , which is merely advisory, was 
given power to veto and has saved the city from more than one 
artistic calamity. 

In architecture the style of the beaux arts kept its hold, but 
a simpler and more monumental manner came into use, par- 
ticularly for the multiplying Christian Science churches. A re- 
lated style has been preferred for several of the city's railway 
stations, built or projected. 

During these years, literature in Illinois suffered a lapse. 
What had been looked upon as promising a " Chicago school " 
went down in eclipse. Instead, there came a prodigious mul- 
tiplication of low-grade magazines. Many of these, gay in 
name and in color, came to figure prominently on the news 
stands; others, stated to have circulation of even greater, of 
almost incredible proportions, were never seen in the city which 
produced them and were thought to be distributed through the 
remoter districts of the middle west and northwest. 

Music, during these years, passed through many bright 
phases. In 1904, Ravinia Park, some twenty miles from Chi- 
cago, on the north shore, was fully under way. Its course has 
continued uninterrupted, though there have been times when 
"saving Ravinia" became a rather poignant pastime. This 


resort began with symphony concerts by organizations of the 
highest grade, whether eastern or western. In later years it 
supplemented its orchestral performances with summer opera 
cut to the needs of the season. Evanston, also on the north 
shore, became, in 1909, the scene of the first Annual North 
Shore Festival, an undertaking molded to a large scale and cele- 
brated in a large building, the gymnasium of Northwestern 
University. Each season has brought a four-day series of per- 
formances by a vast orchestra and choruses, together with solo- 
ists of distinguished rank, all under Northwestern's musical de- 
partment and its experienced head. In 1904 the Thomas Or- 
chestra left the Auditorium, after an occupancy of fourteen 
years, and took up its quarters in the new Orchestra Hall, 
which had been built on Michigan avenue by a general subscrip- 
tion. The death of Theodore Thomas followed a few weeks 
after the change, but caused no faltering and no deterioration 
in the progress and the standards of the orchestra. 

During the last decade the great universities of the state 
have continued their advances, achieving a broadened cultural 
scope and a general financial well-being. These advances have 
been evidenced, in a material and physical sense, by a con- 
tinuing activity in building: at Urbana, for example, under 
President James, the number of buildings was increased from 
twenty-four to sixty. But if recent university architecture has 
expressed one thing more clearly than another, that thing is the 
great development of university life in its social aspects. More 
closely than ever have the social interests of the student come 
to keep abreast of his scholastic interests: clubs of many kinds 
and serving many purposes have been brought into existence; 
sport, with its extensive apparatus and expensive parapher- 
nalia, has become more exigent in its demands; and the stark, 
devoted, barrack-like life of an earlier day has been made to 
assume an aspect legendary and incredible. At Urbana frater- 
nity and sorority houses have multiplied and have become fac- 
tors of increasing importance in the social life of the university 


and the town. At Northwestern, in 1914, the Greek letter soci- 
eties entrenched themselves in three quadrangles of fraternity 
houses, from which an alliance of alumni and undergraduates 
began to exercise a preponderating influence on the conduct of 
university affairs. At Illinois, the Woman's Building (1904, 
1911) and the Women's Residence Hall (1916-1917) have 
risen to demonstrate the urbanities of life to a late and fortu- 
nate generation; while, at Chicago, the Ida Noyes Hall, erected 
in 19151916, for purposes purely social and recreational, 
ranks, in its luxury and splendor, almost as an educational 

A like trend, due allowance made, has been observable in 
the state normal schools. Some of these, in the absence of ac- 
credited high schools, have, under the township scholarship 
law, served practically as schools of that grade, or have organ- 
ized academic divisions which serve the same purpose and 
which have attracted a large attendance of young men. 
At Macomb and De Kalb have recently been erected women's 
dormitories of superior character. Thus a thriving social 
life has ensued, and the activities of sport and of club life in its 
varieties have come to be almost as marked as at the universities 
themselves. The relations of the normal schools to the schools 
of the towns in which they have been located have tended to 
vary with local circumstances. Of course, young children must 
be secured for the laboratory method of instructing the teacher 
of the future. At Normal itself a town collected round the uni- 
versity, and the university soon came to serve in great measure 
the educational needs of the community it had created. Macomb 
has devised a partial duplication, or overlaying, of the town's 
own system the ward in which the normal school is situated 
furnishing the elementary pupils required for the student- 
teachers. 9 De Kalb has arranged to have all its teaching done 
in the city schools themselves, using two schools of the regular 
eight-grade type (one in the normal grounds, the other in the 
city proper) , where full opportunity has been provided for stu- 

8 Military Tract Normal School Quarterly, June, 1917. 


dents to conduct classes under the eyes of critic-teachers. 10 A 
scho-j* !.ke that at Macomb, housed in magnificent buildings, 
handsomely equipped and swarming with students of all school 
ages, is calculated to make the educational beginnings of the 
state seem decidedly meager and remote. Far, far away the 
days when the few early, intent students at Bloomington, in 
cramped and casual quarters bare of equipment, progressed 
slowly from candles to kerosene and from kerosene to gas, with 
little thought of the Argand burner and none at all of the elec- 
tric bulb. 11 Yet the great light has grown, and has illumined 
the whole state. 

The years since 1900 have witnessed a veritable revolution 
in the system of public instruction of the southern counties. This 
is evidenced chiefly through the development of high schools. 
Among the earliest towns to secure fairly good schools were 
Cairo, Mt. Vernon, and Sparta. But the real advance began 
with the township high school movement, a growth made prac- 
ticable by a better school tax law. Centralia, Harrisburg, 
Murphysboro, Marshall, Du Quoin, Benton, Collinsville, Law- 
renceville, and Bridgeport are among the towns that have lately 
come to rank high as secondary school centers. These schools 
are furnishing a higher grade of teachers to the elementary 
schools. They are sending more well-qualified students to the 
normal school at Carbondale and to the stronger colleges and 
universities. They are becoming, more and more, centers for 
community betterment, for short courses in agriculture and 
home economics, and for public lectures and discussions. They 
have stimulated the development of libraries and art collec- 
tions and have stirred the city high schools to greater effort for 
efficient organization. 

In Chicago, the growth of the public school system has gone 
on steadily, regardless of notorious controversies in the board of 

10 Northern Illinois State Normal School Quarterly, August, 1917. 

11 Temporary quarters had been secured for the new institution, by the state 
board, in Major's Hall in Bloomington where, on October 5, 1857, the school 
opened with a principal, one assistant, and twenty-nine pupils. Cook and 
McHugh, History of the Illinois State Normal University, p. 25. For primitive 
conditions, including lighting, see ibid., in. 


education. In 1917 the enrollment of pupils had risen beyond 
three hundred and sixty thousand and the roster of teachers 
beyond eight thousand. 12 There were two hundred and seventy- 
four elementary schools besides twenty-eight others, including 
five technical high schools; and the immense appropriation for 
maintenance has risen to more than fourteen and a half million 
dollars. A few years earlier a large free industrial school had 
been opened in Pullman. 

In recent years the general musical life of the state has made 
great advances. Several of the normal schools have estab- 
lished bands, orchestras, and choruses. Musical interests have 
been strongly active at Jacksonville, where the Illinois Con- 
servatory of Music (merged with Illinois College in 1903) and 
the Illinois Woman's College (with a music hall erected in 
1906) have maintained and advanced their status. Both have 
established orchestras and choruses, and performances of the 
standard oratorios and cantatas, as well as of operas, serious 
or light, have been frequent. And music has naturally been, 
always, an important interest at Jacksonville's Illinois School 
for the Blind. A notable building for musical uses was erected 
at James Millikin University, Decatur, in 1903. Here, as at 
Jacksonville, concerts of high quality have been frequent; and 
here too, a constant accession of juvenile pupils has fed the 
flood of the general stream. At Galesburg the faculty and 
students of Knox Conservatory of Music (established in 1883) 
have continued the tradition of church and chapel services 
marked by a high distinction; and at Lombard College the pre- 
dominant interest in the school of three arts has been the musi- 
cal interest. Of late years, Eureka, near Peoria, has been the 
scene of remarkable musical festivals. Thus, in the spring of 
1917, a performance of the " Messiah " was given there with a 
chorus of a thousand voices and a director and orchestra from 
the music department of the University of Illinois. Illinois 
itself, as the result of a liberal gift, has begun the erection of a 

12 Generalized from unpublished statistics of the Chicago board of educa- 


notable building which will mean an era in the history of its 
school of music. At Springfield a college of music has been 
established and a full high school orchestra organized. The 
very active musical life of Peoria has expressed itself in ama- 
teur musical clubs and singing societies, in the presence of an 
exceptional number of music teachers, and in a musical college 
housed in its own building. The rich and genial life of Peoria 
has expressed itself further in a variety of social, benevolent, 
and protective organizations. Though incorporated as a city 
as late as 1845, Peoria was not slow in reaching the rank of 
second in the state. Besides having its fair share of turnver- 
eins, kindergartens, and maennerchors, it has hospitably domes- 
ticated Redmen and Foresters, Elks and Eagles, Knights of 
Khorassan, Knights of Pythias, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, 
the Order of the Eastern Star, and similar orders in wide vari- 
ety a phase of social life which has been expressed architec- 
turally in the Mohammed Temple (1909), a structure elabo- 
rately oriental. Peoria, devoted to the lively and bizarre, has 
naturally become a favorite meeting-place for conventions and 
for social bodies intent on celebrations. 

The student of applied culture may reasonably ask not only : 
How do you house your students and school children, but what 
accommodation do you provide for the stranger within your 
gates? Hotels through the middle west have emerged but 
lately from the cloud of mediocrity which dimmed so long the 
general life of the Mississippi valley. But in recent years hotels 
of metropolitan bulk and stature and of corresponding equip- 
ment have begun to and there. Peoria, Decatur, Gales- 
burg, Bloomington, and some other points in the cultural life of 
the state have lately bestirred themselves to welcome visitors in 
hostelries of the approved current type; Springfield too, where 
a house long noted as a center for political and social gather- 
ings, has lately reconstructed itself on the accepted model of 
the day. Far, far back beyond such rotundas, lobbies, and cafes 
as these houses afford are felt to be the taverns and eating 
houses which met the simpler wants of an earlier time. 


One may inquire further: What have the larger towns of 
the state done for the welfare and pleasure of their own citi- 
zens? In the matter of public parks much has been accom- 
plished here and there. Alton and Peoria have developed park 
sites in consonance with natural opportunities a tract of hills 
and valleys in the one instance, a stretch of river bluff, with 
wide-embracing views, in the other. Springfield has sur- 
rounded itself by a complete system of parks; and East St. 
Louis at least recognizes in the St. Clair county highlands above 
her river bottom a country-side which offers a scenic tour of 
high attractiveness. And the state, in 191 1, established a park 
commission, one of the objects of which was the conservation 
of such natural beauties as those that surround Starved Rock on 
the Illinois river. 

In 1916 work was begun on the forest preserve of Cook 
county. The project, first formed in 1904, had required re- 
peated elections (1905, 1910, 1914), before all legal and offi- 
cial objections could be removed. 13 However, a favorable opin- 
ion handed down by the state supreme court finally cleared the 
way; in the spring of 1916 there was a large issue of forest 
preserve bonds, and in the autumn of that year were signed 
the first contracts for a considerable purchase of wooded acres 
lying beyond Chicago's confines. 14 

The extensive project for the improvement of the lake 
front, in Chicago, was marked for long delays, owing to the 
conflicting interests of the various powers involved; but efforts 
made more or less independently of these have already resulted 
in giving that part of the city an altered physiognomy. In 1916 
Chicago opened its new municipal recreation pier which, erected 
at a cost of four million dollars, extends into Lake Michigan 
for nearly three-quarters of a mile, affords headquarters for 
excursion steamers, and has provided concert and dance halls, 
restaurants, and the like for the summer holiday throng. A 

13 Board of Forest Preserve Commissioners of Cook County, Official Records 
of Proceedings; Chicago Tribune, various issues between 1914 and 1917. 

14 A vote on a bond issue of sixty million dollars for a system of good 
roads throughout the state will be taken November, 1918. 


mile and a half to the south has been constructed (1915-1918) 
the new building of the Field Natural History Museum. For 
this structure the late Marshall Field bequeathed a sum of eight 
million* dollars: it furnishes central quarters for the extensive 
collections gathered after the fair of 1893 in the former Art 
Building in Jackson Park. Midway between these two great 
enterprises the Art Institute has recently extended itself in 
Grant park over the railway tracks at the foot of Adams street, 
and has become a repository for the paintings purchased from 
time to time by the society called the Friends of American Art. 
It has also been enriched recently by the Burnham Alcove, a 
collection of architectural publications which serves as a memo- 
rial of the chief architect of the Columbian exposition. In 
1916, the institute, which has maintained the largest art school 
in the United States and the most numerously visited of Amer- 
ican art museums, began an extension service : lectures, art ex- 
hibitions, and demonstrations of interior decoration for peri- 
patetic use through the towns of the state and of the middle 

The parks of Chicago, if not so large as they ought to be, 
have been found large enough for several golf links. Five 
courses have been laid out in different parts of the park system, 
the links at Jackson Park affording the most extensive example 
of municipalized golf in the country. In such of the parks as 
front upon Lake Michigan, bathhouses of notable extent and 
elaborateness have lately been constructed. Music in the parks 
has come to be furnished by the Chicago Band Association; 
maintained by a body of private citizens, the band appears in the 
various parks in rotation. The Civic Music Association de- 
signed to render a like service in the field houses and grounds of 
the smaller parks, held its first spring festival in 1915, and has 
given annual festival concerts of note. Summer parks of the 
White City type have sprung up in numbers. The peculiar 
towers and trestles required for the functioning of such enter- 
prises have become familiar in many cities and towns, large and 


The outstanding feature in the musical life of Chicago, dur- 
ing the past decade has been the establishment of opera as a 
regular and abiding feature in the city's life. The autumn of 
1910 saw the opening of the first season of the Chicago Opera 
Association at the Auditorium. This opera, in the breadth and 
the detail of its organization, the standing of its principal sing- 
ers, the quality of its orchestra and chorus, and the abilities of 
its director, has given the Auditorium rank among the really 
great opera houses of the world. Besides its regular perform- 
ances at home, the company has given performances all the way 
from New York to San Francisco. More particularly, its tours 
through the middle west, the northwest, and the south have 
done much to domesticate opera in the ambitious cities of the 
Mississippi valley. Far, far is all this from the simple day 
when small troupes of singers from the remote east paused in 
passing, for a day or two or passed without pausing at all. 

In the drama the corresponding years have been years of 
protest. Chicago has been an active center for " new theaters," 
"little theaters," "drama players," "players' workshops," 
" drama leagues " and the whole flux of minor movements pro- 
voked by the degraded condition of the stage. Chicago has 
even seen a " college theater," devised and directed by a de- 
voted little group of Catholic priests who, with wide fluctua- 
tions between optimism and despair, endeavored to provide 
decent entertainment for their self-respecting parishioners. 
The Little Theater, which earned a certain prominence, began 
its career in the autumn of 1912. More recently, the the- 
ater of Hull House which has maintained a company and has 
given varied performances for fifteen years or more, has begun 
to speak of itself as the first of " little theaters " as the thing 
itself, existing years before the name for the thing came to be 

Many of these small movements toward theatrical reform 
have taken on, practically, the form and procedure of clubs. 
They may serve to illustrate at once the serviceability, the vari- 
ability, and the inevitability of the club idea. Association, once 


made familiar as a force and a method, will not be dispensed 
with. A new spirit is certain to produce new forms. Among 
clubs recently organized in Chicago for giving body to new im- 
pulses may be mentioned: the Cliff-Dwellers, a man's club 
formed in 1911 on a new model by practitioners, patrons, and 
lovers of the arts; the Women's City Club (1915) engaged, 
like the Men's City Club, with civic and municipal questions ; the 
Cordon, an organization of professional and business women 
with centrally situated quarters; and the Arts Club, an interest- 
ing blend of professional artists and of women socially promi- 
nent. Some of these organizations, with others like them, have 
found place in the Fine Arts Building, an accommodating 
assemblage of theaters, studios, recital halls, music schools, and 
"art" shops. 

Literature, too, goes through its changing phases with the 
changing years. About 1912 poetry rose suddenly as a more 
vivid factor in American life. In October, of that year, Poetry : 
A Magazine of Verse began publication in Chicago and the city 
found itself one of the chief foci of the new movement. Poetry 
was the earliest, the most radical, and the most aggressive 
magazine of a type since become familiar; its object has been 
to "exhibit" current verse an analogy drawn, of course, 
from the public picture gallery. In 1916 the number of new 
poets discovered in Chicago, and of old ones rediscovered, made 
the publication of a Chicago Anthology a matter of ease. 

The pageant, a commemorative blend of poetry, drama, 
history, and wide neighborly cooperation, has been cultivated in 
Chicago for the use and delectation of cities east and west, and 
also for such towns of Illinois as had felt disposed to materi- 
alize a consciousness of their historic past combined with an 
essay at the art of the theater. Thus, Belleville, which, in 1 890, 
had celebrated the hundredth anniversary of the installation of 
Governor St. Clair, observed still more elaborately, in 1914, 
the hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the seat of 
government for St. Clair county in that town. 15 A pageant of 

15 The text of the pageant was published In Belleville. It was by Thomas 


similar nature and directed by the same artists, had been held 
in 1912 at Edwardsville, the county seat of Madison county, 
with the aid of a contingent from Alton. In the same year Knox 
College celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary by giving a 
pageant illustrative of the history of Galesburg and the college 
during their joint existence. 16 

But pageants are occasional, with the occasions far between ; 
and the demand for music and drama is constant and insistent. 
Two developments of this latter day meet this demand the 
"record" and the film. These, along with the telephone and 
the interurban, bring a facile participation in life to dwellers in 
the country and put them more nearly on a level than they could 
otherwise hope to be, in the matter of diversion, with the people 
of the cities. The first moving picture ( in any close approxima- 
tion to today's sense of the term) was shown in 1894; in less 
than a quarter of a century the invention had been developed 
and perfected, the immense mechanism of production and dis- 
tribution had been evolved and extended, and the moving pic- 
ture, as a source of entertainment and instruction with slight 
regard for the infrequent visits of unworthy traveling compa- 
nies was to be found in view upon the main street of every 
town and village. The rise of the mechanical player has been 
equally sudden and its vogue equally great. Everywhere the 
eye and the ear, however far from urban centers, may take their 
share in the great sweep of life. Far away, indeed, the meager 
and monotonous hours of earlier years, when even holidays 
might be empty and when winter evenings were long. 

Illinois had emerged from the Civil War a commonwealth 
lean, forlorn, bedraggled. Mortgages and miasma plagued 
the lonely, backward farmer. Eight per cent interest and chills 
and fever harassed his unprofitable days. There was no ade- 
quate conception of scientific agriculture. The early settlers. 

Wood Stevens, of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburg, and author 
of earlier pageants given at the Art Institute, Chicago. 

16 For a complete account of the Galesburg pageant see Webster, Seventy- 
five Significant Years. The Story of Knox College, 1837-1912. 


if New Englanders, had followed the primitive and narrow 
methods of their own section ; if southerners, they had been dis- 
posed by early training and inclination to hold cereals second- 
ary to cotton. The manufacture of farm machinery had only 
begun. There was no proper understanding of the state's re- 
markable soil; no sense of the possibilities of its low-grade 
coals, or of its clays, or of concrete in its manifold forms; no 
proper employment of drainage, no proper use of fertilizers. 
The isolated husbandman was yet to be told of improved breeds 
of cattle and of bettered dairying methods ; yet to learn how to 
combat the insect and vegetable pests that assailed him; yet to 
be instructed as to what were the most profitable crops and how 
he could increase their yield; yet to realize, in short, how a suit- 
able type of state university could, in the words of Dr. Draper, 
put millions into the farmers' pockets. Modern science and a 
real and effective educational engine have done this. A uni- 
versity which, from the start, laid a strong emphasis on agri- 
culture has had its work supplemented by farmers' institutes, 
local experiment stations, and demonstration trains. The ad- 
vance of Illinois in general prosperity has been in large part the 
advance of the instructed farmer an advance which has made 
Illinois the first agricultural state in the union. Its towns, too, 
have secured a good share of the general apparatus of amenity: 
school buildings and libraries, modern waterworks, well-paved 
and well-shaded streets. Prosperity has followed instruction; 
and culture in the sense of a fuller, fairer, richer scheme of 
living has followed prosperity. But such concrete facts are 
simply the convenient exemplifications of those processes, both 
complex and comprehensive, and of those results, both widely 
diffused and ofttimes imponderable, which have marked the 
transition from a past era to the present. Implicit in this prog- 
ress have been the ideality of the professor, the devotion of the 
pastor, the ready response of the student, and the quick cooper- 
ation of the citizen in the march toward better things. And 
thus stands Illinois on the threshold of her second century of 


THIRTY years ago the farmers in Illinois, as in many other 
parts of the country, were suffering from u hard times." 
But since the end of the depression about 1896, the farmers 
have enjoyed a prosperity equalled by few other occupational 
groups in the state. Yields have been increased, values have 
gone up still more rapidly, farming practice has been improved, 
and improvements in other lines have made the farm a pleas- 
anter and more comfortable place of residence. And yet in 
spite of these facts agriculture in Illinois has labored under 
many difficulties. As in all progressive enterprises problems of 
readjustment and change have presented themselves and 
pressed for solution. The one which has probably called forth 
the greatest amount of discussion has been the steady with- 
drawal of the rural population from the farms and its concen- 
tration in the cities. 1 

This is not a new movement, but it has gone on with espe- 
cial rapidity in the last twenty-five years, during which period 
the industrialization of the state and the growth of cities were 
offering new opportunities and attractions to the boys and girls 
from the farms. As a result the percentage of the total popu- 
lation engaged in agriculture fell steadily, although the propor- 
tion engaged in all gainful occupations, that is at work for pay, 
was as steadily increasing. A century ago nine-tenths of the 
people in the state found employment in agriculture and in 1 870 
over half; but by 1890 the proportion had fallen to less than 
one-third, to only one-fourth in 1900, and to less than one-fifth 
in I9io. 2 

Not only has there been a decline in the proportion of the 

1 See above, p. 4 ff. 

2 See table in appendix, p. 493- 



population engaged in agriculture from thirty-two per cent in 
1890 to nineteen per cent in 1910, but the last census report 
actually registered a decrease in the absolute number thus occu- 
pied. The explanation of the curious condition that a greater 
proportion of the total population was engaged in gainful oc- 
cupations in 1910 than in 1890 is doubtless to be found in the 
fact that as the population moves from the country to the city 
a larger number of persons work for a wage than would be the 
case in an agricultural community. The less agricultural a 
community becomes the more generally engaged in gainful occu- 
pations will its members be. The members of a family who do 
not receive money pay for their services are not reckoned in 
the census reports as being engaged in gainful pursuits, and this 
group is of course much larger in a rural than in an urban 

While the number of persons engaged in agriculture was 
falling, an equally marked change had been taking place in the 
nationalities of the farm population. Ever since the early days 
of the pioneers this group has always consisted primarily of 
native American stock, but the last quarter century has seen a 
steady increase in this element, until today nearly nine-tenths 
of the Illinois farmers are native born. Such a movement 
merely parallels the steady Americanization of the state popula- 
tion as a whole, though in the case of the agricultural popula- 
tion it is strengthened by two other factors. 3 

In the first place the necessity for a large and ever larger 
investment of capital before one can own a farm precludes all 
but a small minority of immigrants from joining this group. 
And in the second place, as the older foreign born element dies 
off and their farms pass to their children who were born in this 
country, the latter are recorded among the native born. The 
proportion of the native born among the agricultural popula- 
tion tends therefore to become constantly greater except in so 
far as it may be offset by the accession of new immigrants who 
engage in agriculture. 4 

3 See p. 22-23. 4 See table in appendix, p. 493. 


In spite of the stationary character of the agricultural popu- 
lation, the products, both field and animal, were increased 
greatly during this period. If the year 1840 is taken as the 
base and the population engaged in agriculture and the pro- 
duction of cereals is calculated in terms of this base, the follow- 
ing results are obtained: 



Population engaged 
in agriculture 

Production of 
cereals, bushels 

Increase in cereals over 
increase in population 
engaged in agri- 





4.2 Q. 2 



IQOO. . 


I 024.. 6 

1,4.8 s. 2 

TQIO. . 


I 863.2 

From this it is seen that while the population increased 
about four times between 1840 and 1900, the production of 
cereals increased almost twenty times. In the decade following 
1900, however, there was a slight falling off, due no doubt to 
the decline in the agricultural population. The efficiency of the 
persons engaged in agriculture had increased very greatly, and 
this increase in efficiency may be considered as equivalent to an 
increase in the number of agricultural workers. 

To what causes shall this tremendous gain in agricultural 
production be ascribed? First in importance undoubtedly has 
been the changing personnel of the farm population. In place 
of the wasteful pioneer, whose extractive methods have already 
been outlived, has come the modern business farmer, equipped 
with the latest knowledge and improvements. The typical up- 
to-date Illinois farmer of the twentieth century has immensely 
broadened his outlook and increased his efficiency. It is a truism 
that he must be a business man as well as farmer, acquainted 
with markets and prices and able to apply a cost accounting sys- 
tem to his operations. So rapid is the march of improvements 
that he must keep posted also on the latest achievements of 


science and practical experimentation which are brought to him 
in farm journals and experiment station bulletins. The younger 
generation is receiving ever improved technical education in 
high school and college. If proof were needed of the progres- 
siveness of the modern Illinois farmer, it may be found in the 
improved equipment of the farm home, in the larger use of 
farm machinery, of automobiles, of rural telephones, and of 
other devices whose use is characteristic of the new farmer. 

But from what has just been said it is evident that the 
farmer of today is " the heir of all the ages." Science and in- 
vention have contributed to equip him with labor-saving devices 
and farm machinery which have enormously increased his effi- 
ciency and lightened his toil. The value of farm implements on 
Illinois farms more than doubled in the twenty years from 1890 
to 1910, increasing from $34,456,938 to $73,724,074, and this 
increase in total values occurred in spite of a striking decline in 
the price of farm machinery. But in spite of this decline the 
value of farm machinery to each person engaged in agriculture 
was 1.7 times as much in 1910 as it had been in 1860. The 
amount of machinery per farm worker trebled in the same inter- 
val. In 1910 this state was surpassed only by Iowa and New 
York in the value of farm implements. 

The distribution of these improved tools and machines is 
by no means uniform throughout the state, about forty-four 
per cent being found in the northern section and seventeen per 
cent in the southern, while the remainder was in the central. 
The ratio of the value of machinery per farm in the northern, 
central, and southern divisions was about three to two to one. 
The explanation of this difference is of course to be found in 
the fact that most of the machinery and the most valuable ma- 
chinery was found in the corn and wheat belts of the state. As 
these had become fairly well established by 1890 subsequent 
census reports have indicated very little change in the distribu- 
tion of farm machinery throughout the state, although each 
census has recorded an increase. 

The decrease to the farmer of the cost of farm machinery 


is shown in the following table, which gives the changes between 
1860 and 1900: 


ARTICLE 1860 1880' 1890 1895 1900 

Cultivators, riding, 2-horse 3 

> 45.00 

$ 45.00 

$ 35-00 

$ 28.00 

$ 28.00 

Drills, grain 






Harrows, spring tooth, i6-tooth 



1 6.00 



Harrows, disc 






Harvester, combined 






Planters, corn, single row 






Plows, walking 




12. OO 


Plows, gang 






Rakes, sulky hay 












Rollers, land or field 






Seeders, with cultivators 






Shellers, corn 












Diggers, potato, plain 






Total cost of one machine of each 







Cost of machinery in per cents, with 

1860 as base 






Value of machinery per farm worker 

in per cents, with 1860 as base. . 






Amount of machinery per farm 

worker in per cents, with 1860 as 







The decline in the price of farm machinery seems to have 
been arrested about the year 1900, and between that date and 
1910 prices remained stationary. Since this last date the in- 
crease in the prices of these articles has been very great as a 
result of the tremendous fall in the value of the monetary unit. 
The extent of the fall in the cost of farm machinery during the 
fifty years ending in 1910 may be judged by the fact that in the 
latter year $100 would have purchased as much as $180 would 
have done in 1860. At the same time there had taken place a 

5 Based on Holmes, The Course of Prices of Farm Implements and Machin- 
ery, 15-25. 


vast improvement in the efficiency and durability of the ma- 
chines that was in inverse proportion to their price. 

As a result of this increase in the amount and improvement 
in the character of machinery the enhanced efficiency of the 
farm population offset the decline in numbers. Another more 
indirect result of the introduction of machinery may be noted. 
As it took men of ability to run the expensive and complicated 
machinery higher demands were made on the character and in- 
tellectual capacity of the agricultural population. At the same 
time the hard manual toil and drudgery were greatly lessened. 
These factors have done much to raise the standards of the 
farmers of Illinois. 

Some of the more notable changes and improvements in 
farm machinery may be noted at this point, in the production 
of which Illinois inventors and manufacturers have had full 
share. It is not possible to assign credit always to particular 
men for the invention of a machine. Ideas were borrowed; 
frequently hundreds of patents have been taken out in per- 
fecting a single machine, the few successful ones being finally 
combined. By 1893 most of the important machines had been 
pretty well developed, but improvements are constantly being 
made. Those which were of chief importance in the Illinois 
corn belt were the following: the improvements on the check 
row corn planters and the introduction of the edge-drop selec- 
tion of Remels which was made in 1890. Although the edge- 
drop system is not now the most popular it had considerable in- 
fluence on the development of corn planters. The idea of a 
corn binder and harvester is not a new one in this state. " In 
the early fifties there might have been seen, in Illinois, a poor 
old man, a homeless wanderer, known as ' Father Quincy.' He 
had spent his life trying to invent a machine that would cut and 
bind cornstalks. He was regarded as a ' crank,' but recent 
times have shown that his idea could be realized." 6 Not only 
are successful corn binders and harvesters now manufactured, 
but they have been introduced into general use in the corn belt. 

G Sanford, Story of Agriculture in the United States, 254. 


Attempts to produce shockers and shock loaders have not 
been so successful. Such devices have been patented and put on 
the market; but, while they are a partial success, they have not 
yet come into general use. The same thing may be said of corn 
pickers and huskers. These machines are still in the experi- 
mental stage, although a fairly successful picker has been de- 
veloped which works well under favorable conditions. 

Other improvements to be noted are the use of hay loaders, 
the manure spreader, the modern potato digger and crater, the 
wind stacker for grain threshers, grain dumps, and silo-filling 
machinery. After they were once put to the test of practical 
use, improvements on them were easily made. During the same 
period the orchard, garden, and field have been provided with 
spraying outfits, and the dairy with such machinery as the Bab- 
cock test, the cream separator, and the milker. 

Probably the most important improvement which has been 
introduced in Illinois agriculture in recent years is the gasoline 
tractor. The importance of this machine lies not so much in its 
performance up-to-date as in the vast possibilities which it opens 
up for the future. The steam engine was first applied to the 
work of plowing and threshing, but within the last twenty years 
has been pretty generally supplanted by the gasoline engine. 
As first developed in the northwest the gasoline tractor was a 
large heavy-duty machine, but this failed for plowing under 
Illinois conditions. This was followed by the development of 
the caterpillar type of gas tractor, and finally by the light gen- 
eral purpose tractor. The last named machine has already be- 
gun to displace horses on Illinois farms to a noticeable extent. 

But the usefulness of the gasoline engine is not limited to the 
work of plowing, cultivating, threshing, and drawing loads. 
" It has been set to work turning the milk separator, the churn, 
the silage cutter, the washing machine, the sausage grinder and 
stuffer, the feed and fanning mills, and the grindstone. It 
pumps water for the stock, for the house water tank, and for 
irrigation; it saws wood, shells corn, digs post holes, and drills 
the well. It mows the lawn, and runs the milking machine, the 


vacuum cleaner, and the lathe in the work-shop. By its power 
the barn and orchards are sprayed with disinfectant, and the 
sheep are sheared. Granaries and silos may be built to any de- 
sired height and filled by means of elevators run by gasoline. 
Is there any limit to which this engine may not go in relieving 
the farmer, his wife, and their helpers from wearying muscular 
effort and drudgery?" 7 

The tenure of Illinois farms is a matter of growing impor- 
tance, for there is an undoubted movement in the direction of 
an increase in tenant farming and a withdrawal of owners from 
active use of the land they own. 8 It may be too early to speak 
with certainty as to the economic and social results of this 
change, but as to the tendency itself there seems little doubt. 
In 1890 the number of farms in the state operated by tenants 
was 81,833 or 34 per cent of all; in 1910 it was 104,379 or 4 1 
per cent of all. In the latter year Illinois ranked sixth among 
the states of the union in the percentage of tenancy among 
white farmers, and third if the proportion of farm acreage 
instead of the number of farms be taken as the criterion. 
Moreover the average size of tenant farms is steadily grow- 
ing larger, and in 1910 they embraced forty-four per cent of the 
total farm acreage of the state. 

The growth of tenancy is most marked in the corn belt, 
Ford county showing the greatest proportion of tenant farms 
in 1910, namely sixty-seven per cent of all farms within the 
county. Tenancy and specialization in cereal production seem 
to have gone hand in hand; in those parts of the state where 
the owners largely operate their own farms diversified farm- 
ing is most developed. Or to put it another way, ownership has 
persisted in those sections where technical knowledge, capital, 
and managerial ability find their widest scope in farming, while 
in those sections where a highly specialized one-crop system pre- 
vails tenancy is most prevalent and competition among renters 

7 Sanford, Story of Agriculture in the United States, 259. 

8 For a full discussion of this subject see Stewart, Land Tenure in the United 
States, with Special Reference to Illinois. 


most severe. 9 Owners tend to be more progressive while the 
tenants follow the beaten track. 

In the early days the thrifty tenant might normally hope in 
time to become an owner and to operate his own farm. But 
with the steady increase in land values it has become increas- 
ingly difficult for the young man, beginning as a tenant, to pur- 
chase land of his own and thus to pass from tenancy as an inter- 
mediate stage to ultimate ownership of his farm. 10 This seems 
to indicate that tenancy will undoubtedly persist in Illinois agri- 
culture as a permanent phenomenon. 

The number and size of farms in Illinois is a matter of in- 
terest, though of minor importance. The number of farms 
grew from 240,681 in 1890 to 264,151 in 1900, a gain of al- 
most ten per cent, but in the following decade it fell off again to 
251,872, a decline of four and six-tenths per cent. Practically 
all the loss in the number of farms was confined to the northern 
division where the tendency to consolidation was most marked 
and where the growing cities were encroaching on the farm 
area. In the southern division, where there was still consider- 
able unimproved land, there was an increase in the number of 
farms in each decade. It is evident, however, that very little 
change in either direction may be expected in this matter in the 
future. The number of farms will probably remain very nearly 
stationary at the point which they have now reached. 

The steady decrease in the average size of Illinois farms 
had been interrupted during the eighties so that the acreage in 
1890 showed a slight gain over that of the average farm ten 
years earlier. During the nineties, the downward tendency was 
resumed, but since 1900 the farms have grown larger again 
until now the average size is greater than at any time since the 
Civil War. 

More important than these points, significant though they 
are of changes in farming practice in Illinois, are the changes 

9 Stewart, Land Tenure in the United States, with Special Reference to Illi- 
nois, 8 z. 

10 Bogart, " Farm Ownership in the United States," Journal of Political 
Economy, 16:201-211. 


which have to do with the utilization of the land as shown in the 
yield and in the values, both of the farms and of their products. 

The amount of land devoted to agriculture within the state 
had declined during the latter eighties and early nineties owing 
to the low price of agricultural products as a result of the open- 
ing up of the northwest and of the steady fall in the general 
price level. But the agricultural depression ended about 1896, 
and by 1900 the number of acres in farms reached the highest 
point which it has ever attained in the history of the state, 
namely 32,794,728 acres. Since then there has been a slight 
falling off. Of this land in farms there has been a steady 
growth in the percentage which is improved from 84.2 per cent 
in 1890 to 86.2 per cent in 1910. This shows a more intensive 
utilization of the farm area of the state with each succeeding 

The decades ending in 1890 and in 1910 are the only two in 
the history of the state which did not witness an increase in tfie 
amount of farm acreage. By 1900 over nine-tenths of the 
area of the state was in farms, a record surpassed only by Iowa, 
Indiana, and Ohio. The most noticeable change during this 
period has been the rapid settling of the land in the southern 
division. This is due to the fact that practically all the land 
available for farming purposes had been taken up in the north- 
ern and central divisions by 1900; but in the southern division, 
owing to the rougher character of the land, there was still con- 
siderable vacant land which was brought under tillage as the 
margin of cultivation was pushed down and it became profit- 
able to farm poorer lands. 

If the amount of unimproved land in the state be taken 
another angle is obtained from which to survey the progress 
made. The amount of unimproved land in farms grew from 
4,829,217 acres in 1890 to 5,095,509 in 1900. This is the 
only decade except that ending in 1 860 during which the amount 
of unimproved land in farms increased. In both instances it 
probably resulted from putting land in farms faster than it 
could be improved. By the end of the next decade, however, 


the amount of unimproved land in farms had been brought 
down to 4,474,614 acres, which was 13.7 per cent of the total 
farm lands in the state, or about one acre in every eight. Thus 
on the average Illinois farm of 129.1 acres there would be 17.7 
acres of unimproved land, which must appear small when 
allowance is made for buildings, pasture, and woodland. 

The unimproved lands of the northern division consist 
primarily of pasture lands while the unimproved lands in the 
other two sections, especially in the southern division, are tim- 
bered lands. During the last quarter of a century the southern 
division has been clearing off its unimproved land very rapidly. 
Today most of the land which yet remains unimproved is to be 
found along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and in the Ozark 
ridge, where the bluffs make it impractical to cultivate the land. 
The extent to which the timbered land has been improved is 
illustrated by the fact that in 1910 the forests of Illinois were 
less than two-thirds of what they had been thirty or forty years 

Closely connected with the improvement of the farm land 
in Illinois is the subject of drainage, for much of the best land 
of the state was too wet for the best use until it was tiled and 
drained. The use of tile drains and ditches has so greatly in- 
creased the value of the land throughout the corn belt of Illinois 
that this now ranks as among the highest priced agricultural 
land in the United States. The movement for tile drainage 
had started in the seventies, and by 1895 there were already 
666,669,066 feet of tile drain laid in this state, or twenty-six 
feet to each acre of improved land. The subsequent growth 
was slow, but by 1915 over 750,000,000 feet of tile had been 
laid. 11 

While the rate of increase was slow, it was steady; and 
moreover the very success of the early movement left less to be 
done in subsequent decades. Most of the land which is today 
undrained consists of swamps and other difficult or low-priced 
lands. In 1916 there were 925,000 acres of swamp land in 

11 For table see appendix, p. 493- 


Illinois, considerably less than the number in either of the 
neighboring states of Wisconsin or Michigan, though consider- 
ably more than in Indiana or Ohio. 12 Less than one per cent 
of the tiles laid during this period were laid down in the south- 
ern division. 

More important for the development of the land resources 
of Illinois than the addition of a few thousand acres of 
swamp lands is the conservation of the improved land by more 
careful utilization and by the use of fertilizers. This state has 
never ranked high in the use of commercial fertilizers for the 
purposes of restoring the lost elements of the soil. The high- 
est rank which Illinois has ever reached among the states of the 
union in the amount expended for commercial fertilizers was 
twentieth place which she attained in 1880 and 1900; in 1910 
she ranked twenty-fourth. The largest annual expenditure for 
this purpose recorded for the state was $830,660 spent in 1 899 
Practically all this was used on the market gardens in the coun- 
ties near Chicago, one-fourth being expended in Cook county 

Although these facts would seem to indicate little interest 
in the question of conserving or increasing the fertility of the 
soil, the farmers of Illinois have been making rapid strides in 
this direction by another method. The men of the Illinois agri- 
cultural experiment station have worked out a permanent sys- 
tem of soil fertility which is being disseminated among the farm- 
ers of the state by means of the farmers' institutes and the 
county farm advisory bureaus. 13 Emphasis is laid upon fertili- 
zation based upon a thorough knowledge of the soil, but scien- 
tific seed selection and careful methods of cultivation are also 
urged as necessary conditions to successful farming. 14 

Probably in no respect have the changes of the last twenty- 
five years been so pronounced as in the value of farm property. 

12 " Reclaiming Swamp Lands," Wallace's Farmer, 41:1562. 
18 Hopkins, "Illinois System of Permanent Fertility," ibid., 41:218. 
14 See Hopkins, The Illinois System of Permanent Fertility. See also Hop- 
kins, Ho<w Not to Treat Illinois Soils. 



This has shown a practically uninterrupted growth from the 
first settlement of the state. In 1 890 the farms of Illinois were 
worth almost $1,500,000,000, which was an increase of twenty- 
five per cent over the previous decade. By 1900 they had in- 
creased another third to over $2,000,000,000; but the greatest 
increase was that which occurred in the next decade, resulting in 
the practical doubling of the value of farm property and bring- 
ing the figures up to almost $4,000,000,000 in 1910. In this 
regard Illinois holds first rank among the states of the union, a 
position it has held since 1890. 

The greatest increases in value during this period occurred 
in the central division, but the northern division shows the 
largest average value per farm. In this respect the southern 
division, as usual, makes a rather poor showing when compared 
with the other two. The census statistics for 1910 show a 
great concentration of farm values in the corn belt. A some- 
what clearer picture of the changes here suggested may be 
secured by taking the average values per farm of the different 
species of farm property rather than the total values. These 
are presented in the following table: 



Average value 

per farm of 

Farm property 

Land and building; 







$7 CQ 

IQOO. . 



1 7O 

IOIC. . 

1C., co? 





Average value of all farm property 

Northern division 

Central division 

Southern division 

l8qo. . . 

$ 8,068 
10, 66 1 

$ 6,909 




IQIO. . 


The figures of average values per farm show very clearly 
that the land and buildings were by far the most important 
element in making for the great increase in values which were 
characteristic of farm property in general. By 1910 the land 
and buildings made up over nine-tenths of the total value. Be- 
side this the value of the farm implements and machinery and 
of the livestock appear quite insignificant, although they too 
have made notable increases in value during this period. 

If the value of the land and buildings be analyzed into its 
two component parts, it is further evident that the value of the 
land is much the more important of the two. The value of farm 
buildings was first reported separately in the census of 1900, 
when it was found that the value of the buildings was 14.2 per 
cent and that of the land was 85.8 per cent of their combined 
value. The next census showed a decline even in this small 
proportion contributed by the buildings. Almost half of the 
value of the farm buildings is to be found in the northern di- 
vision, due in part to the higher standard for farmhouses in 
that region and in part to the larger number of farm buildings 
necessitated by the development of the dairy cattle industry. 

The increase in land values was particularly marked in the 
central division and in the corn belt, while it was relatively un- 
important in the southern division. Indeed, the farm land in 
three of th'e counties in the corn belt, McLean, Livingston, and 
Champaign, was worth as much as the farm land of the whole 
southern division. In the northern two-thirds of the state, the 
land and buildings make up the chief element in the investment 
of an Illinois farmer. The average value of an Illinois farm in 
1910 was $15,505, but for the northern division it was $20,720 
and only slightly less for an average farm in the central division. 
It is evident, therefore, that the average farmer in this state is 
considerable of a capitalist. 

The tremendous increase in the value of farm property dur- 
ing the past two or three decades reflects in a striking manner 
the changes which have occurred during this period in Illinois 
agriculture. Not only has the yield been increased by means 


of improved methods and farm machinery, but an even greater 
increase has taken place in the prices which these products com- 
manded in the market place. By the beginning of the twentieth 
century the growth of the population in the United States had 
caught up with the supply of foodstuffs, and there was no longer 
an overproduction to depress prices. At the same time there 
was a general rise in the price level due to increased gold pro- 
duction and expansion of banking facilities. Both these factors 
have been immensely exaggerated since the outbreak of the 
European war. 

This rise in the value of farm products has been reflected 
in the value of the farms, which has gone up correspondingly 
and in some cases even more rapidly as the future has been 
discounted. The enhanced value of the land marks a change 
too in agricultural practice, in that the operators, especially if 
recent purchasers or tenants, have been forced to utilize the 
land as intensively as possible. This has meant in general that 
they have been compelled to devote more attention to field crops 
and less to animal products, and within the category of field 
crops it has been necessary to shift from hay and pasture to 
cereal production. Thus the value of farm products in Illinois 
increased from an annual average of $185,891,872 for the 
five years 1895-1899 to $276,924,048 for the period 1910- 
1914, and the proportion made up of field crops grew from 
69.8 per cent to 76.2 per cent for the same years. 15 

This displacement of the animal products by the field crops 
was more marked in the northern and central divisions than it 
was in the southern. In general the broad lines of distinction 
between the different sections of the state were now being 
drawn : mixed farming in the northern division, grain farming 
in the central division, cattle raising and the production of 
horticultural and other special products for which it is partic- 
ularly adapted in the southern division. 

15 For table see appendix, p. 494- 


THE real value of the farms to the people of Illinois is not 
measured by statistics of number, size, or price, but rather 
by the yield in agricultural products. Here is the test of the 
efficiency of the labor, the machinery, the science, and the effort 
which has been applied to the soil. Tried by this standard 
Illinois responds nobly. The aggregate value of all farm 
products in 1910 was $586,517,053, and by 1917 the value of 
the farm products and livestock was estimated by the Illinois 
department of agriculture at $956,593,062.* Still more im- 
pressive are the statistics of amount, comprising as they do for 
the latter date 320,000,000 gallons of milk, 46,600,000 pounds 
of butter, 4,000,000 pounds of wool, 100,000,000 dozen eggs, 
30,600,000 fowls, 1,000,000 cattle, 3,745,000 swine, 580,- 
000,000 bushels of cereals, 4,300,000 tons of hay and forage, 
13,000,000 bushels of potatoes, 13,600,000 quarts of small 
fruits, 5,000,000 bushels of orchard fruits, and numerous other 
smaller items. Here is enough literally to subsist an army, 
even of modern proportions. 

Farm products may be classified into the two large divisions 
of field crops and animal products, and the field crops may 
again be divided into the four main groups of cereals, hay and 
pasture, horticultural, and miscellaneous. Taken as a whole 
the average annual value of the field crops grew from $129,- 
890,293 for the period 1895-1899 to $518,227,210 for 1915- 
1917. About half of these values were to be found in the 
northern division. Of the four groups of field crops the 
cereals were not only the most important throughout this 

1 Statistical Report of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, December t, 
I 9 I 7> P- 32- Allowance has been made by the writer for the understatement by 
the state board of equalization of certain items. 



period, but gained steadily in relative importance, making up 
about two-thirds of all at the beginning and over three-quarters 
at the en'd. This growth was attended by a corresponding 
relative decline in the other three groups. 2 The value of the 
cereal crops practically doubled in the fifteen years ending in 
1909, increasing from $87,005,534 to $170,880,272. The 
next half decade saw a slight decline, but the three years end- 
ing in 1917 saw these values again more than doubled, the 
average reaching the high record figure of $399,226,501. 

Of the six main cereal crops, corn is facile princeps, and 
moreover its primacy among the cereals has been steadily 
growing. From sixty-five per cent of all the cereals in 1895 
1899 it steadily grew in relative importance until in 1910- 
1914 it made up seventy-one per cent, but fell again to sixty-six 
per cent in 1917. This increased concentration upon corn 
meant, of course, a corresponding decline in the other cereal 
crops and, with the single exception of barley, their relative 
importance fell during this period. The greatest concentra- 
tion is to be found in the central division where over three- 
quarters of the cereal crops, as measured by their values,' 
consist of corn. If the number of bushels were taken as the 
measure the superiority of corn would be still more marked. 3 

Illinois has ranked as the leading state in the union in the 
production of corn since 1860, with the single exception of the 
census year 1890, when Iowa took first place. The concentra- 
tion of this crop within a comparatively limited area is shown 
by the fact that since 1870 these two states together have pro- 
duced over one-fourth of the corn raised in the United States. 
The production of corn in Illinois increased during the nineties, 
the acreage planted in corn reaching the high water mark of 
8,199,031 acres in 1902, which yielded the largest crop in the 
history of the state, namely 320,977,301 bushels. Between 
that date and 1914 there was a steady decline both in the acre- 

2 For table see appendix, p. 494. 

3 For the changes which have occurred in the relative importance of the six 
main cereal crops see table in appendix, p. 494- 


age and in the yield. That this was not an accidental result 
due to poor crops may be seen from the quinquennial averages. 4 
The year 1917 has, however, established a new record of acre- 
age planted namely, 9,725,133 acres and of yield, which 
was 365,654,400 bushels. 

Since 1914 there has been a great increase in the acreage 
planted in corn and in the corresponding yield due to the stim- 
ulus of high prices as a result of the European war and of the 
inflation of our money supply. Nine-tenths of the corn crop 
is raised in the northern and central divisions, though the cen- 
tral division has in recent years been gaining somewhat at the 
expense of both the other two. 

While most of the corn is fed to stock, a considerable pro- 
portion is utilized as food for man in the form of meal, hominy, 
breakfast foods, and other products. Some has also been used 
in the manufacture of distilled liquors and alcohol. Numer- 
ous experiments have been made to utilize corn stalks for com- 
mercial purposes, in recent years with considerable success. 
Some years ago the following list of products was made in 
Illinois from corn stalks on a commercial scale: 5 cellulose for 
packing cofferdams of battleships which prevent them from 
sinking when pierced by balls or shells; pyroxylin varnish, a 
liquid form of cellulose, the uses of which are practically unlim- 
ited; cellulose used for nitrating purposes for making smoke- 
less powder and other high explosives; cellulose for packing; 
paper pulp and various forms of paper made therefrom; stock 
food; mixed feeds for stock; and poultry foods. 

As might be expected in a state whose corn crop is so impor- 
tant the greatest attention has been paid in Illinois to the im- 
provement of the varieties of corn and the selection of those 
best suited to the different sections of the state. There has 
gone on a continuous process of experimentation, selection, and 
adaptation to the needs of Illinois farmers. It may safely be 
asserted that the greatest contribution in corn production dur- 

4 For table see appendix, p. 495- 

8 Myrick, A Revolution in Agriculture, 6. 


ing the past twenty-five years has been the more scientific selec- 
tion of seeds and the determination of standards. While it 
has been found difficult in practice to fix standards, continued 
seed selection has gradually developed certain varieties which 
seem to owe their superiority to transmissible qualities rather 
than to transient environmental effects. It is this continued 
selection which has brought Reid's Yellow Dent, to name only 
one variety, to its present state of perfection. 

The most striking change which has occurred in the cereal 
crops in the last twenty-five years has been the great decline 
in the importance of wheat. Whereas this crop made up 15.2 
per cent of all the cereals raised during the half decade 1890 
1894, this proportion had fallen to 8.76 per cent for 1910 
1914. The decline in the production of wheat, which had 
begun to show itself in the eighties, became more marked as 
time went on. In 1880 Illinois had ranked first in the union 
as a producer of wheat, but by 1890 had fallen to third place 
and in 1900 to fourteenth. Wheat growing has always been 
more or less of a pioneer industry, and the center of wheat 
production was moving steadily westward during this period. 
The decline was not quite so marked in the case of winter 
wheat as it was in the case of spring wheat. 6 

About half of the total crop is raised in the central division 
and most of the rest in the southern division. The 
counties in those sections bordering on the Mississippi and 
Illinois rivers produce most of the winter wheat, though there 
has recently been a great increase in some of the counties in 
the southern division bordering on the Wabash river. Spring 
wheat is relatively insignificant in comparison with winter 
wheat. Most of it is raised in the northern division. The 
farmers of Illinois in general have found corn a more profit- 
able crop or have been forced to turn from the production of 
wheat to diversified farming and especially to give more atten- 
tion to dairying. 7 

6 For table see appendix, p. 495. 

7 For table see appendix, p. 495. 


The production of oats showed a steady decline after 1900. 
In that year the largest acreage yet planted in oats in the his- 
tory of the state was reported, namely 4,065,200 acres, giving 
a banner crop of 164,909,129 bushels. After that there was 
a fairly steady decline both in acreage and yield to 1914. 
Since the outbreak of the European war, however, there has 
again been an increase in the attention given to this crop. The 
record of 1917, with 5,268,713 acres planted and a crop of 
239,587,886 bushels, is not likely to be exceeded even under the 
stimulus of war prices. About two-thirds of the oats produced 
in Illinois are raised in the northern division. 8 

Although Illinois long ranked as the foremost rye pro- 
ducing state in the union and now is only slightly surpassed 
by Wisconsin, and also ranks first as a producer of barley, 
the yield of both these crops is small. Buckwheat has almost 
disappeared from view. All these minor cereal crops are 
concentrated in the northern division. 9 

Far behind the cereals in value and importance comes the 
second large group of field crops, namely the forage crops. 
The value of these crops remained on a fairly constant level; 
but this was due to a great increase in price, for the actual pro- 
duction fell off markedly during this period. There was a 
steady though a regular decline in the production of hay, the 
smallest yield being reached in 1914 when it was only 1,492,180 
tons. This is the smallest yield with one exception in the his- 
tory of the state. Since then, however, there has been a marked 

What was true of hay has also been true of the amount of 
land devoted to pastures. The smallest acreage ever devoted 
to this purpose in the history of the state was reached in the 
year 1914, but as in the case of hay the period since 1914 has 
seen a great increase. These fluctuations are, of course, due 
to the steady decline throughout this period of the cattle raising 
industry. Its recent revival is connected with the recent great 

8 For table see appendix, p. 496. 
8 For table see appendix, p. 496. 


demand for hay as a result of the increased prices of livestock. 
More than half of the hay produced in the state is raised in the 
northern division, and most of this in the fifteen northernmost 
counties of the state. The pastures are more widely distrib- 
uted, but here too the northern division contains over half of 
the pasture lands. In both groups of the forage crops, the 
southern division falls far behind the other two in impor- 
tance. 10 

The horticultural crops constitute the third group of field 
crops and comprise vegetables, orchard and bush fruits, and 
vineyard products. Of these, vegetables far surpass the other 
three groups in importance. The reports of the Illinois state 
board of agriculture furnish detailed statistics for only four 
kinds of vegetables, namely Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, 
turnips and other root crops, and watermelons. The addition 
of this last named fruit within the past twenty years is inter- 
esting as showing the possibility of its future development, for 
it is not yet important. Irish potatoes make up over nine- 
tenths in value of all the vegetables, while sweet potatoes 
ranked second in importance at the beginning of the period, 
although they were overtaken by the other root crops at the 
end of the period. The production of all of them fell off until 
1914, since which time more attention has been paid to their 


In addition to the vegetables enumerated increasing atten- 
tion has been paid to market gardening and the production of 
small vegetables. The chief of these, arranged in order of 
importance according to their acreage in 1910, are the follow- 
ing: sweet corn, watermelons, tomatoes, cabbages, onions, 
cucumbers, green peas, asparagus, muskmelons, popcorn, green 
beans, turnips, rhubarb, celery, carrots, beets, lettuce, cauli- 
flower, spinach, radishes, parsnips, pumpkins, squash, and egg- 
plant. The aggregate value of these vegetables increased 
from $5,304,903 in 1899 to $9,392,296 in 1909. Their pro- 
duction was concentrated for the most part in districts tributary 

10 For table see appendix, p. 497. 


to the large cities and was accordingly centralized in Cook, 
Vermilion, Union, St. Clair, and McHenry counties. 

The orchard fruits in Illinois consist primarily f apples, 
peaches, and pears, of which the first mentioned has always 
been by far the most important. There has recently, however, 
been an increase in the production of the other two which has 
somewhat shaken the supremacy of apples. In the northern 
and central divisions the orchards produce little except apples, 
but in the southern division there is a considerable development 
of peach growing, and latterly of pears. 

The leading varieties of apples in Illinois in 1915 were as 
follows: Ben Davis (37.8 per cent of all the apples raised), 
Jonathan (9.3 per cent), Winesap (5.6 per cent), Grimes 
Golden (4.9 per cent), and Rome Beauty and Gano (3.8 per 
cent each). 11 It is interesting to note that Illinois' favorite 
is a native of the state, having been developed in Hancock 
county. Illinois apples are of the very highest quality and 
scored the very highest marks at the International exposition 
at Paris in 1900. They were awarded fifteen first prize gold 
medals, four silver medals, four honorable mentions, and a 
grand prize for one of the best continuous exhibits during the 
entire exposition. This last honor was especially noteworthy 
as only three of the twenty competing states were awarded 
grand prizes. 12 

Within the last two decades other fruits have become suffi- 
ciently important to be separately enumerated by the census. 
These are cherries, plums, prunes, quinces, and apricots. 
There has been a steady decline in the yield and value of bush 
fruits and berries. The census enumerates the production of 
strawberries, blackberries, dewberries, raspberries, loganber- 
ries, currants, gooseberries, and cranberries. With the single 
exception of the last named, in the case of which the acreage 
increased from one to ten acres between 1899 and 1909, there 

11 Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture, 1915, p. 488-489. 

12 Transactions of the Illinois State Horticultural Society, new series, 34: 158- 


was a decline in every one. A similar decline must be recorded 
for vineyard products, though curiously enough the same period 
witnessed a slight increase in the amount of wine produced. 

The fourth group of the field crops enumerated above com- 
prises a miscellaneous group consisting of tobacco, broom corn, 
textile crops, saccharose crops, grass seeds, and legumes. As 
a class this group has been declining in importance in the last 
twenty years. 

It is evident from this brief survey of the field crops of 
Illinois that there has been a growing concentration upon the 
cereal crops at the expense of the other three groups, and 
within the group of cereals corn has made up a steadily increas- 
ing proportion of the whole. The process of specialization, 
which is characteristic of manufacturing and of professional 
service, is also a marked feature of Illinois agriculture. 
Within the corn belt of this state there has been developed a 
specialized kind of farming which has called into being a com- 
plete apparatus of improved machinery and has resulted in 
an enormous production of America's most typical grain. 

Not only has the production of corn encroached relatively 
upon the other cereals and field crops, but it has also tended 
to make the group of field crops more important at each suc- 
cessive period than the animal products. The order of nature 
seems to have been reversed and the corn devours even the 

The animal products, the second of the two large groups 
into which the products of the farm may be divided, comprise 
animals sold, dairy products, poultry, wool, and honey. This 
group, taken as a whole, has remained fairly steady except for 
a temporary increase during the half decade 19001904 and 
again in 19151917. The relative importance of the several 
items constituting this group has, however, varied consider- 
ably. 13 

The animals sold have declined in relative importance 
from about two-thirds to a little over one-half of the total 

13 For table see appendix, p. 4-97- 


value of this group. Wool and honey have also fallen off. 
On the other hand dairy products and poultry have shown 
gains. About three-fifths of the animal products are raised 
in the northern division of the state, especially in the north- 
eastern corner where there is a high degree of concentration 
owing to the development there of the dairying and cattle 
raising industries. 

Before proceeding to a more detailed consideration of the 
separate kinds of animal products and especially of the first 
item animals sold it will be necessary to note the total 
amount of livestock on Illinois farms during this period. 14 In 
1890 this state ranked second among the states of the union, 
being surpassed only by Iowa, but in 1900 Texas pushed 
into second place so that Illinois now ranks third in this 

The census figures of the value of livestock in Illinois dur- 
ing the two decades from 1890 to 1910 give a rather mislead- 
ing impression as to the changes which occurred during that 
period, since they seem to indicate a great growth in numbers. 
The aggregate value of all livestock in Illinois increased from 
$180,431,662 in 1890 to $308,804,431 in 1910, while the aver- 
age value per farm grew from $750 to $1,226. A more accu- 
rate picture of the changes that have occurred in this regard in 
Illinois will be obtained by taking the actual numbers of the 
different kinds of animals rather than the values. For this 
purpose the livestock may be divided into the four main groups 
of draft animals, dairy animals, meat animals, and other 
minor animals. 

Horses were the most important animals in the first group. 
In 1890 Illinois with 1,335,289 ranked first among the states 
of the union as to the number of horses on its farms, but since 
1900 it has been outranked by Iowa. Horses are still used in 
Illinois almost exclusively for draft purposes and not for breed- 
ing so that they have always been found where farm operations 
have been most active. Consequently they are most numerous 

14 For table see appendix, p. 498. 


in the central division. In 1910 there were 1,452,887 horses 
reported on Illinois farms. 

Considerable has, however, been done toward improving 
the breeds of draft horses by the introduction of pure bred 
stallions. From the data given in the various stud books the 
distribution of registered pure bred stallions can be ascer- 
tained. These show a truly astonishing growth in the number 
of owners from 488 in 1890 to 3,179 in 1915, most of the 
increase having taken place among the Percherons. This 
breed was far and away the favorite at the end of this period, 
their number having increased from 152 to 2,280 during the 
twenty years. Shire horses were second in popularity and 
Belgians third. The Clydesdale were the only ones whose 
numbers fell off. The distribution of the pure bred horses 
was much the same in 1915 as it had been in 1 890, being about 
evenly divided between the northern and central divisions with 
a very small fraction in the southern division. McLean county 
led in the number of pure bred Percherons, Champaign was 
the leading county for Shire horses, Livingston for Belgians, 
and Stark for Clydesdales. 

In contrast with the distribution of horses, most of which 
were to be found in northern section, stands the greater use 
of mules and oxen in the southern half of the state. 15 The 
relative importance of mules as compared with horses and the 
difference between the different divisions may be seen from the 
fact that in the northern division on the average farm the ratio 
of horses to mules was 37 to i, while in the central division it 
was 10 to i, and in the southern only 3 to I. Oxen had grown 
so unimportant by 1900 that they were no longer enumerated 
separately by the census. 

Dairy cows, which had shown a very steady growth in the 
state down to 1890, have barely held their own since that date. 
The total number of dairy cows has fallen from 1,087,886 in 
1890 to 1,057,000 in 1918, so that Illinois, which had previ- 
ously ranked third in this respect among states of the union, has 

10 For table see appendix, p. 498. 


now fallen to fifth place, being surpassed by Iowa, Wisconsin, 
New York, and Minnesota. The greatest decline took place 
in the central division. Today there is a decided concentration 
of the dairy business in the northern tier of counties, especially 
in the vicinity of Chicago, with a secondary concentration in the 
region opposite St. Louis. This concentration in the northern 
division is illustrated by the fact that there the average farmer 
has over three times as many dairy cows as the average farmer 
in the central division and over four times as many as the 
average farmer in the southern division. The concentration 
of this industry in the vicinity of our larger cities is of course 
due to the increasing demand for whole milk on the part of the 
urban population. The growth of the dairy industry in the 
other districts is due to the increase in the milk condensing 
industry and also to the butter industry in those regions. 

Considerable attention has been given in Illinois to the 
improvement of the breeds of cattle. The two most popular 
breeds have been the Holstein and the Jersey cows, but within 
the last twenty-five years the second of these has passed the 
former in popularity. In 1890 there were in the state 368 
herds led by at least one pure bred registered animal; but by 
1915 this figure had been almost doubled, reaching 696. The 
Jersey herds had increased from 234 to 300, but the Holsteins 
had grown from 115 to 332. Far behind these two in popu- 
larity came the Gurnsey with 19 herds in 1890 and 64 in 1910. 
Almost half of the registered herds were to be found in the 
northern division, though the disparity in this regard has been 
gradually declining as better breeds have been introduced into 
other sections of the state. 

All other cattle, that is all neat cattle except milch cows, 
calves, and oxen, are grouped together by the census report 
under the heading " other cattle." Beef cattle constitute most 
of this group. In the production of these animals Illinois has 
been steadily losing ground. Whereas in 1870 Illinois was 
surpassed only by Texas in the number of beef cattle, in 1910 
it was outranked by Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, 


California, and Oklahoma. The cattle industry has always 
been a frontier industry in the United States, and the same 
movement which pushed the industry from Ohio to Illinois has 
now moved it out beyond the Mississippi river. This is, of 
course, a perfectly natural development with the growth in the 
value of farm lands in this state, and their more intensive uti- 
lization for cereal production. From 1,968,654 cattle in 1890 
the number sank to 1,066,275 ' m I 9 IO > but has since risen 
slightly to 1,314,000 in 1918. The great decline of the cattle 
feeding business is perhaps most clearly shown by the fact that 
in 1910 the average farmer in the state had only about half as 
many cattle per farm as he did in 1890. The cattle were 
pretty well concentrated in the northwestern third of the state. 16 
About the beginning of this period cattle feeding in Illinois 
and other states in the corn belt entered upon the second stage 
of its development. The first stage had been that of feeding 
cattle as containers for corn, as this was the cheapest way in 
which to market the corn. In the second stage the purpose 
was not so much to market corn as to make good beef. Agri- 
cultural experiment stations had been working on this problem 
for several years. They pointed out that the younger and 
smaller an animal is the less will be the grain required to- sustain 
the life-giving forces, or to run the machine, and the greater 
proportion will go to the building up of body tissue. More 
profit could, therefore, be obtained by feeding young animals 
than by purchasing and fattening two or three-year-old steers. 
This had been worked out experimentally by Professor G. E. 
Morrow of the University of Illinois as early as iSyS. 17 But 
the farmers of Illinois at this time were not yet convinced of 
the practical value of this idea and preferred to get rid of 
their cattle and turn the pastures into cornland. By so doing 
they saved themselves the expense of costly barns, sheds, and 
fences which were required in raising cattle. 18 

16 For table see appendix, p. 499. 

17 Sanders, Story of the Herefords, 371-380 . 

18 Farley, History of the Beef Cattle Industry in Illinois, 13-15. 


The decline in the beef cattle industry since 1895 has been 
the result of many causes, of which the disappearance of the 
free range has been the most important. Investigations at the 
Illinois agricultural experiment station in 1902 showed that of 
509 men in Illinois engaged in preparing cattle for market, 53 
per cent were merely feeders, 35 per cent raised a few of their 
cattle and bought the rest, while only 12 per cent earned all 
their cattle from birth to maturity. 19 In other words, the Illi- 
nois farmer depended for his profit upon the difference between 
the purchase price of lean cattle and the sale price of fat cattle. 
But it was becoming more difficult to obtain western cattle as 
a result of the rapid settlement of the west and the partition 
of the ranges into farms. It became necessary for the western 
cattle raisers to buy or rent land instead of using the free 
ranges of the public domain and this, of course, forced up the 
price of cattle, leaving little profit for the Illinois cattle feeders. 

Other contributary causes in the decline of the cattle feed- 
ing industry were the replacement of livestock production 
by more intensive crop cultivation, the increase of tenancy, and 
the effect of unwarranted fluctuations in the prices offered by 
the packers. 20 None of these, however, is in itself sufficient to 
explain the changes that were taking place and certainly none 
is as important as the factor just described. 

The third stage in the development of beef production in 
Illinois has now been definitely entered upon. This is the 
production of "baby beef." A great impetus was given this 
industry by the high prices which were being paid for beef. 
The average age of cattle sold in Illinois in 1914 was two and 
one-half years, which is nearly two years younger than the 
average had been in 1895, the reason for the decline being the 
large number of baby beef cattle which were sold at the age of 
from fifteen to eighteen months. If Illinois farmers were to 
profit by the high prices to be obtained from beef production 

19 Mumford and Hall, Present Methods of Beef Production, circular 88, p. i. 

20 Farley, History of the Beef Cattle Industry in Illinois, 13-15; Breeders' 
Gazette, 64: 1 8. 


it was evident that they must raise their own cattle, for the 
prices of western feeders were reaching prohibitive heights. 

That Illinois is well suited to this industry seems proved by 
an investigation made by the United States department of agri- 
culture on this subject. 21 From this it appears that both the 
gross and net cost of producing a baby beef animal during the 
years 1914 and 1915 was less in Illinois than in Iowa, 
Nebraska, or Kansas, though not so low as in Missouri. 

The number of beef cattle sold from Illinois farms declined 
very rapidly and very materially in the period between 1900 
and 1914, but owing to the great increase in the price of beef 
there was an actual increase in the values. It is too early to 
determine whether the decline in the production of beef cattle 
in Illinois will be arrested by the development of the baby beef 
industry, but it is clear that if beef production is to continue 
as one of Illinois' industries it must be along these lines. Dur- 
ing the past twenty years, the cattle feeding industry has shifted 
more and more to the northward, the chief center of the indus- 
try being found in McHenry and the adjoining counties. 22 

Although Illinois still ranks second in the production of 
hogs, being surpassed only by Iowa, there has been a very 
decided decline in this industry also since 1890. In that year 
the census recorded the largest number of swine ever enumer- 
ated within this state, namely 5,924,818; by 1910 the number 
had fallen to 4,686,362, but by 1918 had risen slightly to 
5,111,000. This reduction was quite uniform throughout 
the state. The extent of the decline may be measured by the 
fact that whereas in 1890 the average farmer in the state had 
twenty-five hogs, in 1910 he had only about nineteen. 23 
There is a considerable and growing concentration of the hog 
raising industry in the territory between the Illinois, Missis- 
sippi, and Rock rivers. The explanation of the decline in the 
hog raising industry is undoubtedly to be found in the falling 

21 Meat Situation in the United States, part 3, p. 62. 

22 For table see appendix, p. 499. 

23 For table see appendix, p. 499. 


off of the beef industry, for hogs are generally raised in con- 
nection with cattle, following them as they feed. As has just 
been stated, the raising and fattening of beef cattle is a declin- 
ing industry in Illinois; and its decline has adversely affected 
the swine industry also. 

In spite of the reduction in the numbers of hogs within the 
state there has been no diminution in the interest taken in the 
improvement of breeding. The number of breeders of pure 
bred swine in the state in 1880 was 518, but by 1916 this 
number had grown to 1,329. In the eighties the Berkshires 
had represented about 60 per cent of the pure bred swine, but 
by 1916 there had been a considerable change. In this year 
the leading breeds of hogs that appeared on the Chicago mar- 
ket made up the following estimated per cents: Duroc- 
Jersey, 33 percent; Poland-China, 30 per cent; Chester White, 
25 per cent; Hampshire, 8 per cent; Berkshire, 2 per cent; 
Tamworth and Yorkshire, i per cent each. This estimate may 
be accepted as typical for Illinois since the conditions in the 
neighboring states which market their hogs in Chicago are 
similar to those prevailing here. 

The hiterest taken in the question of improving breeds of 
swine by Illinois men is indicated by the fact that they con- 
stituted twelve per cent of the membership of the pure bred 
swine associations in America. This is a larger ratio than that 
of the number of swine in Illinois to the total number in the 
whole country. 

The decline in the number of sheep which began about 1865 
continued without interruption until the end of the century. 24 
Between 1900 and 1910, however, there was a slight gain. 
But Illinois remains relatively unimportant as a sheep raising 
state. The average number of sheep per farm declined in the 
period 18901910, from 3.8 to 2.6; this is a smaller number 
than that of any other domestic animal. A study of the dis- 
tribution of the sheep shows a very distinct sheep belt which 
lies within a district formed by drawing the northern boundary 

24 For table see appendix, p. 500. 

between Hancock county on the west and Clark on the east 
and the southern boundary by drawing a line from Pike on the 
west to White on the east. While the number of sheep in the 
state as a whole declined materially between 1890 and 1910, 
the number of those within this belt showed a slight gain. 

Although there has been a decline in the absolute number 
of sheep there has been a very great increase in the number 
of pure bred flocks, that is to say flocks that were led by at 
least one animal that was registered in the flock books of the 
different breeds. Between 1890 and 1916 the number of pure 
bred Shropshire flocks had increased from 38 to 272. There 
was a decided concentration of this breed in Crawford and 
the neighboring counties. Other breeds showed nothing like 
so great an increase. The Oxford Down flocks grew only from 
30 to 44, the Hampshires from 2 to 15, and the Merinos from 
i to 6, while the Southdowns showed an actual decrease from 
1 6 to ii. 

The decline in the production and sale of mutton, which 
began in the eighties, has continued without interruption ever 
since. It has been an unprofitable industry throughout the 
whole of this period, because corn and pasture have been worth 
more for other purposes than feeding sheep, which could be 
raised more cheaply in other states or parts of the world. 

The dairy industry presents a different picture, for here the 
record has been one of steady increase. But while this is true 
of the industry as a whole, there has been a considerable shift- 
ing within the group, the amounts of milk, butter, and cheese 
showing a falling off, while that of cream increased. 25 On the 
basis of value, about three-quarters of the dairy products con- 
sist of milk; about a tenth each of butter and cream; and less 
than one per cent of cheese. The milk industry is largely con- 
centrated in the northern division and that of butter and cream 
in the central, although the last few years have seen a consider- 
able increase in the growth of creameries in the southern 

25 For table see appendix, p. 500. 


The milk industry is altogether the most important branch 
of dairying in Illinois, but in spite of the growth of population 
the sales of whole milk have shown almost an uninterrupted 
decline from an annual average of 1 12,584,707 gallons for the 
period 1895-1899 to 81,396,353 for 1917. The reason for 
this is, as has already been pointed out, the introduction of 
separators on the farms, by the use of which the farmer was 
enabled to sell the cream instead of the whole milk and thereby 
save considerable expense in haulage. That this is the ex- 
planation rather than a lessened production of milk is shown 
by the statistics of milch cows, the number of which has re- 
mained fairly stationary during the last twenty years at slightly 
over one million animals. Two-thirds of these, as might be 
expected, are to be found in the northern division, the average 
farmer there having about three times as many as the average 
farmer in the central division and four times as many as the 
average farmer in the southern division. 

The general use of the cream separator and of the Babcock 
milk test, according to which the farmer's milk and cream are 
now paid for according to quality rather than quantity, that is 
according to the amount of butterfat in them, has forced the 
farmer to pay more attention to the breeding of better grades 
of stock. 

While the amount of milk sold in the state as a whole has 
fallen from an annual average of 112,584,707 gallons for the 
period 1895-1899 to 90,355,728 gallons for 1915-1917, the 
city markets have shown a steady increase. For instance the 
average daily milk supply of Chicago rose from 476,992 quarts 
in 1898 to 772,800 in 1901 ; by 1916 it was 1,100,000 quarts. 26 
Part of this growth was due to the demand by milk condensing 
and oleomargarine factories, but most of it is attributable to 
the normal demand of an expanding urban population for 
whole milk for table consumption, which moreover has in- 
creased slightly during this period. 

The production of butter has been steadily transferred 

26 Information supplied by the Chicago board of health. 


from the farm to the factory during the past fifty years, until 
today only about forty per cent of the butter entering into the 
markets is made on the farm. In 1909, for instance, 24,570,- 
976 pounds of butter were reported as made in factories in 
Illinois, while only 10,534,606 were sold from the farms. 
However, the total farm production was reported as 46,609,- 
992 pounds, the amount not sold presumably being consumed 
by the farmers' families. 27 Each of these items shows a steady 
decrease, as the dairy industry has migrated to Wisconsin and 
other states which now supply the wants of Illinois consumers 
in ever larger measure. 

The production of cheese, which had been steadily falling 
during the previous period, showed a remarkable growth 
amounting to almost fifty per cent in the second half of the 
nineties. This was due to the production of filled cheese, but 
the boom in this industry was short lived. The cheese indus- 
try fell off to about one-third of its previous amount, owing to r f 
the coincidence of two destructive factors. One of these was 
the introduction of separators on the farms, which deprived 
the city factories of their needed supplies of skim milk; the 
other was the passage of a law prohibiting the manufacture 
of filled cheese. There was a slight recovery during the years 
19051909, but after that the decline set in again. Since the 
outbreak of the European war there has been a growth of 
condensaries and cheese factories in the northern division, but 
the experience of the past seems to indicate that cheese produc- 
tion is a passing industry unless some permanent changes take 

The production of cream, on the other hand, has shown a 
steady and, in the last few years, a very marked growth. This 
has accompanied, as it has doubtless been caused by, an increase 
in the price of cream. The industry has always been most 
important in the northern division, though of recent years the 
southern division has begun to encroach upon it. The develop- 

27 Thirteenth Census of the United States, 5:489-491. The consumption by 
the average farmer's family is considerably larger than that of the average urban 


ment of the cream industry in Effingham and Carroll counties 
and its decline in Kane county are the most important recent 
movements. For the state as a whole the amount of cream 
sold from the farms has increased from 1,056,825 gallons in 
1895 to 3,098,994 in 1917. Most of this is sold to cream- 
eries, butter factories, ice cream and similar establishments. 

The fourth group of domestic animals enumerated above 
consists of fowls. Taken as a group these showed a marked 
decline between 1890 and 1900, but since the latter date have 
increased again though not to the earlier figure. In spite of 
these fluctuations Illinois has maintained her position as second 
state in the union in the number of fowls. Chickens made up 
ninety per cent of all in 1890 and over ninety-seven per cent in 
1910, as the other kinds of fowls are decreasing very rapidly. 
There were only one-fifth as many turkeys in the state in 1910 
as there had been in 1890, and about one-third as many ducks 
and geese. So far as the Illinois farmer is a poultry raiser 
he exemplifies here again his tendency to concentrate upon one 
staple. The industry was spread very evenly over the whole 
state, with the central division slightly in the lead. 

In this brief survey of the development of agriculture in 
Illinois only the half has been said. Some problems have been 
barely touched upon and others necessarily omitted. But 
enough has been written to show that there has been steady 
progress. It is, however, equally clear that much remains to 
be done if Illinois agriculture is to maintain its position and to 
advance in the future. New adaptations and adjustments must 
be made, problems of labor scarcity solved, better methods 
of marketing and rural credit devised, and farm life be made 
more attractive. To meet and solve these difficulties reliance 
must be placed largely upon education. Much has already 
been done in this direction. Science has been applied to agri- 
cultural problems, experiments carried on in experiment sta- 
tions, the results disseminated among the farmers by means of 
bulletins, extension work, and conferences. Experts are being 
placed in the counties as advisors to the farmers. The number 


of students in the state college of agriculture is steadily grow- 
ing, and an increasing number of the graduates is going back 
to the farms equipped with a knowledge of scientific agriculture. 
Agricultural education is also being carried down into the 
secondary schools, and several hundred high schools in the 
state now give courses in this subject. To the boys and girls 
thus trained the future of Illinois agriculture may safely be 


ILLINOIS was the third manufacturing state in the union in 
1893. Only a few years before it had been counted as a 
purely agricultural state and its citizens classed as farmers 
rather than factory operatives ; in 1 893 it ranked with the oldest 
manufacturing states in the country as a great industrial com- 
monwealth, whose claim to economic preeminence rested not 
merely upon its fertile soil but also upon the ability of its work- 
ers to transform the resources of forest and field and mines into 
articles of utility and enduring worth. This high rank in man- 
ufactures was, however, ascribable in large measure to the 
preeminence of the state as a producer of foodstuffs and to its 
location in the corn belt, for three out of the first five manu- 
facturing industries were closely linked with agriculture, and 
in the not far remote past had been carried on upon the farm 
rather than in factories. 

The following list comprises all manufactures which pro- 
duced in 1890 products valued at $5,000,000 or more, in the 
order of their importance: 

INDUSTRY Value of products 

All industries $908,640,280 

Slaughtering and meat packing, wholesale 200,414,531 

Liquors, distilled 5 I >99<5737 

Foundry and machine shop products 38,898,114 

Flour and grist mill products 37.974.885 

Iron and steel 37 1 73.4O5 

Clothing, men's, factory product 33,626,441 

Agricultural implements 24,609,660 

Lumber, planing mill products, including sash, doors, and blinds. .. . 20,468,903 

Carpentering ^ 20,392,422 

Printing and publishing, newspapers and periodicals 17,348,845 

Cars, steam railroad, not including operations of railroad companies 17,117,223 

Masonry, brick and stone 15,792,212 

All other industries (not listed) 15,428,884 

Printing and publishing, book and job 14,555,068 

Furniture, factory product 14,406,835 

Liquors, malt 13,664,046 


INDUSTRY Value of products 

Clothing, men's custom work and repairing 13,556,581 

Cars and general shop construction and repairs by steam railroad 

companies 12,208,617 

Slaughtering, wholesale, not including meat packing 11,876,851 

Soap and candles 9>857,55O 

Coffee and spice, roasting and grinding 9.367,983 

Carriages and wagons, including custom work and repairing 9,041,725 

Bread and other bakery products 8,832,725 

Boots and shoes, factory product 8,756,824 

Leather, tanned and curried 8,240,803 

Cheese, butter, and condensed milk, factory product 8,004,991 

Tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes 6,942,185 

Tinsmithing, coppersmithing, and sheet-iron working 6,827,538 

Plumbing and gas fittting 6,455,007 

Clothing, women's factory product 6,422,43 1 

Brick and tile 6,399,492 

Painting and paper hanging 6,201,553 

Iron work, architectural and ornamental 5,438,026 

Gas, illuminating and heating 5,204,206 

Lumber and other mill products from logs or bolts 5i9>94Q 

The great preeminence of the slaughtering and meat pack- 
ing industry is somewhat misleading, for its large total included 
a disproportionate cost of materials, amounting in this case to 
$170,000,000. If the order were based upon the net value, 
after deducting the value of materials, which alone is properly 
attributable to the process of manufacture, distilled liquors 
would rank first with a net product of $48,000,000, while meat 
packing would sink to second place with only $30,000,000 to 
its credit. But the figure for distilled liquors is also somewhat 
misleading, for in 1890 there was a federal excise tax of sev- 
enty cents a gallon on distilled liquors, which was responsible 
for fully two-thirds of the value here attributed to the process 
of manufacture. Other leading industries would rank in the 
following order, according to the criterion of value added by 
manufacture : foundry and machine shop products, men's cloth- 
ing, agricultural implements, printing and publishing news- 
papers and periodicals, carpentering, book and job printing, 
malt liquors, planed lumber, furniture, iron and steel, railroad 
cars. This list brings clearly to the front the " pure " manu- 
factures which depend for their value upon the processes which 
transform the crude raw material into finished goods, in most 
cases ready for the ultimate consumer. Upon the develop- 


ment of these factory industries alone Illinois could safely rely 
for her high rank as a manufacturing state. 

During the next decade from 1890 to 1900, there was a 
rapid expansion of manufactures in spite of the long period 
of depression within the decade. The years 18971900 were 
years marked by a particularly rapid development. The popu- 
lation increased during this decade twenty-six per cent, but the 
number of manufacturing establishments almost doubled and 
the number of wage earners engaged in manufactures, the value 
of the products, and other significant items indicating industrial 
expansion all showed a growth much more rapid than that of 
the population. 1 On the whole the changes seemed to point to 
a general growth of small and moderate sized establishments 
and to their dissemination throughout the state. 

The next decade from 1900 to 1910, revealed no slacken- 
ing in the manufacturing development thus begun. The per- 
centage of increase of practically all items given by the census 
in connection with manufactures was greater than in the pre- 
vious decade. There was one significant exception the num- 
ber of establishments showed a much smaller growth. This 
fact, coupled with the great expansion in other respects, indi- 
cates what is undoubtedly the case, that there was less of a 
tendency during this period to build new plants than to 
strengthen and enlarge the existing ones. The tendency 
toward large scale production was already manifesting itself 

During the five years from 1910 to 1914, when the last 
census investigation of manufactures was made, there was a 
falling off in about two-thirds of the items. 2 The total number 
of establishments remained almost stationary, while the per- 
sons engaged in manufactures increased only ten per cent. Al- 
though the latter year was in some respects a rather abnormal 
year, the position which Illinois has attained as a manufactur- 
ing state is best indicated by selecting this date for fuller 

1 See appendix, p. 501. 

2 Census of Manufactures: Illinois, 1914. 


In 1914 Illinois was more of an industrial than an agricul- 
tural or a mining state. In this year the value added to its 
products by manufacturing was $907,139,412, while the value 
of its agricultural products in 1910 was $586,517,053, and 
of its mineral products $76,658,974. Illinois ranked third 
among the 49 states and territories as a manufacturing state. 
It also ranked third as regards population, with 5,986,781 
persons, of whom 617,927 or 10.4 per cent were engaged in 
manufactures. 3 Almost two-thirds of the population lived 
under urban or semiurban conditions, as 61.7 per cent of all 
lived in incorporated places having twenty-five hundred inhabi- 
tants or over. Illinois was well supplied with agricultural raw 
materials, with coal for power, and with a large labor force. 
The state was also provided with excellent transportation facil- 
ities: in 1914, there were 152 railroad companies having lines 
within the state, and nearly every county was traversed by one 
or more railroads, many of them trunk lines running into Chi- 
cago or St. Louis. There were approximately 12,000 miles of 
main track of steam railroads in the state, besides over 1,500 
miles of electric railroads. 4 In addition to these ample railway 
facilities, the state has the advantages of cheap water transpor- 
tation afforded by the Mississippi and its navigable tributaries, 
and by the Great Lakes. Access is thus afforded to an un- 
rivaled market, consisting of a prosperous and well-to-do agri- 
cultural population, with a high standard of living and a will- 
ingness to spend. 

The great progress made in manufactures cannot be shown 
better than by listing the leading manufacturing industries. In 
1914 there were 124 such industries in the state, each of which 
reported products to the value of $1,000,000 or over. The 
aggregate value of all manufactures reached the enormous 
total of $2,247,322,819 or almost two and one-half times as 
much as the products of twenty-five years before. It will be 
impossible to enumerate all these but the list of those only 

8 Estimates of Population of the United States, 15. 

4 Report on Statistics of Railways in the United States, 1914; Report of the 
Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1913. 



which produce over $20,000,000 worth a year is an impressive 

one and shows the leading lines of manufactures in the state. 



of estab- 

number of 

Value of 

Value added 

All industries 

18 388 


Slaughtering and meat packing. 
Foundry and machine-shop prod- 

1. 771 




Printing and publishing 

2 722 

12 878 


Clothing, men's, including shirts. 
Agricultural implements 






Iron and steel, steel works and 
rolling mills 


Cars, steam-railroaded, not in- 
cluding operations of railroad 


18 ooo 

(\t it e 678 


m 886 STI 



CT eo6 022 

Flour mill and grist mill prod- 


2. 708 

4.Q 4.Q3.224. 


Electrical machinery, apparatus, 



AC 667 d.c6 

*%(. -)99 ?n? 

Bread and other bakery products 
Lumber and timber products... 
Cars and general shop construc- 
tion and repairs by steam-rail- 
road companies 









Liquors malt 




Furniture and refrigerators 



12 OOQ C.67 

Gas, illuminating and heating. . 
Tobacco manufactures 


7. 6?? 


26 O36.72Q 


ic 082 887 

Iron and steel, blast furnaces. . . 
Copper, tin, and sheet-iron prod- 




7,44 c 


24.8 I ^.^So 


TO QQO <^6 

Paints and varnishes 


2,1 IO 





22.I48.C. e ,Q 

TO OJ.7 Q26 

Coffee and spice, roasting and 





Butter, cheese, and condensed 




5 ,cc6.<88 


2 i T 11 



Clothing women's 


8. ill 

2O.75O. ?<O 

or ^i.74 

5 Census of Manufactures: Illinois, 1914, p. 4. 


If this list is compared with that for 1890 several changes 
may be noted. In the first place there has been a great in- 
crease in the value of the product of the leading industries: 
whereas in 1890 there were only 34 industries which turned 
out $5,000,000 or over, in 1914 there were 53 such industries. 
Part of this increase in value must, however, be credited to the 
general rise in prices during this period. 

In the second place there has been a shift in the order of 
importance. Slaughtering and meat packing still retains its 
primacy, but foundry and machine shop products have moved 
up from third to second place, while distilled liquors, which 
was previously second, has now sunk to eighth place. Printing 
and publishing has moved up from tenth to third, and men's 
clothing from sixth to fourth place. Agricultural implements 
stands in fifth place instead of eighth, while iron and steel has 
sunk to sixth place ; flour mill and gristmill products fall from 
fourth to ninth position. In general there is observable a ten- 
dency for the industries which are most typical of the factory 
system to forge to the front at the expense of those whose 
value depends largely upon the cost of materials incorporated 
in them. 

This is very clearly shown by comparing the rank of indus- 
tries when based on the value added by manufacture with their 
rank in the fourth column of the table, which is determined by 
the gross value of products. According to their rank as pure 
manufactures, based on the net value of the products, the order 
of the first ten industries would be as follows : foundry and ma- 
chine shop products, printing and publishing, slaughtering and 
meat packing, men's clothing, distilled liquors, agricultural im- 
plements, malt liquors, electrical machinery, iron and steel, and 
cars and general shop construction. In those industries in 
which the manufacturing processes are comparatively simple 
or are carried on largely by the aid of machinery, the value 
added by manufacture is of course small, and these industries 
consequently do not rank so high when judged by this criterion. 

6 Seeabovep. 91-92. 


This is especially noticeable in such industries as the flour mills 
and gristmills, blast furnaces, roasting and grinding of coffee 
and spice, and the butter, cheese, and condensed milk indus- 
tries. In all these the value of materials figures largely in the 
value of the finished product. 

It is noteworthy that in four of the manufacturing indus- 
tries enumerated above Illinois holds first rank among all the 
states. Slaughtering and meat packing is not merely the lead- 
ing industry in Illinois, but this state holds the undisputed 
primacy as compared with others and produces almost one- 
third of the national output. The other industries in which 
this state holds first rank are agricultural implements with 
over one-third of the nation's total, distilled liquors with about 
one-quarter, and railroad cars. Second place is held in print- 
ing and publishing. It is clear that the growth of manufactures 
in Illinois rests upon a substantial foundation of natural re- 
sources and favorable location which offer a guarantee for 
their permanence and further growth. 

So rapid has been the industrial development, however, and 
so difficult have been some of the problems of adjustment that 
certain evils have inevitably developed, especially in the city of 
Chicago. Problems of housing, and congestion outside the fac- 
tories, problems of hours and pay, of safeguarding health, 
life, and limb within the factory, of workmen's compensation, 
of organization of labor, of sweat shops and child labor 
these and many others have pressed for solution and have been 
met with varying degrees of success. The dominant note of 
Illinois manufactures in the past has been a vigorous, at times 
almost a ruthless, purpose to succeed. While this spirit has 
brought Illinois to the forefront as an industrial commonwealth 
it has sometimes been at a great cost when measured not merely 
in materials or money, but rather in human suffering. With 
the achievement of assured success, however, there is evidenced 
in recent years a more humanitarian note, which has responded 
to an awakened social consciousness and is doing much to rem- 
edy existing abuses. 


Among the problems for which thus far no satisfactory 
solution has been found is that of unemployment, and of irregu- 
lar and seasonal employment. This seems bound up in the 
nature of certain industries and is due to variations in demand, 
seasonal changes, and similar factors. But there is un- 
doubtedly a certain amount of avoidable instability in the labor 
market, which might be overcome by a better organization of 
industry. Taking all the manufactures of the state together 
in 1914, the maximum number of employees in any month dur- 
ing the year was 521,752, the minimum 483,275, or a differ- 
ence of more than 38,000 persons. Thus it is seen that in Illi- 
nois, as in other industrial communities, the phenomenon of 
unemployment, one of the evils growing out of the modern in- 
dustrial system, has made its appearance. 

The general tendency toward large scale production and 
the concentration of industries in large establishments is also 
exemplified in Illinois. Before combination or concentration 
of industry could be carried very far several conditions favor- 
able to its growth had to be met. Among these were the stan- 
dardization of machinery and methods, the creation of ade- 
quate accounting systems, the development of the corporate 
form of organization, the organization of stock and produce 
exchanges, the perfecting of the telegraph, telephone, and type- 
writer, and, most important of all, the building and organiza- 
tion of railroads. It will later be pointed out how well 
supplied Illinois was with adequate rail and water transporta- 
tion facilities. 7 With their growth, and that of improvements 
in means of communication, there has gone on a steady widen- 
ing of the market and consequently an expansion of the busi- 
ness unit. 

There has also been a steady growth in corporate owner- 
ship and in the corporate form of organization of manufactur- 
ing enterprises. In 1873 there were only 1,090 corporations 
of all kinds in Illinois, of which 578 were located in Cook 
county; only four counties in the state had as many as 25 corpo- 

7 See chapters vi and vii. 


rations. By 1914, out of the 18,388 manufacturing establish- 
ments listed by the census which includes only those under 
the factory system 5,993 or 32.6 per cent were under cor- 
porate ownership, while 16.8 per cent were firms, and 50.6 per 
cent were carried on by individuals. 

The connection between the corporate form of organiza- 
tion and large scale production is indicated by the fact that 
while only 32.6 per cent of the manufacturing establishments 
were corporations, they employed 86.2 per cent of all the wage 
earners and turned out 90 per cent of all the products. The 
growth of corporations and of concentration in production 
have gone on hand in hand. The industries with the largest 
percentage of establishments under corporate form of owner- 
ship in Illinois in 1914 were agricultural implements, automo- 
biles, foundry and machine shop products, furniture and refrig- 
erators, paint and varnish, and slaughtering and meat packing. 8 

The extent to which large scale production dominates man- 
ufactures in Illinois is shown by the fact that while there were 
in 1914 only 336 establishments out of 18,388 in the state 
which produced $1,000,000 or over in value of product, yet 
these few establishments, constituting less than two per cent of 
all, employed over two-fifths of all the wage earners (43.9 
per cent) and turned out three-fifths of all the products (59.7 
per cent). This tendency to concentrate in fewer establish- 
ments, but of larger size, has been in evidence since the eighties, 
but has been greatly accelerated during the last two decades. 
It is most marked in the case of agricultural implements, auto- 
mobiles, the tanning, currying, and finishing of leather, the 
paint and varnish industry, and slaughtering and meat pack- 
ing. In every one of these industries over half of the establish- 
ments reported products valued at over $100,000 each. 

A better index of concentration in large scale establish- 
ments even than the output is the number of employees. If 
this test be applied it is discovered that in 1914 there were 
forty-six establishments in the state which employed over 1,000 

8 See appendix, p. 502. 


wage earners each. There were nine slaughtering and meat 
packing plants; six steam railroad repair shops; five steel 
works and rolling mills; four car manufacturing concerns; four 
factories for men's clothing; three agricultural implement fac- 
tories; two clock and watch factories; two electrical machinery 
establishments; one boot and shoe factory; one furniture and 
refrigerator factory; one gas plant; one gas and electric fixture 
establishment; one piano and organ factory; one printing and 
publishing house; besides two not specified. The importance 
of these forty-six plants is seen from the fact that they em- 
ployed 115,247 persons, or 22.7 per cent of all the wage 
earners engaged in manufactures in the state. 

The causes which have brought about this concentration of 
manufactures into large and even larger establishments have 
been the existence of certain advantages which large scale 
production possesses. The operation of a business on a large 
scale permits the use of expensive and complicated machinery, 
its constant employment, the minute division of labor and con- 
sequent specialization of each, worker, the employment of more 
skilled management and superintendence, the utilization of by- 
products, the economical purchase of the raw materials, and 
the advantageous marketing of the finished product. Under 
modern methods of machine production a well-equipped fac- 
tory requires a large investment in expensive machinery and 
plant, and in these industries the size of the most efficient busi- 
ness unit is necessarily large. 

One of the most striking economies in large scale produc- 
tion is the utilization of by-products which in small establish- 
ments are wasted. This has been carried farthest in the 
slaughtering and meat packing industry, but it is also practiced 
extensively in the iron and steel, woodworking, paper, leather, 
distilling, and other industries. 

It must not, however, be imagined that all industry is car- 
ried on upon such a large scale. There are still many small 
establishments scattered throughout the state. For instance, 
2,613 establishments reported no wage earners in 1914, the 


proprietor himself performing all the labor. This was particu- 
larly marked in the bakery, printing and publishing, and tobacco 
industries. In addition to these there were 9,039 establish- 
ments with from one to five persons employed, the same three 
industries again predominating. Somewhat over one-third 
(33-5 P er cent) of all the manufacturing establishments in the 
state reported products for the year of less than $5,000, and 
another third (32.1 per cent) produced between $5,000 and 
$20,000 a year. 

The industries reporting the smallest output per estab- 
lishment were the manufacture of leather goods, printing and 
publishing, the manufacture of patent medicines, the manufac- 
ture of copper, tin, and sheet-iron products, and the manufac- 
ture of carriages and wagons. In each of these industries more 
than seventy per cent of the establishments reported products 
valued at less than $20,000 for the year 1914. The small con- 
cerns are to be found principally in the southern part of the 
state but may also be met with in the central and northern divi- 
sions. There is consequently no reason to assume that indi- 
vidual initiative is in danger of being crushed by big business 
in Illinois or that there is no scope for the enterprise and 
energy of the man with small capital. Indeed many of the in- 
dustries for which the state is today famous have had just such 
humble beginnings. 

Paralleling the tendency to concentrate manufacturing 
processes in large establishments, there is also observable in 
Illinois a tendency for manufacturing establishments to localize 
in particular districts. While sometimes the choice of a loca- 
tion seems to be fortuitous, it will usually be found to have been 
determined by economic forces. That place which can offer 
the greatest advantages nearness to materials and markets, 
adequate transportation facilities, an abundant labor supply, 
and other factors is the one where the new establishments 
will be located. Moreover since most of these conditions are 
most satisfactorily met in the cities, it is in these places that 
manufactures have developed most rapidly. 


In Illinois the city of Chicago is the unrivaled center of 
industry by right of every economic advantage. Not only is 
Chicago the most important manufacturing city in Illinois, but 
it ranks second only to New York City among the cities of the 
United States. Its manufactures were valued at $1,483,498,- 
416 in 1914, or two-thirds of those for the whole state. In- 
deed there were only four states outside of Illinois whose total 
product exceeded that of this city, namely New York, Pennsyl- 
vania, Massachusetts, and Ohio. The list of industries to 
whose presence Chicago owes its industrial preeminence is prac- 
tically identical with that for the state at large, already given. 
Altogether the census lists 274 separate industries for this city. 9 

Peoria holds second place in the state in the value of manu- 
factures, reporting products valued at $64,689,045 in 1914. 
The leading industry in the city is distilled liquors, the four 
distilleries situated there turning out about one-fifth of the total 
product of the country; others of importance are slaughtering 
and meat packing, printing and publishing, the manufacture of 
agricultural implements, paper and wood pulp, malt liquors, 
cooperage, cordage and twine, food preparations and bakery 

Joliet holds third place among the manufacturing cities of 
Illinois, with an output of $30,091,415, a considerable de- 
crease from that of five years earlier. The operations of steel 
works and rolling mills and of blast furnaces, and the manu- 
facture of coke and wire, were the chief industries. 

East St. Louis showed the greatest growth of any city in 
the state in the output of manufactures during the past decade. 
In 1914 these amounted to $26,904,565. The principal indus- 
tries were flour mills and gristmills, chemicals, slaughtering 
and meat packing, rolling mills, foundries and machine shops, 
paints, and steam railroad repair shops. 

Rockford ranked fifth in value of manufactures, with $26,- 
371,219, but second in the number of employees. This city 
has a great diversity of manufactures, but the furniture factor- 

9 See appendix, p. 502. 


ies, knitting mills, and foundries and machine shops furnished 
employment to more than one-half of the wage earners. . 

Moline is well known on account of the large number of 
plows manufactured there. Four establishments manufactur- 
ing agricultural implements overshadowed everything else, pro- 
ducing almost half of the manufacturing output for the city, 
which totaled $19,925,106. The manufacture of automobiles 
and carriages and wagons are also among the leading 

There were eight other cities in the state in 1914 which 
reported manufactures in excess of $10,000,000. These were 
as follows in the order of their importance, together with their 
leading manufactures : 

Granite City rolling mill products, glucose, Babbitt metal 
and solder, stamped and enameled ware, and tinware. 

Chicago Heights rolling mill products, foundry and ma- 
chine shop products, railroad cars, and chemicals. 

Alton flour, glass, and slaughtering and meat packing. 

Waukegan rolling mill products, food products, gas, 

Decatur railroad car repairing, plumbers' supplies, and 

Springfield flour, boots and shoes, watches, zinc, agri- 
cultural implements, zinc smelting and refining, printing and 
publishing, electrical machinery, and malt liquors. 

Aurora railroad car repairing, foundry and machine 
shop products, corsets, and builders' hardware. 

Elgin watches, printing and publishing, condensed milk, 
and watch cases. 

There are four or five manufacturing industries in which 
Illinois holds such preeminent rank that a somewhat fuller 
treatment is demanded for them. These are slaughtering and 
meat packing, iron and steel, car building, agricultural imple- 
ments, and printing and publishing. 

Slaughtering and meat packing is not only the most impor- 
tant manufacturing industry in Illinois, but this state leads all 


others in the magnitude of its operations in this line. Under 
this head are included only establishments engaged in slaugh- 
tering cattle for the wholesale trade and in curing or packing 
meat for the wholesale market. 10 In Illinois, where most of the 
product is destined for a distant market or for export, the pack- 
ing industry is more important than the slaughtering industry 
alone, but both are usually conducted by the same establish- 

The most striking features in this industry are its concen- 
tration in large establishments and the utilization of the by- 
products. The tendency toward large scale production has 
been marked from the beginning and has apparently not yet 
come to an end. The number of establishments in the state 
actually declined between 1889 and 1914 from 81 to 70, al- 
though the value of the products grew for the same years from 
$212,000,000 to $485,000,000 and the number of wage earn- 
ers from 17,932 to 3 1,3 1 5. li The average establishment was 
of course much larger at the end of this period than at the be- 
ginning. In 1914 almost 84 per cent of the wage earners in 
this industry were at work in establishments employing over 
1,000 wage earners each. 

This concentration of the industry in a few hands has been 
greatly stimulated by the utilization of more and more of the 
by-products. Until comparatively late years little attempt was 
made to utilize the waste products of the abattoir. In fact the 
disposal of the waste material was a source of expense; but 

10 The livestock trade is described in chapter IV. 

11 The following table shows these facts for each census period from 1889 
to 1914. 



Number of 

Number of 
wage earners 

Value of 



17, 04,2 








26. QS1 

7l8, 2OI.2C3 




I Old. 


4 1. i e 



gradually industries grew up, producing glue, tallow, soap, and 
fertilizer from the waste products of the slaughter houses. 
With increasing competition the packing houses gradually ab- 
sorbed these industries and developed new ones, until today 
the utilization of what was formerly waste affords a substan- 
tial profit. The aim is that nothing shall be wasted, and this 
laudable ambition seems pretty fully realized. 

In 1903 the inevitable tendency toward combination as- 
serted itself, and the leading packing houses of Armour, Swift, 
and Morris organized the National Packing Company. The 
method of combination was first by purchase of some seven 
smaller concerns by the three firms just named, and then the 
organization of a holding company. 12 Voluntary dissolution 
of this company was affected in 1912 by the distribution of its 
property and assets on the basis of stock holdings, in accord- 
ance with which Swift and Company took over about 46 per 
cent, Armour and Company about 40 per cent, and Morris and 
Company the remaining 14 per cent. 

There are relatively few industries with capitals reaching 
into the millions, in which, as in the case of the leading pack- 
ing houses, the founders and their heirs have remained active 
heads of the business for so long a time. For half a century 
the names of Armour, Swift, Morris, Cudahy, and others 
have been synonymous with this industry in Illinois; and to 
their energy and ability the truly marvellous success of their 
concerns is largely due. 

More than in most industries there has been a great con- 
centration of the slaughtering and packing business in a few 
large centers. In Illinois Chicago has outdistanced all com- 
petitors until today it turns out three-quarters of all the pack- 
ing products in the state and about one-quarter of all in the 
entire United States. There has been a steady pressure to 
transfer the business to Chicago and one after another of the 
smaller towns have had to give up the industry. They are un- 

12 For the steps in this consolidation see The Economist, June 28, July 19, 
August 1 6, 1902. 


able to compete with the large scale production of the big 
plants with their resulting economies, and convenience of trans- 
portation and other facilities both for sellers and buyers. 
These immense packing plants in Chicago have created what is 
known as " Packingtown." This industry, with the allied busi- 
nesses which have grown up around it, and those which purvey 
to the workers, constitute together a town probably larger than 
any in the state exclusive of Chicago itself. 

The most striking features in the development of the iron 
and steel industry in the last twenty-five years have been, first, 
the changes in methods of production, and second, the move- 
ment toward consolidation and combination. The iron and 
steel industry falls into two general divisions, one comprising 
the production of pig iron, and the other the conversion of pig 
iron into various iron and steel products. Illinois, which is far 
removed from the deposits of anthracite, has had to depend 
upon bituminous coal, which is almost exclusively used in the 
form of coke in the blast furnaces of this state. In the pro- 
duction of steel there has been a striking decline in the output 
of Bessemer in favor of open-hearth steel, the proportion 
which the former makes up of the whole having fallen steadily 
from 85 per cent in 1890 to 49 per cent in 1914. 

Even more notable has been the movement toward con- 
solidation and combination. The size of the individual estab- 
lishment has shown a growth which is noteworthy even in a 
period of large scale production. The number of blast fur- 
naces was the same, namely five, in 1914 as it had been in 
i89O, 13 but the output quadrupled, indicating that each estab- 
lishment was much larger. The Illinois furnaces, which are of 
modern construction and equipped with improved blowing ma- 
chinery and moreover use the rich iron ores of the Lake Super- 
ior region, report the largest daily capacities of any state. 
A similar movement has taken place in the steel rolling mills: 
although there was a slight increase from 19 to 25 establish- 
ments, the value of the products trebled between 1890 and 

13 Census of Manufactures: Iron and Steel, 1914, p. 72. 


1914. In the latter year there were five mills with over 1,000 
employees and three others with between 500 and i,ooo. 14 
As the census of 1914 was taken in a year of extreme depres- 
sion, the figures for this year show a development less than 
might have been expected. 

Even more impressive than the growth in size of single 
establishments has been the tendency toward the combination 
of hitherto competing companies into one vast concern. While 
this has been a general phenomenon it has nowhere been more 
strikingly exemplified than in the iron and steel industry. The 
causes which have led to combination were many. The enor- 
mous investment of capital kept the number of competitors 
small and to that extent made the movement more feasible. 
It has been estimated that it requires between $20,000,000 and 
$30,000,000 to build and equip a modern plant for the manu- 
facture of iron and steel. And to this must be added further 
sums to control the iron mines and transportation facilities. 
But the most effective cause was the excessive fluctuations in 
the price of the products. No industry is more influenced by 
changes in the general industrial situation, by political issues, 
labor disturbances, conditions of the crops, currency, foreign 
relations, and similar factors. Production was essentially un- 
regulated, as in every industry with a large fixed capital, and 
tended to overproduction. 

Combination was therefore resorted to primarily in order 
to control prices. At first, this took the form of pooling. The 
National Steel Association, the Western Nail Manufacturers' 
Association, and the Stove Manufacturers' Association sought 
ineffectually to control the output and price cutting. 15 As 
something more binding than a pooling arrangement was seen 
to be necessary, consolidation by merger and stock ownership 
was next developed, especially after 1900. Various Illinois 
concerns were drawn into the Allis-Chalmers Company, the 
American Can Company, and the Republic Iron and Steel 

14 Ibid., 30. 

15 Western Manufacturer, 6:127; 9:188; 11:255, 465; 14:86, 156. 


Company. Of larger proportions were the organization of 
the Federal Steel Company and the American Steel and Wire 
Company of Illinois. The former was a holding company 
combining the Illinois Steel Company with some other con- 
cerns and brought together the South Chicago, the North Chi- 
cago, the Union, and the Joliet rolling mills, together with 
four or five short railroads in the vicinity of Chicago. The 
American Steel and Wire Company, formed in 1899, was the 
largest Illinois corporation yet organized in this line and con- 
solidated the Ellwood Manufacturing Company and the Ell- 
wood Wire and Nail Company of De Kalb; the Washburn and 
Moen Manufacturing Company of Waukegan; the Consoli- 
dated Barb Wire Company and the Laidlaw Bale Tie Com- 
pany of Joliet; the Garden City Wire and Spring Company of 
Chicago. 16 

By the formation of the United Steel Corporation in 1901 
these two combinations were themselves swept into the larger 
combination, together with the American Bridge Company in 
which were the Lassig Bridge and Iron Works and the Amer- 
ican Bridge Works at Chicago, and the American Tin Plate 
Company which owned the four mills of the Great Western 
Tin Plate Works at Joliet. Since that time there has been 
little change in the situation in the iron and steel industry. 

Closely allied with the iron and steel industry is the car 
building industry, in which Illinois holds first rank in the 
United States. This is due chiefly to the great extension of 
railway facilities in this and neighboring states and to the con- 
venient location of Chicago and other Illinois cities as centers 
of the industry. Aside from 73 establishments maintained by 
the railroads themselves for construction and repair of cars, 
there were 28 car building establishments in the state in I9io. 17 
Of these the most important is the Pullman Company. The 
organization of the Pullman Palace Car Company dates back 
to 1867, when George M. Pullman, the inventor of the palace 

16 Report of the Commissioner of Corporations on the Steel Industry, July i, 
1911, table 3, p. 107. 

17 Thirteenth Census of the United States, supplement for Illinois, 702. 


car, established the industry. In 1880 he founded the town 
of Pullman in Illinois. In 1899 control of the Wagner Palace 
Car Company of Buffalo was acquired and the name was 
changed to the Pullman Company. It manufactures and oper- 
ates drawing-room, sleeping and dining cars,- and owns and 
operates extensive plants in five other cities outside of Chi- 
cago, although the principal part of the business is carried on 

Since 1890 Illinois has held first rank in the United States 
as a producer of agricultural implements. Its central location 
and proximity to the rich prairie farms of the central west is 
the primary cause of its preeminence. New centers of manu- 
facture have appeared within the past decade in states farther 
west, but nothing has occurred as yet to shake Illinois' leader- 
ship. Within the state Chicago ranks first as the seat of this 
manufacture. This high rank is due chiefly to the extensive 
manufacture of harvesting machines, in which it leads all cities 
and indeed all states in the world. It also produces over half 
of all the grain harvesters, headers and binders, mowers, and 
reapers manufactured in the United States. 

Moline ranks as the second city in Illinois in the value of 
its manufactures of agricultural implements, but it confines 
itself chiefly to implements of cultivation. Here are located 
the Moline Plow Works and the factories of Deere and Com- 
pany, famed especially for their plows and cultivators. Peoria 
is the only other city which contributes notably to this industry 
in the value of product, though numerous other cities and 
towns are distinguished for the excellence of particular im- 

Illinois leads in the production of most of the principal 
agricultural implements, as cultivators, harrows, plows, plant- 
ers and drills, harvesters, headers and binders, horse hay- 
rakes, and mowers. But it is from harvesting implements that 
it derives its supremacy. The same tendency which has con- 
centrated the industry in Illinois has also led to the specializa- 
tion and consolidation of individual plants. There has been an 


actual decrease in the number of establishments manufactur- 
ing certain lines. 

The greatest consolidation of establishments manufactur- 
ing agricultural implements took place in 1902 with the incor- 
poration of the* International Harvester Company. This new 
organization acquired all but four of the largest harvester 
companies in the country. Besides some subsidiary plants 
like the Chicago Malleable Castings Company, the following 
harvester manufacturing concerns were consolidated: the Mc- 
Cormick Harvesting Machine Company, the Deering Har- 
vester Company, the Piano Manufacturing Company, the 
Warder, Bushwell and Glessner Company, and the Milwaukee 
Harvester Company. The capital stock of the new corpora- 
tion was $120,000,000, and the annual output of the five 
plants after consolidation about 8,700,000 machines. 18 The 
parent plant and the largest of all, the McCormick Company, 
is located at Chicago. 

Printing and publishing ranked third among the manufac- 
turing industries of Illinois in 1914, and in this field Illinois 
was surpassed only by New York. It had ranked tenth among 
the industries of the state in 1890, but has steadily grown in 
extent and importance. The explanation of this growth is 
not to be found in the decline of illiteracy or the development 
of culture and education among the people, although they 
played an important role, but rather in the economic changes. 19 

Before printing and publishing could be highly developed 
certain industrial and mechanical improvements were neces- 
sary. The improvement of the means of transportation 
roads, steam railroads, and electric railways and of com- 
munication the post office, telegraph, telephone, and even 
the typewriter was necessary before the modern daily news- 
paper and magazines could be produced. Cheap paper was 
another necessary condition, which was solved by the use of 
wood pulp for paper-making. By 1890 most of these im- 

18 The Economist, February 15, March 8, 1902. 

19 See chapter n. 


provements had been invented and the rest followed before the 
end of the century, so that the foundations were laid for a 
rapid development. 

But other changes, equally significant, were taking place 
within the industry. Technical changes and new inventions 
were revolutionizing the printing business. Of these the most 
important was the invention of a typesetting machine, which 
was finally perfected about i885. 20 The average speed of 
composition has been increased from about 1,000 ems an 
hour by hand to about 4,000 ems by machine. Although the 
typesetting machines were invented in New York, it was not 
long before they were introduced in Illinois; and in 1888 the 
first linotype machine in this state was installed by the Chicago 
Daily News. By 1895 most of the large papers in the state 
were using them. Improvements in photo-engraving, which 
dates as a modern process from about 1890, revolutionized 
the periodical press, created a new department in the large 
newspaper offices, and gave rise to a new independent industry. 
The invention in 1914 of the process of" roto-gravure " marks 
a further advance in the work of illustration. Electrotyping 
and stereotyping were both greatly improved by mechanical 
changes in the nineties. The foundation stone of the whole 
industry the printing press had been brought to a high 
degree of perfection before this period, but numerous improve- 
ments and inventions have increased its efficiency, so that the 
press of today is very different from that of even twenty-five 
years ago. 

Given these mechanical improvements in the industry, the 
printing and publishing business, which was in the hands of 
alert and capable men, was bound to show a marvelous ad- 
vance. The value of the output increased from $17,348,845 
in 1890 to $112,833,427 in 1914, and the number of daily 
newspapers in the state grew less rapidly from 121 to 184. 
But the aggregate circulation of the daily newspapers expanded 

20 Thompson, History of Composing Machines, i. There are now three gen- 
eral types of machines: the linotype, the monotype, and the simplex. 


from 774,486 per issue at the former date to 2,620,661 at the 
latter. In addition to the daily newspapers there were pub- 
lished in the state in 1914 nearly 1,500 semiweekly and tri- 
weekly, weekly, monthly, and quarterly periodicals. 

Illinois ranks second among the states in the union in num- 
ber and circulation of all classes of publications combined; 
third in number and circulation of dailies; second in number 
and circulation of weeklies; and second in number and in circu- 
lation of monthly publications. 21 In addition to these periodi- 
cals there is a vast amount of book and job printing carried 
on in the printing establishments of every county in the state, 
which swells the total to the figures already given. 22 

21 Census of Manufactures: Illinois, 1914, p. 31. 

22 For the information concerning the printing and publishing industry the 
writer wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to a thorough study of the subject 
made by Dr. Frederic A. Russell and presented by him as a doctor's thesis 
to the University of Illinois under the title Newspaper and Periodical Publish- 
ing Industry in Illinois from 1880 to 1915. 


IF THE commercial development of a region depends upon 
the combination of resources and location, then Illinois is 
doubly favored, for its preeminence as an agricultural, mining, 
and manufacturing state provides the materials for an extensive 
commerce, while its commanding location gives it every advan- 
tage of water and rail communication. Consequently the trade 
and commerce of the state rival the other branches of economic 
activity in importance and extent. In spite of their magnitude, 
however, the movements of commerce have never been sub- 
jected to statistical measurement in the United States, and 
it is therefore impossible to trace them with any degree of 
accuracy. It is necessary to fall back upon the data gathered 
in the more important cities of the state and infer from these 
the movements which have been taking place generally. 

The high degree of specialization which has attended agri- 
culture and the mining and manufacturing industries of the 
state has meant that no group of workers has been able to 
supply all its own wants. The distribution of products from 
producers to distant markets and of other commodities to 
the consumers has called into existence a great number of 
merchants,, and wholesale, jobbing, and retail houses, whose 
activities are essential to the welfare of the other interests and 
whose business is enormous. Especially important is the grain 
trade, which feeds many manufacturing establishments with 
their raw materials and supplies the railways with the major 
part of their traffic. Two of the twelve primary grain markets 
in the country are situated within the state, of which Chicago 
ranks first in the United States. 

Chicago is by far the greatest commercial and distributing 
center in Illinois; its commercial importance is due mainly to 



its geographical location and to the fact that it is the point 
of convergence of the principal railroads of the western and 
northwestern states and of the trunk lines which connect these 
states with the principal cities of the Atlantic seaboard. But 
the controlling factor in the commercial and industrial growth 
of Chicago consists in the fact that this city is one of the 
principal primary markets for the purchase and sale of the 
agricultural products of this section of the country and for 
the manufacture of certain of these products into the various 
forms in which they appear in commerce. 

The magnitude of the grain trade of Chicago may be best 
indicated by giving a few figures. The total receipts of all 
grain grew from 219,052,518 bushels in 1890 to 371,135,000 
bushels in 1915, while the shipments increased from 204,674,- 
918 to 299,090,000 bushels for the same years. Two things 
may be noted even in these bare statistics. First, there has 
been a very small growth in this trade, due to the shifting of 
the center of production, the development of new markets, 
and changes in the routes of transportation. In the second 
place, the shipments are less than the receipts at each period, 
but the difference has grown greater. This is caused by the 
greater demands of the rapidly growing population of Chicago 
for the incoming flour and grain for food, and also to its use 
in local manufactories. The city consumption of all grain, 
including flour, was estimated in 1890 to amount to 22,059,000 
bushels; by 1915 this had increased to 119,394,000 bushels. 
At the same time the manufacture of flour within the city grew 
from 430,609 barrels in 1890 to 1,155,000 barrels in 1915. 1 

Not only has the grain trade of Chicago failed to show 
a growth corresponding with its industrial development, but 
changes in the methods of handling the grain have lessened 
the profits which have accrued to Chicago merchants in these 
transactions. Before the development of cheap rail transpor- 
tation to the east, the grain brought to Chicago after the close 

1 Report of the Trade and Commerce of Chicago, 1915, p. 18. See tables in 
appendix, p. 503. for the grain trade of Chicago. 


of lake transportation in the fall accumulated in elevators 
where it was stored until the opening of navigation again in 
the spring. With the advent of all-rail carriage of grain to 
the Atlantic seaboard, which was not interrupted by seasonal 
changes, the profits of the elevator business declined severely. 
Although these establishments attempted to hold the business 
which was slipping from their grasp, by reducing elevator 
charges, the advantages of through shipments were so great 
that it was impossible to prevent the change. 

Owing to the gradual shifting of the slaughtering and meat 
packing industry to points farther west, to Omaha and Kansas 
City, the movements of livestock and dressed meats have 
shown a still smaller rate of growth and in some respects 
have even fallen off. But the total amount is still enormous. 
Chicago is also an important market for lard, wool, and hides, 
which may be designated as incidents of the packing industry. 

Illinois cities and especially Chicago have always been 
important distributive centers for agricultural products, but 
the last twenty-five years have seen a great widening in the 
range of commercial interests. 2 Today Chicago is the most 
important inland city in distributive commerce in general. 
While the amount of grain and provisions handled in this 
city is a smaller proporton of the total products, the relative 
loss in these lines has been more than compensated by the 
innumerable variety of other commodities for which the city 
has become the distributing center. The jobbing and whole- 
sale business of Chicago in 1891 was estimated to have 
amounted to $5i7,i66,ooo. 3 Her preeminence as a distrib- 
uting center was attributed primarily to the cheap freight rates 
both by rail and water which her merchants enjoyed. 4 

It is not possible to measure the other branches of Chicago's 
trade with any degree of exactness, as they have never been 
subjected to statistical measurement, but there is no doubt that 
they have shown a growth even greater than those which have 

2 See table in appendix, p. 504. 

3 Flinn, Chicago, 55. 

4 Report of the Trade and Commerce of Chicago, 1890, p. 120. 


been enumerated. In 1893 the trade of Chicago in farm 
products, the products of local manufactories, and the whole- 
sale trade, was estimated to amount to $1,434,700,000. 
" Were the retail figures of the year and the extraordinary 
work of hotels, railroads and other industries added," these 
figures might be doubled. 5 

The financial panic of 1893 and the long period of depres- 
sion which followed it affected Chicago's trade adversely, but 
it recovered quickly after 1896, and five years later the board 
of trade was able to report optimistically as to the outlook. 
"As an inevitable result of agricultural prosperity . . 
Chicago's wholesale business in other lines, has been greatly 
in excess of that of any previous year notably in clothing, 
boots and shoes, furs, wooden and willow-ware, leather and 
findings, hardware and cutlery, hats and caps ; in paper, books 
and stationery, pig and manufactured iron, crockery and glass- 
ware, wagons and carriages, stoves, furnaces, and wallpaper." 8 
In 1904 the combined value of the wholesale trade and local 
manufactures was $2,349,315,000; in 1910 they were $3,988.- 
065,800; and by 1916 they had increased to $4,965,907,000. 
Of this last sum, over half, or $2,854,298,000, represented 
the wholesale trade alone. The most important branches of 
the wholesale trade were the following: dry goods and carpets 
($321,000,000), produce ($245,000,000), groceries ($181,- 
000,000), lumber ($127,000,000), boots and shoes ($104,- 
000,000), pig iron ($76,000,000), liquors and wines ($70,- 
000,000), manufactured iron ($66,000,000), and tobacco 
and cigars ( $60,000,000). 7 

Although Chicago overshadows all other Illinois cities in 
the wholesale and jobbing business, Peoria is of considerable 
importance along this line. The reasons for Peoria's impor- 
tance as a commercial center are, in large measure, her central 
geographical location and her abundant facilities for trans- 

B Industrial Chicago, 4: 279. 

6 Report of the Trade and Commerce of Chicago, 1901, xiv. 

7 Chicago Tribune, December 31, 1916. Each year an annual review of 
trade is given for the year just ending. 


portation. The city is situated in the heart of a fertile agri- 
cultural region and has a dozen railroads radiating from it 
likes the spokes of a wheel from a hub. Few cities can equal 
this transportation system, which brings into and distributes 
from Peoria as a center the products of the soil, mine, and 
forest, as well as merchandise, machinery, and all varieties 
of manufactured products. The leading industry is distilled 
liquors, and consequently the city is an important grain center 
both for purposes of local 'manufacture and for distribution. 
It is the second primary grain market in Illinois and the 
eighth in the country, being surpassed in order of their rank 
by Chicago, Minneapolis, Duluth, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Kan- 
sas City, and Omaha. 8 

Peoria is also a distributing center of packing house prod- 
ucts, agricultural implements, and manufactured articles. It 
was asserted by representatives of manufacturers of agricul- 
tural implements in 1900 that it was then the most prominent 
distributing point for these commodities not only in Illinois 
but in the west generally. This was due to its central location 
and its unusual facilities for distribution. Ten or twelve branch 
houses, representing the most prominent implement manufac- 
tories in the United States, were located there. In 1910 there 
were reported to be large increases in the movement of spirits 
and liquors, hay, agricultural implements, cooperage, lumber, 
salt, oil, and miscellaneous freight. And in 1912 the tonnage 
movement at Peoria was the largest on record up to that time. 9 

East St. Louis ranks third among Illinois cities as a market 
for grain and has a large number of elevators and warehouses. 
It is not possible to give any statistics of this traffic, but it is 
obvious that much of the grain credited to St. Louis by the 
reports of the Merchants' Exchange of that city is really 
handled in East St. Louis. Much of the grain from southern 
and western Illinois is drawn to the St. Louis market. 

Prior to 1910 the existing freight rates on grain from 

8 See table in appendix, p. 504. 

9 Report of the Trade and Commerce of Peoria, 1900, 1911, 1913. 


Illinois points to East St. Louis and to St. Louis worked a 
hardship upon this market by inducing grain in territory which 
was really tributary to these cities to go to other markets. But 
after three years' negotiation with the Illinois railroads cen- 
tering in East St. Louis and St. Louis, a very complete revision 
of rates on grain was secured, removing the discrimination 
against these cities. This revision affected a total of 898 sta- 
tions in Illinois. The effect of this adjustment was demon- 
strated by a steady growth and marked increase in shipments 
of grain from Illinois points to East St. Louis and St. Louis. 10 
Aside from this there is and always has been a very large trade 
between St. Louis and that part of Illinois which is tributary 
to it. A large percentage of the supplies of groceries, dry 
goods, boots and shoes, clothing, hardware, and similar com- 
modities for a large part of southern and western Illinois is 
derived from St. Louis as the logical center for such traffic. 

A movement which gained considerable ground after 1900 
was the establishment in the centrally located cities of Illinois 
of small wholesale groceries for reshipping products to the 
smaller towns. As such houses were able to effect savings on 
freight by getting their stock in carload lots and then sending 
package freight only a relatively short distance to their cus- 
tomers, the larger wholesale grocers at a greater distance, in 
Chicago and St. Louis, were forced to follow this example 
and establish branch houses in the more important cities of 
the state. 11 

Another development which has become even more far- 
reaching in its results upon methods of retail distribution has 
been the growth of the mail-order business. This may be 
regarded as an Illinois product, for the two largest such houses 
in the United States or in the world are located in Chicago, 
which is the center of this business, although other large cities 
within reach of Illinois have similar establishments. These 
great houses supply practically all the necessaries and luxuries 

10 Report on Trade and Commerce of St. Louis, 1910, p. 14-15. 

11 Ibid., 1906, p. 55. 


of life directly to the consumer without the intervention of 
any middleman or agents. They sell by catalogue, and orders 
are sent to them by mail. A renewed impetus to this business 
has been given by the establishment of the parcel post system, 
which enables farmers living on rural routes to have mail- 
order deliveries brought to their very door. So successful has 
been this method of distribution that many manufacturers of 
various kinds of goods are now following the example set by 
the mail-order houses and are endeavoring to reach the con- 
sumer directly by mail or otherwise, thus eliminating the profits 
of the middleman. There are no statistics on these move- 
ments; but they must be important among an agricultural 
population like that of rural Illinois, which is now connected 
with the great centers of commerce by several methods of 
transportation. The days of the isolated farmhouse have 
long passed. 

By 1890 the state of Illinois had become well supplied 
with railroad facilities, and during the following decade the 
amount of new construction was reduced to a minimum. The 
panic of 1893, while it was less disastrous to the railroads of 
the state than had been that of 1873, P ut them to a severe 
strain. It was difficult during the years of depression which 
followed the panic to earn a satisfactory return upon the 
existing capital, and new additions were consequently out of 
the question. Indeed, the feeling gained ground that Illinois 
already had enough railroads to supply her need for trans- 
portation facilities. This view found clear expression in the 
report of the railroad and warehouse commission for 1898: 
" The State of Illinois is so thoroughly covered with a network 
of railroads that we can not expect a great increase in the 
future in the mileage of the main lines in the State. The com- 
petition between all main points is now so strong that the 
construction of new lines would be an unprofitable and reckless 
investment." In order to prevent the duplication of existing 
facilities by the building of unnecessary parallel roads, the 
commission further recommended that authority be given them 


to pass upon the advisability of the construction of any pro- 
posed new road. 12 But the economic situation was more effec- 
tive even than legislation in preventing unnecessary construc- 
tion, and during this period the increase in mileage has been 
due mainly to the building of branch lines or feeders by the 
systems already in the field. 13 

During the period between 1900 and the panic of 1907, 
which again put a stoppage to further expansion, there was 
considerable development in the coal fields of southern Illinois, 
which were being tapped and exploited by all the more 
important railroad systems in the state. New branch lines 
and feeders were built, and many of the roads bought coal 
lands and developed their own mines. The most important 
of these coal carrying lines were the Illinois Central, the 
Chicago and Eastern Illinois, the Chicago, Burlington and 
Quincy, the Baltimore and Ohio Southwestern, and the Big 
Four system. 

Illinois was long the leading railroad state in the union in 
respect to the number of miles of line, but in 1907 the primacy 
was wrested from her by the still larger and more rapidly 
developing state of Texas. 14 In 1914 Texas had 15,758 
miles, or 6.2 per cent of the 252,230 miles in the whole United 
States, while Illinois held second place with 12,140 miles or 
4.8 per cent, and Pennsylvania was third with 11,634 miles 
or 4.6 per cent. 15 This high rank is due not merely to the 
large size of the state, but rather to the extent of the railway 
net in proportion to the area covered. While there were in 
1914 only 8.48 miles of line for each 100 square miles of 
territory for the United States as a whole, in Illinois there 
were 21.66 miles of line for a similar area. 16 

Although there was only a moderate increase in the mileage 
of Illinois railroads during this period, there was a very great 

12 Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1898, p. in, xiii; 1900, 
p. iv. 

13 See tables in appendix, p. 504-505. 

14 Poor's Manual, 1907, p. vi. 

15 Report on Statistics of Railways in the United States, 1914, p. 12. 
l Ibid. 

>-> i-> to i\j e>j to * 


t t I ^-* M 4? 

P S 5 > |3 C e S! 









improvement in their construction and equipment. The sig- 
nificant feature of American railroad building during the last 
twenty-five years has been the rebuilding of many of the hastily 
constructed early lines, and in no state has greater improve- 
ment been made than in Illinois. The character of the traffic 
which is carried by the railroads in this state heavy, bulky 
commodities such as coal and grain and the further fact 
that most of it is through traffic, have impressed upon the 
Illinois lines a distinctive character. There has been a steady 
increase in the weight of the rolling stock; this in turn has 
resulted in greater tractive power, which, combined with the 
denser traffic and improved organization, has made possible 
much heavier train loads. Thus on the Chicago and Alton, 
a typical Illinois road, the average train load has grown from 
184 tons in 1885 to 418 in 1915. In 1912 the average train 
load on the. Illinois Central was about 430 tons. 17 

The heavier loads have in turn necessitated corresponding 
improvements in track and bridges. Thus in 1871, of the 
5,490 miles of track in Illinois, more than ninety per cent was 
laid with iron rails weighing from thirty to fifty-six pounds 
to the yard; by 1913 all but 118 of the 12,168 miles of track 
were laid with steel rails weighing from sixty to one hundred 
and ten pounds to the yard. In 1871 the road was rock bal- 
lasted only in those places where trouble was caused during the 
wet season, but in 1913, only about five per cent was ballasted 
with earth and sand. In 1871 there were seventy-nine and 
one-half miles of double main track, or about one-six- 
tieth as many miles of double as of single track; in 1914 the 
number of miles of second, third, and additional main 
tracks was 3,145, or about one-fourth of the single main 
track. 18 

In 1875, in the 7,109 miles of railroad in the state, there 
were fifteen stone arch bridges; in 1913, with an increase of 
about seventy per cent in the mileage, there were in use 946 

17 Poor's Manual, 1916, p. 1408 ; Report of the Illinois Central Railroad, 1912. 

18 Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1871, table " H " ; 1895, 
p. xi; 1913, i: 15; Report of the Illinois Public Utilities Commission, 1914, 2:7. 


masonry and 3,103 iron and steel bridges, only ninety wooden 
bridges remaining as a monument of older conditions. 19 

These are only a few of the many improvements which 
have been introduced. In addition, interlocking switching 
devices and block signalling systems have been put into oper- 
ation, curves and grades have been reduced, tracks have been 
elevated, and other changes made. 20 As a result of these 
improvements not only has the weight of the average 
train load been greatly increased, but a much higher rate 
of speed has been attained by both passenger and freight 

As a result of these changes rates have been lowered, 
traffic has greatly increased, and the markets have been greatly 
extended. The extension of improved transportation facilities 
into the great grain-growing northwest has brought that section 
into closer competition with Illinois farmers and has resulted 
in a gradual displacement of Illinois wheat by that of Minne- 
sota and the Dakotas. Illinois farmers have consequently 
been forced more and more into corn raising and more recently 
into dairy farming and stock raising. 21 On the other hand, 
these improvements have developed an enormous traffic in 
other domestic products within the state, especially the prod- 
ucts of the mines, forests, and factories. Between 1889 and 
1913 the increase in the total amount of freight carried was 
fourfold, which was much greater than the growth of the 
population during the same period. The commerce in the 

19 Report of the Illinois Public Utilities Commission, 1875, p. 300, 302; 1913, 
p. 16. 

20 The following statement will show the character of the improvements 
that were being made: "The work of the betterment of the physical conditions 
of the railroad properties of the State have gone steadily forward. Double tracks 
are being laid to facilitate business, heavier rail sections are replacing the light 
rails of former years, grade reductions, elimination of curvatures and the pur- 
chase and placing in service of heavy equipment, both engines and cars of the 
very best class for both passenger and freight service, which make the railroad 
service of the State of Illinois the peer of any such service in this or any other 
country." Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1903, p. 8. 

21 Compare chapter in on agriculture. In 1869 Illinois ranked as the fore- 
most wheat producing state in the union with a production of 30,128,405 bushels; 
for the half decade, 1910-1914, the average annual production was 17,314,263, and 
the state ranked about fourteenth. The production of corn increased from 129,- 
921,395 bushels in 1869 to 320,111,081 in 1915, Illinois racking first in both years. 


products of the mines grew sixfold, those of the forests five- 
fold, and manufactures over eightfold. 

The figures upon which these statements are based contain 
inaccuracies, but their essential correctness is evidenced by 
other statistics of freight movement at particular points. 
Peoria, which is a typical interior railway center, showed a 
fourfold increase between 1888 and 1915, or practically the 
same as that shown for the state as a whole. 22 

The east and west traffic across southern Illinois may be 
gauged by the freight crossing the Mississippi to and from 
St. Louis. Between 1890 and 1914 the movement of freight 
both into and out of the state increased about threefold, the 
shipments out of the state remaining consistently larger. 23 

It is not possible to present any statistics of the north and 
south movement of freight across the state, but a couple of 
estimates have been made that will serve as a guide. A state 
committee on the deep waterway across Illinois estimated the 
freight movement between Chicago and St. Louis at 20,000,- 
ooo tons northward and 15,000,000 tons southward, or a total 
of 35,000,000 tons annually. At about the same time the 
federal Mississippi river commission, which was also investi- 
gating the deep waterway project, stated that the freight which 
then moved between these two cities was carried by three rail- 
roads the Chicago and Alton, the Illinois Central, and the 
Wabash and that during the year ending June 30, 1904, 
the quantity of freight moved by these three roads from Chi- 
cago to St. Louis was 449,115 tons and from St. Louis to 
Chicago was 633,182 tons, a total of 1,082,297 tons for the 
year in both directions. This they thought was a fair estimate 
of this north and south traffic. 21 The vast discrepancy between 
the two sets of figures serves to show how inaccurate a mere 
guess upon such a subject may be and that the value of the 
estimate in every case depends upon the motive of the one 
making the estimate. 

22 See table in appendix, p. 505. 

23 See table in appendix, p. 506. 

24 Report by the Mississippi River Commission, 1905, p. 15. 


The total amount of freight carried in the state as a whole 
showed a steady increase during this period, except for a slight 
decline between 1902 and 1905. 25 After 1905 the increase 
was especially rapid, the total freight tonnage almost doubling 
in the next decade. The freight train mileage did not grow 
so rapidly, but the number of tons carried one mile quadrupled 
during the twenty-year period. This was due to the more 
efficient utilization of plant and equipment, resulting from 
heavier train loads and faster speed. 

Much less important than the freight service, both in the 
amount of rolling stock used for this service and the resulting 
revenues to the railroads, is the passenger service. The 
growth in this has not been so great as in the case of the freight 
tonnage, but it has more than doubled in the past twenty 
years. 26 

One of the most interesting as well as important recent 
developments in the transportation world has been the growth 
of interurban electric railroads. Electric traction was first 
applied to city street railways in 1888, but it was almost a 
decade later that electric lines were built outside the city limits 
between comparatively distant points. Since 1900, however, 
there has been a very rapid development of these lines, not 
only in Illinois but in almost all sections of the country. 

The first electric roads in Illinois were constructed during 
the later nineties. The first mention of them in the reports 
of the railroad and warehouse commission was in that of 1899, 
when 42.89 miles of "elevated and electric roads" were re- 
ported in operation, but no distinction was made between the 
two. A comparison with subsequent reports shows, however, 
that of this total 10.50 miles consisted of electric surface lines. 
This was the St. Louis, Belleville, and Suburban Railway Com- 
pany, which therefore has the distinction of being the first road 
of this kind in Illinois. A year later the Peoria and Pekin Ter- 

25 See table in appendix, p. 56- 

26 The freight revenue of Illinois railroads in 1913 was $147,262,069, while 
the passenger revenue was $41,642,174. The number of freight cars in use was 
966,830, and of passenger cars, 17,827. See tables in appendix, p. 504-505. 


minal Railway was opened for passenger business (April 10, 
1900) ; six miles had been built for the Mississippi Valley 
Transit Company; and a beginning was being made on the Col- 
linsville, Caseyville, and East St. Louis Electric Railroad, 
which by June 30, 1901, had a little over seven miles in opera- 
tion. 27 During this last year the Chicago, Harvard, and 
Geneva Lake Railway was opened. 

After this the movement became more rapid, and the com- 
panies began to multiply and the lines to stretch, out into the 
rural districts between the larger cities. By 1903 there were 
already two lines over fifty miles in length. The first line to 
pass a length of 100 miles was the Aurora, Elgin, and Chicago 
Railroad Company in I9O7. 28 In this same year a total length 
of over 1,000 miles was attained by all the lines. Combina- 
tion soon set in, and the separate lines began to be consolidated 
into larger combinations. Of these the Illinois Traction 
Company soon passed all the rest and by 1913 controlled 456 
miles of line in Illinois. As a typical electric interurban system 
this may be briefly described. 

The Illinois Traction Company was organized in 1904 
out of some twenty subsidiary companies. 29 Its longest direct 
line is from Danville to East St. Louis, a distance of 227 
miles. Springfield is the center of the system, and from here 
the three branch lines radiate in all directions north to 
Peoria (75 miles), east to Danville (131 miles), and south 
to East St. Louis (97 miles). 30 Another division connects 
Decatur with Bloomington (45 miles). All these divisions 
are served with limited trains operated at high speed on a 
two-hour headway and are equipped with parlor and sleeping 

27 Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1899, p. cxxi; 1900, 
p. clxxix; 1901, p. 197. 

28 Ibid., 1907, p. 286. 

29 Street and Electric Railways, 1907. 

30 The Illinois Traction Company first gained entrance to St. Louis in 1910 
and its advent was hailed with joy by the people of that city, because it supplied 
improved facilities for shipments of merchandise to Illinois towns, and alsc 
afforded the opportunity for the people of these towns to make frequent shopping 
trips to St. Louis. Report on Trade and Commerce of St. Louis, 1910, p. 68. 


The freight service of this system is also of real and grow- 
ing importance to the territory it serves. It affords the sole 
outlet for several coal mines along its route and serves over 
one hundred coal mines which are also touched by the steam 
roads which the system parallels. It has also developed a 
considerable traffic in milk and grain and in general express 
and package transportation. But the passenger traffic and 
revenue far exceed the freight business in importance. 31 

The rapid development of the interurban electric railway 
has been due to several causes. 32 Travel by the interurban 
is cheaper than by the steam railroads; it is more convenient, 
owing both to the frequency of the service and to the more 
convenient location of the interurban stations which are 
usually situated in the heart of the shopping districts. And 
finally many people are reached by the interurban who could 
not use the steam roads. The great advantage possessed by 
the electric lines is the possibility of variation of units of serv- 
ice according to the amount and character of traffic, which en- 
ables them to give a service which is both more frequent and 
cheaper than that of the competing steam roads. The latter 
have in many cases lost traffic to the interurbans, especially in 
suburban traffic outside the larger cities. Passenger, freight, 
mail, express, sleeping, and even funeral cars are run on the 
longer routes. 33 The total number of passengers carried by 
these roads has increased from 1,743,495 in 1899 to 137,390,- 
295 in 1913. 

The freight tonnage hauled by electric railways in Illinois 
has grown in even greater ratio than the passenger traffic, hav- 
ing increased from 614 tons in 1900 to 3,067,483 tons in 
1913. Figures showing the various classes of freight are 
available only from 1910 to I9I3, 34 but these show that the 
transportation of bituminous coal far exceeded all other 
freight in volume. The handling of parcels and light package 

31 Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1913, i: 138. 

32 See table in appendix, p. 57- 

33 Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1905, p. 6. 

34 Ibid., 1910-1913. 


freight in and out of the large cities is a business whose im- 
portance is not adequately measured by statistics of tonnage, 
but which is constantly growing. So too the transportation of 
farm products, especially milk, from the rural districts to the 
creameries and city markets has been an important one in the 
dairy sections of the state. 

The interurban electric lines have had an important effect 
upon both passenger and freight rates of the steam roads, but 
especially the former. In some cases the steam roads met the 
competition of their new rivals by reducing fares, but for the 
shorter distances they found it impracticable to meet the lower 
expenses of operation of the electric lines and solved the prob- 
lem by laying off a number of passenger trains. This has been 
particularly noticeable on the roads serving Chicago. But 
perhaps the most important effects of this new transportation 
agency have been the breaking down of rural isolation, as it 
has brought country districts into closer touch with the cultural 
advantages to be found in cities and has facilitated travel and 
commercial intercourse. 

Railroad rates in Illinois have since 1871 been under the 
control of a state commission, whose authority was generally 
recognized by the roads after the first decade. Since 1887 
rates between Illinois and points outside the state have come 
under the jurisdiction of the federal interstate commerce com- 
mission. During the period since 1 893, therefore, railroad rates 
in Illinois have been fairly steady, and have shown none of the 
wild fluctuations that characterized earlier periods. Both pas- 
senger and freight rates have declined rather more than the 
average rates for the United States and have reached a lower 
level. 35 

Schedules of maximum rates have been established from 
time to time by the railroad and warehouse commission, of 
which the first went into effect in 1874. The maximum passen- 
ger rate of three cents a mile then fixed continued until 1907, 
when it was reduced to two cents by legislative action. An at- 

35 See table in appendix, p. 507- 


tempt in 1917 to raise the rates to two and one-half cents a 
mile failed. 36 

The schedules of freight rates fixed by the commission were 
likewise placed high enough to give considerable latitude to the 
railroad companies. Changes have been effected in the official 
schedules chiefly through variations in the classification of 
freight, which have been made frequently. In 1894 a new gen- 
eral classification was adopted by the commission to correct the 
inequalities under which Illinois merchants and shippers were 
suffering in their competition with merchants in neighboring 
states. It was shown that rates from Cincinnati, Toledo, De- 
troit, and other cities to interior points in Illinois were less than 
those from Chicago, even though in some cases the hauls were 
longer. Reductions were accordingly made on about one thou- 
sand articles and the discriminations complained of were cor- 
rected. Again in 1906 as a result of complaints of high charges 
on the part of shippers, a flat reduction of twenty per cent was 
ordered by the commission on classes one to five (chiefly mer- 
chandise) and a graduated scale of reduction on classes six to 
ten (other commodities). 37 Minor reductions and changes 
have been made every year and sometimes several times in a 
single year as occasion warranted. 

Reductions in rates are usually accompanied by such an in- 
crease in traffic that net earnings are not adversely affected, and 
this has been true in general of Illinois railroads. The prosper- 
ity of these lines received a blow in 1893, however, from the 
serious effects of which no artificial stimulation of traffic could 
save them. The panic of 1893 was caused by an overinvest- 
ment of fixed capital, largely in premature railroad construc- 
tion. Liquidation and an adjustment of values was inevitable. 
In Illinois conditions were made worse by labor troubles and 
crop failures which reduced the amount of traffic available. The 
general reduction in rates ordered by the commission in 1894 

36 The table on page 507 In the appendix shows that the actual rates were 
lower than the legal maxima. 

37 Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1895, p. xi; Special 
Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1906. 


came in the midst of the period of depression, but it helped 
rather than hurt the railroads for it enabled Illinois merchants 
and manufacturers to reach markets from which hitherto they 
had been virtually excluded by discriminatory rates. 

Beginning about 1897 the lean years came to an end and 
there set in a "wonderful and unparalleled activity in railroad 
business," which continued almost without interruption for the 
next decade. 38 Freight tonnage and passenger traffic showed 
astonishing growth, which was attended by marked prosperity 
of the railroads. This revival was curtailed temporarily by 
the panic of 1907, the effects of which were "reflected very 
largely in the business of the railroads of the State." 39 Pas- 
senger and freight revenues both declined, but the depres- 
sion was only momentary, and the normal expansion of the 
country soon restored the roads on a sound financial foot- 
ing. Net revenues continued to increase to 1913, but the fol- 
lowing year saw a decline owing to the rapidly growing costs 
of operation. 

The railroads insisted that a general advance in rates of five 
per cent on all classes of commodities was necessary, and this 
was granted them in 1914 by the public utilities commission, 
which in this year superseded the railroad and warehouse com- 
mission. Protested by the shippers and commercial associations 
of the state, this advance was suspended until its merits could 
be passed upon more carefully by the commission, 40 but in July 
the railroads were authorized to increase rates from Chicago 
to points in the central freight association territory and in De- 
cember to points in eastern trunk line territory. 41 In 1917 the 
commission granted a freight rate increase of fifteen cents a ton 
on coal and coke for one year ending October 15, 191853 five 

38 Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1899, p. v. Only in 
one year, 1904, did the net earnings and dividends of the railroads in Illinois 
fail to show an increase over the previous year, and in this case the decline was 
a slight one. 

39 Ibid., 1908, p. 6. 

40 The five per cent rate case was the most important subject with which 
the new commission has yet had to deal. Opinions and Orders of the Public 
Utilities Commission of Illinois, 1915, 2:20. 

41 Report of the Trade and Commerce of Chicago, 1914, p. xxv. 


per cent increase was also allowed on a large number of other 
commodities. 42 

The hearing and adjusting of complaints proved to be one 
of the most important duties of the railroad and warehouse 
commission and has been taken over by the public utilities com- 
mission. Undertaken originally as a temporary expedient the 
policy of arbitrating complaints was found so satisfactory that 
in 1893 tne commission adopted formal rules of practice to 
govern the procedure in the trial of complaints. 43 Many dis- 
agreements were settled without formal trial, and in the formal 
cases the railroads showed a willingness to accept the decisions 
of the commission. Complaints over discrimination were heard 
frequently in the nineties, later they were directed against ex- 
cessive charges for switching loaded cars and other forms of 
extortion; and today they cover a multitude of grievances most 
of which, however, still concern the question of rates. 

The powers of the commission were materially enlarged in 
1911 by giving them control over all common carriers in the 
state, except street railways, in addition to their original control 
over steam railroads and warehouses. The act of 1911 de- 
fined common carrier to include express companies, steamboat 
lines, private car line companies, sleeping car companies, fast 
freight line companies, and every agency for public use in the 
conveyance of persons or property within the state. At the 
same time the power of inquiry into the business management 
of all common carriers was enlarged. The first reports of these 
companies were made to the commission the following year, 
and one of the first acts of the commission under its enlarged 
powers was to reduce express rates. 44 As a result of the wid- 
ened scope of these activities the railroad and warehouse com- 
mission, after an honorable record of forty-four years, was 
superseded on January I, 1914, by the state public utilities 

Railroad consolidation was a marked characteristic of rail- 

42 Chicago Tribune, October 10, 1917. 

43 Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1893, p. 6, 153-159. 

44 Ibid., 1912, p. 12. 


way development in Illinois during this period. It was the 
result in part of a general movement toward large scale produc- 
tion, with its resulting economies. Between about 1896 and 
1901 the larger lines in the state bought the smaller lines, often 
at receivers' sales of bankrupt roads, and made them divisions 
of their own systems. In part, however, the movement toward 
consolidation was the result of legislative acts and judicial 
decisions rather than purely economic forces. Pooling had 
been forbidden by the interstate commerce act of 1887, but 
the railroads in their efforts to prevent competition had made 
rate agreements. These were permitted until 1897 when the 
supreme court in the cases against the Joint Traffic and Trans- 
Missouri Freight Associations held that the Sherman law of 
1890 applied to railroads and therefore declared such agree- 
ments to be illegal. 

Since concerted action by independent railroads either in 
fixing or maintaining rates was now made illegal, a decided im- 
petus was given to the movement toward consolidation. But 
this now took a slightly different form from that which had pre- 
viously prevailed. The stronger systems purchased a control- 
ling interest in the stock of- other lines and were thus able to 
harmonize the rate policies of the hitherto competing roads. A 
common method of financing such a purchase has been for the 
acquiring company to issue its bonds in exchange for the stock 
of the acquired company. A few typical instances of the more 
important consolidations in Illinois may be given. 

The Illinois Central, which began operations in 1856 with 
705 miles of road between Chicago and Cairo and between 
Centralia and Dubuque, had increased its mileage by construc- 
tion, purchase, and lease to 2,888 in 1893. Since that period it 
has continued the same policy until by January i, 1917, it con- 
trolled 4,825 miles, almost half (2,287 miles) being controlled 
by stock ownership and a third (1,555 miles) by outright pur- 
chase. In 1 893 it purchased a controlling interest in the Chesa- 
peake, Ohio, and Southwestern and some of the affiliated com- 
panies. In 1896 it obtained control by lease of the St. Louis, 


Alton, and Terre Haute, which in turn held by lease six other 
short lines in southern Illinois, thereby adding 239 miles to its 
system. In 1899 the line from Springfield to East St. Louis, 
formerly a part of the St. Louis, Peoria, and Northern, was 
purchased, and also the Indiana division of the Peoria, Decatur. 
& Evansville. Two years later the Evansville and Mattoon 
line was absorbed, and in 1902 eight small lines were added. 
The following year six other small lines were absorbed. Other 
purchases were made in 1905 and 1908. 43 Most of these lines 
were in Illinois and are now operated as divisions of the Illinois 
Central system. 

The Chicago and Alton Railway Company was incorpo- 
rated in 1900 as a holding company to lease the property of the 
Chicago and Alton railroad and to purchase an interest in the 
St. Louis, Peoria, and Northern. This latter was itself the 
result of a consolidation in 1896 of the St. Louis and Eastern, 
the St. Louis and Peoria, and the North and South railroads, 
all of which were in receivers* hands at the time. In 1906 the 
" railway " company and the " railroad " company were merged, 
assuming the name of the latter. In 1907 the Toledo, St. Louis, 
and Western acquired control of the Chicago and Alton through 
the purchase of a majority of the preferred and common stock 
of that company. 46 Here is a case in which a line of 450 miles 
controls a larger one of 1,052 miles. As the acquiring road is at 
present in the hands of a receiver it is difficult to say what the 
outcome will be. 

The Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad Company was 
chartered in 1894 as a consolidation of an earlier company of 
the same name and the Chicago and Indiana Coal Railway Com- 
pany. In 1897 the Chicago, Paducah, and Memphis line was 
purchased; in 1899 the Eastern Illinois and Missouri River, 
the Indiana Block Coal, the Evansville, Terre Haute, and Chi- 
cago, and the Eastern Illinois and St. Louis railroad compa- 
nies were absorbed. The two latter roads together with the 

46 Poor's Manual, 1897, p. 461; 1911, p. 808-809; 1917, p. 1269. 
46 Ibid., 1906, p. 324; 1917, p. 1077. 


Evansville Belt Railway Company were consolidated in 1911 
under the name of the Chicago and Eastern Railroad. 47 By 
these consolidations the mileage of the system has been prac- 
tically doubled. 

The examples of consolidation just given, which are for the 
most part of lines bought outright, leased, or controlled by stock 
ownership, do not, however, indicate sufficiently the unification 
of interests which has been taking place. Other important 
alliances have been effected by joint ownership on the part of 
two different systems, as illustrated by the joint control of the 
Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy by the Great Northern and 
the Northern Pacific. As the first named line in turn owns or 
controls sixteen other lines some of which are owned in com- 
mon with still other roads the intricacy of modern railroad 
interrelationships becomes apparent. The significant fact is 
that most of the Illinois railroads have become parts of great 
national systems, one of them over nine thousand miles in 
length. The difficulty of enforcing competition or of preventing 
rate agreements under such circumstances becomes at once 

The rapid increase in railroad service has been attended 
with a concomitant growth of accidents, though not in the same 
proportion. In the case of passenger traffic, where improved 
safety devices, steel cars, and other safeguards have been most 
widely introduced, there has been a decided falling off in the 
proportion of those killed and injured. The same thing is true 
of the group of "others" who are neither passengers nor em- 
ployees. A large proportion of the accidents to these persons 
occurred at crossings, and since about 1898 the railroad and 
warehouse commission began energetically to work for track 
elevation or the more general installation of safety devices at 
these points, an effort which has met with steady though some- 
times grudging response. 48 Accidents at grade crossings be- 
came especially frequent, after the development of electric 

47 Ibid., 1908, p. 466; 1917, p. 637. 

48 Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1898, p. ix, 1899, p. 
ix, 1900, p. xi., 1901, p. 8. 


interurban roads began, at those points where these crossed the 
existing lines of steam railroads. 

It is, however, the group of railway employees which has 
paid the largest toll in life and limb in response to the increas- 
ing demand for service. 49 The great increase in the number of 
employees reported as injured in the last five years would seem 
to be the result of more careful reporting of such accidents as a 
result of the adoption of compensation rather than a real in- 
crease, for the number of fatal injuries shows only a normal in- 
crease. The proportion of employees killed in Illinois has 
fallen from one in every 750 in 1880 to one in 496 in I9i3. 50 
But the record for Illinois is worse than that for the whole 
United States, being one in every 461 for the state in 1909 as 
against one in every 576 for the union. 51 The similar figures 
for non-fatal injuries are one in 25 as against one in 20; in this 
respect Illinois makes a better showing than the country as a 
whole. The high water mark seems to have been reached in 
1913 for fatal injuries and in the following year for non-fatal 
accidents. The year 1915 recorded a decided and gratifying 
decrease in both classes of accidents, which reflect better care 
on the part of the railroads and of the commission. 52 

49 See table in appendix, p. 508. 

50 Report of the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, 1880, p. 12; 1913, 
1:17, 85. 

51 These statistics are for 1909, the last year in which they can be obtained 
for the country as a whole. Report of the Statistics of Railways in the United 
States, 1909, p. 106. 

62 See table in appendix, p. 508. 


THE history of water transportation in Illinois during the 
past fifty years stands in striking contrast with that of 
railroad transportation, as it has been characterized by a steady 
decline in volume and importance. Today the lake commerce 
is the only important branch of water-borne commerce within 
the state. The river and canal traffic is practically a thing of 
the past, except in the case of a few heavy and cheap commodi- 
ties which cannot pay high freight charges. The history of water 
transportation in Illinois for the last twenty-five years may be 
divided into that of river, canal, and lake commerce. 

The Ohio river trade is still of some importance at a few 
Illinois towns, in spite of a steady decline. It is difficult to give 
any comparative statistics, as the data for the earlier period 
were in terms of value and those for more recent years are given 
for amounts. In 1905 Mound City was the most important 
purely Ohio river port, with receipts of 172,570 tons and ship- 
ments of 405 tons. Other towns were Shawneetown (total 
receipts and shipments, 76,691 tons), Metropolis (43,308), 
Brookport (17,825), Rosiclare (16,200), Elizabethtown (13,- 
450), Cave in Rock (10,400), Golconda (1,756), and Ham- 
letsburg (no). 1 In all these towns the receipts were much 
larger than the shipments, seeming to show that they were 
primarily collecting points for material which was used for 
local manufactures or was shipped on to other points by rail. 

Cairo is today, as it always has been, the most important 
commercial river town in Illinois, although its commerce has 
decreased greatly. Its situation, at the junction of the Missis- 

1 Report of Commissioner of Corporations on Transportation by Water in 
United States, part 2, p. 282. 



sippi and Ohio rivers, gives it an advantage which it was 
thought at one time would make it the leading commercial city 
in the state, if not of the west. In 1905 the receipts from both 
the Mississippi and Ohio rivers were 268,741 tons and the ship- 
ments were 127,200 tons, or a total of 395,941 tons. 2 Nine- 
tenths of this freight was received from upstream, and consisted 
of coal, sand, stone, and other freight such as logs, lumber, and 
railroad ties, which were received for local manufacture at 
Cairo or for shipment by rail to other points. 3 

On the Mississippi river between Cairo and St. Louis there 
are several river towns of considerable importance, each of 
which has more or less river trade; but the St. Louis, Iron 
Mountain, and Southern Railway parallels the river for a large 
part of the distance and has secured most of the traffic on the 
Illinois side. Moreover, the navigation of the river has for 
many years been very difficult owing to the irregularity of the 
stage of the water. 4 One cause of this difficulty is the compara- 
tively great slope on this stretch of the river, while another is 
the great influx of sediment from the Missouri river. Prac- 
tically all the freight now handled on this stretch of the Missis- 
sippi is local freight to or from the river towns. 

On the upper Mississippi, railroad competition has been 
particularly keen for the past twenty-five years and has affected 
both the extent and character of the river trade. The bulk of 
the commerce received at the river ports has therefore consisted 
of stone, gravel, sand, and similar cheap heavy commodities, 
and rafts of logs brought down from the northern forests to be 
manufactured at these cities into various kinds of lumber. 5 
Thus, during the year 1894, the four cities of Fulton, Moline, 
Rock Island, and Quincy manufactured over 148 million feet 
of lumber, more than 35 million shingles, and nearly 33 million 

2 Report of Commissioner of Corporations on Transportation by Water in 
United States, part 2, p. 282. 

3 Transportation by Water, 1906, p. 184. 

4 The variation in the Mississippi river at Grafton, Illinois, below the mouth 
of the Illinois river, is 29.6 feet; below Cairo and the mouth of the Ohio river 
it is 45.6 feet. See " Preliminary Report of the United States National Waterways 
Commission," Senate Documents, 61 congress, 2 session, number 301, p. 7. 

6 Report on Transportation by Water in United States, part 2, p. 183-184. 


laths. 6 This lumber manufacture has since declined owing to 
the establishment of sawmills nearer the northern forests. 

The diminishing traffic and increasing difficulties of naviga- 
tion are reflected in the marked decrease in the average tonnage 
of river vessels. While the number of steam vessels docu- 
mented in Illinois ports increased from 72 in 1895 to 80 in 1900, 
and to 137 in 1906, their average tonnage declined from 115 
in 1895 to 78 in 1900, and to 56 in 1906. This clearly shows an 
adaptation of the boats to the demands of the service and the 
conditions of navigation. 

The Illinois river flows through the heart of the agricul- 
tural region of the state and, with the Illinois and Michigan 
canal, forms a continuous waterway for small vessels from 
Lake Michigan at Chicago to the Mississippi river. The peo- 
ple of Illinois have been interested in keeping open this water- 
way across the state, because of the influence it would exert upon 
railway freight rates between Chicago and St. Louis and inter- 
mediate points. Since about 1876 the state of Illinois and the 
federal government have carried on the work of improvement 
jointly, with a view to creating a navigable route from the Mis- 
sissippi to the Great Lakes. A lock and dam at La Grange, 
seventy-nine miles from the mouth of the river, were completed 
in 1890 and another at Kampsville, thirty-one miles from the 
mouth of the river, in 1894. Up to June 30, 1906, the federal 
government had expended $1,504,748 on these works. Since 
1907 these operations have been extended over the upper sec- 
tion of the river as far as La Salle where the Illinois and Michi- 
gan canal connects with the river, forming a through route for 
small boats to Chicago and Lake Michigan. 7 

The building of the locks and dams at La Grange and 
Kampsville gave promise of satisfactory navigation on the Illi- 
nois river at all times, as it was believed that a stage of water 
would be permanently secured which would afford as deep a 
channel as that of the Mississippi river below the Illinois to 

6 Report on Trade and Commerce of St. Louis, 1906, p. 169. 

7 Transportation by Water, 1906, p. 169; Report of Commissioner of Cor- 
porations on Transportation by Water in United States, part i, p. 51-52. 


Alton, at least until that section of the Mississippi should be 
further improved. After the completion of these improve- 
ments there was an increase in the number of steamers plying 
between the Illinois river and St. Louis, the number growing 
from nine in 1889 to fourteen in i899. 8 But many of these 
were used merely to tow barges and canal boats, which carried 
sixty-nine per cent of the total freight on the Illinois river in 
1906. The commerce was mostly local and consisted of grain 
and general merchandise. Between 1889 and 1906 the total 
freight shipments fell off from 180,264 tons to 105,826 tons, 
or a loss of forty-one per cent. 10 

Few states can boast a finer system of navigable rivers than 
Illinois, bounded on one side by the "Father of Waters" and 
on another by the mighty Ohio, while the Illinois river cuts 
through the very heart of the state. Yet few states exhibit a 
more complete disregard of the facilities for water transpor- 
tation which nature has placed at its very door. Partly respon- 
sible for this is the fact that these streams run, on the whole, 
north and south, while the principal trade and commerce of 
Illinois, since the early years of statehood, moves from west to 
east and return. Partly also the difficulties of navigation in 
the rivers the seasonal variations in depth and flow, the pres- 
ence of sediment and shifting sand bars and the cost of improve- 
ment are to blame for the small use of these streams. 

But perhaps the strongest reason of all for their neglect has 
been the rapid development of the railway net. There was not 
traffic enough for both railway and river, and in the competi- 
tion between these two agencies the former completely routed 
its rival. The railroads offered certain real advantages, and 
they were eagerly seized upon by a people impatient of delay 
and anxious to bring the latent resources of the country into 
quickest possible use. To this neglect of the rivers the rail- 
roads themselves contributed materially by their unwillingness 

8 Report on Trade and Commerce of St. Louis, 1890, p. 79-80; 1899, p. 

9 Transportation by Water, 1906, p. 182. 

10 " Preliminary Report of the United States National Waterways Commis- 
sion," Senate Documents, 61 congress, 2 session, number 301, p. 5. 


to cooperate with the steamers in the transshipment of freight 
or the establishment of joint facilities. The rivers have been 
regarded as enemies of the railways rather than as complemen- 
tary to them. It may be that in the future, when the transpor- 
tation needs of the state have transcended the ability of the rail- 
roads to meet them, the rivers will again be called upon to serve 
the people as they did one hundred years ago. 

If the story of river transportation has been one of neglect, 
that of the treatment of the canals has been one of indifference. 
The canal traffic of Illinois is carried through three artificial 
waterways the Illinois and Michigan canal, the Chicago sani- 
tary and ship canal, and the Hennepin canal. 

There was a steady decline in the amount of traffic on the 
Illinois and Michigan canal down to I899- 11 But in 1900 
there was a sudden drop to 121,759 an ^ st '^ lower levels were 
reached in the succeeding seven years. Since 1907 there has 
been an increase. This is due to the use of this canal for a short 
distance by boats passing through the Chicago drainage canal. 
The clearances, miles run, and receipts from tolls all continued 
to decline steadily. The last feature is ,a very serious one and 
has necessitated the payment of a large deficit year after year 
out of state funds. Traffic has been increased by reductions in 
rates, but the increase has not sufficed to prevent a steady de- 
cline in the revenues. Since 1878 the canal has ceased perma- 
nently to pay even the expenses of operation and mainte- 

The decline of the canal to its present position has been due 
to several causes. The most obvious is, of course, the competi- 
tion of the railroads, which are more conveniently located and 
have better terminal facilities, which are constantly being im- 
proved while those of the canal are not. Rate discriminations 
against the canal users, heavy elevator charges and expenses for 
rehandling grain shipped via the canal, and similar factors put 
the canal at a disadvantage. And finally the lack of all better- 

11 For a table of traffic on the Illinois and Michigan canal, 1890-1915, see 
appendix, p. 509. 


ments on the canal to adapt it to modern traffic conditions has 
made it impossible to use it for any but local trade. 

In spite of its steady decline to a position almost of useless- 
ness the Illinois and Michigan canal still exerts a considerable 
influence upon railroad rates at competitive points, while in the 
past its power in reducing rates was very great From the date 
of its opening to December i, 1915, the canal carried 74,031,- 
104 tons of freight. During the same period $6,631,007 were 
received in tolls as against $5,391,107 expended for mainte- 
nance, repairs, and operation. 12 Although it has not proven to 
be the great source of revenue that it was hoped it might be and 
is today a source of expense to the state, it must be regarded as 
having proved on the whole a good investment for the people 
of the state of Illinois. The traffic on this canal has consisted 
chiefly of heavy cheap commodities like sand and stone. In 
1906 the total commerce amounted to 446,080 tons. 13 

Parallel with the Illinois and Michigan canal is the new 
Chicago sanitary and ship canal, constructed under authority 
of the state by the trustees of the sanitary district of Chicago. 
The main channel from Robey street, Chicago, to Lockport 
was opened in 1900. It is twenty-eight miles long and twenty- 
two feet deep. The total cost has been about $42,000,000. Its 
primary purpose is to protect the waters of Lake Michigan 
from sewage pollution, but its dimensions are large enough for 
lake vessels. 

Since the building of this canal there has been persistent 
and determined agitation for the construction of a deep water- 
way from the lakes to the gulf. The drainage canal, together 
with the Illinois river, furnishes an excellent beginning for 
such a plan. A survey made by a federal board of engineers 
in 1902 proposed the building of short canals and the improve- 
ment of the Illinois river by the federal government from Lock- 

12 Putnam, The Illinois and Michigan Canal, 124. These figures do not 
include the sums received from rentals, leases, and privileges, which are consid- 
erable, nor the interest on the investment. See also Report of the Illinois Canal 
Commissioners, 1914, p. 8. 

13 Report of Commissioner of Corporations on Transportation by Water in 
United States, part 2, p. 290. 


port, the present terminus of the drainage canal, to Utica. 
Thus far, however, no action has been taken. 

The state of Illinois has proceeded somewhat farther in at- 
tempting to realize the proposed program. A bond issue of 
twenty million dollars for the purpose of improving the water- 
way from the western terminus of the Chicago drainage canal 
to Utica and to construct power plants was approved by the 
people on November 3, I9o8. 14 Legal complications delayed 
the beginning of the work, and before it could be started a new 
administration came into control of the state government, who 
thought that a less deep and expensive channel would be suffi- 
cient. The new plan contemplates an eight-foot channel instead 
of one of fourteen feet, and to carry this out the Illinois water- 
way commission was created with authority to make this im- 
provement at a cost not to exceed $5, 000,000. 15 

In support of this more modest plan it is urged that there is 
no use in building a deep waterway within the state of Illinois 
so long as the Mississippi river remains unimproved, and there 
is no likelihood that its channel will be deepened by the federal 
government in the immediate future. It is also stated that much 
of the traffic which would use the deeper channel could be accom- 
modated by the shallower one, and the difference would not 
justify the expenditure of the larger sum necessary to secure 
a fourteen-foot waterway. 16 Further expenditures for this 
work, however, seem indefinitely postponed by the entrance of 
the United States into the European war on April 6, 1917. 

The Hennepin canal was completed in 1907. This extends 
from the Illinois river at Great Bend, about one and three- 
fourths miles from Hennepin, by way of Bureau creek valley to 
Rock river, at the mouth of Green river, thence by slack water 
in Rock river, and a canal around the lower rapids at Milan, 
to the Mississippi. A report of the United States board of 
engineers states that as a through route between Lake Michigan 

14 Report on Trade and Commerce of St. Louis, 1908, p. 58. 

15 The chief of engineers, United States army, stated that in his opinion an 
eight-foot channel would be adequate. Engineering News, 61:691; Laws of 
1915, P- 18-35. 

16 See Putnam, The Illinois and Michigan Canal, 149-150. 


and the Mississippi river the canal will be of comparative unim- 
portance until improvements have been made on the Illinois 
river between Lockport and La Salle. 17 No reliable statistics 
on the traffic of this canal are available. 

The lake commerce of Illinois resolves itself practically into 
the commerce of Chicago, as it all passes through this port. 
Local traffic on the Great Lakes is comparatively insignificant, 
most of the commerce moved being carried from one end of the 
lake system to the other. The principal receipts at Chicago 
consist of iron ore which is mined in the Lake Superior region 
and of lumber and coal, while the chief exports are grain and 
flour and other mill products. 18 There has recently been a 
notable increase in the amount of package freight received at 
and shipped from Chicago by lake, and with proper terminal 
facilities a still further increase may be looked for. 

Disregarding the fluctuations which appear from year to 
year the impression derived from a study of the flour and grain 
shipments over a period of twenty years is one of gradual de- 
cline in the volume of this branch of lake commerce. 19 In part 
this is attributable to the diversion of the grain trade to the rail- 
roads, and in part to the growth of other important grain mar- 
kets in the northwest which have become very successful rivals 
of Chicago in attracting this trade. 

As carriers of flour the railroads have distinct advantages 
over the lake vessels, because of the factors of time, cost, de- 
lay, insurance, and similar items. In 1894 the lake shipments 
amounted to almost half of all flour shipped east, but this pro- 
portion sank to ten per cent in 1904; since that date there has 
been a slow increase until today the lake boats carry about one- 
third. In the contest for the wheat traffic the lake carriers have 
been more successful, their shipments amounting to about two- 
thirds. Corn shipments as a whole have declined, as more corn 
has been used near the points of production in stock feeding and 

17 Report of Commissioner of Corporations on Transportation by Water in 
United States, part i, p. 52, part 2, p. 288, 290. 
"Tunell, Statistics of Lake Commerce, n. 
10 For table see appendix, p. 509. 


for the manufacture of corn products and distilled liquors. 
The proportion shipped via the lake route has also fallen off 
from about two-thirds of all in 1894 to one-third at present. In 
the movement of oats the railroads have always maintained a 
supremacy, their share of the traffic having increased from fifty 
per cent in 1897 to ninety-seven and one-half per cent in 1915. 

On the whole one may hazard the generalization that the 
rail traffic from Chicago has remained fairly steady, showing in 
general a normal growth from year to year. The lake traffic on 
the other hand has been much more fluctuating, increasing when 
large crops have created an extra demand for shipping facilities 
and falling off when changes in conditions of production or mar- 
keting have decreased the demand or have diverted the traffic 
to other centers than Chicago. Lake shipments of flour and 
grain as a whole have fallen from fifty-five per cent of all in 
1894 to less than twenty per cent in 1915. 

The value of the lakes to Chicago commerce cannot be ade- 
quately measured, however, merely by citing figures of traffic 
carried. Quite as important has been the effect of the lake 
route in keeping down railroad rates. In fact this restraint has 
been mutual, and the railroads in turn have served to lower lake 
rates and to stimulate improvements in shipping facilities to 
keep pace with similar improvements on the railroads. As a 
result of this competition the cheapest rail rates in the world for 
grain are the rates upon grain shipped from Chicago to New 
York. 20 

The principal receipts at Chicago by lake are of a very dif- 
ferent character from those which constitute the shipments. 
Instead of grain the chief articles are iron ore, coal, lumber, 
salt, and similar commodities. 21 Iron ore is the principal com- 
modity moved upon the Great Lakes and forms the bulk of the 
east bound traffic. This ore is obtained from the Lake Superior 
region, and is shipped to Lake Erie ports and in smaller meas- 
ure to ports on southern Lake Michigan. Very little iron ore is 

20 For table see appendix, p. 510. 

21 For table see appendix, p. 510. 


being or has been shipped from the upper lakes by rail because 
it cannot bear the heavy railroad charges. In 1900, for in- 
stance, out of a total of 19,059,393 tons shipped, only 489,078 
tons went by rail. 22 The receipts of iron ore at Chicago, includ- 
ing South Chicago, have increased very steadily since 1895. 
Most of the ore goes to South Chicago, which is the center of 
the iron and steel industry of Illinois, by way of the Calumet 

Receipts of coal by lake at Chicago have fluctuated, but on 
the whole have shown an increase. In comparison with rail re- 
ceipts, however, they have made up a steadily diminishing pro- 
portion. The reasons for this are obvious. Eastern coal 
shipped by lake is now usually carried to Superior or Duluth in 
order that the ore boats may not return empty. On the other 
hand Chicago has received an ever-increasing amount of coal 
from recently opened mines in southern Illinois and Indiana, 
which necessarily reaches the city by rail. 

Lumber receipts have steadily declined as the northern for- 
ests have been depleted or have been cut back from the lake 
front. Recently there has been a notable increase in the amount 
of package freight received at and shipped from Chicago by 
lake, and with proper terminal facilities a large increase in this 
class of business may be looked for. During the season the 
local shipment of fruit is important. The long distance freight 
consists of miscellaneous merchandise. The shipments show a 
growth parallel with the receipts, averaging about half as much 
as the receipts. 

The lake traffic of Chicago, including South Chicago, as a 
whole has barely held its own during this period. In 1894 it 
amounted to 8,646,133 tons, and in 1915 to 10,227,830 tons 
and has remained at about the latter figure for a number of 
years. As between Chicago and South Chicago the latter has 
steadily gained at the expense of the former, especially since the 
development of the iron ore traffic. In 1906 South Chicago led 
for the first time with 5 1.7 per cent of the whole. A compari- 

22 Report of the Industrial Commission, 19:473. 


son of the total tonnage of Chicago's lake traffic with that of 
other lake ports also shows that since 1904 Chicago has been 
surpassed by the lake commerce of Buffalo, Duluth, Superior, 
and Cleveland, though the value of the total commerce of 
Chicago exceeds that of any other Lake port. 23 

Many reasons have been given for this stationary condi- 
tion of Chicago's lake trade, and much of the blame has been 
placed upon the inadequacy of the Chicago river and harbor 
and upon the lack of proper terminal facilities for handling the 
freight. The harbor of Chicago consists of the Chicago and 
Calumet rivers, with their branches, and of the outer harbor 
of Chicago, inclosed by a breakwater. This outer harbor is 
mainly a protection to the Chicago river and is little used for 
commercial purposes, being today a harbor of refuge and a 
roadstead for small vessels and yachts. The most important 
part of the harbor is the south branch of the Chicago river, a 
narrow and tortuous stream, which is moreover obstructed with 
many bridges causing much delay and adding to the cost of 
transportation. In 1910 it was said there were about fifty 
bridges on the Chicago river and about forty on the Calumet. 24 

Agitation for improved harbor facilities was begun in 1908 
when Mayor Busse sent a special message to the city council 
calling attention to the decline of the shipping trade of Chicago, 
which he claimed was due wholly to the inconvenience and in- 
adequacy of harbor facilities. He recommended that a commis- 
sion be appointed to consider this question as well as that of rail- 
road terminals. In accordance with this suggestion the Chicago 
harbor commission was appointed. 

The commission in its report the following year recom- 
mended that the two branches of the Chicago river be widened 
and straightened, that the bridges be improved and the bridge 
hours be modified. The obstacles to establishing adequate har- 
bor facilities in the river were so great and apparently insuper- 
able that a majority of the commission favored a plan for 

23 Jones, Ports of the United States, 348 et seq. 

24 Report of Commissioner of Corporations on Transportation by Water in 
United States, part 2, p. 220, part 3, p. 22. 


establishing a harbor along the lake front, of which very little 
use had hitherto been made either for industrial or commercial 
purposes. Little has been done, however, in the way of carry- 
ing out these suggestions. 25 

By act of July i, 1911, the legislature authorized the city 
council of Chicago to proceed with the work of harbor improve- 
ment, and acting under this authorization the subcommittee on 
harbor development held meetings and issued a further report. 
In this they urged the construction of a harbor immediately 
north of the mouth of the Chicago river, which they thought 
would best serve present needs and would care for the develop- 
ment of commerce for a decade. 26 In accordance with this 
suggestion the city has since constructed the first of a series of 
five piers on the lake front a short distance above the mouth 
of the river. 27 

The commerce of the Calumet region has grown greatly in 
the last decade and is destined to increase still more. The mis- 
takes made upon the Chicago river have to a large extent been 
avoided in the development of the Calumet. The needs of Chi- 
cago for better harbor facilities cannot, however, be met by the 
improvement of this river, for its growth has been due to the 
development of the iron and steel industry and the consequent 
receipts of iron ore. Return cargoes are obtained at Chicago, 
and hence this city must establish its own harbor with adequate 
terminal facilities. It cannot depend upon South Chicago. 

The practically stationary character of the lake trade of 
Chicago during the last twenty-five years is on the whole due 
to changes in centers of production and methods of marketing 
rather than to the inadequacy of harbor facilities. The de- 
cline of the grain, coal, and lumber traffic is due to natural 
causes quite unrelated to conditions in Chicago. The increase 
in the iron ore traffic has inured to the benefit of South Chicago 
and Gary rather than to Chicago itself. Package, freight, and 
passenger business seem to offer the most hopeful future for 

25 Report of the Chicago Harbor Commission, 1909, viii, 40 et seq. 

26 Report of the Sub-Committee on Harbor Development, 17. 

27 Jones, Ports of the United States, 351. 


the city, but adequate facilities must be provided for them if 
they are to show a healthy growth. 

The excellence of other avenues of transportation in Illinois 
in the early period the waterways and later the railways 
has always exerted a retarding influence upon the improvement 
of roads in the state. Even as late as 1894 these channels of 
trade remained substantially as they were fifty years before. 
The need for better roads in Illinois, which had lagged far 
behind other states in this respect, was recognized by lead- 
ing men in the state. 28 But many persons, especially the farm- 
ers, were deterred from indorsing the good roads project be- 
cause they were alarmed by their magnitude and expense. 
Moreover at this particular time the panic of 1893 and the 
ruinously low prices for agricultural products prevented any 
movement toward improvement. 

By 1896, however, interest began to be renewed in the sub- 
ject, which took the form of building short experimental 
stretches of hard roads. A novel experiment was the building 
of a steel wheelway near Joliet by Mr. Abel Bliss. This was 
followed by other similar sporadic experiments, but finally in 
1 90 1 a thorough trial was given the scheme on a track built near 
Chicago from designs prepared in the office of road inquiry 
of the United States department of agriculture. The wheel- 
way did not stand up well under the heavy traffic to which it 
was subjected. Since then this method has been abandoned. 
Professor I. O. Baker, of the University of Illinois, stated that 
the result of experiments with this type of roadway showed 
them to be more expensive and less effective than a good 
macadam road. The first brick pavement was built this year in 
Monmouth township, Warren county, 29 and the following year 
the same town constructed five miles of macadam roads. The 
continued interest in the subject was also shown by its discus- 
sion at the conventions of engineers, surveyors, farmers* insti- 
tutes, the Grange, and similar organizations. 

28 See messages of the outgoing and incoming governors in January, 1893* 
House Journal, 1893, 34-35, 54- 

29 Engineering News, 36:289; 47:365-366. 


But numerous factors were working against the good roads 
movement at this time, which delayed if they did not defeat it. 
Many people thought any expenditure for this purpose was un- 
necessary as the electric interurban railroads, which were just 
then being introduced, were destined to replace hard roads in 
the more important rural districts. The local highway officials 
were bitterly opposed to any changes in road administration 
which would effect their tenure of office; and while the farmers 
favored good roads, they thought the earth roads could be im- 
proved sufficiently for their needs; hard roads should be built 
only on the most used highways; and before any program of 
road construction was entered upon, a more equitable distribu- 
tion of their cost between the state and county and the property 
owners should be arranged. They were alarmed at the enor- 
mous cost involved. The Illinois State Grange, a representative 
farmers' organization, while approving good roads, opposed 
the issue of bonds to pay for their improvement. 30 

The continued agitation of the subject was, however, having 
an effect, and by 1903 public sentiment had reached such a state 
that the legislature passed an act providing for a good roads 
commission, consisting of three members who were to investi- 
gate and report on all phases of road improvement. 31 New in- 
terest was created in the subject. A road materials testing 
laboratory was established at the University of Illinois ; several 
local "good roads" associations were formed; a few localities 
where, stone was convenient built macadam roads. 32 The 
movement was also indorsed by the Illinois State Grange and 
the Illinois Farmers' Institute, though in each case with reser- 

When the general assembly convened in 1905 the time 
seemed ripe for some progressive road legislation. The report 
of the good roads commission pointed out that under the " hard 
roads " law of 1883 only twenty-six and one-half miles of mac- 
adam roads had been built in thirteen counties in twenty-two 

30 Journal of Proceedings of Illinois State Grange, 1900, p. 25. 

31 Laius of 1903, p. 302. 

32 Engineering News, 63:131. 


years. They accordingly urged the appointment of a perma- 
nent state highway commission and a state highway engineer 
to carry on the work under a more centralized administration. 
Stimulated by this report and by the recommendations of both 
the outgoing and incoming governors, the legislature passed a 
law providing for a state highway engineer and a permanent 
though unsalaried state highway commission which was to carry 
on investigations and experimental work on roads and to 
give advice in regard to highways and bridges to local road 
officials. 33 

As members of the new state highway commission Governor 
Deneen appointed Edmund J. James, Joseph R. Fulkerson, and 
LaFayette Funk, and they organized for business February, 
1906. One of their first official acts was the publication of an 
" Open Letter to the People of Illinois," explaining their powers 
and purposes, with a view to allaying the hostility of the local 
units, whose particularism made any movement toward centrali- 
zation all but impossible. Concluding, from their preliminary 
investigation, that much of the money which was being spent 
on road improvement was wasted, the commission first launched 
a campaign for better earth roads and for the use of the road 
drag. This resulted in a wave of enthusiasm for road dragging, 
which abated about 1908 as the results were not so great as had 
been anticipated; 34 but the use of the drag was revived again a 
couple of years later as its functions were better understood; 
and it has since been effectively employed down to the present 
time in earth road maintenance. 

The state highway commission appointed in 1906 continued 
its work until 1913. During that period of seven years it con- 
ducted a campaign of education as to the advantages of better 
roads but left to the local units the actual work of road construc- 
tion and maintenance. In the furtherance of its educational 
propaganda it carried on the following lines of activity: an in- 
vestigation of the road building materials of the state; the 

33 House Journal, 1905, 209; Laws of 1905, p. 74-75. 

34 Report of the Illinois Highway Commission, 1906, p. in; 1908-1909, p. 
29-31. Mr. A. N. Johnson was appointed state highway engineer. 


taking of a traffic census on various roads to determine the 
amount of through traffic; furnishing speakers to public meet- 
ings to explain the work and purpose of the commission; the 
building, under the direction of the state highway engineer, of 
experimental roads of various kinds, such as macadam, oil- 
treated earth, concrete, and brick; the distribution of free 
crushed stone prepared at the state penitentiaries; and giving 
advice and furnishing plans and specifications for bridges, espe- 
cially of reenforced concrete or of steel, the number of which 
grew markedly under their influence. 

Public opinion in favor of better roads as evidenced in the 
utterances of representative organizations showed a steady 
growth. The farmers, who were the most conservative ele- 
ment, fell in line gradually. In 1907 there was organized the 
" Farmers' Good Roads League of Illinois," which favored the 
construction of permanent hard roads on the main routes of 
traffic by federal and state aid. 35 County control of road work 
was being urged by the state highway commission, and in 1910 
the Illinois Farmers' Institute indorsed the establishment of 
larger units for road administration, bond issues for road im- 
provement, and larger appropriations for the commission. The 
State Grange, the most conservative of all the organizations, 
advocated a complete system of improved roads for the state, 
to be built by federal, state, and county aid, and the levying of 
an automobile tax to provide a fund for road improvement. 36 
By 1912 it was clear that the bankers, business men, and pro- 
gressive farmers throughout the state were in favor of state 
aid for'road improvement and of a revision of the road laws 
of the state as the first step in the movement for better roads. 
In this movement the more general and growing use of the auto- 
mobile was an important factor. 

Road legislation was keeping pace with the growth of public 
opinion. In 1907 bond issues for hard roads were authorized 
by law, more restrictions were placed upon the powers of local 

85 Report of the Illinois Highway Commission, 1907, p. 15. 

36 Journal of Proceedings of the Illinois State Grange, 1911, p. 45. 


highway commissioners in the repair and maintenance of roads, 
and a road drag law was passed permitting systematic dragging 
of earth roads. In 1911 a wide tire law was passed and a law 
appropriating all automobile license fees as a " road fund" for 
the construction of improved highways. In the same year the 
appropriations for the state highway commission were increased 
from twenty-five to one hundred thousand dollars per annum. 
A bill to create the office of county superintendent of highways 
failed to become law. 37 

Before taking further steps the legislature thought it wise 
to investigate the road situation even more thoroughly than had 
been done, and in 1910 a legislative committee of seven was ap- 
pointed for this purpose. Their report showed the bad condi- 
tions existing in the state 38 and was followed by the appoint- 
ment of another committee in 1911 with instructions to revise 
the road laws of the state and present their recommendations 
in the form of a bill. This committee reported that only about 
ten per cent of the ninety-five thousand miles of road in the state 
were improved in a permanent manner, while in the neighbor- 
ing state of Indiana the proportion was thirty-eight per cent and 
in Massachusetts it was fifty per cent. 39 The roads of Illinois 
were moreover poorly constructed and maintained, and there 
was no uniformity in the road work as between adjacent town- 
ships and counties, that is there were no through roads. The 
committee made a most exhaustive report and embodied their 
conclusions in the form of a bill which was passed in 1913 under 
the name of the Tice road law. 40 

The Tice road law provided for a state highway depart- 
ment of three salaried commissioners, and a state highway 
engineer with assistant, subordinate officials, clerks, and other 

37 Laws of 1911, p. 106, 498-500; Senate Journal, 1912, special session, 4. 

38 House Journal, 1911, 690-693. 

39 This was an improvement since 1906, when ninety-five per cent of the 
roads were earth roads. See Report of the Illinois Highway Commission, 1906, 
p. v; House Journal, 1913, 207. 

40 Printed as part of House Journal, 1913, 1494-1575, and also issued as a 
separate publication. The accompanying bill is found, in ibid., 1576-1617; Laiu$ 
of 1913, p. 520-581. 


assistants; it also provided for county superintendents of high- 
ways, state aid for the improvement of the more important 
roads in the counties, the use of convict labor, the reduction in 
the width of all public roads from sixty-six to forty feet, and the 
election of three highway commissioners in each township or 
road district. A provision was also inserted to permit the op- 
tional election of a single highway commissioner for local road 
administration, but political forces were too strong for this to 
be made mandatory for all counties. 

Generous support was given by the general assembly to the 
new movement for improved roads. For the expenses of the 
new state highway commission $100,000 per annum was appro- 
priated, while for the construction of state aid roads $400,000 
was allotted for the fiscal year 1914 and $700,000 for 1915. 
The automobile license fees were to be used as a nucleus for this 
state aid fund. The next general assembly raised the annual 
appropriations for expenses to $200,000, and for road con- 
struction to $1,000,000 for the years beginning July i, 1915 
and 1916. The appropriations for the next biennium were 
$346,060 and $1,200,000 respectively. 41 

Some delay occurred in carrying out the provisions of the 
new law, owing to a suit brought to test its constitutionality, but 
it was upheld by the state supreme court. Actual work on the 
proposed system of state aid roads was inaugurated on April 
15, 1914, when Governor Dunne turned the first shovelful of 
earth on the improvement of the Aurora-Elgin highway, re- 
ported to have been the first state aid road in the state. During 
the year the state highway commission awarded contracts for 
seventy- four sections of state aid road, aggregating 91.27 miles, 
of which 73.56 were of concrete and 17.71 of brick. 42 The 
average price of the concrete was $10,320 per mile, and of the 
brick $11, 880 for a ten-foot pavement. Four-foot macadam 
shoulders on each side raised the cost $1,760 a- mile. The 
highway commission estimated the cost of building the pro- 

41 Laws of 1913, p. 42 ; Laws of 1915, p. 76. 

42 Engineering News, 71:993; 72:1190. 


posed 15,000 miles of improved roads at $140,000,000 or 
slightly over $9,000 a mile. It was evident therefore that with 
the limited appropriations for state aid, generous as they were, 
only very slow progress could be made in carrying out the pro- 
posed program for improved roads. Under the plan as pro- 
vided for, the state bears one-half the expense of construction 
of road surfaces, all the cost of maintenance of concrete or brick 
roads, half the cost of maintenance of macadam roads, and none 
of that of earth roads. 43 Two counties, Cook and Vermilion, 
realizing the slow progress of road improvement under the 
state aid plan, voted, at the general election in November, 1914, 
for bond issues of their own for this purpose. Vermilion 
county voted a bond issue of $1,500,000 for a system of im- 
proved highways all over the county, the construction of which 
has since been in progress. 44 It now has completed or under 
construction about 170 miles of brick and concrete roads. Cook 
county voted a bond issue of $2,000,000 and up to January i, 
1917, had completed about 70 miles of improved roads, by the 
sale of bonds and state aid, and planned to build over 80 miles 
additional during the year I9I7. 43 

By the enactment of the civil administrative code by the 
general assembly in 1917, which went into effect July i of that 
year, the department of public works and buildings was created. 
This now exercises the powers and duties of the state highway 
commission, the canal commissioners, the rivers and lakes com- 
mission, the waterway commission, and other similar bodies. 
Under the director of public works and buildings there are a 
superintendent of highways, a chief highway engineer, an assist- 
ant highway engineer, the necessary subordinate and clerical 
forces, and an unpaid board of highway advisors. The centrali- 
zation of powers and functions thus secured will undoubtedly 

43 La<ws of 1915, p. 602. To build the proposed fifteen thousand miles of 
state aid road would cost one hundred and fifty million dollars at an average of 
ten thousand dollars a mile. If the state bore half of this it would take seventy- 
five years to carry through the program with annual appropriations of one mil- 
lion dollars a year. 

44 Engineering News, 74 : 1079. 

45 Chicago Tribune, January 28, 1917. 


promote the work of road improvement and secure greater effi- 
ciency and economy in the public works of the state. 

In 1917 steps were also taken to obtain larger means to 
carry forward the work of "pulling Illinois out of the mud." 
An act of congress passed in July, 1916, had apportioned the 
sum of $85,000,000 among the states to be spent for public 
roads during the five years beginning with 1917; and of this 
sum Illinois would receive about $3,000,000. During this 
year the general assembly of Illinois voted to submit to popular 
vote the question of issuing $60,000,000 of state bonds for road 
improvement, the proposition to be voted upon at the Novem- 
ber election of I9i8. 46 The participation by the United States 
in the European war, however, will prevent the immediate 
carrying out of this program, even in the event of a favorable 

The development of public sentiment in favor of improved 
roads in the state of Illinois, as elsewhere, has been slow but 
steady. It was hampered by ignorance of the principles of road 
construction, especially on the types of soil to be found in the 
state, by the distance of many localities from supplies of stone 
or other material for hard road building, by lack of familiarity 
with the physical conditions of road maintenance and of the 
effect of climatic changes, and by lack of appreciation of the 
economic value of improved highways to a community. As in 
other great economic movements, prejudice and conflicting in- 
terests for a time retarded development, but at the end of 
twenty-five years distinct progress may be noted, not merely in 
the growth of a favorable public opinion, but in better road 
legislation and in actual road construction. To this end the 
advent of the automobile and its increasing use among the farm- 
ers of the state both for pleasure and business purposes has con- 
tributed largely. The importance of the work of the state 
highway commission as an educational and experimental agency 
can scarcely be overestimated. But the time for such a move- 
ment in Illinois was ripe. The growing population with its 

46 Laws of 1917, p. 714-716. 


expanding needs demanded better means of communication, 
which even the rapid development of the steam and electric 
railroads were not able to supply. A rapid continuation of this 
movement may be expected until Illinois is crossed in every 
direction with a network of improved highways adequate to her 
needs and importance. 


THE labor situation in Chicago in 1894 was a serious one. 
The World's Fair boom had attracted to the city a large 
number of workers, who swelled the ranks of the unemployed 
after the momentary demand for labor ceased. Their situa- 
tion was aggravated by the depression which followed the 
panic of 1893, and which filled Chicago with homeless and 
workless men. This city has always been noted for the large 
number of partially employed or wholly unemployed workers 
within its limits. In 1892 the number in the latter group was 
put at 1 30,000, 1 undoubtedly an exaggerated estimate in view 
of the opportunities for work; but in the winter of 18931894 
it was declared by Mayor Harrison that there were 200,000 
out of work. 2 This was due not merely to the presence in the 
city of an unusual number of persons seeking employment, but 
also to the partial or temporary cessation of accustomed lines 
of work as a result of the panic. 3 

The labor situation was profoundly affected by these 
changes in the labor market and in conditions of employ- 
ment. During the early part of 1893 there were numerous 
strikes for increases of wages, which were generally success- 
ful and short lived. 4 After the effects of the panic began to 
be felt and the artificial stimulation given to business by the 
exposition wore off, however, strikes were more generally 
against reductions of wages or for restoration of the former 

1 American Artisan, May 7, 1892, p. 13. 

2 Closson, " The Unemployed in American Cities," Quarterly Journal of 
Economics, 8 : 189. 

3 " At the close of 1892, up to the close of 1896, nearly all of the great 
manufacturing industries of Chicago were practically at a standstill." Testi- 
mony of M. B. Madden before the industrial commission, March 22, 1900, 
Report of the Industrial Commission, 8:108. 

4 For a tabular statement of all strikes for 1893 and 1894, see " Strikes and 
Lockouts," Report of the Commissioner of Labor, 1896, 1:236-258. 



wage scale. Less frequently, too, were they successful. As 
usual the first outbreaks arose in the unstable building trades, 
which moreover suffered most severely as a result of the 
overproduction of the previous year. The building contractors 
had signed a wage scale on April I, 1893, agreeing to pay 
forty cents an hour as a minimum, but two months later they 
complained that those contractors who had not bound them- 
selves were getting men for thirty cents an hour under the 
altered conditions of the labor market. The agreement was 
submitted to an arbitration board which reduced wages to 
thirty-five cents an hour for the months of July, August, and 
September, the busiest months in this trade. 5 Strikes against 
reductions of wages were frequent in the building trades all 
summer in August among the tile layers, the painters, and 
the riveters, in September among the painters, and in December 
among the steamfitters. 

Resistance to wage reductions was even more widespread 
in the spring of 1894. The following are some of the strikes 
called for this single purpose in Chicago: carpenters, com- 
positors, and upholsterers in February; plasterers, iron and 
brass workers, and canal laborers in March; painters and 
roofers in April; carpenters and cigar makers in May; coop- 
ers and engineers in June. 6 And what was true in Chicago was 
true on a smaller scale in the rest of the state. It was evident 
that in the industrial readjustment going on the workingmen 
suffered heavily as shown by the frequent strikes. In most 
cases, however, the men made no open resistance to wage 
reductions, but clung grimly to their jobs in spite of decreas- 
ing pay. 

All these incidents, however, were reduced to insignificance 
by the historic Pullman strike, which occurred in the spring and 
summer of 1894. This momentous struggle began with an 
attempt of the workers at the plant of the Pullman Palace 
Car Company to restore wages which had been cut several 

5 Arbeiter-Zeitung, July 5, 1893. 

6 " Strikes and Lockouts," Report of the Commissioner of Labor, 1894, 


times during the past year, the average reduction for all em- 
ployees averaging twenty-five per cent. 7 The men presented 
their demands to the Pullman Company, which answered by 
discharging the committee which presented the claims. The 
men thereupon struck on May 1 1. At first the strike was local 
in its nature, but it was soon made national in its far-reaching 

A year previously, in June, 1893, the American Railway 
Union had been organized in Chicago under the leadership of 
Eugene V. Debs. At this time it claimed to have a membership 
of 150,000. Unlike the railway brotherhoods, this organi- 
zation included all railway employees, even those engaged in 
the allied trades of car building and equipment It had there- 
fore admitted to its membership some of the employees of the 
Pullman Company, enrolling about 4,000 in the months of 
March, April, and May, 1894. In the inclusion of these 
diverse elements and in the general character of its aims it 
resembled the Knights of Labor, and indeed at its convention 
in 1894 the American Railway Union adopted a resolution 
tendering "to the Knights of Labor its hearty alliance in all 
movements brought about for the elevation and benefit of the 
laborer." 8 

On June 22 the American Railway Union held its annual 
convention in Chicago and the strike among the Pullman 
workers came up for consideration. Although the officers of 
the union had advised against a strike at Pullman, they felt 
that the strikers must be supported, and decided that in case 
the company was not willing to arbitrate by June 26, the mem- 
bers of the union would- refuse to handle Pullman cars and 
equipment after that date. As the company refused to submit 
the question of wages to arbitration or to recognize the Amer- 
ican Railway Union, the strike order went into effect. 9 

7 The Strike at Pullman, 17-18. See also Gompers, "The Railway Strike," 
American Federationist, 1:121, and an unsigned account in the Railway Times, 
July 14, 1894. 

8 Ibid., June 15, 1894. 

The Strike at Pullman, 12. 


Just as the Railway Union sponsored the cause of the 
Pullman strikers, so the General Managers' Association, repre- 
senting twenty-four roads centering or terminating in Chicago, 
came to the aid of the Pullman Company. This organization 
had been formed in 1886 to determine a common policy as to 
freight rates, but it dealt incidentally with wages. The sym- 
pathetic strike directed against the Pullman Company now 
became a general struggle between the railroads and their 
employees. The distinction between Pullman and other cars 
could not be maintained and soon all train service was affected 
including the railway mail service. Rioting took place, trains 
were obstructed, railway property was destroyed, and even 
loss of life occurred. By July 6 the strike had been so far 
successful in its object that only six of the twenty-three roads 
entering Chicago were unobstructed in freight, passenger, and 
mail service. 10 

At this point the federal government took a hand in the 
struggle. A sweeping injunction was issued on July 2 against 
Debs and other officials in the American Railway Union en- 
joining them from interfering with the carrying of the mail 
or obstructing interstate commerce. 11 As these orders were 
not obeyed, President Cleveland on July 4 ordered United 
States troops into Chicago. This act was protested by Gov- 
ernor John P. Altgeld on the ground that it was an inter- 
ference with state rights, and that the state troops were able 
to restore and maintain order. But the facts were against him 
and the federal executive proclaimed a state of insurrection, 
first in Illinois and later in railroad districts further west, and 
announced his firm determination to prevent any interference 
with the mails or with interstate commerce, to enforce the man- 
dates and decrees of the federal courts, and to protect federal 
property from destruction. The state militia was also called 
out to maintain order in the city. The total force employed 
during the continuance of the strike was I4,i86. 12 

10 Cleveland, The Government in the Chicago Strike of 1894, P- 3 2 - 

lbid., 21. 

12 Wright, The Battles of Labor, 140. 


On July 10 Debs and three other officials in the American 
Railway Union were arrested for conspiracy, and on July 17 
they were rearrested for contempt of court in violating the 
injunction issued against them. While the first effect of this 
action was to incite the strikers to more determined resistance, 
in the end it demoralized them and broke the strike. An 
attempt was made to call a general sympathetic strike of all 
trades in the city, but the movement went awry. On July 12 
the executive board of the American Federation of Labor, 
together with the officials of a number of national trade-unions, 
met in Chicago to consider the situation. Although they ex- 
pressed sympathy with the purpose of the strike they coun- 
seled the men to return to work. On August 5 the local unions 
called off the strike on all the railroads except two, and the 
strike was officially ended. 13 Debs was later sentenced to six 
months in prison and his three colleagues to three months each. 

The effects of the strike did not stop here. The losses 
were enormous, aggregating, according to an estimate by Brad- 
street's, for the country as a whole about $80,000,000. The 
American Railway Union lost its suddenly won power, while 
the railway brotherhoods, which have always been conserva- 
tively managed, gained greatly in influence and prestige. But 
most important of all was the definite establishment of the 
power of the federal government to prevent any obstruction 
of interstate commerce, even to the extent of employing United 
States troops for that purpose. Under the circumstances the 
defeat of the men was inevitable, especially in view of the 
condition of the labor market at the time. 

Although the workingmen lost the Pullman strike, the 
bitterness generated by this conflict together with the hard 
times led them to attempt to redress their grievances by polit- 
ical action. In November, 1893, the Illinois State Federation 
of Labor had avowed its faith in this method. " The repeated 
deception," it declared in the preamble to its platform, "of 

13 " Report on the Chicago Strike of June- July, 1894, by the United States 
Strike Commission," Executive Documents, 53 congress, 3 session, number 7. 


the laboring people by the Republican and Democratic parties 
emphasizes the necessity for independent political action on 
the part of the producers, and we declare that the reforms 
necessary to a successful solution of the labor problem can 
only be attained by entering the political arena with the firm 
determination to obtain administrative supremacy through the 
ballot box." 14 

At this same meeting the federation instructed its execu- 
tive board to call within the next six months a conference of 
representatives of the Illinois State Federation of Labor, the 
Farmers' Alliance, the Knights of Labor, " and such other 
industrial bodies as may be deemed essential to the advance- 
ment of that unity of action and singleness of purpose which, 
when attained, is a great stride toward the success of our 
common aims." 13 Early in May appeared the call for the 
proposed convention, to be held in Springfield from July 2 to 4. 
All " bona fide industrial and political reform organizations" 
were asked to send delegates. 

The object of this convention was to consider the desir- 
ability of independent political action on the part of labor, 
and to discuss as its platform a list of reforms which had been 
submitted to the American Federation of Labor at its Chicago 
convention in 1893 by Thomas J. Morgan, a socialist from 
that city, representing the International Machinists Union, 
and which had been the subject of debate by trade-unionists 
all over the country. This declaration called for compulsory 
education, direct legislation, a legal eight-hour day, sanitary 
inspection of workshops, mines and houses, an employers' 
liability law, abolition of the contract system on public works, 
abolition of the sweating system, municipal ownership of pub- 
lic utilities, nationalization of railroads, telegraphs, telephones, 
and mines, the collective ownership of all the means of produc- 
tion and distribution, and the referendum in legislation. 16 The 

14 Proceedings of the Annual Session of the State Federation of Labor, 
1893, p. 21. 

15 Ibid., 42. 

16 Eight Hour Herald, May 10, 1894. 


section indorsing the collective ownership of all the means of 
production and distribution was known as plank 10 and figured 
conspicuously in subsequent discussions. 

This political program was indorsed by a large number 
of trade-unions, and by the state federations of labor in Illinois 
and ten other states, including Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, 
Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. It also had the indorse- 
ment of city centrals in Cleveland, Toledo, Lansing, Grand 
Rapids, Saginaw, Milwaukee, and other cities. Fearful of its 
influence, the more conservative labor leaders, like Gompers, 
finally demanded that plank 10 with its pledge in favor of 
"the collective ownership by the people of all means of pro- 
duction and distribution," be stricken out. 17 

The peoples party had meantime arranged for a state con- 
vention to be held in Springfield on May 28, and it now invited 
the workingmen to come to its meeting. This party, repre- 
senting primarily the discontented elements among the rural 
population, had first entered Illinois politics in the fall of 1892, 
but had secured only 20,000 votes out of over 800,000 cast 
in the state. General J. B. Weaver, the presidential candi- 
date, obtained but 1,214 votes. The workingmen were not yet 
willing to desert the old parties and to organize separately for 
political action. Now, however, in the spring of 1894, the 
situation had changed. The workers were feeling the full 
effects of the depression in industry which followed the panic 
of 1893, and were ready to grasp at new remedies which 
offered a solution of their difficulties. 

When the convention of the peoples party opened it was 
a motley gathering of heterogeneous elements representing all 
shades of reform opinion. Representatives were present from 
the Farmers Mutual Benefit Association, Farmers Alliance and 
Industrial Union, Knights of Agriculture, Industrial Legion, 
Knights of Labor, Illinois State Federation of Labor, socialist 
labor party, the Open Alliance, and the single taxers. Chicago 
sent a labor delegation headed by Thomas J. Morgan. The 

17 Commons, History of Labour in the United States, 2: 511. 


platform drawn up by him was submitted and approved, with 
the exception of plank 10. A struggle over the adoption of 
this extreme socialist proposal ensued and resulted in the rout 
of the Chicagoans. 18 

When the date for the convention of the Illinois State 
Federation of Labor arrived the country was in the throes of 
the great railroad strike. Owing to the paralysis of the rail- 
road system the delegates did not assemble until July 3. The 
composition of the gathering was not dissimilar from that 
which had met five weeks earlier under the auspices of the 
peoples party. It comprised trade-unionists, Knights of Labor, 
populists, single taxers, socialists, and even anarchists who 
avowed a faith in political action. Henry D. Lloyd, who at 
this time occupied a position midway between radical reform 
and socialism, appeared as a delegate from the Chicago Ger- 
man Typographical Union No. 9. When the gathering was 
called to order every one was in an excited and vindictive 
mood. On the second of July an injunction had been issued 
against the Pullman strikers which threatened to tie their 
hands, and on the fourth United States troops appeared in 

The platform was the center of discussion. The committee 
which had it in charge could not agree and submitted a major- 
ity and a minority report. The first was a reform platform, 
the second was radical and included plank 10. The single 
taxers and the conservative trade-unionists under the leader- 
ship of William C. Pomeroy, formerly a waiter but now a 
real estate dealer, lined up against plank 10, while the radical 
trade-unionists and socialists under the leadership of Morgan 
favored it. After two days of debate plank 10 was defeated 
by a vote of 59 to 49. The platform as adopted was practi- 
cally the same as the one indorsed by the peoples party on 
May 28, containing the demands of both the farmers and 
the industrialists. The convention closed by indorsing the 
candidates for state offices nominated by the peoples party, 

18 Chicago Tribune, May 29, 1894. 


and thus threw its political fortunes in with that organiza- 
tion. 19 

When the delegates returned home another struggle for 
domination took place within the party in Cook County. This 
time the trade-unionists were on one side and the radicals and 
socialists on the other. On August 18 some 875 delegates 
met in Chicago to nominate a county ticket. The trade-unions 
had the largest representation, namely 349 ; then came the 
American Railway Union with 1 89, the peoples party with 130, 
the socialist labor party with 130, the Knights of Labor with 
58, the single taxers with 10, and the Turner societies with 9. 
The opposition between the two factions showed itself at the 
very beginning and an effort to elect a permanent chairman 
threw the meeting into disorder and broke up the assemblage. 
The trade-union faction threw its support in the ensuing elec- 
tions to the democrats for state and railroad officials and to 
the populists for county officials. 20 The radical faction on 
the other hand remained true to its original purpose and car- 
ried through an independent campaign, indorsing the peoples 
party platform and candidates. The results of the election 
were a great disappointment, however, the average populist 
vote in Cook county being only about 31,000. None of the 
candidates were elected. 

The new party had been made up of a number of incon- 
gruous and inharmonious elements socialists, single taxers, 
farmers, and trade-unionists and disaffection soon set in. 
Efforts to placate the different interests were unsuccessful, 
and gradually one group after another deserted the coalition 
and returned to its original allegiance. In the spring elections 
of 1895 the vote was only about half what it had been the 
previous fall. This was practically the end of the peoples 
party in Chicago. The socialists deserted it in the spring 
elections of 1896, and when W. J. Bryan was nominated for 
president of the United States by the democratic as well as 

19 Eight Hour Herald, July 10, 1894. 

20 Arbeiter-Zeitung, November i, 1894. 


by the populist convention the reformers joined the ranks of 
the democratic party from which most of them had originally 
come. The elements which had attempted to secure independ- 
ent political action by the formation of a new party simply 
returned to their former allegiance. 

The same dissatisfaction which had led some of the more 
radical labor elements to form an independent political party, 
also led to revolt among the existing labor organizations. The 
first to feel this was the Chicago Trades Assembly. Evils 
had sprung up in the twenty years of its existence since 1877. 
It was dominated by a clique of old "wheel horses" most of 
whom were no longer active in their trades; it had become a 
common practice for the presidents of the organization to be 
rewarded for political services by jobs at the city hall. And 
it was felt that if the assembly could not be purged of polit- 
ical and extraneous influences a new organization must take 
its place. 

As the former seemed hopeless a secession of the dis- 
satisfied unions took place, led by local union number 14 of 
the Cigar Makers International Union. In January, 1895, 
some sixty-five delegates met in its hall and organized a new 
central body. There were in this meeting representatives of 
the bakers, bookbinders, box makers and sawyers, carpenters, 
clothing cutters, garment makers, machinists, musicians, plas- 
terers, press feeders and job printers, woodworkers, and the 
Bohemian Central Labor Union. A resolution was passed 
that no one should be admitted as a delegate who was not 
actually employed in his trade, and a committee was appointed 
to draft a constitution. The name subsequently adopted was 
the Chicago Trade and Labor Congress. 

Although the congress disavowed politics the platform 
adopted showed strong populist influence and contained fea- 
tures which were purely political. It declared that the pur- 
pose of the organization was to hold meetings in the interest 
of labor, to settle difficulties between its members' trades and 
their employers, to secure effective sanitary inspection of fac- 


tories, mines, and workingmen's homes, to protest against 
prison and child labor, to secure an eight-hour day and like 
pay for like work irrespective of sex, to abolish the truck 
system and secure payment of wages in lawful money; but it 
also declared for the direct election of the president and vice 
president of the United States, for the abolition of the senate, 
nationalization of the means of transportation and communi- 
cation, reform of the judiciary, prohibition of stockjobbing, 
municipalization of public utilities, abolition of the contract 
system on public work, abolition of the fee system, an eight- 
hour day on public works, and the initiative and referendum. 
As an ultimate aim the congress set for itself the displace- 
ment of the capitalist system by the cooperative commonwealth. 
Here is found a large share of the peoples party platform 
including the socialistic plank 10. 

It was evident that a body organized for these purposes 
was a political party rather than a trade-union organization. 
Accordingly the American Federation of Labor refused to 
recognize it. At its convention in New York, in December, 
1 895, the federation urged a union between the two rival bodies, 
and suggested a reorganization of the Trades Assembly so as 
to eliminate the objectionable features. It recommended that 
the old name and charter be retained, but that a new consti- 
tution be adopted and new officers elected. 21 

Both the Trades Assembly and the Labor Congress agreed 
to this plan but owing to hostility on both sides, were unable 
to reach an amicable settlement. The American Federation 
of Labor then issued a circular to the separate unions urging 
that they organize a new body on the lines suggested. Accord- 
ingly, delegates from some thirty-four unions met and took 
the initial steps toward the formation of a new central body. 
The result was the present Chicago Federation of Labor. The 
Trades Assembly declared itself dissolved prior to this meet- 
ing; the Labor Congress voted to dissolve soon after. On 
December 6 a new constitution was adopted. 

21 Eight Hour Herald, January 4, 1896. 


The new organization was in every way a concession to 
the reform ideas of the secessionists who organized the trade 
and labor congress. By its constitution it barred employers, 
politicians, and ex-trade-unionists from membership. It de- 
clared for the election of the president and vice president of 
the United States by the direct vote of the people, the national- 
ization of all means of communication, the reform of the judi- 
ciary, prohibition of speculation in the necessaries of life, 
municipalization of public utilities, the execution of all city 
work by the city itself without the intervention of contractors, 
elimination of the fee system in public offices, abolition of tene- 
ment housework and the sweating system, and the introduction 
of the referendum. 22 This was closely modeled upon the plat- 
form of the Labor Congress two years before, and has been 
but little changed since. 

By the organization of the Chicago Federation of Labor 
the Central Labor Union was left without a real reason for 
existence. It was refused recognition by the federation, and 
gradually the member unions deserted it in favor of the newer 
and more promising organization. After this its demise was 
only a question of time. An apparently abortive attempt to 
organize all classes of unskilled labor into a national body 
was made in 1902, when W. F. Smith founded the "Amal- 
gamated Common Laborers of America," at Jonesboro, Illi- 
nois. 23 No further account of this organization could be 

In 1898 the long period of depression came to an end, 
during which the problem of the workers was to hold the gains 
they had made, that of the trade-unions was to maintain their 
organization. With the return of industrial prosperity, how- 
ever, a rapid expansion of labor organizations occurred. 
"At no time in its history, not excepting the throbbing year 
of 1886, did labour organization make such important gains 

22 Constitution and by-laws adopted December 6, 1896, and revised March 
16, 1902, October 2, 1904, and June 17, 1906. 

23 Journal of the Knights of Labor, May, 1902. 


as during the next five years." 24 Especially significant was 
the extension of the trade-union movement into hitherto 
untouched trades and among the unskilled, and into the indus- 
trially newer regions of the south and west. In this move- 
ment Chicago and the state of Illinois had a leading part and 
shared in the labor development and the struggles incident 

The monthly reports from the various trade-unions 
throughout Illinois printed in the American Federationist 
during this period convey the impression that work was plenti- 
ful, strikes were not frequent and in general were quickly won 
by the workers, and that labor organization was spreading. 25 
Some of the writers are quite evidently interested in reporting 
only the good things, but the general absence of complaints 
is strong evidence of prosperity. Increase in wages and reduc- 
tion in hours were most frequently reported. The situation 
was summed up by a writer from Auburn as follows: "It is 
hardly worth while to put much time to organize new unions 
just now .... because every one is very busy and time can- 
not be spared for this work." 26 These good times continued 
with minor interruptions through the year 1907, when the 
after effects of the panic of that year began to be felt. The 
state board of arbitration in 1906 commented upon the com- 
parative industrial peace in Illinois and explained it as due 
in the first place to industrial activity and good demand for 
labor "wages .... higher than at any time in our his- 
tory" and secondly to the memory of the teamsters' sym- 
pathetic strike during the previous year. 27 

The prosperity of these years had, however, been inter- 
rupted by several serious disputes. One of the most long 
drawn out and important of these was the building trades 
dispute in Chicago in 1900 and I9OI. 28 This was fought 

24 Selig Perlman in History of Labour in the United States, 2: 521. 

25 American Federationist, 6:226; 7:74; 8:383; 9:382; 11:515. 

26 Ibid., 8:383-384. 

27 Report of the State Board of Arbitration, 1908, p. 2. 

28 For a full account of this struggle see Bogart, " The Chicago Building 


out between the Building Trades Council on the one side, 
representing the men, and the Building Contractors Council 
on the other. It was alleged by the men that the contractors 
wished to crush the Trades Council because they would not 
consent to make "exclusive agreements" to work only for 
members of the contractors council. The contractors insisted 
that they could no longer submit to the irresponsible tyranny 
and dictation of the Building Trades Council, though they 
expressed their willingness to treat with the constituent unions. 
The immediate cause of the strike was the demand on the 
part of the contractors that the carpenters work on Saturday 
afternoons beginning February 10. As the Saturday half 
holiday had been enjoyed by the carpenters since the momen- 
tous strike for an eight-hour day in 1890 they refused to 
accede to this demand, and suspended work. Sympathetic 
strikes and lockouts in allied building trades completely para- 
lyzed building operations in the city and rendered about 
50,000 men idle. 

The progress of the struggle was marked by consider- 
able bitterness and not a little violence. Various efforts to 
arbitrate the dispute were made, but they were all fruitless. 
By the summer many of the constituent unions began to desert 
the Trades Council and to return to work. Building operations 
were about normal by July, 1900. But the dispute dragged 
for over a year and was not formally terminated until April, 
1901, when the Building Trades Council voted to disband. A 
few days later a new organization was formed by fifteen of 
the eighteen strong trades in the building industry under the 
name of the Chicago Building Trades League. This new 
body was formed by men in the old unions who wished to 
live up to agreements made with the contractors and was thus 
a victory for the better element in the trade-unions rather 
than for the contractors. 

The same question of the trade agreement came up in the 

Trades Dispute," Political Science Quarterly, 16:114-141, 222-247. See also 
Report of the Industrial Commission, 8:ix-xxxii. 


machinists' strike of I9OO. 29 This strike was inaugurated in 
Chicago in March to secure exclusive employment of union 
men, a nine-hour day, increase in wages, and the limitation of 
apprentices. When these demands were refused by the em- 
ployers about 6,000 men left their positions. The strike soon 
spread to other cities, involving about 9,000 men. At this 
point the dispute was taken up by the National Metal Trades 
Association, representing the employers, and the International 
Machinists Union, representing the men, and a trade 
agreement was drawn up between these two national organ- 
izations. This marked a long step forward in collective bar- 
gaining, and the substitution of the principle of arbitration 
for violence, but it was unfortunately broken the following 
year by the machinists' organization. 30 

The spread of trade agreements may be regarded as a 
sign of the growth in power, recognition, and responsibility 
on the part of organized labor. One of the earliest stable 
trade agreements in a local field was that of the Chicago brick- 
layers in 1887, but the first one on a national scale was that 
between the molders and National Association of Stove Man- 
ufacturers in 1 89 1. 31 A great impetus was given to this 
movement in 1898 when a general agreement was made 
between the coal operators and the miners' union in the bitu- 
minous coal district of Illinois and the neighboring states. 
The agreement of the machinists in 1900 was another stride 
in the same direction, but their action the following year under 
the leadership of irresponsible leaders threatened to destroy 
the willingness of employers to enter into engagements with 
labor organizations. In 1902, however, a strong stand for 
the maintenance of contracts was made by John Mitchell, the 
president of the United Mine Workers of America, who 
refused to order a sympathetic strike of the bituminous coal 
miners at the time of the anthracite strike, because they had 

29 Bogart, "The Machinists' Strike, 1900," Yale Review, 9:302-313. See 
also Report of the Industrial Commission, 8:v-viii. 

30 Bogart, "The Machinists' Strike, 1901," Yale Review, 10:249-267. 
81 Commons, History of Labour in the United States, 2 : 480. 

a time agreement with the operators which he refused to 
break. 32 Both the miners and the operators were organized 
and had made joint agreements providing for arbitration of 
disputes. This had brought an era of peace into the bitu- 
minous coal district such as it had never before experienced. 
" The coal operators and miners of the State furnish an example 
of the peace that usually follows the perfection of organization. 
For many years miners' strikes were the most serious labor 
disturbances from which the State suffered." 33 At present 
the trade agreement is one of the most generally accepted 
principles in the labor movement in the United States. With 
the development of strong, responsible, and ably led labor 
organizations, which can bargain on fairly equal terms with 
their employers, this method may be expected to take the place 
of strikes and lockouts and violent disputes. 

The more serious strikes during the following years were 
those of the freight handlers in Chicago in 1902 involving 
some 8,000 or 9,000 men; of some 5,000 cooks, waiters, and 
other help in Chicago hotels and restaurants in 1903; of the 
United Garment Workers of America in 1905, which was 
followed by a sympathetic strike of the teamsters, the latter 
resulting in a great deal of violence, destruction of property, 
and even loss of life. In 1906 occurred a great miners' strike, 
involving some 60,000 men, over restoration of the wage scale 
which had been cut in 1904; the men finally won their 
demand. 34 The telegraphers' strike in 1907 in Chicago, 
Springfield, Rockford, and other Illinois cities was a failure. 
The year 1908 was one of industrial depression, following 
the panic of 1907, but the next two or three years were char- 
acterized by unusual activity among organized workers of 
Illinois. The most serious disputes which arose were the sea- 
men's strike in 1909 and the miners' strike in 1910. The 
vessel owners, organized as the Lake Carriers Association, 


83 Report of the State Board of Arbitration, 1903, p. i. 
34 Ibid., 1902, p. 65; 1903, p. 22] 1906, p. 2, 30, 57-63. 


had for several years been trying to break up the unions of 
the workers, although they had had agreements with several 
of the crafts, but now they declared for the open shop and 
were able finally to disrupt the unions. 35 The strike of the 
miners was a periodic outbreak, this time a little larger 
72,000 men were involved and more extended than usual, 
against the conditions in the bituminous coal district. Many 
more men were kept at the mines than could find employment 
there and as a result the average mine ran only about 200 
days in the year. The annual wage therefore was down to 
a starvation basis. The main issue was a demand for an 
increase of wages, but there was also a dispute as to who 
should pay the shot firers provided for by the law of 1905. 
On most points in dispute the miners were victorious. 36 

Another movement which in recent years has been attract- 
ing much attention, not only in labor circles but among all 
observers of labor development, is the growth of socialism. 
This has made rapid progress since about 1900, and in this 
movement Illinois has borne a rather conspicuous part. Any 
attempt in this state to trace the growth of socialism among 
the workers leads one into a confused tangle of new organi- 
zations, splits, attempted reconciliations, cross-purposes, and 
personal jealousies. Out of it all has arisen the socialist party 
of Illinois as the leading standard bearer of the radical ele- 
ments. The origin of this party in Illinois may be dated back 
as early as 1896. Up to this time socialism in the United 
States had been more or less of an exotic bearing the stamp 
largely of German Marxism. Now, however, it developed 
in the western country and grew directly out of American 

Eugene V. Debs had become a socialist while serving his 
prison sentence growing out of the Pullman strike, largely 
through the efforts of Victor L. Berger. In the fall of 1896 
he became the organizer for a visionary group known as the 

35 Hoagland, Wage Bargaining on the Vessels of the Great Lakes, chap- 
ters 4 and 5. 

36 Report of the State Board of Arbitration, 1910, p. 52-63. 


Brotherhood of the Cooperative Commonwealth. Its object 
was to colonize a state with cooperators until they should 
become numerous enough to capture the political power of 
the state and turn the whole into a cooperative common- 
wealth. 37 Two or three other organizations were later merged 
with this, including the American Railway Union, and the 
new body took the name of the Social Democracy of America. 
The name of the Railway Times was changed to that of The 
Social Democrat, which became the official organ of the body, 
and it was moved from Terre Haute, Indiana, to Chicago 
where the headquarters were to be situated. Debs was elected 
chairman of the executive board. 

At the very first convention of the new party, held in 
Chicago in June, 1898, a split took place between the more 
Utopian cooperationists and the socialists who believed in 
political action. Headed by Debs, Jesse Cox, and Seymour 
Stedman, of Chicago, the latter faction bolted the meeting 
to found still another organization, the social democratic party 
of America. This was the parent of the present socialist party, 
which may therefore claim to have been born in Illinois. 

There was in existence at this time another older socialist 
group, the socialist labor party, which, as pointed out above, 38 
had allied itself with the populists in 1 894. Between this group 
and the new social democratic party there were, however, 
certain fundamental differences, the most important of which 
was the attitude of the two organizations toward labor unions. 
The socialist labor party condemned craft unionism, favored 
the organization of separate socialist labor organizations, and 
attempted in the nineties to organize a socialistic Trade and 
Labor Alliance as a rival of the American Federation of Labor. 
The social democratic party (now the socialist party) on the 
other hand was on friendly terms with the trade-unions. Thus, 

3T Railway Times, January i, 1897. As a result of this movement the 
colony of " Equality " was organized in 1897 in Skagit county, Washington, with 
620 acres. In 1898 the colony became autonomous sir.ce which time the brother- 
hood has had merely a nominal existence. 

38 See p. 162. 


one of the two socialists in the forty-ninth general assembly 
of Illinois, writing of his activities in the session of 1913, 
stated that he was in close touch with the labor representa- 
tives present in Springfield during the session. "Thus I had 
come to be regarded as speaking not merely for the two Social- 
ists in the house but in a sense as a representative of the labor 
movement in the state which of course gave considerable 
strength to my position." 39 

In 1 899 there was a split in the national socialist labor party 
which soon spread to Chicago. Section Chicago of the national 
party declared its independence, 40 and thereby drew the ire 
of the alliance faction which organized a new section. Al- 
though it was stated at the time that the new section was 
organized with only ten members, it is through this group 
that the socialist labor party of Illinois has continued its obscure 
existence down to this day. In 1899 it polled about 1,100 
votes; in 1900, only 400; and in 1901, 650. 

Meantime a split had also occurred in the social demo- 
cratic party. The question of a union with the socialist labor 
party had come up, but as it insisted upon retaining its name 
for the combined organization, it looked as if a union could 
not be secured. 41 The party thereupon divided into the union- 
ists and no-unionists. In May, 1900, the no-union faction met 
in state convention at Chicago and nominated a state ticket but 
retained Debs and Harriman, previously nominated by the 
entire party, on its presidential ticket. In July the union fac- 
tion met together with the union socialist labor party, indorsed 
Debs and Harriman for president and vice president respec- 
tively, nominated a state ticket, and adopted the compromise 
name socialist party of Illinois. The folly of uniting upon 

S9 Madsen, "Work in the Illinois Legislature," American Labor Year Book, 
1916, p. 108. 

40 Workers' Call, July 22, 1899. This paper first appeared in March u of 
this year. It was published " for and under the control of Section Chicago of 
the Socialist Labor Party of Illinois by the Socialist Publishing Association, a 
corporation without capital stock, the whole revenue of which must be expended 
for socialist propaganda." A. M. Simons was editor. 

41 Ibid., February 10, 17, 1900; Social Democratic Herald, April 7, 1900. 


national candidates and fighting each other on local candi- 
dates finally impressed even the warring factions of the two 
parties and they agreed to work together for the campaign. 
Their united effort secured 6,752 votes at the fall elections. 
In September, 1901, after considerable bickering, the local 
socialist factions in Illinois met and united permanently under 
the name of the socialist party of Illinois. 42 The Social 
Democratic Herald, the official organ of the former no-union 
factions, was moved to Milwaukee; The Workers' Call, the 
official organ of the late union group, was suspended; and in 
place of these the Chicago Socialist was established as the 
organ of the new party. 

Illinois claimed 6,004 regular members of the socialist 
party in 1915, but the party ticket had received 50,607 votes 
at the last election. In this year there were 44 socialist 
elected officials holding office throughout the state in the fol- 
lowing capacities: I mayor, 18 aldermen, 2 state legislators, 
5 school officials, and 18 unclassified. 43 

While the workers were struggling for the improvement 
of their conditions by means of their own organizations, the 
state of Illinois was legislating in their behalf in a variety of 
ways. As the mining industry of the state developed earlier 
than any other except agriculture and as this is a peculiarly 
hazardous business, it is only natural that legislation for the 
protection of miners should be among the first to be passed. 
The first general law on this subject was enacted in 1872, and 
covered the general subjects of ventilation, escapement shafts, 
bore holes, signalling, hoisting, explosions, and accidents. This 
applied to all mines in which more than ten men were em- 
ployed, and its enforcement was placed in the hands of the 
county surveyors, who were constituted ex officio inspectors of 
mines. As this did not work very well, county mine inspectors 
were provided for by the act of 1877. 

Additional safeguards to the health and safety of persons 

42 Workers' Call, September i, 1900, September 28, 1901. 

43 American Socialist, January 22, 1916; Appeal Almanac, 1916, p. 195; 
American Labor Year Book, 1916, p. 105. 


employed in mines were introduced in 1883; the minimum 
age limit for child labor was raised from 12 to 14 years; and 
the act was made to apply to all mines. A board of examiners 
and five state mining inspectors instead of the county inspec- 
tors were provided for. Frequent amendments were made to 
this law and in 1899 a general revision of mining legislation 
was effected. By this act the powers of the state mining board 
were considerably enlarged and better provisions made for 
the health and safety of the miners. In 1910 a mining inves- 
tigation commission was appointed which codified and revised 
the various laws relating to mining and introduced some new 
features. 44 The measures recommended by this body were 
enacted into law with little change by the legislature, and were 
somewhat further extended in 1913. Of this legislation Gov- 
ernor Deneen was able to say in his message to the legislature 
in the latter year, " The mining laws of the state have been 
completely revised and are now considered the most advanced 
either in this country or elsewhere." 45 

The mining legislation goes into great detail in laying 
down specific requirements as to conditions which must be 
maintained in mines so as to safeguard the lives and safety 
of the men employed therein. These requirements deal with 
the sinking of shafts, hoisting equipment, stairways and cages, 
light, signals, safety lamps, ventilation, refuge places, and a 
number of other points. Another group of provisions compels 
certain precautions to be observed for the prevention and con- 
trolling of fires and prevention of loss of life from fires in 
coal mines. These cover such points as water supply, pipe 
and hose connections, automatic sprinklers, fire extinguishers, 
telephones, passageways, and similar details. In some of the 
requirements, such as providing telephones, Illinois was a pio- 
neer, and in all of the legislation was well abreast of the best 
legislation on the subject. 

Other acts provided for the testing and stamping of blasting 

44 Report of the Mining Investigation Commission, March, 1911. 

45 Governor's Biennial Message to the Forty-Eighth General Assembly, 
January 8, 1913, p. 71. 


powder to be used in the mines, required shot firers to be fur- 
nished for all mines and laid down careful rules for firing of 
shots, prevented the employment of women and children in 
mines, called for frequent inspection of mines by state inspec- 
tors, and in other ways attempted to lessen the dangers and 
increase the well-being of those engaged in mining. A state 
mining board was established which was to examine persons 
wishing to be mine inspectors, to publish an annual statistical 
report and to administer certain features of the foregoing 
mining legislation. The number of state mine inspectors was 
increased to twelve and upon them falls the duty of seeing 
that the laws are enforced. 

Steps have also been taken to make sure that the men 
employed as miners shall be competent and trustworthy. In 
1897 it was provided that before a man could work by him- 
self he must have had two years practical work as a miner. 
In 1908 examining boards were created in each county in 
which coal mining was carried on, but in 1913 a single state 
miners examining board was established in their place. Any 
person wishing to be employed as a miner in the state must 
take an examination and obtain from this board a certificate 
of competency. In such a dangerous industry as mining, such 
a safeguard is peculiarly necessary. 

The hazardous nature of the industry also led, in 1910, 
to the establishment of mine rescue stations, for the purpose 
of providing prompt and efficient means of fighting mine fires 
and saving lives and property jeopardized by fire. Three sta- 
tions have been established in the northern, central, and south- 
ern coalfields of the state. Finally in 1911 the last step in 
this program of mining legislation was taken by the establish- 
ment of miners' and mechanics' institutes. The purpose of 
these institutes is by education to promote the technical effi- 
ciency of persons engaged in mining or mechanical pursuits. 
Courses have been organized in a number of mining towns, 
lectures given, and, beginning in 1914, a short course has been 
offered at the University of Illinois. 


Another step in labor legislation was taken in 1879 by the 
creation of a bureau of labor statistics. This seems to have been 
done as the result of the report of a special committee on 
labor which reported to the house of representatives in March 
of that year. 46 For forty years this bureau published biennial 
statistical reports relating to all departments of labor in the 
state. In 1909 a new act extended the duties of the board so 
as to make their statistical report cover not only labor condi- 
tions but also commercial and manufacturing conditions as 
well. The bureau has undertaken in its discretion various inves- 
tigations upon subjects connected with the welfare of the labor- 
ing classes. For instance in 1894 and 1896 it discussed the 
subject of taxation, in 1900 kindergartens and manual training, 
in 1908 public ownership of municipal utilities. While the 
statistical matter is often undigested the reports as a whole 
throw valuable light upon the conditions and progress of labor 
in the state for almost forty years. 

The increasing industrialization which was going on soon 
called for more active intervention on the part of the legis- 
lature to correct growing evils than by the mere collection of 
information. The abuse which first attracted attention in con- 
nection with the development of manufactures was that of 
child labor. 

The first child labor law had been enacted in 1891, but as 
no department or any particular officer was charged with the 
duty of enforcing it, the law remained a dead letter. The 
employment of children under thirteen years of age was for- 
bidden by this act; and school boards were authorized to issue 
employment certificates for children over the age of thirteen 
who had attended eight weeks of school. The act applied to 
stores, shops, factories, and manufacturing establishments. 

The first important child labor law and one which really 
marked the introduction of a new era in labor legislation was 
that creating a department of factories and workshops, ap- 
proved June 17, 1893. The prevailing unsanitary conditions 

48 Reports General Assembly, 1879, i session. 


in the garment trade seem to have prompted the passage of 
this act, for Chicago had just experienced an epidemic of con- 
tagious diseases the origin of which was traced to the sweat- 
shops. Indeed, the act was entitled "An act to regulate the 
manufacture of clothing, wearing apparel, and other articles 
in this state." Incidentally child labor was regulated, the 
minimum age limit below which children were prohibited to 
work being raised from thirteen to fourteen years in factories, 
workshops, and sweatshops. For children between fourteen 
and sixteen years of age, affidavits by the parents or guardians, 
certifying to their age, and certificates from physicians certify- 
ing to their physical fitness for their work, were prescribed. 
The employment of women was limited to eight hours a day, 
but this provision was later declared unconstitutional by the 
state supreme court. 47 Finally, the act established the depart- 
ment of factories and workshops, to which was intrusted the 
enforcement of the provisions just enumerated. 

The first report of the factory inspector showed that most 
of the efforts of that office were being directed toward the 
enforcement of the child labor provisions. Florence Kelley 
was appointed chief inspector by Governor Altgeld, and 
brought to the work knowledge, sympathy, and courage. Dur- 
ing the first five months, 2,452 places were inspected, in which 
68,081 persons were employed, of whom 6,576, or 9.7 per 
cent, were children between the ages of fourteen and sixteen. 48 

This act was extended in 1897 to offices, laundries, 
mercantile institutions, and stores, thereby taking in most 
trades and occupations where children were employed. 49 At 
the same time the hours of employment of children under 
sixteen years of age was limited to ten hours a day and sixty 
a week. The control of the garment trades and of the sweat- 
shops was relegated to a subordinate position, while the regu- 
lation of child labor became the main object of the new 

47 Ritchie v. People, 755 Illinois, 98. 

48 Report of the Illinois Factory Inspectors, 1893, p. 90, 122. 

49 Laws of 1897, p. 90-91. 


But there were several weaknesses in these early acts. 
Night work of young persons was not regulated, nor were 
sufficient safeguards thrown about their employment in occu- 
pations dangerous to life or detrimental to their health or 
morals. But perhaps the greatest weakness was the provision 
which permitted children to be employed upon the affidavit 
of their parents, a provision which encouraged perjury 
rather than prevented child labor. In the year 1901 it was 
estimated that there were 5,000 more children under six- 
teen years of age employed in the state than during the 
previous year, and in 1902 there were 15,000 children work- 
ing in Chicago alone, of whom 3,000 were employed on false 
affidavits. 50 

As a result of vigorous agitation a special committee was 
appointed to draft a new child labor law, of which Edgar T. 
Davies, chief factory inspector, was chairman. The bill drawn 
up by this committee, with some modifications, was finally 
passed by the legislature with only one dissenting vote, and be- 
came a law on May 15, I9O3. 51 The scope of the regulation of 
child labor was greatly broadened by this act, and many new 
features introduced, of which the more important were the 
following: the employment of children under the age of four- 
teen in any occupa-tion is forbidden when the schools are in 
session. Their employment at any time is forbidden in places 
of amusement where intoxicating liquors are sold, or in any 
mercantile establishment, store, office, hotel, laundry, manu- 
facturing establishment, bowling alley, passenger or freight 
elevator, factory or workshop, or as messenger or driver. In 
fact, agriculture and the street trades are almost the only 
occupations not closed to children under fourteen. The law 
also forbids the employment of children in certain designated 
occupations over twenty being specifically enumerated 
which are generally regarded as hazardous, and also their 

60 Report of the Illinois Factory Inspectors, 1907, p. 15. 

61 Ibid., 16. This striking approval was due largely to the efficient work of 
Miss Jane Addams and her coworkers during the debate on the measure. 
Laws of 1903, p. 187 ff. 


employment in other places which may be considered danger- 
ous to life or limb or injurious to health or morals. Acting 
under this provision the factory inspector ruled that coal mines 
were dangerous, and on December 9, 1904, child labor in 
Illinois mines ended, some 2,200 children being discharged on 
that date. 52 The hours of labor for children under fourteen 
years of age are limited to eight in any one day and forty- 
eight per week, and no child is permitted to work before 7 A. M. 
nor after 6 P. M. Instead of the employment certificate prp- 
vided for under the old law, an age and school certificate must 
be secured by all children under sixteen, to be sworn to by the 
parent or guardian and approved by designated school author- 
ities. These certificates must be kept on file by the employer 
and a register of all children employed must also be kept. The 
constitutionality of this act was upheld by the United States 
supreme court on December I, 19 13. 53 

The advance marked by these measures, it was declared 
by Mrs. Kelley, " amounts to a revolution, and has placed 
Illinois in 1904 where Massachusetts has stood since 1894," 
while another official stated that " Illinois now has the best 
laws in the country to protect its children." 54 The percentage 
of child labor in the state was decreased in the six years 
between 1902 and 1908 from 3.7 to 1.3 per cent, which was 
claimed by the chief factory inspector of Illinois in the latter 
year to be the lowest percentage of child labor of any state 
in the union. 53 

In spite of this laudation and the undoubted good results 
of this legislation, especially in the prohibition of labor for 
children under fourteen years of age and the institution of 
the eight-hour day, there still remained gaps or weaknesses in 

52 Report of the Illinois Factory Inspectors, 1907, p. 15. 

53 Sturges and Burn Manufacturing Company <v. Beauchamp, 231 United 
States, 320 (324). 

54 Kelley, " Has Illinois the Best Laws in the Country for the Protection of 
Children?" American Journal of Sociology, 10:300. W. L. Bodine, in Juvenile 
Court Record, August, 1904. Mr. Bodine was superintendent of compulsory 
education in Chicago. 

55 Davies, "The Present Situation in Illinois," Annals of the American 
Academy of Sociology and Political Science, 33:154-155 (June, 1909). 


the child labor laws. One was the inapplicability of the acts 
to newsboys and other street trades. Another was the possi- 
bility of illiterate children who had attained the age of sixteen 
being permitted to work without any provision for their fur- 
ther education. As a result of this defect Illinois in 1904 
ranked fifteenth among the states in illiteracy. 56 But in spite 
of these drawbacks great progress had been made in the 
protection of child labor, and from one of the worst states 
in this respect, Illinois now took rank with the half dozen best 
states in the union. 

In addition to the child labor laws, other legislation has 
been passed directed against specific abuses and designed to 
protect the health and safety of the workers. An act to compel 
the use of blowers on metal polishing machines was passed on 
June n, 1897. This law aims to protect the health of metal 
polishers, grinders, and buffers by requiring an efficient exhaust 
system to be installed above. every emery wheel to carry away 
the dust from grinding, thus preventing the men from con- 
tracting tuberculosis and similar diseases. The factory inspec- 
tor reports 57 that there is little difficulty in inducing employers 
to install suction systems, but that there has been difficulty in 
having the systems maintained in a state of real efficiency. 
During the year ending June 30, 1916, there were made 1,104 
visits to 339 shops and factories throughout the state, of 
which 329 were located in Chicago. These shops employed 
3,122 persons at metal polishing operations. 

A fire escape law was also passed on July I, 1897, repeal- 
ing the previous law of 1885 on this subject. By this act all 
buildings more than four stories high, and all buildings more 
than two stories high used for manufacturing purposes, hotels, 
dormitories, schools, seminaries, hospitals, asylums, and all 
public halls were required to be equipped with a sufficient 
number of fire escapes. The law was bitterly opposed by the 

56 Kelley, " Has Illinois the Best Laws in the Country for the Protection of 
Children?" American Journal of Sociology, 10:299-314. 

57 Report of the Illinois Factory Inspectors, 1915-1916, p. 41. 


Manufacturers' Association of Illinois, and it was found almost 
impossible to enforce. 58 In 1899 it was repealed. 

Except for the new child labor law of 1903 little factory 
legislation was passed for a decade, but in 1907 two additional 
acts were passed aimed at evils in particular occupations. The 
butterine and ice cream inspection act compelled manufacturers 
of these products to maintain their establishments in a thor- 
oughly healthful and sanitary condition. The structural iron 
law was designed to protect the lives of persons working on 
structural iron buildings and of those passing beneath them. 
Both these measures were approved on June 3, 1907. In this 
connection may be mentioned also the safety appliance act of 
May 12, 1905, which required the use of safety appliances, 
automatic couplers, and other devices for the protection of 
railroad employees and the traveling public. The act created 
the office of inspector of safety appliances to enforce compli- 
ance by railroads with the terms of the act. 

The next session of the legislature passed two new meas- 
ures, the first of which is commonly known as the health, 
safety, and comfort act, approved June 4, 1909, and the other 
as the woman's ten-hour law, approved June 15, 1909. The 
former of these measures provides in general for the health, 
safety, and comfort of all employees engaged in factories, 
mercantile establishments, mills, and workshops throughout 
the state. It goes into great detail in providing for the main- 
tenance of proper conditions in these establishments, and cov- 
ers such points as safeguarding machinery, elevators, eating 
rooms, seats, temperature, air space, gases, dust, fire exits, 
lights, water closets, washing facilities, and similar necessities. 

After the supreme court of Illinois in 1895 had held 
unconstitutional the act of 1893 providing an eight-hour day 
for women, no further attempts to limit the long hours of 
labor for women were made for fourteen years. But in 1909 
an act was passed which forbade the employment of women 
more than ten hours per day in mechanical establishments, 

58 Laws of I#p7, p. 222; Report of the Illinois Factory Inspectors, 1898, p. 7. 


factories, or laundries. Two years later this list was greatly 
extended by adding a large number of other places of employ- 
ment, as mercantile establishments, hotels, restaurants, tele- 
graph or telephone offices, places of amusement, express, trans- 
portation or public utilities companies, common carriers, and 
public institutions. While this law marks an improvement, it 
is far behind the standard of eight hours established by the 
laws of a great number of other states. 

Another law looking to the improvement of the condition 
of working women was the "mothers' pension act," which 
provides a pension fund to enable poor mothers to keep their 
children at home instead of sending them to charitable insti- 

The occupational disease law of 1911 was pioneer legis- 
lation in America along this line, and followed an exhaustive 
investigation and report of a committee appointed two years 
previously to study the subject of industrial diseases in this 
state. This law aims to protect the health of employees in 
certain dusty and poisonous trades harmful to their health, 
the most dangerous probably being the lead trades. Separate 
clothes, lockers, and bathing facilities must be provided for 
men engaged in these occupations; poisonous fumes and dust 
must be carried off by adequate devices; and employees are 
forbidden to take food into the workrooms. Monthly phys- 
ical examinations of all employees exposed to industrial dis- 
eases must be made by competent physicians at the expense of 
the employer. During the year ending June 30, 1916, the 
factory inspector reported that of 8,630 employees examined, 
157 were suffering from occupational diseases, of whom 138 
were sick from lead poisoning. 59 

The principle of this legislation was carried further by 
the enactment of the washroom law of I9I3, 60 which com- 
pels employers in certain occupations where workmen become 
covered with dirt and perspiration, as in foundries and machine 

59 Report of the Illinois Factory Inspectors, 1915-1916, p. 39. 

60 Laws of 1913, p. 359. 


shops, to provide sanitary washrooms with hot and cold 

The so-called basement law, approved June 29, 1915, was 
passed to secure more healthful working conditions for em- 
ployees in certain industries by forbidding them to be carried 
on in basements. The employments named are metal polish- 
ing, grinding, plating, and dipping, in all of which good venti- 
lation is essential to health. 

All these laws are enforced by the department of fac- 
tory inspectors, whose duties have steadily grown with the 
increase in the number of statutory provisions safeguarding 
the lives and safety of the workers. The office of state factory 
inspector was first created by the act to regulate the manu- 
facture of clothing, in 1893. As authorized then the depart- 
ment was to consist of a chief inspector, an assistant, and ten 
deputies, of whom half were to be women; in 1916 it was 
composed of a chief, assistant chief, physician, attorney, thirty 
deputy inspectors, and a staff of clerks, stenographers, and spe- 
cial investigators. 61 The inspections for this year were 76,593, 
in almost sixty-five thousand establishments. During the 
twenty years of its existence between 1893 and 1913 the total 
expenditures of the department amounted to $742,750, or at 
the rate of about twelve cents per capita per annum for the 
employees who come under the scope of the acts enumerated. 
Other labor legislation has been passed which is not enforci- 
ble by the factory inspector, but only by criminal penalties. 
Such are the child labor provisions of the criminal code, the 
specific provisions in the mining law regarding labor by women 
and children, the semimonthly payment of wages by corpo- 
rations, the protection of chauffeurs, and masons' examining 
boards. 02 

By these various enactments the state of Illinois has em- 
phatically put the stamp of its approval upon the principle of 

61 Report of the Illinois Factory Inspectors, 1915-1916, p. 18-19. 

6 - Illinois Factory Inspection Bulletin, volume i, number 2, p. 15; Laws of 
1913, p. 334, 356, 358. See Dodd, "A Report on the Administration of Labor and 
Mining Legislation," Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 511. 


interference with unrestricted private business. It has done 
this in the name of the moral and physical health of society, 
and has gradually but steadily enlarged the scope of its protec- 
tive legislation from children in a few selected industries to 
practically all workers in an ever-increasing list of occupations. 
The enforcement of this legislation has probably not kept pace 
with its enactment, owing to the insufficient number of inspec- 
tors. Most of the work of inspection is, moreover, done in 
Chicago and the remainder of the state is comparatively neg- 
lected. While the record is one of which the citizens of Illinois 
may justly be proud, it is evident that any slackening of 
endeavor will result in retrogression. 

In addition to improving the conditions of work in cer- 
tain specified occupations, or for certain groups of workers, 
the legislature has also sought to provide the machinery by 
which disputes between labor and capital may be avoided or 
settled. The state board of arbitration was created in 1895. 
This body has powers of investigation, of conciliation, and of 
arbitration. In any dispute involving not less than twenty- 
five persons the board is required to " endeavor by media- 
tion to effect an amicable settlement," or it may act as a board 
of arbitration upon application by the employer or employees, 
and finally in 1901 it was given authority to conduct an inde- 
pendent investigation in any case where the general public is 
likely to suffer injury or inconvenience. 

The board of arbitration was established soon after the 
great railway strike of 1894, in response to a popular demand 
that something should be done to prevent a repetition of its 
excesses. It has been somewhat more successful in its attempts 
at conciliation than of arbitration, but apparently has in no 
instance made use of its powers of investigation and report, 
which in Massachusetts and other states have proven so effec- 
tive in bringing public pressure to bear upon the party at fault. 
The results of the board's twenty odd years of work in Illinois 
hardly justify its continued existence. 

One of the gravest evils of our modern industrial system 


is that of unemployment; and this evil too the legislature has 
attempted to meet and cure, in part at least, by the establish- 
ment of free employment offices. By an act approved April 
17, i899, 63 free employment offices were created, one in each 
city of not less than fifty thousand population, and three in 
each city containing a population of one million or over. 
Accordingly offices have been established throughout the state 
as follows: three in Chicago (1899), and one each in Peoria 
(1901), East St. Louis (1907), Springfield (1909), Rock 
Island-Moline (1913), and Rockford (1913). For the year 
ending September 30, 1914, these eight offices had 70,230. 
applications for employment and 61,666 applications for help 
on the part of employers. Positions were secured for 56,537, 
or 80.5 per cent of those who applied. 64 For an industrial 
state like Illinois this is not a very good showing and indicates 
that most of the work of this sort is still being performed by 
private employment agencies. A majority of the positions 
applied for and filled were unskilled manual labor on the part 
of men and domestic service on the part of women. 

Hand in hand with the creation of free public employment 
offices went the licensing and control of private employment 
agencies. The act of 1899 provided for the licensing of these 
agencies by the secretary of state upon payment of an annual 
license fee of $200. In 1909 the control was transferred to 
the state board of labor commissioners and the fee was re- 
duced to $50 in cities of over 50,000 inhabitants and to $25 
in all other cities. Various provisions exist as to amount of 
fees, sending applicants to places where no employment exists 
or to undesirable places, and similar matters in which abuses 
existed. Inspection is provided for, but has practically not 
been enforced outside of Chicago. 

The capstone was placed upon this protective arch of 
labor legislation which had been building during the previous 
generation by the passage in 1911 of the workmen's compen- 

63 This law was superseded by a similar act in 1903, amended in 1913. 
04 Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of Illinois: Free Employment 
Offices, 1914, p. 8. 


sation act. The purpose of this measure was to s'ecure com- 
pensation for employees who were injured in the course of 
their work, without the necessity of their suing for damages 
in a court of law, a method which was both too expensive and 
too protracted for the average worker to avail himself of. 
The passage of the act followed a long agitation and dis- 
cussion of the subject, in which effective service was rendered 
by Professor Charles R. Henderson of the University of 
Chicago and his coworkers. It was clearly shown that under 
modern conditions the losses involved in industrial accidents 
must be borne by the industry itself, and that it is neither just 
nor expedient that the burden be placed upon the shoulders of 
the workers and their dependents. 

The first workmen's compensation act of 1911 applied 
only to certain designated employments, but the new law of 
1913 as amended in 1917 has enlarged the list and introduced 
other improvements. Certain extra hazardous employments 
are enumerated to which the act applies automatically, such as 
building, excavating, electrical work, transportation, mining, 
manufacturing of explosives, and similar dangerous businesses. 
Employers engaged in other industries may elect to come within 
the provisions of the act. In the case of accidents to employees 
of all such employers, resulting in death or disability, certain 
fixed compensations are provided. The administration of the 
law is intrusted to an industrial board. For the calendar year 
1915 the total amount paid as compensation in 16,869 acci- 
dents amounted to $1,292, 735. 65 

A few other general laws for the protection of labor 
which need not be discussed in detail may be added here to 
complete the picture. Provision is made for apprenticing 
children until they arrive at the age of sixteen. Barbers and 
horseshoers must secure certificates of registration from boards 

65 Report of the Industrial Board of Illinois, 1916, p. 37. Statistics of indus- 
trial accidents had been reported to the bureau of labor statistics under an act 
of 1907, but it has recently been little more than a farce, owing to the transfer 
of this duty to the industrial board. During the year 1915 the bureau reported 
only 1,430 industrial accidents in the state. Report of the Bureau of Labor 
Statistics: Industrial Accidents in Illinois, 1915, p. 9. 


of examiners created for this purpose. Convict labor shall 
not be employed so as to compete with free labor; but con- 
victs may be employed in manufacture of road material and 
machinery and under certain circumstances may be employed 
on the public roads. Eight hours shall constitute a legal day's 
work, where there is no agreement to the contrary. The wages 
of a head of a family to the amount of fifteen dollars per week 
shall be exempt from garnishment; this was an increase from 
eight dollars. The pay of mechanics and miners shall consti- 
tute a first lien upon property for materials or service furnished. 
Wages shall be paid in bankable currency, in full on pay day, 
and in the case of corporations for pecuniary profit such pay 
days shall be at least semimonthly. 


THE political history of Illinois during the quarter century 
since 1893 may be to a considerable extent visualized in 
the concrete proposals for governmental and political reform 
which have involved some alteration of the state constitution. 
It is therefore of importance to trace the development of pro- 
posals for constitutional amendment and revision during this 
period, not only from the standpoint of the form of the basic 
law of the state, but also for the purpose of considering, at least 
incidentally, such concrete measures as the proposed reforms in 
connection with taxation, woman suffrage, local government, 
short ballot, initiative and referendum, and other matters. To 
the constitution of 1870, seven amendments have been adopted, 
only two of which have been adopted during the period since 
1893. The history of proposed and adopted amendments to 
the constitution of 1870 may be divided into three periods: the 
first extending from that date to the passage of the official ballot 
act of 1891, the second from 1891 to the passage of the act of 
1899 providing for a separate ballot for proposed constitu- 
tional amendments and other measures, and the third from 
1899 to the present time. 

The agitation in favor of constitutional amendment and 
revision has been more constant and insistent during the last 
twenty-five years. At the very beginning of this period, in 
1893, Governor Altgeld in his inaugural address suggested the 
need of constitutional revision in the following words: "There 
is a wide-spread conviction that the present revenue system of 
our State results in the greatest inequalities and injustice in 
the matter of taxation Various measures in rela- 
tion to it will no doubt be presented to your consideration, the 


most important of which is, perhaps, the question whether any 
comprehensive change can be made without a revision of our 
Constitution. In the past, our State has revised its Constitu- 
tion at intervals of thirty and twenty-two years. A number 
of questions have arisen in the development of recent years re- 
lating to various subjects on which legislation is needed, but 
where there seem to be constitutional difficulties in the way. 
This is especially true of the revenue system and of the ques- 
tion of enlarging the elective franchise, on which latter sub- 
ject the law is left in a condition of uncertainty that is not 
creditable to the intelligence of our people." 1 

The suggestion of Governor Altgeld bore fruit in a joint 
resolution introduced in the session of 1893, which thus recited 
the conditions calling for remedy by a constitutional conven- 
tion: "We are prevented in a great measure from redeeming 
the pledges we made to the People of the State . . . . 
by constitutional obstacles and restrictions; and Whereas, The 
inadequacy of that constitution to meet the demands of present 
and future conditions has caused bitter complaint among the 
people and much just discontentment; and Whereas, There 
are weighty social and economic issues persistently pressing 
upon us and demanding solution, and yet cannot be squarely 
met and intelligently solved with the present constitution in the 
way; and Whereas, The present revenue system is flagrantly 
unfair, unequal and, consequently, unjust in its operation; and 
Whereas, Our present judicial system is complicated, cumber- 
some and subject to gross abuse in unnecessary delay in our 
courts, thus unduly shielding the guilty from deserved punish- 
ment and working injustice to the innocent, especially dis- 
criminating against the poor man." 2 

This joint resolution, though failing in the house, passed 
the senate by a vote of 37 to i. A joint resolution of a some- 
what similar tenor was introduced in the house of representa- 
tives upon which 67 members voted favorably and 64 in the 

1 Senate Journal, 1893, p. 121. 

2 Ibid., 265. 


negative. Having failed to receive the concurrence of two- 
thirds of all members elected, as required by the constitution, 
the resolution was lost. In an editorial published at this time, 
the Chicago Tribune declared that there was no special need 
or general demand for a constitutional convention, but the 
favorable vote upon the proposition in both branches of the 
legislature would seem to indicate that there was considerable 
sentiment in the state in favor of it, even at that early period. 3 

A joint resolution for calling a constitutional convention 
was also introduced in the session of 1899, but it did not come 
to a vote. 4 At about the same time the reasons against a con- 
stitutional convention were thus voiced by the Chicago Tribune: 
" There is no demand heard from the people for constitutional 
revision, therefore they would take no keen, general interest in 
the election of the persons who were to do the work of re- 
vision. Consequently the same bosses and the same interests 
that control the election of members of the Legislature would 
nominate and elect members of a constitutional convention. 
. . The more this question of calling a constitutional 
convention is discussed the more strenuous will be the opposi- 
tion to it Illinois has had an Allen law Legisla- 
ture. It must not have an Allen law constitutional con- 
vention." 5 

This view, however, left out of account the fact that the 
members of a constitutional convention would not be chosen 
according to the plan of minority representation which con- 
tributed much to the lack of popular control over the lower 
house of the legislature; that it would consist of but one house 
or body instead of two, as in the case of the legislature, and 
therefore there would be less possibility of shifting responsibil- 
ity for action or non-action from one branch to another; and, 
finally, that the greater importance of the powers of a consti- 
tutional convention would probably have aroused the interest 

3 Senate Journal, 1893, 881; House Journal, 1893, p. 542-543; Chicago 
Tribune, June 15, 1893. 

* Senate Journal, 1899, p. 44. 

5 Chicago Tribune, January 30, 1899. 


of the people in the election of members to such an extent that 
a better class of delegates would have been sent to a constitu- 
tional convention than are ordinarily elected to the legislature. 
Aloreover, the increasing complexity and cumbrousness of local 
government in Cook county emphasized the need of changes 
which only a constitutional convention could well effect. At all 
events, two years later the Tribune changed its attitude and 
came out strongly in favor of a convention. The reasons as- 
signed for this position were that a new constitution was needed 
in order to give Chicago a larger measure of home rule, in 
order to bring about the consolidation of the various local gov- 
ernments in Cook county the abolition of townships within 
the city of Chicago, and the consolidation of the taxing bodies 
in the county. Such a scheme of reform, known compre- 
hensively as the " Greater Chicago plan," was said to be impos- 
sible under the existing constitution. 6 

At about the same time a canvass of the members of the 
legislature was made in order to determine how they stood on 
a constitutional convention. Of the 64 who replied, 41 favored 
a convention, 14 were against it, and 9 were undecided. Prob- 
ably most of those who failed to reply were opposed to the 
convention, for later in the same session the resolution for a 
convention was killed in the house by a vote of 52 to 76 in spite 
of the advocacy of the convention resolution by the speaker of 
the house, Lawrence Y. Sherman. The agitation in favor of a 
convention, however, continued throughout the year 19027*" A 
committee of the State Bar Association reported unanimously 
in that year in favor of calling a convention. The report 
enumerated many of the reforms in the constitution which had 
been sought and attacked the idea that the desired changes 
could be made by separate amendment. "Theoretically," it 
was said, " the changes in the constitution necessary for the 
enactment of the reforms spoken of may be obtained by amend- 
ments. But the history of attempts to obtain the adoption by 
the legislature of propositions for amendments to the constitu- 

8 Chicago Tribune, March 8, 1901. 


tion shows that this method is extremely difficult, not to say 
entirely impracticable. Practically, we might have to wait 
thirty years or more before effecting the changes deemed neces- 
sary or desirable. There is only one alternative left, and that 
is a constitutional convention. A proposal for revision has a 
better chance of success in the legislature, because it is not 
antagonistic to any plan of change championed by any member, 
and because it does not require the members to study any par- 
ticular scheme of governmental policy, leaving all such things 
to the convention." 7 

'The great change in economic and industrial conditions 
since the adoption of the constitution in 1870 was recognized 
as a leading argument in favor of a convention. In 1870 the 
state was distinctly agricultural. Thirty years later it had be- 
come very largely a manufacturing and commercial community, 
" It could not be expected that a constitutional convention, con- 
vened to frame an instrument for the Illinois of that day, could 
foresee and make adequate provision for the totally different 
Illinois of today, including a mighty city the center of intri- 
cate and diversified activities and occupations, the source of un- 
measured political energy, as well as weakness and danger, 
confronting new necessities with which small communities are 
unacquainted." 8 

In the same year, 1902, the Chicago Tribune went so far 
as to declare that the constitution "has outlived its usefulness. 
It is not the ark of the covenant. It has no sacred qualities. 
We may touch it without dropping dead." It was pointed out 
that many changes were needed in order to provide for the 
changing needs of the growing city, particularly consolidated 
government, a new taxing system, and a raising of the debt 
limitation. These improvements, however, could not be 
introduced because the inflexible, " rockribbed, ironclad, re- 
morseless constitution" stands in the way. "Apparently the 
opposition to a new constitutional convention is strong. 

7 Chicago Tribune, July 18, 1902. 

8 Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar Association, 1901, part i, p. 59. 


. . . . But it will have to give way in the end. Chicago 
has simply got to be taken care of. The armor of 1870 binds 
it painfully, impedes its movements, stunts its growth, and 
arrests its development. The boy has outgrown his clothes. 
He wants a man's garments." 9 

After 1902, the movement for a constitutional convention 
seems to have temporarily somewhat subsided, although it con- 
tinued to be urged in some quarters and resolutions calling for 
a convention were occasionally introduced in the legislature. 
During the decade following that date, the movement for con- 
stitutional change took the guise principally of agitating in 
favor of the adoption of separate constitutional amendments. 
Indeed, the agitation in favor of separate specific amendments 
of one sort or another had continued almost uninterruptedly 
since shortly after the adoption of the constitution of 1870. 
The partial subsidence after 1902 of the agitation in favor of 
a convention seems to have been due in part to the uniform 
failure in the general assembly of resolutions calling for a con- 
vention and to the apparent hopelessness of getting such a reso- 
lution through that body. There was also another circum- 
stance which may have accounted for it in part. /The principal 
need for constitutional change was felt in Chicago rather than 
in the country districts because of the more rapid growth of the 
city. /Comparatively speaking, the country districts were still 
content to live under the constitution of 1870, and the consent 
of their representatives in the general assembly must, of 
course, be secured before a convention could be called, because 
a two-thirds vote in the general assembly is required by the 
constitution for that purpose. Although Chicago thus felt the 
greater need for a constitutional convention and was specially 
desirous of securing a greater measure of home rule, never- 
theless, there was some fear manifested in the metropolis that 
a constitutional convention might be dangerous to the city, as 
it might lead to a reduction of the city's representation in the 
general assembly or to a definite limitation upon it. In 1901 

9 Chicago Tribune, September 22, 1902. 


the Chicago Tribune had declared editorially that " If the 
people should vote in 1902 to authorize the calling of a con- 
stitutional convention the following year it would be impossible 
to tell in advance who would control it or what use the ruling 
element might make of its power. The outcome might be a 
decrease of the legislative representation of the city, unaccom- 
panied by an increase in the measure of home rule to be 
enjoyed by it. Sensible Chicagoans will not walk into a 
trap."/ 10 

That the view that the country districts might attempt 
to limit Chicago's legislative representation was not without 
some foundation was indicated by a resolution introduced in 
the senate in 1901 for a constitutional amendment limiting the 
representation from Cook county in the house and senate to 
one-third of the total membership. The resolution was passed 
in the senate by a vote of 34 to 12, or the necessary two-thirds, 
but in the house, where it received 93 favorable votes to 48 
negative, it lacked nine votes of the necessary two-thirds. 11 
It was said that the country members of the general assembly 
were alarmed over the rapid growth of population in Cook 
county and the possible increase in representation that was 
involved. 12 

In his message to the general assembly in January, 1903, 
Governor Yates recommended that no steps be taken in the 
direction of calling a constitutional convention, and expressed 
the opinion that any necessary constitutional change could be 
made by the method of a separate amendment. 13 Both the 
convention method and the separate amendment method, how- 
ever, have been hedged around with extreme difficulties by the 

10 Chicago Tribune, March 9, 1901. This statement was made only a few 
weeks after the Chicago city council had adopted a resolution in favor of calling 
a constitutional convention. Ibid., February 12, 1901. 

^Senate Journal, 1901, p. 258-259, 301-302; Chicago Tribune, May 3, 1901. 
This vote, however, cannot be verified by reference to the House Journal. 

12 Chicago Tribune, March 2, 1901. This matter was doubtless brought to 
a head by pendency of reapportionment measures under the recent census of 1900 
but as early as 1895, it was reported that the country members of the legislature 
wished to have a constitutional convention called so as to restrict the power of 
Cook county in the general assembly. Ibid., January 31, 1895. 

13 House Journal, 1903, p. 27. 


framers of the constitution of 1870. In order to pass a reso- 
lution in the legislature either to call a convention for revising 
the constitution or to propose a separate amendment to the 
people, a two-thirds vote of the members of each house is re- 
quired, so that one-third of the membership of the legislature 
can always prevent any constitutional change, even when de- 
sired by considerably more than a bare majority of the 
legislature and of the people. If the difficulty of securing a 
two-thirds vote in the general assembly for calling a conven- 
tion has been overcome, it is still necessary for the movement 
for a new constitution to jump two hurdles in the form of 
popular elections. 14 The first election is the " next general 
election" after the resolution has passed the legislature, at 
which the question of calling a convention is submitted to the 
people; the second election is that held after the adjournment 
of the convention for the purpose of ratifying its work. In 
both elections, the constitutional proposition, in order to carry, 
must receive a majority of all votes cast, not on the proposi- 
tion but at the election. In the case of the first election, such 
a majority would be more difficult to secure than in the case 
of the second election, because, in the former, other matters 
would be presented to the voters for their decision which might 
distract their attention from the constitutional proposition, 
while, in the latter, the proposition would be submitted at a 
special election so that a majority of those voting on the propo- 
sition would be equivalent to a majority of those voting at 
the election. 

It is, however, in the case of the adoption of separate 
amendments framed and proposed by the general assembly, 
that the framers of the constitution of 1870 showed themselves 
to be especially conservative and niggardly in respect to the 
freedom of amendment. No less than three different obstacles 
are placed in the way of constitutional change by this method 
any one of which would ordinarily be sufficient to block any 
easy or radical revision. The first obstacle is that the amend- 

14 Constitution, article xiv, section l. 


ment cannot be proposed or submitted to popular vote unless 
it has first received the favorable vote of two-thirds of all 
members elected to each of the two houses. The second ob- 
stacle is that the proposed amendment must be submitted to 
popular vote at the next election of members of the general 
assembly, and must be ratified by a majority of the electors 
voting, not on the proposition, but at the election. The third 
obstacle is that "the general assembly shall have no power to 
propose amendments to more than one article of this con- 
stitution at the same session, nor to the same article oftener 
than once in four years." 15 

Each of the above obstacles has operated at one time or 
another to prevent the adoption of constitutional amendments 
the need for which was very widely, felt and keenly realized. 
It may be questioned, therefore, whether the constitution is 
not unduly restrictive of amendment, so as to prevent greatly 
needed changes until the demand for them has become almost 
universal. The framers of the constitution of 1870 were so 
well satisfied with their handiwork that although they intended 
to make the constitution more easily amendable, they appar- 
ently anticipated little need for change; and they seem also to 
have felt on general principles that a constitution should be 
capable of amendment only with extreme difficulty. This view 
has also been held by many persons since that time, especially 
by members of the legal profession. They have pointed out 
that constitutional changes involve the unsettling of judicial 
interpretation of the previous constitutional provisions, that 
nearly every change in the basic law requires the courts to go 
through a long period of judicial construction, and that mean- 
while it is better that the constitution be somewhat ill adapted 
to the needs of the day than that the meaning of its provisions 
be uncertain. Comparison has also been made with the federal 
constitution, and it has been argued that since the latter has 
been but infrequently amended, therefore the constitution of 
Illinois should also be rarely amended, and the extreme re- 

15 Constitution, article xiv, section 2. 


strictions contained in that instrument against amendment are 
valuable aids in preventing hasty and ill-considered change. 
It is of course true that the state constitution should not be 
lightly and needlessly tinkered with, but the argument by 
analogy from the federal constitution appears to be unsound 
for two reasons. In the first place the federal constitution is 
the supreme law of the land, while that of Illinois is not the 
fundamental law of a sovereign government but merely of a 
component government, subordinate to the whole. In the 
second place the federal constitution consists principally of 
broad general principles and the main outlines of a framework 
of government, leaving the details to be filled in largely by 
legislation, while, on the other hand, the constitution of Illinois 
is a comparatively lengthy document, containing much matter 
of a statutory character. The more detailed a constitution, 
the more liklihood will there be of the need for change and the 
more frequently will the need for change arise. 16 

The history of proposed and adopted amendments to the 
constitution of 1870, as already indicated may be divided into 
three periods: the first extending from that date to 1891, the 
second from 1891 to 1899, and the third from 1899 to the 
present time. The period prior to 1891 was one of the party 
ballot, as no official ballot was issued by the state. Under 
the law, political parties might, and almost invariably did, 
print on their ballots only one side of a proposition for a con- 
stitutional amendment. The result was that when the affirma- 
tive of such a proposition was printed on the ballots of a given 
party, all straight party votes for that party were counted in 
favor of the proposed constitutional amendment. Hence, 
where one or both of the two leading parties were in favor 
of a given amendment, it was comparatively easy to secure, 
almost automatically, a fairly large favorable vote upon it. 
Under this system, the requirement of the constitution that the 
proposed amendment must receive a majority of the votes casr 

16 Tolman, "Amendment to Amending Clause," City Club Bulletin, 6:133; 
Proceedings of the Illinois Stale Bar Association, 1902, part 2, p. 158. 


at the election did not operate to prevent any proposed amend- 
ments from being carried at the election. 17 

In 1891 the second period was inaugurated by the passage 
of .the official ballot act according to which both the affirmative 
and negative of all propositions for constitutional amendment 
were printed on the general ballot for all parties after the list 
of candidates, and no provision was made for counting straight 
party votes in favor of the proposed amendment. 18 During 
the period from 1891 to 1899, three proposed amendments 
were submitted to popular vote, two of which were for the 
purpose of amending the amending clause so as to enable the 
general assembly to propose amendments to two or three 
articles of the constitution at the same session. All these 
proposed amendments were decisively defeated, none of them 
receiving a favorable vote equal to one-fifth of the total vote 
cast at the election, although two of them received a majority 
of the total vote cast on the proposition. The defeat of these 
proposed amendments was not due to any real opposition to 
them, but rather to the method of submitting them, combined 
with the constitutional requirement of a majority of all votes 
cast at the election. The propositions were usually printed on 
a remote corner of the ballot, u not to be discovered except by 
a man with a search warrant." 10 The defeat of the amend- 
ments was also doubtless to be accounted for in part by indiffer- 
ence on the part of the voters due to the lack of concreteness 
of at least two of the proposals and to the lack of any organ- 
ized campaign in their favor. 

In order to secure a larger vote on proposed constitutional 
amendments, the device of printing them on a separate ballot 
was advocated. This method was finally adopted by the sep- 
arate ballot act, passed by the general assembly in 1899, ac- 
cording to which proposed constitutional amendments and 
other public measures were to be printed on a separate ballot 

17 Gardner, "The Working of the State-Wide Referendum in Illinois" 
American Political Science Review, 5:401, 416. 

18 Kurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, section 301, 

19 Chicago Tribune, May 3, 1895. 


and handed to the voter at the polls at the same time as the 
ballot containing the names of the candidates. 20 Since the 
enactment of this law, three proposed constitutional amend- 
ments have been submitted to popular vote, in 1904, 1908, and 
1916. The first, providing for special legislation for Chicago, 
was carried by a substantial majority, after a spirited and well- 
organized campaign of education among the voters throughout 
the state. The second, authorizing a $20,000,000 issue of 
canal bonds, was also carried by about the same majority. The 
proposed amendment of 1916, designed to enlarge the powers 
of the general assembly over the subject matter of the taxation 
of personal property, received a majority of the votes cast at 
the election for the legislative candidates, but failed by about 
15,000 of receiving the necessary majority of the total vote of 
1,343,000 cast at the election. 21 Although in the case of all 
these amendments there was considerable publicity and agita- 
tion in favor of them, nevertheless it remains true that the 
separate ballot aided very considerably in securing large votes 
for the amendments. The constitutional requirement of a 
majority of all votes cast at the election, however, still remains 
as a very considerable handicap upon the adoption of any 

During the decade since the adoption of the canal bond issue 
amendment of 1908, however, the principal difficulty in the 
way of amending the constitution has been the restriction that 
the general assembly cannot propose amendments to more than 
one article of the constitution at the same session. 22 The grow- 
ing need for constitutional change has led to the initiation of 
numerous movements by voluntary organization, such as the 
Citizens Association of Chicago and the Initiative and Refer- 
endum League, looking to the amendment of the constitution in 
various respects. In December, 1910, representatives of 

20 See an editorial in favor of this method in Chicago Tribune, November 8, 
1896, June 6, 1897; Laws of Illinois, 1899, p. 151; Hurd's Revised Statute*, 
chapter 46, section 303. 

21 The canvassing board held that the amendment had been adopted but a 
decision of the supreme court held to the contrary. 

22 Constitution, article xiv, section 2. 


twenty civic organizations met in Chicago for the purpose of 
defining a program for constitutional reform at the approach- 
ing session of the general assembly. In addition to the move- 
ment for a constitutional convention, four constitutional amend- 
ments were proposed at the conference by the different inter- 
ests represented as containing the most timely and imperative 
reforms. These were the initiative and referendum, abolition 
of cumulative voting or minority representation, revision of 
the revenue provisions of the constitution to conform with the 
recommendations of the state tax commission, and the amend- 
ment of the amendment clause so as to eliminate the restriction 
upon the submission of amendments to more than one article 
of the constitution at the same session. 23 At the session of 
1911, the Legislative Voters League enumerated, in addition 
to the above, the following needed amendments to the consti- 
tution: the short ballot, the recall, home rule for cities, woman 
suffrage, and unification of all taxing bodies within the city of 
Chicago and other large cities. 24 To this list might be added 
various other proposals for constitutional amendment such as 
the reorganization of the judiciary, which have been advocated 
in different quarters. Each of the leading political parties of 
the state has committed itself in its state platforms to one or 
more of these proposed amendments. 

The more numerous the various proposals for constitu- 
tional amendment, and the more insistent the various organiza- 
tions became in urging the submission by the general assembly 
of the particular amendments in which they were interested, the 
more difficult it became to secure action by that body. Since 
amendments could be proposed to only one article of the con- 
stitution at the same session, it resulted that, at each session, 
the conflict between the advocates of amendments to different 
articles of the constitution over the question of the priority of 
submission resulted invariably in the failure to submit any 
amendment until the adoption in 1915 of a joint resolution pro- 

23 Chicago Record-Herald, December 8, 1910. 

24 Legislative Voters League, Assembly Bulletin, Number 2, 1911. 


viding for the submission of the proposed amendment granting 
enlarged power to the general assembly over the subject matter 
of the taxation of personal property. 25 

It was true that, in the case of some of these amendments, 
two or more of them might have been submitted by the legis- 
lature at the same time. Thus, the proposed amendment for 
the initiative and referendum on ordinary legislation and the 
proposition to abolish minority representation might have 
been submitted simultaneously as both would amend the 
same article of the constitution. It has also been held that the 
constitutional restriction does not prevent implied amendments 
or changes necessarily worked in other articles of the consti- 
tution by the express amendment of a particular article of the 
constitution. 26 Nevertheless, two of the most prominent pro- 
posed amendments, the initiative and referendum proposition 27 
and the proposition to amend the amending clause, 28 could not 
be submitted at the same session and consequently were, in 
effect, mutually antagonistic. Moreover, the adoption of any 
thoroughgoing short ballot plan at one time by the method of 
constitutional amendment was impossible even in the absence of 
any competing amendment, since such a plan would necessarily 
operate to amend more than one article of the constitution. 
These difficulties in the way of constitutional change through 
the separate amendment method seemed to indicate that a con- 
stitutional convention was inevitable and indispensable if con- 
stitutional revision adequate to the needs of the state were to be 

The opposition to a constitutional convention, however, 

25 Senate Journal, 1915, p. 1016-1017. 1 a . public policy vote held in 1912, 
the proposition to submit an amendment providing for the classification of prop- 
erty for purposes of taxation had been approved by a vote of 541,000 to 187,000. 

26 City of Chicago v. Reeves, 220 Illinois, 274. 

27 In two public policy votes, in 1902 and 1910, the proposal for the initia- 
tive and referendum had been approved by a vote of nearly five to one and 
three and a half to one respectively, but neither received a majority of all votes 
cast at the elections. The revelations of legislative corruption in the election 
of William Lorimer to the United States senate in 1909 tended to renew and 
increase the interest in the initiative and referendum. Neither of the public 
policy votes, however, resulted in action by the general assembly. 

28 This proposition was supported by the Chicago Bar Association. 


was strong and well intrenched. It arose from several sources. 
In the first place there was a well-defined fear in Chicago 
that a convention might result in bringing about a reduc- 
tion or limitation of the representation of that city and of Cook 
county in the legislature, though downstate leaders for the 
most part disclaimed that there was any such intention. More- 
over, as has been pointed out, the failure of the legislature to 
^>make a reapportionment of legislative representation since 
1901 operates as seriously as a limitation of the representation 
of Cook county, which is growing in population much more 
rapidly than the rest of the state, as any restriction a constitu- 
tional convention might be expected to propose. 29 In the sec- 
ond place, opposition to a constitutional convention arose in the 
general assembly because it was generally recognized that the 
constitutional provision for cumulative voting or minority rep- 
resentation would stand little chance of being retained in the 
constitution by a convention. Within recent years, this pro- 
vision has been generally condemned except by the minority 
representatives themselves. Nevertheless, the minority repre- 
sentatives constitute at least one-third of the membership of 
the lower house and the votes of at least some of them must 
be secured before the question of calling a constitutional con- 
vention could be submitted to popular vote. It was natural 
that such minority members should be reluctant to vote for a 
proposition which would probably mean their permanent re- 
tirement from public life. 30 

Opposition to a constitutional convention also arose from 
some conservative quarters in which it was feared that a con- 
vention would be dominated by the radical element and would 
attempt to introduce current fads and novelties in government 
and some of the new institutional forms of democracy. But 
to this objection the ready answer was that the work of the 
convention would have to be submitted to the people for ratifi- 

29 Dodd, "A Constitutional Convention," City Club Bulletin, 6:135-137. 
30 In 1913 members of the progressive party were strong advocates of 
minority representation. 


cation; and, if it proved to be too radical, they would have an 
opportunity to reject it. Finally, it was urged by some that, in 
the main, the constitution is a wise and beneficent instrument, 
needing amendments only in a few relatively unimportant par- 
ticulars, and that it was therefore unwise to throw the whole 
document into the melting pot of a convention. Furthermore, it 
was argued that, in order that the people may pass intelligently 
upon the various proposals for constitutional change, it is bet- 
ter that such proposals should be submitted to them separately 
so that they may give each proposition undivided attention and 
scrutiny, rather than that they should be required to pass upon 
the merits of a whole new constitution at once. This objec- 
tion, it was conceded, however, might be largely overcome if 
the convention, following the example of Ohio in 1912, were to 
submit the result of its labors in the form of a series of sep- 
arate amendments. 

Although the objections to a constitutional convention were 
numerous and cogent, they began to give way before the grow- 
ing strength of public opinion in favor of calling such a body. 
This growing strength of public opinion was evidenced by the 
almost unanimous approval of the convention proposal by the 
press of the state, by the pledges given in favor of a conven- 
tion by nominees for seats in the legislature, and by the planks 
inserted in the platforms of political parties. 31 A constitu- 
tional convention league, fostered by the Citizens Association 
of Chicago, was also formed to push the project, having among 
its directors and advisory council many of the most prominent 
men and women in public life in the state. In the general 
assembly it was strongly urged that a convention was the only 
method of constitutional change adequate to the exigencies of 
the state; and, at all events, a vote in favor of the convention 
resolution was not a vote in favor of a convention necessarily, 
but merely a vote in favor of letting the people decide whether 

31 In 1914 the platforms of the progressive and socialist parties strongly 
advocated a constitutional convention, while those of the democratic and repub- 
lican parties, though apparently favoring a convention were less emphatic in 
their approval. 


or not they wanted a convention; and no man who believed in 
democracy could consistently deny them the right to decide this 
question for themselves by withholding his favorable vote on 
the convention proposal. Governor Lowden, in his biennial 
message of 1917, declared emphatically that the time had come 
for a new constitution. By others it was pointed out that it 
would be decidedly better to have a convention chosen espe- 
cially for the business of constitutional revision rather than 
to have the constitution amended as a mere incident or 
side line of legislative business, and that the work of a conven- 
tion would have the more concentrated attention of the voters, 
since it may be submitted at a special election and would have 
better chance of ratification than a separate amendment, since 
it would require merely a majority voting on the proposition. 32 
After repeated failures at successive sessions of the general 
assembly, these arguments finally prevailed at the session of 
1917, when by a two-thirds majority in both houses it was 
voted to submit the question of calling a constitutional conven- 
tion to the electors of the state at the next general election. 
Had this resolution been passed at the session of 1915 before 
the judicial election in June of that year, the question of calling 
a convention might have been submitted at that election. But 
the first general election to be held after the adoption of the 
resolution in 1917 is that to be held in November, 1918, and 
the question of calling a convention will consequently be voted 
upon at that time. 33 In order practically to assure a favorable 
vote on calling a convention it has been proposed that an act be 
passed similar to one on the statute books of Ohio, providing 
that any political party may approve or disapprove the conven- 
tion plan at its state convention. When a party has approved 
the plan, all straight party votes cast for the candidates of that 
party by voters who have not taken the trouble to vote on the 

32 Chicago Tribune, January 26, 1914; Chicago Record-Herald, September 

21, 1914. 

33 Inasmuch as women have as yet no right to vote for constitutional officers 
or on questions whose submission is provided for by the constitution, they will 
not be qualified to vote on the question of calling a constitutional convention. 


proposition shall be counted in favor of the convention. A 
bill was also introduced in the fiftieth general assembly provid- 
ing that the proposition of calling a convention should be 
printed in the first column of the official ballot, but the bill 
failed to become a law. 

The constitution provides that, " If a majority voting at 
the election vote for a convention, the general assembly shall, 
at the next session, provide for a convention, to consist of 
double the number of members of the senate, to be elected in 
the same manner, at the same places and in the same dis- 
tricts." 34 It is also provided that the qualifications of mem- 
bers of the convention shall be the same as those of members of 
the senate. It seems to be generally agreed that the require- 
ment that the convention delegates shall be elected in the same 
manner as senators does not mean that they must be elected at 
the same time as senators, and hence the general assembly 
may provide that they shall be chosen at a special election. It 
has also been held that the general assembly may follow the ex- 
ample set by the Ohio legislature in connection with the con- 
stitutional convention of 1912 in that state by requiring that 
the convention delegates be nominated by petition only, and 
that, as in Ohio, they might be elected on a nonpartisan bal- 
lot. 35 There appears, however, to be some legal doubt as to 
the correctness of the latter proposition, and it has been de- 
clared that " it would be highly unsafe for the General Assem- 
bly to provide for the nomination and election of delegates by 
any other manner than that provided at the same time with 
respect to senators." 30 

An election of such importance as that for delegates to a 
constitutional convention will, in all probability, attract the at- 
tention of the voters of the state to such an extent that they will 
elect to that body an abler class of men than are usually called 

34 Constitution, article xiv, section i. 

35 \vhy a Constitutional Convention Is Unavoidable," Citizens Association 
of Chicago, Bulletin, number 31, January 24, 1914. 

30 Dodd, " Constitutional Convention or Amending Clause ? " Illinois Law 
Review, 9: 615. 


to public office. If the elections are held on a nonpartisan 
basis, this will be an added inducement to able men to present 
themselves as candidates for seats in the convention. Even 
though the elections, however, are legally nonpartisan, it will 
be difficult to prevent political parties from making nomina- 
tions unofficially and from working for the election of their 

Two suggestions of practical value have been made in re- 
gard to the work of a constitutional convention. In the first 
place, provision should be made for investigation of possible 
questions to come up in the convention before that body meets 
in order to facilitate its work. Secondly, judging from the ex- 
perience of other states, it seems clear that, in submitting to 
popular vote the work of the convention, the risk of carrying 
the whole instrument down to defeat should be as far as pos- 
sible avoided by submitting many provisions, especially those 
of a controversial character, as separate amendments. 


THE governor of Illinois is elected by popular vote every 
fourth year at the same time and on the same ballot with 
members of the general assembly, heads of state executive de- 
partments, members of congress, and presidential electors. 
The simultaneous election of the governor and members of the 
general assembly is justifiable on the ground that the governor 
is largely a political officer and the issues involved in his elec- 
tion are usually very similar to those connected with the legis- 
lative elections. Moreover, this plan tends generally to secure 
an executive and a legislature who are politically harmonious. 
A new governor, however, has little time to prepare a legisla- 
tive program before the legislature meets. The plan of elect- 
ing the governor at the same time with members of congress 
and presidential electors is not so commendable, for the issues 
involved are usually quite different. In their campaign 
speeches, candidates for governor frequently allude in glowing 
terms to the principles, platform, and candidate for president 
of the national party with which they are affiliated and en- 
deavor to attach their political fortunes to those of the national 
candidates. The tendency of the voters to vote a straight party 
ticket renders it easier for the candidate for governor thus to 
confuse the issue. But the plan of combining national and state 
elections has the advantage of reducing the number and ex- 
pense of elections. 

A plurality of the votes is sufficient to elect the governor; 
and, if two or more candidates have the same and highest 
number of votes, the general assembly is empowered, by joint 
ballot, to choose one of them for governor. It is also pro- 
vided that contested elections for governor shall be decided by 
the two houses of the legislature in joint meeting. The consti- 



tutional qualifications required of the governor are that he shall 
have attained the age of thirty years and have been for five 
years a citizen of the United States and of the state. 1 In addi- 
tion the candidates must, of course, have been nominated in the 
primaries. The introduction of the method of nominating 
candidates for governor through primary elections has tended 
somewhat to increase the number of candidates and increased 
the opportunities of independents. Candidates, however, who 
have the backing of a party organization and who are able to 
spend money liberally still have the advantage under the pri- 
mary system. In practice, eligibility for the governorship usu- 
ally consists also in the holding of some public office which 
brings the candidate prominently to the notice of the people of 
the state. Recent governors, for example, have previously to 
their election, held such offices as states attorney of Cook 
county, mayor of Chicago, and member of congress. Under 
the constitution the governor is ineligible to any other office 
during the period for which he shall have been elected, but this 
is not held to prevent him from serving as ex officio member of 
various state boards and commissions. 2 In giving the governor 
a four-year term, Illinois has aligned itself with about half of 
the states of the union, which believe in allowing the chief 
magistrate a long enough term to become reasonably acquainted 
with the duties of the office. The governor of Illinois is also 
legally eligible to succeed himself for one or more terms and is 
frequently renominated for a second term ; but during the last 
three decades, only one governor, Deneen, has been reflected. 
The term of the governor is stated in the constitution to ex- 
tend for four years beginning on the second Monday in Janu- 
ary next after his election and until his successor is elected and 
qualified. In practice the terms of some governors have been 
lengthened and that of others correspondingly shortened on ac- 
count of a deadlock in the organization of the legislature, 

1 Constitution, article V, section 4, 5; Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, 
section 94. 

2 Thus the governor is president of the board of commissioners for the man- 
agement of the state library. Ibid., chapter 128, section i. 

Vote for Governor, 
November 5, 1912 

D Democratic 

C3 Democratic 
I I majority 

p?S| Progressive 
Q* plurality 

Republican plurality 
4( Republican majority 

9 Progressive majority 

(Minor parties disregarded) 


through a prolonged contest over the election of a speaker of 
the house. Until the speaker is chosen the new governor can- 
not be declared elected nor inaugurated, and meanwhile the 
preceding governor continues to hold office. In 1913 Gover- 
nor Dunne was not inaugurated until three weeks after the date 
specified in the constitution for the beginning of the governor's 
term. 3 

The plan adopted in the constitution of 1848 of assigning 
the governor a salary, the amount of which was fixed in that 
document, was abandoned in 1870; and the exact amount of the 
governor's compensation is now determined by legislative en- 
actment, subject to the requirement that it shall not be in- 
creased nor diminished during his term of office. The amount 
as now fixed is $12,000 per annum which is greater than that 
paid the governor of any other state, but is considerably less 
than that paid the mayor of Chicago and is the same as that 
received by the states attorney and the circuit and superior 
court judges of Cook county. The governor is also granted 
the use of the executive mansion and has a contingent fund for 
unforeseen needs placed at his disposal. 

The office of governor may become vacant by his resigna- 
tion, absence from the state, conviction on impeachment, or 
other disability. Under these circumstances the lieutenant gov- 
ernor succeeds to the powers, duties, and emoluments of the 
office for the remainder of the term or until the disability is 
removed. 4 No case of impeachment of the governor has yet 
occured in Illinois, and the office has very seldom been vacated 
through any cause. 

The powers, duties, and functions of the governor may be 
classified into legislative or political, administrative, and spe- 
cial. Among his powers in relation to the legislature is that 
of issuing writs of election to fill vacancies occuring in the gen- 
eral assembly. Members of the latter body desiring to resign 
should, consequently, present their resignations to the gover- 

3 Constitution, article v, section i; Report of the Attorney-General, 1912, p. 

4 Constitution, article V, section 17. 


nor. The writ of election is issued to the county clerk of the 
county in which the member resided, and the time fixed is that 
of the next general election, unless a special election is neces- 
sary to fill the vacancy. 5 

Over the organization of the legislature the governor has 
no legal power of control. The governor may, however, and 
sometimes has exerted his personal influence to secure an organ- 
ization of the legislature which will be in the interest of his 
legislative program. This is particularly apt to be the case 
where the governor is considered to be the political leader of 
his party. A governor who takes a hand in the organization 
of the legislature runs the risk of being accused of undue inter- 
ference and usurpation, and this has doubtless deterred some 
governors from doing so. Governor Lowden announced pub- 
licly that he would keep hands off the organization of the legis- 
lature. Governor Yates maintained neutrality in regard to the 
selection of the speaker of the house, but took a hand in organ- 
izing the senate in the interests of party harmony. In 1908 
Governor Deneen exerted his influence in the organization of 
the senate and in preventing the reelection of Speaker Shurtleff 
in the forty-sixth general assembly. 6 

The governor is authorized by the constitution to adjourn 
or prorogue the general assembly in case of disagreement be- 
tween the two houses with respect to the time of adjournment. 
Before acting, the governor must first be notified of such dis- 
agreement by the house first moving the adjournment, and then 
he may adjourn the legislature to such time as he sees fit, but 
not, of course, beyond the first day of the next regular session. 
The power of the governor, upon receiving the properly au- 
thenticated notification of disagreement, is a discretionary poli- 
tical power, not subject to judicial review. 7 Only twice, in 

5 Report of the Attorney-General, 1910, p. 507-508, 1913, p. 99-100; Hurd's 
Revised Statutes, chapter 46, section 129. 

6 Chicago Herald, November n, 1916; Chicago Tribune, January 8, 1901, 
November n, 27, 1908. 

7 Constitution, article V, section 9; People v. Hatch, 33 Illinois, 9; Debates 
and Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, 1870, 1:776; Report of the 
Attorney-General, 1912, p. 73-83. 


1863 and 1911, does it appear that the governor has had occa- 
sion to exercise this power. 

The governor is authorized by statute, when it is neces- 
sary in consequence of pestilence or public danger, to convene 
the legislature in a place other than the seat of government at 
Springfield, 8 a power of little moment on account of the infre- 
quency of occasions for using it. The governor has, however, 
the important power of convening the legislature in special 
session on extraordinary occasions. He does so by issuing a 
proclamation, in which he states the purposes for which they 
are convened, and the general assembly is prohibited from 
entering upon any legislative business other than that men- 
tioned in the governor's call. 9 This naturally gives the gov- 
ernor much larger control over a special than over a regular 
session. Even in a special session, however, the governor 
merely designates the general subjects of legislation, and the 
detailed means of providing for such subjects remain in the dis- 
cretion of the legislature. Moreover, after the governor has" 
issued his proclamation and the assembly has convened, he can- 
not broaden the field of legislation at the special session by 
sending a message urging additional legislation. This can. 
only be done by a proclamation calling another special session 
and specifying therein the additional matters to be considered. 
Two special sessions may overlap or exist concurrently. In 
March, 1912, Governor Deneen issued a proclamation calling 
a special session and enumerating certain subjects for legisla- 
tive consideration. Subsequently, while this session was still 
in existence, other matters came up requiring legislative action; 
and the governor thereupon called another special session for 
their consideration, so that there were two simultaneous spe- 
cial sessions. 10 The calling of a second simultaneous special 

8 Kurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 63, section i, chapter 123, section i. 

* Constitution, article V, section 8. The general assembly may, however, 
ratify an amendment to the constitution of the United States in special session, 
even though not included in the governor's call. Report of the Attorney-Gen- 
eral, 1912, p. 83-87. 

10 Ibid., 964-966. It was not necessary to keep a separate journal for each 
special session, and for practical purposes, they constituted but one session. 


session involves the useless expense of mileage for the members 
and other perquisites received by them for each session. In 
order to avoid this difficulty and the practical evasion of the 
constitution, that instrument should be amended so as to read 
that, during special sessions, the general assembly shall enter 
upon no business except such as the governor may designate, 
whether submitted by him before or during the session. 

Popular control over legislation is increased through the 
governor's control of the topics to be considered in special ses- 
sion. Such sessions have been somewhat frequent during re- 
cent years. Where the governor, however, includes in his call 
a large number of matters for legislative consideration, many 
of them of no immediate urgency, as has sometimes happened, 
his control is weakened, because his fire is scattered. Governor 
Deneen issued a call for a special session in 1909 enumerating 
twenty-four matters for legislative consideration, while Gover- 
nor Dunne, in his call of 1915 included nineteen separate 

No provision is contained in the constitution authorizing 
the governor to call the senate alone into special session, but, 
as the business to be transacted in such session might at times 
be attended to by the senate alone, it would seem that this 
power should be specifically granted to the governor. 

The governor is made an important part of the lawmaking 
authority through his power to send messages and recommen- 
dations to the general assembly, and through his power to ap- 
prove and veto its acts. It is his duty, both at the beginning of 
each session and also at the end of his term of office, to give 
the general assembly information, by message, of the condition 
of the state, and to recommend such measures as he deems ex- 
pedient. He is also required to accompany his message with a 
statement of all moneys received and paid out by him, together 
with an estimate of the amount of money required to be raised 
by taxation for all purposes. 11 The latter requirement, how- 
ever, has seldom or never been complied with. If fully utilized 

11 Constitution, article v, section 7. 


this provision might enable the governor to inaugurate a plan 
resembling to some degree an executive budget system. For 
the promotion of such a plan, however, the constitutional pro- 
vision should be broadened so as to provide for the submission 
by the governor of a statement both of estimated revenues and 
of estimated appropriations. Under an act of 1913 the gov- 
ernor was made a member of a joint legislative reference 
bureau, one of whose duties is to cause to be compiled a de- 
tailed statement of the estimated appropriations required by 
the several departments of the state government for the next 
biennium. No provision, however, was made in the act for a 
statement of the estimated revenues. 12 By the consolidation 
act of 1917, the governor is required, within a month after the 
organization of the general assembly to submit a state budget, 
containing the amounts recommended by him to be appropri- 
ated to the respective departments and institutions and for all 
other public purposes, the estimated revenues from taxation 
and from other sources, and an estimate of the amount required 
to be raised by taxation. Thus the budget, when it reaches the 
general assembly, has the official support and authority of the 
governor behind it, though legal control over the appropriation 
and revenue acts still remains largely with the legislature, sub- 
ject to the power of the governor to veto appropriation items. 
Under the system of local representation in the legislature, that 
body is under no adequate sense of responsibility to the state at 
large in making appropriations. The financial budget, there- 
fore, including all contemplated items of appropriation, should 
originate from and be initiated by the governor, as the respon- 
sible head of the state government, subject to the power of the 
general assembly to criticize the proposals and to reduce the 
amounts. 13 

Every bill which has passed the two branches of the general 
assembly must, before it becomes a law, be submitted to the 
governor for his approval or disapproval. The governor is 

12 Laws of 1913, p. 392. 

13 Proposed Legislative Measures to Carry into Effect the Recommendations 
of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 61. 


allowed a period of ten days exclusive of Sundays, in which to 
consider what action he shall take upon the bill. If he fails 
to take action upon it within this period, it becomes a law with- 
out his signature. If the general assembly adjourns prior to 
the expiration of the ten-day period, the bill becomes a law un- 
less, within ten days after such adjournment, the bill is filed, 
with the governor's objections, in the office of the secretary of 
state. 14 In practice, the general assembly usually passes many 
important measures during the last few days of the session, 
and in consequence a great mass of legislative business is left 
over for the governor to act upon. During recent sessions, the 
general assembly has adopted the practice of holding a short 
adjourned session at the expiration of the ten-day period al- 
lowed the governor in order to consider his veto messages. In 
order that the governor may give adequate consideration to the 
mass of bills enacted near the close of the legislative session, 
the ten-day period should be lengthened. Even with the ten- 
day period, the governor is usually swamped by the mass of 
bills dumped upon him during the last few days of the session, 
so that he is barely able to consider them thoroughly, even 
though he toils night and day. Over three hundred bills were 
sent to Governor Dunne during the dying days of the forty- 
ninth general assembly. The governor, however, has the 
assistance of the attorney-general, who gives him opinions on 
the constitutionality of measures submitted to him. 

In order to increase the potency of the governor's veto 
power, he is given by a constitutional amendment of 1884, the 
power to veto separate items or sections of appropriation bills. 
This enables him to veto such items of expenditure as he deems 
to be unnecessary or unwise and to eliminate " riders " or ex- 
traneous matter attached to appropriation bills. Although this 
object cannot be effected by the governor's veto power in the 
case of other than appropriation bills, something approaching 
the same result may be reached through the operation of the 

14 Constitution, article v, section 16. There is thus, strictly speaking, no 
such thing as a " pocket veto " in Illinois. 


constitutional provision that no act shall embrace more than 
one subject. 15 Recent governors have used the power to veto 
items unsparingly and as a result hundreds of thousands of dol- 
lars have been saved to the state. The method of appropriat- 
ing public funds in the general assembly is such that that body 
sometimes appropriates such large amounts as to indicate that 
no adequate attention has been paid to what the aggregate of 
all appropriations will be, nor to whether the condition of the 
state finances can stand the strain. It thus devolves upon the 
governor to slice off the unnecessary items. This he can only 
do by vetoing the least unobjectionable items, which might well 
be allowed to stand if there were any other way of trimming 
the total sum. The financial significance of the governor's veto 
power is indicated by the fact that in 1903 Governor Yates 
found it necessary to trim more than $1,000,000 from the 
total appropriations; and in 1915 Governor Dunne vetoed 
appropriations aggregating more than $2,000,000. 

The control of the governor over appropriations is some- 
times impeded by the skill of the framers of the appropriation 
bills in so intertwining the various items of a bill as to pre- 
vent the governor from vetoing an item without defeating the 
whole object of the bill. Furthermore, even when an item is 
easily separable from the rest of the bill, the governor cannot 
veto it without running the imminent risk of incurring the 
severe displeasure of the person, interest, or institution which 
would benefit from the contemplated expenditure. More seri- 
ous still, he may by vetoing a particular item so offend the mem- 
ber or members of the general assembly who are interested in 
securing the passage of such item as entirely to alienate them 
from the support of his own legislative program. In cutting 
down appropriations, therefore, the governor must be imbued 
with a high order of courage and a deep belief in the support 
of his action by the mass of the people. 

15 Constitution, article iv, section 13. The provision of article iv, section 
16, that "bills making appropriations . . . for the salaries of the officers 
of the government shall contain no provision on any other subject" also prevents 
flagrant " riders " in state general appropriation bills. 


The control of the governor over state finances would be 
much increased, if he had the power not only to veto items but 
also to reduce items in the appropriation bills. Impelled by 
the desire to keep the total appropriations within the amount of 
the estimated revenues of the state, Governor Dunne, by veto- 
ing parts of items in the omnibus appropriation bill passed by 
the legislature of 1915, sliced more than half a million dollars 
from the aggregate amount. The question of the governor's 
power thus to reduce items, however, having been carried into 
the courts, it was held by the supreme court that " the power 
given to the governor by the constitution to disapprove of and 
to veto any distinct item or section in an appropriation bill does 
not give him the power to disapprove of a part of a distinct 
item and approve the remainder, and if he vetoes part of an 
item by striking out the words ' per annum ' or by approving a 
part of the amount of one item and disapproving the remain- 
der, his action is void and the whole item remains in force as 
passed by the legislature." 16 Legally, however, it is doubtless 
true that the governor could effect a reduction in the total ap- 
propriations by refusing to approve vouchers for expenditures 
beyond a certain amount. It has been held by the attorney- 
general that the exercise by the governor of his power to ap- 
prove or disapprove vouchers for the expenditure of public 
funds is a discretionary act, and, consequently, cannot be com- 
pelled by mandamus. 17 

In order that the legislature may be informed of the gov- 
ernor's reasons for vetoing a bill, as well as to prevent the 
arbitrary exercise of the power, the governor is required, when 
exercising his power of veto, to state his objections to the bill. 
In order that these objections may receive proper considera- 
tion by the general assembly, it is required that these objections 
shall be entered at large, upon the journal of each house. The 
general assembly has the power of repassing the bill over the 
governor's veto, but only by an extraordinary majority vote, 

19 Fergus <v. Russel, 270 Illinois, 304. 

17 Report of the Attorney-General, 1912, p. 1038-1039. 


namely, two-thirds of all members elected to each house. In 
order that the members of the general assembly shall act under 
a due sense of responsibility, it is further required that the vote 
on repassage over the governor's veto shall be determined by 
yeas and nays and be entered upon the journal. 18 A recent 
study of the veto power of the governor of Illinois reaches 
the following conclusions : 

I. Contrary to the older conception of the function of the 
veto power, it has rarely been used to protect the executive and 
the judicial departments against encroachments on the part 
of the legislature. 

II. On the other hand, it has frequently been invoked to 
prevent unconstitutional use of the legislative power in other 

III. Considerable defective legislation has been prevented 
. . . . thereby saving the people of the state much incon- 
venience and expense. 

IV. Most important, however, has been the use of the 
veto power to enable the governor to participate in the de- 
termination of state policy: 

1. Considerably more than half of the vetoes from 1818 
to 1915 were made on grounds of policy or expediency. 

2. While many of the bills disapproved were of very 
great importance, no serious abuse of the veto power has ever 

3. On the other hand, many of the lines of policy sug- 
gested by early vetoes found adoption in the constitution 
of 1870. 

4. The disapproval of items in appropriation bills has 
been closely related to the growing expenditures of the state, 
though it has not been sufficient to prevent enormous in- 
creases in late years. 19 

Although the veto power has been an important influence 
in improving the quality of the legislative output, the influence 

18 Constitution, article v, section 16. 

19 These conclusions were reached by Dr. Niels H. Debel in his doctoral 
thesis, Veto Power of the Governor of Illinois. 


which it exerts is largely of a negative character. Some posi- 
tive influence may be exerted by the existence of the veto power 
when it is known by the legislature that unless certain pro- 
visions are inserted in a bill, it will not receive the governor's 
approval; or after a bill has been vetoed, it may be amended so 
as to meet the governor's views. In the main, however, the 
governor has no legal power of exercising positive control over 
legislation except such as may be derived from his power of 
sending messages and recommendations to the legislature. In 
practice, however, the governor is not confined to the powers 
legally conferred upon him, but may bring his personal influ- 
ence to bear in various ways in promoting a given program of 
legislation. Some governors have considered their principal 
achievements to lie in the field of important legislation secured 
rather than in that of administrative results. Thus, Governor 
Deneen, during his campaign for reelection in 1912, made 
numerous speeches in which he appealed for the suffrage of 
the voters on the ground of the important and beneficial laws 
enacted during his administration. Governor Lowden, even 
before his inauguration, announced his intention of having 
certain important measures presented for legislative considera- 
tion and used his personal influence vigorously in conference 
with committees of the general assembly and with other influ- 
ential individuals in pushing such measures to enactment. When 
the governor and the legislature are in political harmony and 
the governor is looked upon as the leader of his party in the 
state, his personal influence in determining the important fea- 
tures of the legislative output is naturally accentuated. 

It should be noted that the practice of political parties in 
drawing up their platforms after the candidates for governor 
have been nominated tends to give greater influence and con- 
trol to the governor, when elected, over the legislative pro- 
gram of the party. The practice of nominating candidates for 
governor by the direct primary method also tends to in- 
crease the prestige and the influence of the governor as the 
leader of his party. 


The passage of the consolidation bill by the general assem- 
bly in 1917 was undoubtedly due in a large measure to the 
vigorous advocacy of the bill by Governor Lowden and to his 
political sagacity in refusing to make appointments to office 
until the bill had been passed. Even before the fiftieth general 
assembly met twenty-four members of the state senate had 
signed an agreement to support the important features of the 
Lowden legislative program. 20 The actual terms of the con- 
solidation bill were drafted under the supervision of the gov- 
ernor, and, during its consideration in the legislature, it was 
commonly known as the " Lowden bill." The governor was 
thus exerting a real and very positive influence in legislation, 
yet he was not accused of undue interference or usurpation. 
This was partly due perhaps to the political harmony between 
the executive and the legislature, yet there has undoubtedly 
been within recent years a change in public opinion which is 
reflected in the attitude of the legislature, so that the gover- 
nor's positive influence in legislation is no longer looked upon 
as usurpation but as both legitimate and desirable. This tends 
to render the governor's legislative power commensurate with 
his responsibility. The older attitude is illustrated by the re- 
marks of Mr. Washburn in the constitutional convention of 
1870: "The legislative power," he declared, "the power 
to inaugurate and mature the policy of the State belongs exclu- 
sively to the General Assembly." " It would be a usurpation 
by the governor to exercise that power." "The duty of the 
governor is to execute the policy, not to say what the policy 
shall be." 21 In the forty-third general assembly, Governor 
Yates was severely criticized for executive interference in leg- 
islation. 22 His own attitude toward such a charge was indi- 
cated in the following words from his message to the legisla- 
ture: "Executive interference,' a term contemptuously em- 
ployed by persons and interests whose conception of the execu- 

20 Chicago Tribune, December 27, 1916. 

^Debates and Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, 1870, 1:759. 
Italics are the author's. 

22 Chicago Tribune, February 6, 1903. 


tive office is that the governor should exhaust his entire time in 
signing papers, and acting as a mere figurehead, and by persons 
or interests whose design is to intimidate a governor into inac- 
tivity, (while they themselves 'interfere' constantly, for their 
own advantage)." 23 

Under existing conditions the governor is practically 
obliged to take a hand in legislation, if he is to exercise any 
control over the administration, inasmuch as the latter is 
largely subject to legislative direction rather than to executive 
order. The positive influence of the governor in legislation 
was recognized and given some official standing by a rule of the 
house of representatives, adopted in 1913, providing that a bill 
or resolution introduced to carry out a recommendation of the 
governor may, by executive message addressed to the speaker, 
be made an administration measure. When such a measure 
has been reported out of committee, it has precedence over all 
other bills except appropriation bills. 24 This rule was " in- 
tended to give assurance to the governor that measures which 
he recommends will be given fair consideration and by such 
assurance to impose upon him the obligation to have a legis- 
lative program." 25 This rule has probably not been as fruit- 
ful of results as was expected and has now been dropped from 
the rules of the house, but it is a step in the right direction. 
Among important administration measures which have passed 
the legislature was the fish and game conservation act of 1913. 
The rule should be revived and carried further by giving the 
governor, either in person or by representative, the power to 
appear before a committee of the whole house or a joint com- 
mittee of the general assembly, and advocate and defend in 
public meeting the administration measures, instead of having 
to summon to private conferences members whose support he 
desires, as he is practically forced to do under the present 

The strength of the governor's position in urging his legis- 

28 Senate Journal, 1903, p. 9. 

24 House Journal, 1913, p. 315-316. 

25 Hull, "Legislative Procedure," American Political Science Review, 7:239. 


lative measures is, of course, largely enhanced if he is able to 
secure widespread popular support for his program. His suc- 
cess is largely determined by his ability to take the people into 
his confidence, to enlist the support of influential leaders within 
and without the legislature, and to bring full publicity to bear 
throughout the whole course of legislation. A governor is usu- 
ally more influential in legislation during the first session of his 
term. One means whereby public attention could be forcefully 
called to the governor's legislative recommendations is indi- 
cated by the success of President Wilson in addressing con- 
gress in person. The governors of Illinois, however, have not 
seen fit to depart from the customary rule of sending written 
messages to the legislature. On a few special occasions, how- 
ever, the governor of Illinois has addressed the legislature in 
person. This was done by Governor Dunne in 1916, and in 
the following year Governor Lowden appeared before a joint 
session of the general assembly and addressed them in regard 
to the support to be given by Illinois to our government at 
Washington in the crisis produced by the breaking off of rela- 
tions with Germany. 26 

The powers of the governor in relation to the officers of 
the administration are subject to serious limitations. The con- 
stitution vests in the governor the "supreme executive power," 
which implies that subordinate executive powers are vested in 
other officers. This is in fact the case, for, as stated in another 
section of the constitution, the " executive department shall 
consist of a governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary of state, 
auditor of public accounts, treasurer, superintendent of public 
instruction and attorney-general." The real content of the 
governor's administrative power, however, is determined, not 
by these provisions, but by the provisions of the constitution 
and statutes conferring specific powers upon him. This is true 
also of the provision of the constitution which confers upon the 
governor the power and duty of taking "care that the laws be 

20 Chicago Herald, May n, 1916, February 7, 1917. Governor Lowden also 
appeared in person and addressed a joint session of the legislature at the close 
of the fiftieth general assembly and at other times. Ibid., June 18, 1917. 


faithfully executed." 27 This provision merely vests in the gov- 
ernor a rather vague and general power of supervision over 
other state and local officers in whose hands the direct execu- 
tion of the laws is placed. It is of relatively little importance 
except in so far as it is supplemented by other more specific 
constitutional or statutory grants of power. Thus, under the 
statutes the governor may offer a reward for the apprehension 
of a person accused or convicted of certain crimes. 28 Aside 
from any question of legal power, the governor may exert his 
personal influence and bring pressure to bear upon officials by 
means of publicity and in other ways in order to secure the 
enforcement of the laws. Thus, when race riots broke out in 
Springfield in 1908 Governor Deneen summoned the states 
attorney of Sangamon county before him and ordered that a 
special grand jury be convened immediately to indict the pris- 
oners in the county jail. He also informed the city authorities 
that the ensuing prosecutions must be real and vigorous. 29 

An important specific administrative power of the governor 
is that of making appointments to office. Under the constitu- 
tion he is authorized to appoint, with the consent of the senate, 
all officers whose offices are established by the constitution or 
by law and whose selection is not otherwise provided for. 
Many statutes have been passed in recent years creating new 
state officers, and in most cases their appointment has been 
vested in the governor and senate. The total number of offi- 
cers whom the governor now has the power to appoint during 
his term reaches into the hundreds. Most of these are state 
administrative officers, such as members of various state boards 
and commissions. His power of appointing local officers is 
very slight. Previously to the establishment of the municipal 
court in Chicago by an act of 1905 as amended in 1907, the 
governor appointed justices of the peace for that city with 
the consent of the senate and upon the recommendation of 

2T Article v, section 6. 

28 Kurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 60, section 12; Report and Opinions of 
the Attorney-General, 1914, p. 160-161. 
28 Chicago Tribune, August 17, 1908. 


a majority of the judges of the circuit, superior, and county 
courts. 30 

Beginning immediately after his election and extending 
well into his term, a governor-elect or new governor is usually 
besieged by a horde of office seekers. Within two weeks after 
his election Governor-elect Tanner had received over three 
thousand letters applying for positions, and swarms of office 
seekers were standing in line all day to see him. 31 This con- 
dition is especially apt to be produced when there has been a 
change of party as well as a change or impending change of 
administration. A governor of the spoilsman type may wel- 
come such a situation as it enables him to build up a political 
machine. It is probable, however, that few governors really 
relish the duty of making wholesale appointments to hundreds 
of state positions, many of which are useless and a needless 
expense to the state. Even were all needless positions lopped 
off, there would still be many minor offices which might well be 
left to be filled by the governor's subordinates, leaving him 
free to devote his attention only to the important appointments 
and to his legislative program. 

The governor's appointive power does not extend to the 
heads of executive departments established by the constitution, 
such as the secretary of state and attorney-general, who are 
chosen by popular vote. This method tends to make these offi- 
cers independent of the governor and thus to disintegrate the 
administration. The disintegration of the administration has 
been further increased by the practice of the legislature in con- 
ferring, by statute, administrative powers on the constitutional 
state officers, other than the governor, and especially by the 
legislative practice of continually creating new boards, commis- 
sions, and administrative agencies. The fact, however, that the 
governor and the heads of executive departments are elected at 
the same time and on the same ticket brings it about that they 
almost invariably belong to the same political party, though 

30 Constitution, article V, section 10, article VI, section 28. 

31 Chicago Tribune, November 25, 1896. 


sometimes to different factions of the same party. While the 
wishes of the candidate to be nominated for governor may be 
consulted as to who shall be his running mates for the other 
principal offices on the same ticket, it is nevertheless true that 
legally the governor has no control over the choice of the heads 
of departments; and he cannot, therefore, be said to have a 
cabinet in the sense in which this term is used in the national 
government. As a result of his four years' experience, Gov- 
ernor Dunne advocated the introduction of such a cabinet sys- 
tem in the state government of Illinois. "The responsibility 
for the passage of certain laws," he is quoted as saying, "as 
well as administrative responsibility is in the public mind 
thrown upon the executive and where responsibility rests there 
should be power to act. Power to act and accomplish, how- 
ever, cannot be where different departments of the administra- 
tion are made independent of each other by popular election. 
There is a loud cry in these modern times for a short ballot, 
and a short ballot can be attained by centralizing authority and 
throwing the responsibility of efficiency upon the executive by 
giving him the appointing power. If the governor had the ap- 
pointment of such officers he could make them, by virtue of his 
appointment, members of his cabinet, just as the President 
appoints his cabinet, and there then would be complete har- 
mony between the different departments of the state." 32 It 
was one of the objects of the recommendations of the efficiency 
and economy committee to provide for the creation of a cab- 
inet or advisory council around the governor; and this object 
has been, to some extent, attained by the passage of the con- 
solidation act of 1917. 

Although the governor cannot make original appointments 
to the positions of elective heads of departments, he is author- 
ized to fill vacancies occurring in them. In the case of vacan- 
cies occurring during the recess of the senate, in offices which 
are not elective, the governor is authorized to make temporary 
appointments until the next meeting of the senate, at which the 

32 Chicago Herald, January 2, 1917. 


person nominated by the governor must be confirmed if he is 
to continue in the office during the remainder of the term. 33 
Although the governor had prior to 1917 a large power of 
appointment to membership on various state boards and com- 
missions, the exercise of this power is subjected to certain prac- 
tical restrictions. No attempt is made to coordinate the length 
of the terms of the members of such boards with that of the 
governor; and, in the case of large boards, whose members 
serve for long terms the governor may not, during his term of 
office, have an opportunity of appointing a majority of the 
members. The supreme court has held that, under the consti- 
tution, there may be two modes of appointment to office by the 
governor one by and with the advice and consent of the 
senate, and the other by the sole and independent act of the 
governor, without the consent of the senate; and it is therefore 
competent for the legislature by law, to create an office, and 
provide for the appointment of the officer without the assent 
of the senate. 34 This has been done in the case of a few offi- 
cers, as, for example, the members of the former state board 
of dental examiners, the printer expert, the adjutant general 
and other officers in the militia, where the power of appoint- 
ment rests in the governor alone. But, in the large majority 
of cases, the power of the governor to appoint is limited by the 
necessity of securing the confirmation of a majority of all 
elected members of the senate. This device divides the re- 
sponsibility for the appointment between the governor and the 
senate and may sometimes result in virtually compelling the 
governor to sacrifice his legislative program in order to main- 
tain a high standard in appointments, or else to sacrifice his de- 
sires with respect to appointments in order to secure the pas- 
sage of bills in which he is interested. On the other hand, the 
governor may not always be well informed as to the best men 
to appoint to office, and the advice of the senate may some- 
times be of material assistance to him in selecting such men. It 

33 Constitution, article v, sections n and 20. 

34 Wilcox <v. People, 90 Illinois, 186. 


might be better to require that the governor should secure and 
avail himself of the advice of the senate, but not to require 
him to act upon it, so that the whole responsibility for the final 
decision may rest upon his shoulders. 

Any power of supervision over state boards and commis- 
sions which the governor's power of appointing their members 
enabled him to exercise has been seriously impeded by the multi- 
plicity and lack of systematic organization of such agencies. 
This difficulty, however, has been in large degree remedied by 
the consolidation act of 1917, organizing most of the agencies 
into nine executive departments, each under a director ap- 
pointed by the governor and senate for four-year terms, sub- 
ject to the power of the governor to remove them for cause. 
Some of these directors take places previously occupied by 
boards, and the power of the governor is consequently in- 
creased because his power of appointment is no longer subject 
to the virtual limitation which the rule of gradual renewal of 
the membership of boards entails. Some administrative and 
advisory boards are retained in the consolidation act, but the 
governor's power over them is increased by the absence of any 
requirement for minority representation on them. 

The power of appointment, in and by itself, confers upon 
the governor no legal power of control over his appointees 
after they have assumed office. This difficulty, however, is to 
some extent overcome by provisions conferring upon the gov- 
ernor some power of suspension in office and of removal from 
office. Thus the officers of the executive departments and of 
all the public institutions of the state are required to make 
regular biennial reports to the governor to be transmitted by 
him to the general assembly. Such officers are also required to 
make to the governor a semiannual report of all moneys re- 
ceived and disbursed by them. Furthermore, the governor 
may at any time require from such officers information, in 
writing and under oath, upon any subject relating to their 
duties. 35 Thus, shortly after his inauguration, Governor Low- 

86 Constitution, article v, sections 20, 21. 


den sent a letter to each of the numerous commissions, bureaus, 
and departments asking for information as to the funds avail- 
able and the expenditures to be made until the end of the fiscal 
year. 36 In case any such reports should disclose an unsatisfac- 
tory condition in the management of a particular office, the 
governor may attempt to remedy such condition either by 
admonition and advice to the delinquent officer, or by bringing 
the full light of publicity to bear upon the facts. An officer 
who makes a false report of his receipts and disbursements is 
declared to be guilty of perjury and subject to appropriate 

Aside from his legal powers, the governor may by his per- 
sonal influence exercise some supervision over the state depart- 
ments and institutions. Thus, Governor Deneen in 1905 in- 
structed officials of state institutions that the payrolls must be 
gone over carefully and the pruning knife used so as to reduce 
expenses and to weed out incompetents and employees whose 
services in the institutions were not actually required. In the 
following year, the governor took a personal hand in directing 
the activities of the state food commission, and by his direct 
orders the state analyst made a tour for the purpose of study- 
ing the pure food laws in operation in other states. 37 In the 
case, however, of the constitutional elective state officers, the 
power of the governor to require reports is, in practice, of little 
value in enabling him to supervise them in the performance of 
their duties. They are practically equal to, and independent 
of, the governor, and the necessity under which he rests of re- 
maining on terms of amity with them would ordinarily prevent 
him from requiring from them any reports other than those 
which they voluntarily submit. 

Finally, in order to improve the conduct of administrative 
offices, the governor may remove any officer subject to appoint- 
ment by him for certain specified causes, viz., incompetency, 
neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office. 38 This provision rep- 

36 Chicago Tribune, January n, 1917. 

87 Ibid., March 23, 1905, March 16, 1906. 

88 Constitution, article V, section 12. 


resents an honest effort on the part of the constitutional con- 
vention to render the power of the governor to some extent 
commensurate with his responsibility and probably has a more 
important influence than any other single provision toward 
making the governor the real, instead of merely the nominal, 
head of the administration. Under the existing method of 
selecting the heads of the state executive departments and the 
system of decentralized enforcement of state law, however, the 
governor cannot fully assume the position of real head of the 
administration by virtue of his power of removing his ap- 
pointees. This provision of the constitution should therefore 
be strengthened at least to the extent of giving the governor 
power to remove any state executive officer, whether elective or 

The fact, however, that the constitution confers upon the 
governor the power of removing such officers as he may ap- 
point does not absolutely exclude him from the power of re- 
moving elective officers, provided the latter power is specifically 
conferred upon him by the legislature. Thus, by an act of 
1905, the power was conferred upon the governor to declare, 
by proclamation, the office of any sheriff to be vacant when- 
ever a prisoner is taken from his custody and lynched. 39 In 
1909 a mob lynched a prisoner which it had taken from the 
sheriff of Alexander county. In accordance with the statute, 
the governor issued his proclamation declaring the office vacant. 
Under the statute the governor might reinstate the sheriff if 
the latter could show that he had done all in his power to 
protect his prisoner. In this case, however, the sheriff was 
unable to show this to the satisfaction of the governor, who 
accordingly sent a notice of the vacancy to the county board, 
who thereupon appointed a successor. The deposed sheriff 
contested the legality of the governor's action, but, when the 
case was carried to the supreme court, the latter upheld the 
constitutionality of the statute and the validity of the gover- 
nor's action under it. 40 It is to be noted, however, that the gov- 

39 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 38, section 2s6x. 

40 People v. Nellis, 249 Illinois, 12. 


ernor's power of removing the sheriff is narrowly limited so 
that it can be exercised only under circumstances which seldom 

The constitutional power of the governor to remove his 
appointees is as above indicated, apparently limited to those 
cases, where such appointees are guilty of " incompetency, neg- 
lect of duty or malfeasance in office." The constitution, how- 
ever, provides no method whereby the governor shall deter- 
mine the existence of the specified causes of removal, nor does 
it declare whether the governor's action in removing an officer 
shall be final and conclusive or subject to judicial review. 
These points, however, have been cleared up by the supreme 
court. The governor undertook to remove the West Chicago 
park commissioners and to appoint their successors without 
bringing any charges against the incumbents or giving them a 
hearing. The supreme court held that the governor's power 
of removal applied both to officers who were appointed by the 
governor with the approval of the senate and also to officers, 
such as the park commissioners, who were appointed by the 
governor alone. The court also held that, when exercising his 
power of removal, the governor may adopt such method of 
ascertaining the existence of the specified causes of removal 
as he sees fit, and consequently no written charges or formal 
trial are required by law. Moreover, the court held that the 
governor's action is final and not subject to review by the 
courts. 41 Although the governor is not, therefore, compelled 
to give a hearing to the officers whose removal he contemplates, 
he nevertheless may, and sometimes does, as a matter of cour- 
tesy, accord it. 

Among the special functions which the governor performs 
is that of acting as commander-in-chief of the military and 
naval forces of the state, except when they are called into the 
service of the United States. In exercising this power the gov- 
ernor ordinarily acts through the adjutant general, who is ap- 
pointed by him. Although appointed by the governor, the ad- 

41 Wilcox v. People, 90 Illinois, 186. 


jutant general is not subject to removal by him, but only by 
court-martial. The governor may, by proclamation, require 
the enrollment of the unorganized, or reserve, militia. 42 The 
purposes for which the militia may be called out are specified 
in the constitution, viz., " to execute the laws, suppress insur- 
rection and repel invasion." These phrases are sufficiently 
broad to cover practically every sort of emergency which might 
necessitate the use of the militia. Whether the occasion re- 
quires the calling out of the militia is a question of which the 
governor is practically the sole judge, and he may act entirely 
on his own initiative and responsibility. In practice, however, 
he usually waits until he receives a request for assistance from 
the sheriff, states attorney, mayor, or other law-enforcing 
officer. The most frequent use of the militia has been to dis- 
perse mobs which are attempting to take the law into their own 
hands, and, within recent years, to maintain order during dis- 
turbance incident to strikes and lockouts. In the administra- 
tions of both Governors Deneen and Dunne, an urgent public 
demand arose that the governor should call out the militia to 
enforce the Sunday closing statute, which was notoriously dis- 
regarded in certain cities. The attorney-general in both ad- 
ministrations, however, held that no such duty rested upon the 
governor, but that the responsibility rested upon the local offi- 
cers, who, if derelict, should be removed in the manner pro- 
vided by law. 43 

The governor ordinarily carries on such relations as exist 
between the state and other states or the government of the 
United States. If, during the recess of the general assembly, 
an insurrection or other disorder arise in the state which the 
militia is unable to cope with, it is the duty of the governor to 
call upon the United States government for assistance to meet 
the emergency. In 1894, during the Chicago railroad strike, 
Governor Altgeld declined to call upon the United States gov- 

42 Constitution, article v, section 14, article xn, section 3 ; Hurd's Revised 
Statutes, chapter 129, sections 3, 118. 

43 Report of the Attorney-General, 1906, p. 56, 371-372; Opinions of the 
Attorney-General, 1915, p. 78-81. 


ernment for assistance, but President Cleveland nevertheless 
sent troops into the state for the purpose of enforcing the laws 
of the United States in spite of the protest of the governor, 
who denounced the action of the president as a violation of the 
fundamental right of local self-government. The action of the 
president, however, was subsequently upheld by the supreme 
court of the United States. 44 

The governor is also the agent of the state in its dealings 
with other states in connection with the extradition of fugitives. 
When a person who is accused of having committed a crime 
in Illinois has escaped into another state, it is the duty of the 
governor of Illinois to make requisition upon the governor of 
the state to which the fugitive has fled to deliver him up. If 
he has escaped to a foreign country, the governor may call 
upon the secretary of state of the United States to make the 
request for the extradition upon the authorities of such foreign 
country. When a person accused of a crime in another state 
has escaped into Illinois, it is the duty of the governor of Illi- 
nois to give him up upon demand of the proper authority, of 
the other state. The governor, however, may first hold a hear- 
ing in order to satisfy himself as to the regularity of the pro- 
ceedings, and if he deems it inexpedient to give the prisoner up, 
he cannot be compelled by legal process to do so. 45 

Under the constitution, the governor is authorized to grant 
pardons, reprieves, and commutations of sentence for all 
offenses against the state, whether felonies or misdemeanors. 46 
The governor cannot pardon a person who is being tried for 
an offense against the state but must wait until after his convic- 
tion. The governor might even pardon a person after his re- 
lease upon the expiration of the term for which he was sen- 
tenced, if new evidence conclusively proves his innocence. The 
effect of this is to restore to the ex-convict the rights of citizen- 
ship which he forfeited as a result of his conviction. A pardon 

44 In re Debs, 158 United States, 564. 

45 Report and Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1914, p. 158-159; Kentucky 
<v. Dennison, 24 Howard (United States), 66. 

46 Article v, section 13. 


under these circumstances, however, would be a rather empty 
consolation, but the state makes no general provision for in- 
demnity in such cases, which, on the whole, seldom occur. 

The exercise by the governor of the pardoning power is 
subject to such regulations as may be provided by law relative 
to the manner of applying therefore. The legislature has pro- 
vided that application shall be made to the governor by petition 
in writing giving the facts of the case and the reasons why the 
petition should be granted, accompanied by statements of the 
judge and prosecuting attorney who figured in the case, and a 
notice of the application shall be published in a newspaper of 
the county where the conviction was had. 47 These provisions 
are intended to prevent ex parte proceedings and to bring to 
light all facts bearing on the case. Prior to 1897 governors 
were much burdened with the consideration of applications for 
pardon, and in some cases perhaps yielded unwisely to the en- 
treaties of friends of convicts. Governor Altgeld especially 
was severely criticized for alleged undue and excessive exercise 
of the pardoning power. Among those whom he pardoned 
were certain so-called anarchists who had participated in the 
Haymarket riot of 1886. A double lynching which occurred at 
Danville in 1895 was said to have been inspired by the fear 
that the governor might pardon the prisoners. 48 In his first 
regular message to the general assembly, Governor Tanner 
recommended the creation of a board of pardons in order to 
assist the governor in the exercise of the power and to remedy 
some of the abuses that had grown up in connection with it. 49 
Accordingly by an act of 1897, the legislature created the 
state board of pardons, composed of three members appointed 
by the governor and senate. The manner of applying for par- 
dons since the creation of this board is much the same as be- 
fore except that the notice of application is addressed to the 
board and the petition for pardon is filed with the board in- 
stead of with the governor. The board holds hearings on ap- 

47 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 1043, sections i and 2. 

48 Chicago Tribune, May 28, 1895. 

49 Senate Journal, 1897, p. 173. 


plications for pardons or commutations and makes a report on 
each case to the governor accompanied by the conclusions and 
recommendations of the board. Such recommendations, how- 
ever, have merely advisory force and the governor may disre- 
gard them if he sees fit. The governor is ordinarily too much 
occupied with other business to give personal attention to each 
case, and therefore usually follows the recommendations of the 
board. By an act of 1899, tne board was given the further 
power of passing upon the cases of prisoners who desire to be 
released on parole. In order to avoid encroachment upon the 
governor's constitutional power of pardon, the final release of 
the prisoners is made to depend upon the approval of the gov- 
ernor. 50 By the consolidation act of 1917, the state board of 
pardons is abolished and its powers and functions are trans- 
ferred to the newly created state department of public wel- 
fare. 51 The introduction of the parole and probation systems 
in Illinois has reduced the necessity for the frequent exercise by 
the governor of his power of pardon or commutation. The 
governor may sometimes exercise his power of pardon, commu- 
tation or reprieve for some ulterior purpose. Thus Governor 
Dunne granted a reprieve to a man sentenced to be hanged for 
murder in Jackson county, not because there was any doubt 
as to his guilt but with the object of securing from the sheriff 
in charge definite assurance that the execution would be car- 
ried out in as orderly, decent, and private a manner as prac- 

Among the miscellaneous functions of the governor is that 
of presiding over the state canvassing board which meets to 
canvass the votes for United States senators, representatives 
in congress, and in the state legislature and for various state 
officers. Upon the governor is also laid the ministerial duty of 
issuing certificates of election and announcing by proclamation 
the results of the canvass. If the governor, however, fails to 
perform such duty, he cannot be compelled by mandamus to do 

B0 Report and Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1914, p. 440-443; Kurd's 
Revised Statutes, chapter 38, section 502; People v. Nowasky, 254 Illinois, 146. 
61 Laws of 1917, p. 27. 


so. 52 The governor is also ex officio a member of the state 
primary canvassing board, and of various other boards. 

The result of an election for the uniting of counties is also 
set forth in a proclamation of the governor. Under the seven- 
teenth amendment to the constitution of the United States the 
governor may cause vacancies in the representation of Illinois 
in the United States senate to be filled by popular election, or 
may by law be authorized to fill them by temporary appoint- 
ments. In the case of vacancies in some state elective offices, 
such as judges of the state supreme or circuit courts, the gov- 
ernor may cause them to be filled either by issuing writs of elec- 
tion or by making appointments, according to whether the un- 
expired portion of the term is more or less than one year in 
length. Other vacancies, such as in the state legislature and in 
the lower house of congress can be filled only by writ of election 
issued by the governor. 53 

Under the charter of the Illinois Central railroad, the gov- 
ernor is made a sort of state railroad commissioner with refer- 
ence to this company through his power to pass upon the cor- 
rectness of the accounts of the railroad in order to determine 
the amount of the seven per cent gross receipts tax. In a spe- 
cial message to the legislature in January, 1907, Governor 
Deneen attacked the railroad company on the ground that im- 
portant items of income had not been included in the company's 
report of gross receipts. At the goverrfor's instigation a suit 
was started by the attorney-general which resulted in a decision 
by the supreme court requiring the railroad company to give a 
proper accounting. 54 

62 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, section 78 ; People ex. rel. <v. Dunne, 
258 Illinois, 441; Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1915, p. 459. 

53 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, sections 129, 130, and 131. The gov- 
ernor is also empowered to approve the bonds of certain state officers. 

54 Private Laws of 1851, p. 71; State v. Illinois Central Railroad Company, 
246 Illinois, 188. 


STATE officers, in general, are those whose duties are co- 
extensive with the state, and they are thus distinguished 
from county and local officers. 1 On account of the requirement 
that appropriations for the pay of members and officers of the 
general assembly and for the salaries of the officers of the gov- 
ernment shall contain no provision on any other subject, it be- 
comes a question of practical importance to distinguish between 
officers and employees. 2 In the language of the constitution, 
" An office is a public position created by the Constitution or 
law, continuing during the pleasure of the appointing power, 
or for a fixed time, with a successor elected or appointed. An 
employment is an agency, for a temporary purpose, which 
ceases when that purpose is accomplished." 3 The legislature 
has equal power to create offices and employments, and to pro- 
vide for the method of filling them, where this is not prescribed 
by the constitution. The constitution provides that no person 
shall be eligible to any lucrative office under the state, who at 
the same time holds a seat in the general assembly, nor to any 
office of profit or trust in the state who has been convicted of 
bribery, perjury, or other infamous crimes or who, as collector 
or holder of public moneys, has failed to make proper account- 
ing therefor. The general assembly may itself appoint employ- 
ees, but cannot appoint or elect officers. 4 

Next in rank to the governor among state officers stands 

1 Evans v. People, 247 Illinois, 547; but see City of Chicago v. Wright, (x) 
Illinois, 318. 

2 Constitution, article IV, section 16. 

3 Constitution, article V, section 24; see also Fergus <v. Russel, 270 Illinois, 
304. The distinction made by the court, however, is difficult of practical applica- 

4 Constitution, article iv, section 3, 4, article v, section 10. 



the lieutenant governor, who must have the same qualifications 
and be elected at the same time and for the same term as the 
governor. Unlike the governor and other state officers, how- 
ever, he is not required to reside at the seat of government dur- 
ing his term of office and receives a much smaller salary, 
namely $2,500 per annum. In case of the death, conviction on 
impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation, absence from the 
state, or other disability of the governor, the lieutenant gover- 
nor assumes the powers, duties, and emoluments of the office 
during the remainder of the term, or until the disability shall 
be removed. 5 When such vacancy occurs in the governor's 
office, the lieutenant governor becomes merely acting governor 
and at the same time retains the office of lieutenant governor. 6 
Ordinarily, however, the only function which the lieutenant 
governor performs is that of acting as presiding officer of the 
senate. He has no vote in the senate except when that body 
is equally divided; nor does he ordinarily participate in de- 
bate, except that he may speak to points of order in preference 
to other members. He is ex officio a member of the executive 
committee of the senate. 7 During the organization of the 
senate at the beginning of the first regular session in a new 
administration, the lieutenant governor under the previous ad- 
ministration continues to preside over the senate until it is or- 
ganized and the new state officers are declared duly elected. 
As presiding officer of the senate during its organization the 
lieutenant governor, since there is no committee on credentials 
yet chosen, must necessarily determine, temporarily, who is 
entitled to be sworn in and seated as members of that body. 8 
The secretary of state, like the lieutenant governor, is 
elected at the same time and for the same term as the governor. 
He thus derives his authority from the same source as that of 
the governor and is consequently not under the superior admin- 
istrative control of the governor. His duties are prescribed, 

5 Constitution, article v, section 17. 

6 Report of the Attorney-General, 1912, p. 162. 

7 Senate Journal, 1915, p. 12, 18. 

8 Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1915, p. 457. 


not by the governor, but by the constitution and statutes. Thus, 
under the constitution he is made keeper of the great seal of 
the state, to be used by him, officially, as directed by law. His 
duties are of a very miscellaneous character. Thus, he calls 
the house of representatives to order at the opening of each 
new assembly and presides over it until a temporary presid- 
ing officer has been chosen and has taken his seat. 9 He is the 
keeper of the public records and documents of the state and 
custodian of the buildings, grounds, furniture, and supplies of 
the state at Springfield. He has important functions to per- 
form in connection with primary and general elections; he 
grants charters and certificates of incorporation, registers mo- 
tor vehicles, and licenses chauffeurs. He was formerly ex 
officio state sealer of weights and measures and is still ex officio 
member of certain state boards. It will be seen that his duties 
are of a very heterogeneous character, and many of them 
might well be transferred to other officers or departments of 
the state government. 

One of the most important of the older constitutional state 
officers is the attorney-general, who is elected by popular vote 
at the same time and for the same term as the governor. He 
receives an annual salary of $10,000 and is required by law 
to turn all fees collected by him into the state treasury. The 
powers and duties of the attorney-general are to some extent 
determined by the common law, but for the most part they are 
defined by statute. In general he appears in all cases be- 
fore the courts in which the state is a party or interested and 
defends actions brought against any state officer in his official 
capacity. He represents the state before the court of claims 
and brings proceedings for the enforcement of the state laws. 
In his discretion he may at certain stages of the proceedings 
abandon the prosecution. 10 An important phase of his duties 
consists in acting as legal advisor to the governor, other state 
officers, the general assembly and either branch or any com- 

9 Constitution, article IV, section 9, article V, section 22. 

10 People v. Spring Lake Drainage and Levee District, 253 Illinois, 479. 


mittee thereof, to whom he is required, when requested, to 
give written opinions upon constitutional or legal questions. 
He is not required to give official opinions to municipal or 
other local officers nor to private individuals but may, as a mat- 
ter of courtesy, do so. Among his miscellaneous duties, he 
served formerly as ex officio member of the board of commis- 
sioners of state contracts; and, by an act of 1913, he exer- 
cises general supervision over the assessment and collection of 
the state inheritance tax. 11 

In spite of his important powers, the legal business of the 
state has not heretofore been concentrated in the hands of the 
attorney-general. It has been divided among the attorney- 
general, the special attorneys for various state boards, depart- 
ments, and commissions, and the local prosecuting attorneys, 
known as states attorneys. Neither the special attorneys nor 
the states attorneys have been under any effective control by 
the attorney-general. The constitutionality of the practice of 
employing special attorneys for state departments and boards, 
though sanctioned by legislative enactments, has been ques- 
tioned by Attorneys-general Howland J. Hamlin, William H. 
Stead, and Patrick J. Lucey. 12 No authoritative decision upon 
this question, however, was had until 1915 when the supreme 
court held, that "The Attorney General is the chief law officer 
of the State and the only officer empowered to represent the 
people in any suit or proceeding in which the State is the real 
party in interest, except where the constitution or a constitu- 
tional statute may provide otherwise, and .... he is 
the sole official adviser of the executive officers and of all 
boards, commissions, and departments of the State govern- 
ment;" and, consequently, an appropriation to the state insur- 
ance superintendent for the legal services of special counsel is 
unconstitutional and void. 13 The law business of the state is 
thus largely concentrated in the hands of the attorney-general, 

11 Laws of 1913, p. 513. 

12 Report of the Attorney-General, 1901-1902, p. 7, 391; 1908, p. ix; Report 
of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 957. 

13 Fergus v. Russel, 270 Illinois, 304. 

Vote for Attorney- 
November 3, 1908 ^^E 

Over 1,000 
Republican plurality 

Less than 1,000 
Republican plurality 

Less than 1,000 
Democratic plurality 

Over 1,000 
Democratic plurality 


though he may assign assistant attorneys from his office to take 
care of the litigation of particular state boards and commis- 

Some lack of concentrated authority in the handling of the 
state's legal business, however, still exists on account of the 
practical independence of the states attorneys. It has been 
recommended by Attorney-General Lucey that the legislature 
should give the attorney-general supervisory power over the 
states attorneys by vesting in him the power of removal for 
incompetency or neglect of duty and by giving him the right of 
directing the states attorneys in the conduct of the business of 
their offices, so as to " simplify the matter of minor prosecutions 
now conducted by the several State boards and commissions " 
and to " give to the Attorney General the right to instruct and 
order the State's attorney of any county to handle any matter 
that might be pending in his county." 14 

Among the important financial officers of the state are the 
state treasurer and the auditor of public accounts. They are 
chosen by popular vote at the same time as the governor and 
other state officers, but the treasurer's term is only two years, 
while that of the governor and heads of departments is four 
years. An election for treasurer consequently also occurs in 
the middle of the term of the governor and at the same time 
with the election of the state superintendent of public instruc- 
tion. The term of the treasurer was made shorter than that of 
the other state officers with the object of preventing possible 
abuses which might occur if the tenure of office were too great. 
With the same object in view the treasurer was made ineligible 
to succeed himself during the two years next after the end of 
his term. If, however, the treasurer gives adequate security 
for good behavior and the proper handling of the public funds, 
which the governor is authorized to require of him, no good 
reason appears why he should not also serve for a term equal in 
length to that of the governor and other state officers. 

The treasurer is charged by law with duties connected with 

14 Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 960. 


the receipt, safekeeping, and disbursement of state moneys. 
He cannot receive or disburse any funds, however, except upon 
the order or warrant of the state auditor. His functions are 
thus largely of a ministerial character, but he may exercise 
the discretionary power of selecting certain banks as state de- 
positories. Prior to 1908, Illinois practiced what is known as 
the independent treasury system. That is, in legal contempla- 
tion, the moneys of the state, as soon as they reached the state 
treasurer, were put in a strong box in his office and kept there 
until drawn out in accordance with law. The state treasurer 
had no authority to loan state funds nor to deposit them in 
banks. In practice, however, it was alleged that the law was 
not always strictly complied with and that state funds were 
sometimes loaned, while the state treasurer benefited personally 
from the interest thereon. In 1906, the candidate for the re- 
publican nomination for state treasurer made it a condition of 
his taking the place on the ticket that the state platform declare 
for the return to the state treasury of all interest on public 
money. 15 In 1908 an act was passed directing the deposit by 
the state treasurer of state funds " in such banks in the cities 
of the State as in the opinion of the treasurer are secure and 
which shall pay the highest rate of interest to the State for such 
deposits." 16 There are now several hundred depository banks 
throughout the state, but no adequate means are provided for 
holding the state treasurer to account for the interest on public 

In order to act as a check upon the treasurer, a separate 
financial officer, the auditor of public accounts, is provided. 
His main function is to see that no money belonging to the 
state is expended except in accordance with appropriations 
made by law. He thus in reality represents the legislature and 
acts as its executive agent to safeguard the appropriations, and 
from this point of view it would seem to be preferable that he 
be appointed by the legislature rather than elected by popular 

15 Chicago Tribune, August 19, 1906, January 12, 1907. 

16 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 130, section 22. 


vote. The auditor publishes at the conclusion of each legisla- 
tive session a statement of the appropriations made at that ses- 
sion. He has no special control or influence, however, over the 
policy or expediency of making the appropriations. The audi- 
tor of public accounts and the state treasurer both serve as ex 
offido members of various state boards, such as the for- 
mer board of commissioners of state contracts and the state 
tax levy board, which fixes the rate of taxation for state pur- 

Prior to 1906, it had for many years been the custom for 
state treasurers and auditors to appropriate to their personal 
use certain funds belonging to the state through what was 
known as the " registered bond fee " system. Such funds con- 
sisted of taxes levied and collected to defray the costs to the 
state of registering municipal bonds and disbursing the bond 
funds. At the instance of Governor Deneen, the attorney- 
general brought suit against ex-auditors and ex-treasurers for 
the recovery of money thus illegally withdrawn. Upon appeal 
to the supreme court, it was held that the state was entitled to 
recover such funds with interest from the time when the de- 
mand was made for their return. 17 The amount of money in- 
volved was about a third of a million dollars. 

Prior to 1911, it was customary for many state and local 
officers and institutions to collect fees for their official services 
and appropriate them to their personal use or to defray the 
expenses of performing their services, paying only the balance, 
if any, into the public treasury. Some officers received their 
compensation entirely from fees, receiving no salary. As early 
as 1895 the State Bar Association went on record as in favor 
of the abolition of the system of paying public officers by fees 
instead of salaries. 18 Finally, in 1911, it was enacted that all 
moneys received by state officers, boards, commissions, depart- 
ments, and institutions for and on behalf of the state from fees 
or other sources should be paid into the state treasury. Such 

^Report of the Attorney-General, 1908, p. xxii. 

18 Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar Association, 1895, p. 152; 1898, part 2, 
P- 13- 


funds, therefore, cannot be expended except as authorized by 
appropriation acts of the general assembly. 19 The consolida- 
tion act of 1917 also provided that the gross amount of money 
received by every state department, belonging to the state, shall 
be paid into the state treasury without delay and without any 
deduction on account of fees or other charges. 20 

The state treasurer receives from the county treasurers or 
collectors the proceeds of state taxes collected, at stated inter- 
vals, and the county treasurers are also required to make re- 
ports regarding such taxes to the state auditor. Neither the 
auditor nor the treasurer, however, had formerly any super- 
visory power over the reports of the county treasurers. It 
sometimes happened that large sums of money belonging to the 
state lay in the county treasuries which the state may have 
greatly needed, but the county treasurers could not be required 
by the state treasurer to pay the money to the state until the 
date specified in the statute. By a recent act, however, the 
state control over county collectors is strengthened. 21 

In 1901 a bill was passed by the general assembly, but 
vetoed by Governor Yates, the design of which was to central- 
ize the supervision of all public accounts in the hands of the 
state auditor. At the following session in 1903, a bill was 
introduced to create a state board of public accounts, to be 
composed of the state auditor, the president of the board of 
charities, and a public accountant. The work to be under- 
taken by the board was to prescribe the way in which all state 
accounts should be kept, to publish quarterly the condition of 
the state's finances, and to publish the payroll of all state insti- 
tutions in short, to systematize the business of the state and 
give to the public an account of the expenditure of its money. 22 
This bill, however, also failed to become a law. 

The efficiency and economy committee, created in 1913, 
recommended the establishment of a state finance commission, 

19 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 102, section u; Report and Opinions of 
the Attorney-General, 1913, p. 164. 

20 Laws of 1917, p. 14. 
* l lbid., p. 664. 

22 Chicago Tribune, May 14, 1901, March 23, 1903. 


to be composed of the state auditor, state treasurer and three 
appointive members. The auditor was to be empowered to 
audit the accounts of state officers and institutions and also of 
certain local officers, to investigate and enforce the collection 
of state revenues, and to issue to the fee-collecting offices cer- 
tificates for which fees are paid, as a means of auditing collec- 
tions from such sources. 23 These recommendations, however, 
have not yet been put into force. The consolidation act of 
1917, though creating a state finance department, could not, of 
course, materially change the position of the state treasurer 
and auditor, who are constitutional officers. The act might, 
however, have affected the statutory powers of the state con- 
stitutional officers, but failed to do so. Thus, the attorney- 
general still retains the power of collecting the inheritance tax, 
the auditor of public accounts still has charge of the supervision 
of banks and building and loan associations, and the secretary 
of state continues to supervise some corporations and to en- 
force the automobile and anti-trust laws. The existence of 
these statutory powers in the hands of independent, elective, 
constitutional officers tends to disintegrate the administration; 
they should be transferred to other agencies. 

The relation of the heads of state executive departments, 
such as secretary of state, attorney-general, state treasurer, and 
auditor, to the governor is one of independence rather than of 
subordination. He has no power to appoint them, except in 
the case of a vacancy occurring before the end of a term, nor to 
remove them for good and sufficient cause. They are required 
by law to make periodical reports to the governor, and he may 
require information from them at any time upon any subject 
relating to their duties. For the most part, however, they are 
subject to the control of the legislature, partly through the 
possibility of impeachment but more especially through the 
passage of laws prescribing their powers and duties within the 
limits of the constitution. The power and duties of executive 
officers are partly prescribed by the constitution and partly pre- 

28 Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 180. 


scribed by law. 24 The legislature may thus impose upon the 
executive officers of the state such duties as it sees fit, not incon- 
sistent with their duties imposed by the constitution; and it may 
change their duties from time to time, transfer them from one 
officer to another, or require two or more of the officers to 
cooperate in the same work to such extent as it may deem best. 
It has even been held in regard to the secretary of state that, 
even in the performance of such duties as are imposed upon 
him by the constitution, he is not entirely independent of the 
legislature. 25 In order to promote harmony and efficiency of 
administration, the executive officers of the state should be sub- 
ject to appointment and removal by the governor. Such a re- 
form, however, would, of course, require constitutional amend- 

One of the most conspicuous developments in state admin- 
istration of Illinois during recent decades has been the creation 
of numerous administrative agencies, known collectively as 
state boards and commissions. The investigations of the effi- 
ciency and economy committee in 1914 showed that, at that 
time, there were more than a hundred separate agencies of this 
character in the state. The large extent and varied conditions 
found in the state, together with its prominence in agriculture, 
industry, and manufacturing, has operated as one of the prin- 
cipal causes in producing this extraordinary number of such 
agencies, which is surpassed by only two or three states in the 
union. The expansion of the state administration through the 
creation of boards and commissions is in large measure due 
to the practical necessity that the state shall undertake new 
functions for the regulation of new conditions. Mere legis- 
lative action for this purpose has rightly been deemed insuffi- 
cient, and administrative agencies have therefore been created. 
Among the more important matters which have been brought 
under the supervision or control of state boards may be men- 
tioned public health, charities and corrections, education, equali- 

24 Constitution, article v, section i. 

25 People v. McCullough, 25.} Illinois, 9. 


zation of taxes, public utilities, agriculture, and the civil 

The extent of the powers and duties of state boards and 
commissions vary from slight supervision to practically com- 
plete control. In character, such powers are, for the most part, 
of an executive or administrative nature; but they also fre- 
quently are granted powers of a subsidiary legislative charac- 
ter, such as issuing rules and regulations, or of a quasi-judicial 
character, such as holding hearings, issuing subpoenas, and tak- 
ing testimony. In general, it may be said that state administra- 
tive agencies are created for the purpose of enforcing or super- 
vising the enforcement of a portion of the substantive law of 
the state. Thus, the Illinois industrial board, created in 1913, 
was charged with the supervision of the enforcement of -the 
workmen's compensation law. The state board of health has 
been charged with the enforcement of various laws such as that 
requiring registration of births and deaths. For the complete 
enforcement of such acts, however, the boards are dependent 
upon the cooperative action of other authorities. Thus, for the 
prosecution of the violation of the act mentioned the board of 
health is dependent on the states attorney of the county in 
which the violation occurs. Similarly, prosecutions for the vio- 
lation of the pure food law of Illinois are under the control 
of the states attorney of the proper county. The unreliability 
of local police officers and constables in cooperation with state 
boards in enforcing state laws has sometimes led to the vest- 
ing of police functions in the boards themselves or their agents. 
Thus, the Illinois fish and game commission, its wardens and 
deputies, were empowered, by an act of 1915, to arrest, with- 
out warrant, anyone violating the provisions of the fish and 
game law. 26 

The action of state administrative agencies in enforcing the 
law intrusted to their care, however, is in nearly all cases sub- 
ject to judicial review, in order that individual rights may not 
be jeopardized by arbitrary administrative action. Thus, the 

26 Laws of 1915, p. 461, 670, 710. 


lawfulness and reasonableness of any order of the public util- 
ities commission is made subject to review by the courts. 27 
The administrative action of state boards and commissions is 
sometimes paralyzed through the issuance of injunctions by 
the courts. Some recent tendencies, however, may be dis- 
cerned in the direction of greater conclusiveness of the deter- 
minations by state administrative agencies. Thus, the decisions 
of the state industrial board were made conclusive unless re- 
viewed in accordance with certain restrictive regulations. The 
statute creating the state board of examiners of architects au- 
thorized the board to revoke the licenses of architects on speci- 
fied grounds after a hearing, and the supreme court upheld the 
constitutionality of the grant on the ground that due process of 
law in revoking a license does not necessarily consist of judicial 
proceedings in court. 28 In a recent decision construing the pow- 
ers of the state industrial board, the supreme court held that 
the decision of the board can be reviewed for errors of law 
only and that, in the absence of fraud, both the circuit court and 
the supreme court are bound by the decision of the industrial 
board if there is any legal evidence to support it. 29 

Even this slight tendency toward greater conclusiveness of 
administrative determinations and the corresponding narrow- 
ing of the scope of judicial review is a recognition of the fact 
that the danger of abridging individual rights through arbi- 
trary administrative action may be a lesser evil than the danger 
to the general welfare resulting from placing too great a curb 
upon the speed and efficiency of administrative action. 

The internal organization of state administrative agencies 
is subject to the close control of the legislature, both through 
the passage of the laws creating the boards, prescribing thei-r 
powers and providing for the number of their staffs and em- 
ployees and also through the power of appropriating the neces- 

27 Laws of 1913, p. 495-496; State Public Utilities Commission v. Toledo, 
St Louis, and Western Railroad Company, 267 Illinois, 93. 

28 Laics of 1915, p. 410; Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter loa, section 10; 
Klafter v. State Board of Examiners of Architects, 259 Illinois, 15; Lawyers 
Reports Annotated, new series, 46:532. 

29 Munn v. Industrial Board of Illinois, 274 Illinois, 70. 


sary funds for paying the salaries and expenses. The general 
assembly began, in 1895, the practice of itemizing the appro- 
priations, so that at present, such appropriation acts usually 
enumerate the various clerks and employees of the board, 
specifying the exact salary to be paid each. They also fre- 
quently go into great detail in specifying the exact sums that 
may be disbursed for each item of expense. Thus, the general 
assembly of 1915 appropriated to the state industrial board 
$364 per annum for towels and $60 per annum for ice and 
water. 30 In many cases, however, a lump sum is also appro- 
priated for contingent expenses, as it is impossible for the gen- 
eral assembly to foresee in every case all financial needs that 
may arise. In 1917, a plan was formulated which seeks to 
adopt a uniform classification for all appropriations. 

State administrative agencies created by legislative authori- 
zation, have, for the most part, been organized on the collegial 
principle. Provisions have also frequently been embodied in 
the law requiring minority representation on state boards. 
This practice, however, tends to divide responsibility and has 
been condemned by the efficiency and economy committee, on 
the ground that it facilitates bipartisan combinations for the 
control of the offices at the disposal of the board. It has also 
been observed that the device of bipartisan representation 
" enables those boards to be particularly successful in securing 
large appropriations, .... and also enables them 
without great difficulty to thwart any threatened investigation," 
for the "washing of dirty linen" in public would be equally 
injurious to the interests of both parties. 31 In the case of the 
state board of equalization the collegial principle is apparently 
utilized for the purpose of giving representation to the differ- 
ent geographical sections of the state. 

Moreover, the various state boards have not been very 
well articulated with each other and with the other agencies 
and departments of the state government. The members of 

30 Laws of 1915, p. 232. 

31 Proposed Legislative Measures to Carry into Effect the Recommendations 
of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 16-17. 


state boards are usually appointed by the governor with the 
consent of the senate. 32 But the device of gradual renewal or 
overlapping terms of such members hampers somewhat the 
control which the governor might otherwise be able to exercise 
over them. Moreover, the relations between different boards 
having to do with closely related services have not been care- 
fully worked out, with the result that some matters have been 
either inadequately regulated or have escaped supervision alto- 
gether. As will be seen, however, many of these difficulties 
have been overcome through the abolition of a number of 
boards by the consolidation act of 1917. 

In addition to the above difficulties and evils which have 
grown up in connection with the board system it has been 
noted that the expenditures of the state government have in- 
creased hand in hand with the increase of state boards. The 
biennial appropriations have grown from approximately six- 
teen million dollars in 1905 to about forty-six million dollars in 
1915. In the former year this was about three dollars per 
capita; in 1915 it was about seven and one-half dollars per 
capita. Of the amount appropriated in 1915, about fifteen 
million dollars annually were to be expended by state boards 
and commissions. 

Much of this increase has of course been due to the general 
rise of prices and the consequent increasing cost of carrying on 
governmental operations. It has also been due in part to the 
assumption by the state of expenditures for new purposes, such 
as increased state aid to education, charitable administration, 
and the promotion of good roads. There has been a growing 
feeling, however, that much of this increased cost of running 
the state government has been due to the increase of state 
boards, the cumbrousness and duplication of governmental 
machinery, and uneconomical methods of discharging public 
functions. The realization of these facts has led to a move- 
ment for the abolition of useless boards and the consolidation 

32 Exceptions to this rule are the state board of equalization and the board 
of trustees of the University of Illinois, which are elective by popular vote. 


of others into a more logical unified system. As early as 1897 
the evils of too many state boards were perceived and warned 
against by the president of the state bar association. "While 
many of these boards are necessary," he declared, "yet the in- 
crease is surprising, and indicates a tendency to multiply the 
tax eaters at the expense of the taxpayers." 33 In 1899, one 
of the leading newspapers in the state denounced editorially 
the tendency of the legislature to create too many boards and 
commissions. In 1909, a committee of the house of repre- 
sentatives, appointed to investigate the charitable, penal, and 
reformatory institutions, recommended that these institutions 
be consolidated under the management of one board of control. 
A special senate committee also made a similar report. The 
result was the passage of a law bringing the various state char- 
itable institutions under the management of the state board of 
administration. In 1913 the fish and game commissions were 
consolidated into one commission. The results of these con- 
solidations were undoubtedly in the direction of greater econ- 
omy and efficiency. This is illustrated by the fact that the total 
appropriations asked of the forty-ninth general assembly by the 
separate charitable institutions, as stated in the so-called budget 
of the legislative reference bureau, amounted to more than a 
million and a half dollars more than the total appropriations 
requested for all these institutions by the state board of ad- 
ministration. 34 

In his farewell message to the legislature in January, 1913, 
Governor Deneen suggested the creation of a commission for 
conducting an " investigation of plans for the coordination of 
existing boards and commissions whose duties overlap or are so 
similar as to permit of unification and reduction in number 
while improving their methods and the economy of their ad- 
ministration." 35 Accordingly, by joint resolution of the forty- 

33 Address of J. H. Hamline in Proceedings of the Illinois State Ear Asso- 
ciation, 1897, part 2, p. 5-6. 

34 Chicago Tribune, February 13, 1899; Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 23, 
section 5 ; Laws of 1913, p. 363 ; Proposed Legislative Measures to Carry into 
Effect ^the Recommendations of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 9. 

35 Senate Journal, 1913, p. 132. 


eighth general assembly a joint committee, composed of four 
senators and four representatives, was created " to investigate 
all departments of the State government, including all boards, 
bureaus and commissions .... such investigation to 
be made with a view of securing a more perfect system of ac- 
counting, combining and centralizing the duties of the various 
departments, abolishing such as are useless and securing for the 
State of Illinois such reorganization that will promote greater 
efficiency and greater economy in her various branches of 
government." 36 

During 1914 the structure of the board system was sub- 
jected to an elaborate examination by the efficiency and econ- 
omy committee. As a result of its investigations, the commit- 
tee reached the following conclusions in regard to the admin- 
istrative disintegration produced by the board system : 

"Under the existing arrangements inefficiency and waste 
necessarily arise from the lack of correlation and cooperation 
in the work of different offices and institutions which are carry- 
ing out similar or closely related functions. There are separate 
boards for each of the State penitentiaries and reformatory 
and for each of the State normal schools. There are half a 
dozen boards dealing with agricultural interests; and about a 
score of separate labor agencies, including four boards dealing 
with mining problems and eight free employment offices, each 
substantially independent of each other. State finance admin- 
istration is distributed between a number of elective and ap- 
pointive officials and boards without concentrated responsibil- 
ity. The supervision of corporations and of banks, insurance 
companies and public utilities is exercised by a series of distinct 
departments. State control of public health is divided between 
various boards with no effective means of coordination. Nor 
is there any official authority for harmonizing the work of the 
numerous educational agencies." 37 

With regard to the lack of effective supervision and control 

36 Laws of 1913, p. 623. 

^Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 19. 


over the numerous boards, the findings of the committee were 
as follows: 

"As a result of the absence of any systematic organization 
of related services, there is no effective supervision and con- 
trol over the various State offices, boards and commissions. It 
is true that the greater number of these are under the nominal 
supervision of the Governor, through his power of appoint- 
ment and removal. But the very number of separate offices 
makes impossible the exercise of any adequate control. To a 
very large extent each authority is left to determine its own 
action; conflict of authority between two or more offices is 
often possible; and if harmony and cooperation is secured it 
is by voluntary compromise rather than by the advice or de- 
cision of a superior authority. Under the present arrange- 
ments too many independent authorities have power to make 
expenditures subject to no effective centralized control or re- 
sponsibility. This situation necessarily leads to waste and 
expenditure." 38 

As a result of its findings, the committee recommended the 
enactment of laws which would introduce greater economy, 
efficiency, and concentration of responsibility into the state acj- 
ministration. In particular the committee recommended the 
consolidation and regrouping of the administrative services 
into ten principal departments, namely, those of finance, edu- 
cation, law, trade and commerce, labor and mining, health, 
agriculture, public works, charities and corrections, and mili- 
tary affairs. 

At the next regular legislative session, that of 1915, after 
the report of the committee was submitted, bills were intro- 
duced designed to carry out the recommendations of the com- 
mittee; but very little was done at that session toward putting 
the recommendations of the committee into effect. The most 
important act actually passed was one providing for the ap- 
pointment by the governor and senate of a superintendent of 
printing and providing for systematic methods in contracting 

38 Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 21. 


for the purchase of printing and stationery. 39 To have carried 
out the recommendations in a thoroughgoing fashion at that 
time would have involved the abolition of many positions in 
the state service, which, however useless such positions might 
be, could not be done without arousing powerful opposition 
from the officeholders affected. Instead of consolidating or 
abolishing administrative agencies the forty-ninth general as- 
sembly created about a dozen new and independent boards and 
commissions. Two years later, however, the conditions were 
more propitious. In the campaign of 1916 the candidates for 
governor vied with each other in advocating the carrying out 
of the program of reform in state administrative organiza- 
tion indicated by the efficiency and economy committee. The 
platforms' of the two leading parties, adopted in September of 
that year, each contained planks on the subject. The demo- 
cratic plank declared in favor of the " enactment of laws for the 
consolidation of the different commissions of the state, as 
recommended in the report of the efficiency and economy com- 
mission." The republican plank favored the " consolidation of 
the boards, institutions and different departments, thereby elim- 
inating useless and unnecessary offices and positions, avoiding 
overlapping functions and increasing efficiency." 

Immediately after his election Governor Lowden had 
prepared a tentative draft of the consolidation bill and began 
to take energetic steps to carry out this plank of the republican 
platform. In his inaugural address to the fiftieth general as- 
sembly in January, 1917, he declared that "one of the impera- 
tive needs of the State is the consolidation of its multiplied 
agencies into a few principal departments." "Administrative 
agencies have been multiplied in bewildering confusion. They 
have been created without reference to their ability, economi- 
cally and effectively, to administer the laws. Separate boards 
govern the penitentiaries, the reformatories, and the educa- 
tional institutions. Several boards and commissions have 

39 Proposed Legislative Measures to Carry into Effect the Recommendations 
of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, passim; Laws of 1915, p. 671. 


charge of matters affecting the agricultural interests. Admin- 
istration of laws affecting labor is parceled out among numer- 
ous agencies, including several boards having jurisdiction of 
mining problems and several free employment agencies, each 
independent of the other. Our finance administration is cha- 
otic, illogical and confused. The administration of the health 
laws is divided between boards and commissions, with no 
effective means of coordination. Our educational agencies are 
not harmonious. Over one hundred officers, boards, agencies, 
commissions, institutions, and departments are charged with 
the administration of our laws. No systematic organization 
exists and no adequate control can be exercised. Diffusion, 
rather than concentration and responsibility, mark our sys- 
tem." Governor Lowden gave his program for the consolida- 
tion of administrative agencies the right of way during the first 
few months of his term and declined to allow other matters to 
interfere with it. He shrewdly declined to make appointments 
to fill places under the old administrative organization as this 
would have greatly increased the difficulty of adopting the 
simplified plan if it did not entirely kill all chance of success in 
putting it through the legislature. Under the skillful leader- 
ship of the governor, however, the consolidation bill was intro- 
duced shortly after the beginning of the session, referred to 
separate or special committees constituted in each house to con- 
sider it, and passed both houses by substantial majorities and 
went into effect July I, 19 ly. 40 

The consolidation act or civil administrative code follows 
in the main the recommendations of the efficiency and economy 
committee, but with certain modifications. While the commit- 
tee had recommended the creation of ten principal depart- 
ments, the consolidation act provides for only nine, as follows: 
finance, agriculture, labor, mines and minerals, public works 
and buildings, public welfare, public health, trade and com- 
merce, and registration and education. Each department is 
under a head, known as the director, who is appointed for four- 

40 Laws of IQI?, p. 2-36. 


year terms by the governor with the consent of the senate. 
The principle is thus adopted of having a single officer in- 
stead of a board in charge of executive functions. Exceptions 
to this rule, however, consist in the provision for the industrial 
commission in the department of labor, the public utilities 
commission in the department of trade and commerce and the 
normal school board in the department of registration and 
education. Although nominally placed in the departments indi- 
cated, these boards are in reality independent of any control 
by the director of such departments. In addition to these 
executive boards, advisory and unpaid boards were also at- 
tached to some of the departments. More than fifty boards, 
bureaus, departments, and officers whose work was taken over 
by the nine departments established were specifically abolished. 
In each of the nine departments there is an assistant direc- 
tor and other officers or heads of bureaus who are appointed 
in the same manner as the director. Civil service employees 
under the abolished officers and boards are transferred along 
with the functions of such abolished boards to the new depart- 
ments created. Each department is given a considerable de- 
gree of control over its own internal organization. The direc- 
tor of each department is empowered to prescribe regulations, 
not inconsistent with law, for the government of his depart- 
ment, the conduct of its employees, and the distribution and 
performance of its business; and each department may employ 
necessary employees, under civil service regulations, and fix 
their compensation when not fixed by law. The governor is 
given no power of transferring services from one department 
to another; but one department may under certain circum- 
stances require necessary assistance from another department; 
and the director of any department may require an employee 
of another department, subject to the consent of the superior 
officer of the employee, to perform any duty which he might 
require of his own subordinates. In order to avoid conflicts 
among the departments, it is provided that " the directors of 
departments shall devise a practical and working basis for co- 


operation and coordination of work, eliminating duplication 
and overlapping of functions. They shall, so far as prac- 
ticable, cooperate with each other in the employment of serv- 
ices and the use of quarters and equipment." 

In order further to avoid duplication and friction the de- 
partment of finance is empowered "to investigate duplication 
of work of departments and the efficiency of the organization 
and administration of departments, and to formulate plans 
for the better coordination of departments." 

In addition to consolidation of departments, the act also 
provides for the preparation of a state budget, under the 
supervision of the department of finance. Each department, 
office, and institution is required to file biennially in the office 
of the director of finance on uniform blanks prescribed by the 
director estimates of receipts and expenditures for the suc- 
ceeding two years, with an explanation of reasons for each 
item of expenditure requested. The director of finance is em- 
powered to investigate all items and to revise the estimates 
before submitting them to the governor for transmittal to the 
general assembly. The governor is required to submit to the 
general assembly not later than four weeks after its organiza- 
tion a state budget, embracing the amounts recommended by 
him to be appropriated to the respective departments, offices, 
and institutions, and for all other public purposes, the esti- 
mated revenues from taxation and from other sources, and 
an estimate of the amount required to be raised by taxation. 
Thus the budget, when it reaches the general assembly, has 
official support and authority of the governor, though it may, 
of course, be altered by the general assembly in any way it sees 
fit. The submission of such an official budget, backed by the 
authority and prestige of the governor, should be an important 
step in the direction of more economical expenditure of state 

Another step in the same direction is the power of the 
department of finance to prescribe uniform rules governing 
specifications for purchases of supplies for the several de- 


partments. The actual purchase of most of the supplies 
needed by the various state departments and by the charitable, 
penal, and reformatory institutions is concentrated in the hands 
of the department of public works and buildings. 

It should be noted that the consolidation act does not 
undertake to reorganize the whole field of state administra- 
tion, and certain important agencies are unaffected. The de- 
partment of finance does not control the state auditor and 
treasurer nor the administration of the revenue laws. The 
act does not affect the constitutional officers, such as secretary 
of state and attorney-general, nor their constitutional func- 
tions. It does not even affect their statutory functions. Many 
statutory bodies and agencies are also left outside the new 
departmental organization, such as the state board of equaliza- 
tion, the board of trustees of the University of Illinois, the 
adjutant-general and national guard, the state civil service 
commission, the legislative reference bureau, and the state 
library. Nevertheless the consolidation act has gone far 
toward introducing a scientific and efficient form of adminis- 
trative organization in the state government and is undoubtedly 
the most important step in this direction which has thus far 
been taken by this or by any other state. The actual working, 
however, of this efficient and scientifically constructed machin- 
ery must still depend largely on the governor and upon the 
character of the men whom he appoints to the various 


THE process of centralization in state administration has 
proceeded along two lines. First, functions formerly 
exercised by the localities have been taken over by the state, or, 
if left primarily with the localities, have been placed under the 
supervision of the state; and, secondly, the state has assumed 
functions not previously exercised by any governmental au- 
thority. Although some of the functions previously exercised 
by the localities have recently been assumed by the state or 
brought under state supervision, most of the newer state func- 
tions fall in the second of the two classes enumerated. The 
assumption by the state of the second class of functions is due 
in large measure to the rapid rise, within the last few decades, 
of new and complex industrial conditions and economic 
phenomena. This increasing complexity of social and indus- 
trial conditions, combined with the awakening sense of social 
solidarity, necessitates more and more the interference of the 
state for the purpose of regulating and controlling the opera- 
tions of business and the processes of life. The force of cir- 
cumstances and the changes in those varied and manifold 
conditions which go to make up the governmental environment 
have brought on a new era of state activity. New functions 
are undertaken by the state as the result of an effort, partly 
instinctive, partly conscious, to adapt itself to changes in this 
environment. The assumption by the state of each successive 
new function has, as a rule, involved the creation of a state 
executive or administrative board, commission, or other similar 
agency, to which is intrusted the direct exercise of the func- 
tion. The creation of state boards and commissions, there- 
fore, has gone hand in hand with the development of centrali- 
zation in state administration. In general, such bodies may be 



considered as administrative agencies created for the special 
purpose of enforcing or supervising the enforcement of a par- 
ticular portion of the substantive law of the state. In the pre- 
ceding chapter, some of the larger considerations which con- 
cern such boards and commissions in general have been noted. 
In the present chapter, the special characteristics of certain 
particular kinds of state boards and commissions will be con- 
sidered in connection with the functional activities of which 
they are the instruments. For this purpose there will be chosen 
as typical the administration of charities and corrections, the 
administration of public health, and the supervision of 

Prior to 1869 the state charitable institutions in Illinois 
were each under the control of a separate board of trustees 
which had the exclusive management of the institution, sub- 
ject only to slight legislative supervision. Some degree of 
centralized supervision over these institutions was provided in 
1869 through the creation of the state board of charities. 
Such boards, as found in the various states, may be roughly 
classified into supervisory boards and boards of control. The 
Illinois board, as originally created, was of the supervisory 
type. Its powers consisted, for the most part, in making 
inspections and investigations, giving advice, making recom- 
mendations, and submitting reports to the governor and 
legislature. In its report for the year 1900 the board thus 
described the situation: 

"These fifteen charitable institutions have forty-nine trus- 
tees and there are five members of the board of commissioners 
of public charities, making in all fifty-four persons who are 
charged with the duty of seeing that these institutions are 
properly managed under the law. In addition they have 
fifteen local treasurers. All of the institutions are under the 
supervision of this board. Our duties, however, are merely 
advisory, we having no real executive or controlling power. 
Under the law we are required to visit each of them at least 
twice a year to see that the moneys appropriated for their 


support are economically and judiciously expended, to see 
whether their purposes are accomplished and whether the laws 
in relation to them are complied with. It also requires us to 
inquire and examine into their methods of government and 
management, the conduct of their trustees, officers and em- 
ployees, the condition of the property and into all matters per- 
taining to their usefulness and management. In addition to 
this the law requires us to approve their accounts. Notwith- 
standing all these requirements this board as constituted has 
no such executive power to enforce any of its recommendations 
as should be lodged in a central governing body." 1 

The lack of adequate control over the state institutions by 
the state board gave rise to many abuses and much complaint. 
This dissatisfaction was evidenced by the enactment in 1905 
of a law designed to place the safeguards of civil service regu- 
lations around the appointment of employees in state charitable 
institutions. A general reorganization of charitable adminis- 
tration was effected by an act of 1909. By this act the separate 
boards of trustees over each institution were abolished and the 
state board of administration was created and given general 
management and control of all the charitable institutions of 
the state. The separate treasurers of each institution were 
also abolished and the institution funds placed largely in the 
hands of the state treasurer. The state board of administra- 
tion thus not only displaced the separate boards of trustees in 
the practically absolute control of the state charitable institu- 
tions, but it was also given some power over local and private 
charitable institutions and associations. Thus, before private 
associations for the care of dependent and neglected children 
could be incorporated, they were subject to the examination 
and approval of the state board of administration. 

Although the state board of administration was established 
as a substitute for the separate boards of trustees, it was not 
intended to take the place of the former state board of chari- 
ties. It is true that the latter board was abolished by the act 

1 Quoted by Garner Report on Charitable and Correctional Institutions, 10. 


of 1909, but in its place was created the state charities com- 
mission. This body was given powers of visit, investigation, 
and recommendation in regard to the institutions under the 
control of the state board of administration, as well as other 
institutions subject to its supervision. Under the act of 1909, 
therefore, there was introduced into Illinois what is known as 
the dual system of charitable administration, or a combination 
of a board of control with a supervisory or advisory board. 
One of the chief objections that might be urged against the 
dual system is the possibility of conflict or lack of cooperation 
between the two boards. Where the supervisory board, how- 
ever, is given no administrative functions, as in Illinois, the 
danger of such conflict appears to be slight. It should be 
pointed out, moreover, that even from the standpoint of 
financial economy the dual system has this advantage, that, 
while the board of control may endeavor to secure the more 
immediate economies, the ultimate function of the supervisory 
board is to promote the much more far-reaching and important 
economy of securing, by preventive measures, a proportionate 
decrease in the number of persons dependent on the state's 
care, and thus incidentally decrease the expenditures of the 
state for this purpose. 

Under the act of 1909, it was provided that there should 
be a fiscal supervisor, to be elected by the board of administra- 
tion from among its own members, charged with the financial 
oversight of the institutions, and exercising his powers in co- 
operation with, and under the supervision of, the board. This 
was a compromise intended to secure the advantages of both 
the broader point of view of the board and also the specialized 
knowledge of the fiscal supervisor. The cooperation of the 
superintendents of the various charitable institutions in the 
consideration of fiscal matters wherein their familiarity with 
conditions is of value was also secured through the annual 
meetings of the board of joint estimate, composed of the 
superintendents of the several institutions and a committee of 
the state board of administration. 


The act of 1909 did not apply to the penal and reformatory 
institutions of the state. Each of the penitentiaries was left 
under a separate board of commissioners, while the reforma- 
tory remained under its. own board of managers. The mem- 
bers of the two penitentiary boards and of the reformatory 
board together composed the state board of prison industries, 
charged with the enforcement of the laws relating to prison 
labor. Such labor is carried on mainly for the manufacture of 
articles and supplies for state institutions, but it was provided 
that any surplus of prison products up to a certain extent which 
could not be used in the public institutions might be disposed 
of in the open market. The prices of all articles manufactured 
by prison labor and furnished to the state or its institutions 
were fixed by the board of classification, composed of the presi- 
dents of the boards of administration and of prison industries, 
together with the auditor of public accounts. 

The system of administration of charities and corrections 
thus outlined was somewhat cumbrous. Although the two 
boards in the dual system of administration may be assigned 
entirely different functions so as to avoid the danger of con- 
flict, nevertheless, this system is somewhat lacking in the ele- 
ments of simplicity and definiteness of responsibility. The bill 
of 1909 in its original form had provided for placing the penal 
and reformatory, as well as the charitable institutions under the 
state board of administration. There seemed to be advantages 
to be gained in the grouping of all these institutions under one 
central control. In the constitutional convention of 1870, the 
proposition was brought forward to create a superintendent of 
public charities, with supervision over all the charitable institu- 
tions of the state, but it was not adopted. 2 Finally, however, 
in 1917, the proposal of 1870 for a single executive head and 
the proposal of 1909 for consolidated control over both 
charitable and correctional administration was carried into 
effect; and the whole system was directly linked with one of 

- Debates and Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of Illinois, 1870, 


the chief executive departments of the state government. The 
civil administrative code, enacted in 1917, abolished the state 
board of administration, the commissioners of the state peni- 
tentiaries, the board of managers of the state reformatory, the 
board of prison industries, and the board of classification, and 
intrusted their powers to a department of public welfare, under 
a director appointed by the governor, with the advice and con- 
sent of the senate. There was also created in the department 
a board of public welfare commissioners, composed of five per- 
sons, and charged with functions of an advisory and non- 
executive nature. 3 

The principal agencies provided for carrying on public 
health administration in Illinois are the following: 4 state 
board of health, state food commissioner and food standard 
commission, state board of pharmacy, state board of dental 
examiners, barbers' examining board, and state board of nurse 
examiners. Some functions related to public health are per- 
formed by the state department of factory inspection, the state 
water survey, and the rivers and lakes commission. In addi- 
tion to these state agencies, much of the work of public health 
administration is in the hands of local agencies, such as county 
and municipal boards of health, and boards of trustees of sani- 
tary, water, and drainage districts. 

The work of the state board of health may be classified 
under the following heads: examining and licensing function, 
collection and dissemination of information, and measures for 
the prevention or eradication of disease. Under the act of 
1877 creating the state board of health, that body was given 
power to license practitioners of medicine and surgery. But 
those who had been practicing for ten years, and holders of 
diplomas from medical schools were entitled to licenses from 
the board without examination. Others could procure a license 

8 Laws of 1917, p. 7, 17, 26. 

4 The present tense is here used as of the year 1915, and the statements in 
regard to public health administration are taken from the author's report on the 
subject, originally published in the Report of the Efficiency and Economy Com- 
mittee, 647-653. 


only by passing an examination given by the board. Licenses 
were subject to revocation by the board for unprofessional or 
dishonorable conduct. By various amendments passed since 
the original act and its revision of 1899, the state board of 
health has been given wider powers over the admission to the 
practice of medicine and surgery, and the powers of the board 
have been extended to include the admission to practice of 
persons who treat diseases by methods other than those of 
medicine and surgery. 

By an amendment of 1907 the board is empowered to 
establish standards of preliminary education deemed requisite 
to admission to a medical college in good standing and to re- 
quire satisfactory proof of the enforcement of this standard by 
medical colleges. Every applicant for a license must produce 
satisfactory proof to the board that he is a graduate of a medi- 
cal college in good standing, as may be determined by the 
board, and must pass before the board an examination in those 
subjects a knowledge of which is commonly required of candi- 
dates for the degree of doctor of medicine by reputable medical 
colleges in the United States. 

The board may confer licenses without examination, how- 
ever, upon physicians licensed in other states in which the 
requirements of medical registration are deemed by the board 
to have been practically equivalent to those in force in Illinois, 
and upon physicians who have graduated from medical colleges 
in good standing and have passed examination before the 
United States army or navy, or the United States public health 
and marine hospital service. All licenses granted by the board 
must be recorded by the holder in the office of the county clerk 
in the county in which he resides or practices within three 
months from the date of the license. 

Under the act of 1899, the state board of health is em- 
powered to refuse to issue licenses to persons guilty of criminal 
practice or who advertise under names other than their own or 
for other unprofessional or dishonorable conduct and may 
revoke licenses for like causes. But before a license can be 


refused or revoked, the applicant or holder is entitled to a 
hearing before the board. This act, however, has been con- 
strued by the supreme court as having no retroactive effect upon 
licenses issued before its passage. Under the act of 1877, 
creating the state board of health, that body is given general 
supervision of the state system of registration of births and 
deaths. The clerical services and safe-keeping of the bureau 
of vital statistics are provided by the secretary of state. 

By act of May 6, 1903, it is made the duty of every phy- 
sician and midwife, who attends the birth of a child, to make, 
within thirty days thereafter, a report of the occurrence, with 
such other information as may be required by the state board 
of health, in writing, to the county clerk of the county in which 
the birth takes place. In cities of fifty thousand population, 
such reports may be made to the city commissioner of health, 
who delivers them to the county clerk, who in turn delivers all 
reports to the state board of health. Likewise, reports of 
deaths are required to be made by physicians, midwives, and 
coroners to the state board of health, unless such deaths occur 
in the corporate limits of a city where permits must be secured 
before the body may be removed or buried. In such cases 
reports are made to the permit-issuing officer, who later for- 
wards them to the state board of health. In order to secure 
uniformity in the information obtained, it is required that all 
such reports of births and deaths shall be made in strict ac- 
cordance with forms prescribed by the state board of health. 
Blank reports in the prescribed form are to be printed by the 
county clerk and distributed free to physicians, midwives, and 

Previous to 1903, no compensation was paid to persons 
making the required reports of births and deaths; and, partly 
in consequence of this omission, the law was a dead letter. 
Under the law of 1903, however, a fee of twenty-five cents is 
allowed for each report of a birth or death; and such fees, 
together with the cost of printing blank reports, constitute a 
charge upon the counties. Many counties fail to make ap- 


propriation for such expenses, and in many localities the re- 
ports are fragmentary and lacking in accuracy. 

The object of collecting vital statistics has been described 
as being "to give warning of the undue increase of disease or 
death that is presumed to be due to preventable cause, and also 
to indicate the localities in which sanitary effort is most desir- 
able and most likely to be of use." This object cannot be at- 
tained without full and accurate statistics running continuously 
over a considerable period of time, and such statistics cannot 
be even approximately obtained when the collection is de- 
pendent in certain essential particulars upon the voluntary ac- 
tion of counties. 

Reports of deaths are fairly complete from cities and vil- 
lages requiring the issuance of burial permits, but deaths in 
other parts of the state and births nearly everywhere are very 
inadequately reported. There would seem to be a need for a 
new birth and death act, perferably one meeting the require- 
ments of the United States census bureau. 

In addition to collecting vital and mortuary statistics, the 
state board of health also conducts investigations into health 
conditions in various parts of the state in order to discover the 
causes of communicable diseases and to collect the necessary 
information as a basis for taking measures for the suppression 
of epidemics. The board maintains at Springfield a laboratory 
for the diagnosis of diseases and for the examination of speci- 
mens of various substances involved in the detection of disease. 
By special arrangement, the state water survey at Urbana 
takes care of the examination of the sources of water supplies 
and the study of the proper disposition of sewage. It makes 
chemical analyses of samples of drinking water sent to it for 
that purpose. The state board of health distributes diphtheria 
antitoxin free of charge to those who may be in need of it and 
unable to pay therefor. The board is empowered to appoint 
one or more agents in each county for the sale or distribution 
of the antitoxin. 

Under the head of measures for the prevention or eradica- 


tion of disease would be included such matters as the establish- 
ment and maintenance of quarantine, the abatement of 
nuisances, the control of epidemics in cities, villages, and town- 
ships when local authorities fail to take proper steps, the is- 
suance of rules and regulations for carrying into effect the 
provisions of various acts for the protection of the public 
health, and the supervision of sanitary conditions in lodging 
houses and hotels in cities of one hundred thousand population 
and over. Among the rules and regulations issued by the 
board may be mentioned those dealing with the draining, con- 
struction, and plumbing of hotels and lodging houses. 

To a large extent the state board of health is dependent 
upon local authorities and boards for the enforcement of its 
rules and regulations. It is made the duty of all local boards 
of health, health authorities and police officers, sheriffs, con- 
stables, and all other officers and employees of the state or of 
any county, village, city or township, to enforce the rules and 
regulations that may be adopted by the board. More spe- 
cifically it is provided that persons guilty of violating any rule 
or regulation of the board shall be liable to a fine not exceed- 
ing $200 for each offense and to imprisonment in the county 
jail not exceeding six months, or both. At the instance of the 
board or its executive officer, it is made the duty of the states 
attorney in each county to prosecute all persons in the county 
refusing to obey the rules and regulations of the board. 

The civil administrative code, enacted in 1917, abolished the 
state board of health, the board of pharmacy, the board of 
dental examiners, the board of nurse examiners, the board of 
barber examiners, the state food commissioner, and the food 
standard commission. The powers of the state board of 
health, with the exception of its examining functions, were in- 
trusted to a department of public health, while the examining 
powers of the various health boards were intrusted to a depart- 
ment of registration and education, each department being 
under a director appointed by the governor with the advice 
and consent of the senate. 


" Business corporations and businesses often conducted by 
corporations are under the jurisdiction of four separate State 
officials, namely, the Secretary of State, the Auditor of Public 
Accounts, the Insurance Superintendent, and the State Public 
Utilities Commission. The Secretary of State has general 
supervision over the incorporation of all corporations not 
otherwise provided for. His authority is contained in the 
general law and a series of supplementary laws relating to spe- 
cial classes of corporations The Auditor of Pub- 
lic Accounts has general supervision over banks and banking 
institutions, trust companies, title guarantee companies and 
building and loan associations; and receives reports from 
pawners' societies. He also receives reports from corpora- 
tions and railroads for purposes of assessment 

All insurance companies, except assessment life and accident 
and title guarantee companies, are chartered by the Insurance 
Superintendent. Corporations for furnishing life or accident 
insurance on the assessment plan must submit their plan of 
organization, first to the Insurance Superintendent; if he ap- 
proves of the plan he forwards it to the Secretary of State who 
then issues a certificate of incorporation. The same process 
is followed in making changes in the corporation. All in- 
surance companies, except title guarantee companies, are super- 
vised by the Insurance Superintendent." 5 

"Following the adoption of the Constitution of 1870, a 
railroad and warehouse commission was established in 1871, 
with important powers of supervision and regulation of rail- 
roads and public warehouses. This was one of the leading 
measures in the movement of this time for public regulation of 
railroads; and the litigation on its constitutionality resulted in 
a judicial decision in the case of Munn v. Illinois uphold- 
ing the power of the State to regulate business affected with 
a public interest. . . . The Public Utility Law of 1913, 
which went into effect January i, 1914, repealed the railroad 

5 Robinson, " Report on Supervision of Corporations and Related Business/' 
Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 701, 702. 


and warehouse commission law .... and established 
a new State Public Utilities Commission with jurisdiction and 
general supervision over all classes of public utility companies. 
This commission consists of five members, appointed by the 
governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to serve 
after the first appointment for six years, one or two 
members retiring at a time. Not more than three members 
of the commission may be affiliated with the same political 
party. The chairman is designated by the governor. 
The commission Is authorized and required to approve all 
issues of capital stock, bonds and other securities issued by 
public utility companies. A corporation desiring to operate a 
public utility obtains its charter from the Secretary of State, 
but must secure the approval of the Public Utilities Commis- 
sion before issuing securities. Annual reports in the form pre- 
scribed by the Public Utilities Commission are made directly 
to the said commission." 6 

The civil administrative code, enacted in 1917, did not 
affect the powers of the secretary of state or of the auditor of 
public accounts in relation to corporations. It, however, 
abolished the insurance superintendent and the state public 
utilities commission and vested their powers in a department 
of trade and commerce, in which a superintendent of insur- 
ance and a public utilities commission are created. This com- 
mission, however, is authorized to administer the public utilities 
law without any supervision or control by the director of that 

6 Robinson, "Report on Supervision of Corporations and Related Business," 
Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 702-703, 735, 736. 


THE filling of positions in the public service remained 
under the spoils system in Illinois, with but few excep- 
tions, until 1895. Conditions under this system became par- 
ticularly odious in Chicago, and the evils manifested under it 
were especially flagrant in that city. During the earlier his- 
tory of the state, when governmental operations and activities 
were comparatively simple and no great amount of training 
or technical skill in office was required, the filling of offices with 
party workers probably did no great harm. This practice was 
based not only on the idea that "to the victors belong the 
spoils," but also on the supposedly democratic principle of ro- 
tation in office. But, with the rise of the new industrial age and 
the accompanying assumption by the state and the cities of new 
economic and semi-scientific functions, the feeling grew and 
became widespread that the general welfare could not be 
properly safeguarded unless public offices were filled on the 
merit principle with men having the technical training and 
qualifications for the positions. Yet such was the force of the 
spoils system that, in his biennial message of 1895, Governor 
Altgeld suggested the "urgent need of legislation in regard to 
the civil service that will relieve executive officers, both state 
and municipal, of the constant and overwhelming importunity 
for place." 1 

In order to remedy these conditions, a movement was in- 
augurated by the civic federation and the civil service reform 
league to secure a law from the legislature establishing the 
merit system in Chicago. A bill drawn up by a committee 
representing these organizations was introduced in the legis- 
lature in January, 1895. It was passed by both houses in 

1 Reports General Assembly, 1895, i : 20. 



March with an emergency clause requiring a two-thirds vote, 
signed by Governor Altgeld, and went into effect immediately. 2 
It was a general optional law, applying only to such cities as 
might adopt it by popular choice. A vigorous campaign was 
immediately begun in Chicago to secure its adoption. Both 
the republican and democratic candidates for mayor of that 
city publicly supported it. Within two weeks after the bill was 
signed by the governor, it was adopted by the voters of Chi- 
cago, by nearly fifty thousand majority. Similarly favorable 
action was subsequently taken by Evanston, Springfield, and 
Waukegan. By the provisions of the act, a commission of 
three persons appointed by the mayor in each city adopting the 
act is placed in charge of its administration. The members 
of the commission serve for three-year terms subject to the 
power of the mayor to remove them for cause, and not more 
than two of them may be members of the same political party. 
The act applied to all officers and employees in the service of 
the city with certain exceptions, including those elected by the 
people, or whose appointment is subject to confirmation by the 
city council, judges and clerks of election, members of the 
board of education, the superintendent and teachers of schools, 
heads of departments, and members of the law department. 3 
All other positions in the city service were to be classified by 
the commission and examinations were to be held to provide an 
eligible list from which appointments were to be made to fill 
vacancies in the classified service. Where practicable, such 

2 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 24, section 446 ff. 

3 Among those exempt from the civil service law in Chicago were bridge- 
tenders, because they were appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the council. 
They constituted one of the most demoralizing remnants of the traditional spoils 
system in that city. In 1901, the Citizen's Association of Chicago, after a careful 
investigation showed that in many cases " saloonkeepers and politicians are car- 
ried on the pay roll as bridgetenders, who employ substitutes to do their work 
and make a large profit." It showed, too, that in other cases bridgetenders 
" receive for their own services twice what they pay for similar services to 
assistants, and still others are paid to turn bridges that have been out of use 
for years and nailed up." The association estimated that " at least $25,000 a year 
can be easily saved by cutting out the dead wood on this pay roll and paying fair 
compensation to men who actually perform the labor where bridges actually 
require attention." The association accordingly recommended that all bridge- 
tenders be placed under civil service rules. The recommendation, however, was 
for many years ignored. Chicago Tribune, December 13, 1905. 


vacancies were to be filled by promotions upon the basis of 
ascertained merit, seniority in service, and examination. In 
the case of vacancies to be filled by promotion, it was made 
the duty of the commission to certify to the appointing author- 
ity the names of the three applicants having the highest rating, 
from whom alone the appointment might be made. 4 In the 
case of original appointment, however, the highest name only 
was to be certified, except that, in the case of laborers, the selec- 
tion might be made by lot from among those candidates proved 
fit by examination. This was an innovation as compared with 
previous laws in the national government and in the other 
states. An original appointee was placed on probation for a 
period of six months, at the end of which time he might be 
dismissed with the consent of the commission for reasons as- 
signed in writing by his superior officer. In cases where in an 
emergency it was impracticable to fill positions from the eligible 
list, temporary appointments might be made with the approval 
of the commission for a period not exceeding sixty days. This 
provision has unfortunately been subject to abuse. The Munici- 
pal Voters League, in reporting on aldermen in February, 1916, 
declared: "The executive departments of the city government 
have for years abused the emergency section of the excellent 
and carefully drawn civil service statute. In practice, the chief 
use of appointing 'sixty day' men has been to reward political 
henchmen with jobs, at the expense of good public service and 
to the discouragement of efficient civil service employes." 5 
The Chicago Civil Service Reform Association, in a report on 
the abuse of the power of temporary appointment, declared 
that over thirty thousand temporary permits had been granted 
by the city civil service commission during the first year of the 
Thompson administration. 6 

4 In case the civil service commissioners failed to hold a promotional exami- 
nation for the purpose of filling a vacancy in an office in the classified service 
they could be compelled by mandamus to do so. People ex rel. <v. Errant et al., 
229 Illinois, 56. 

6 Chicago Tribune, February 8, 1916. 

6 Ibid., June 22, 1916. This was no new abuse; see for example, ibid., Decem- 
ber 24, 1898. 


The provision of the act of 1895 regarding removals from 
the classified service was also an innovation. A member of 
such service might be suspended for a period of thirty days by 
his superior officer, but no member could be permanently re- 
moved except for cause upon written charges, and with the ap- 
proval of the commission. 7 In investigating such charges, the 
commission was empowered to administer oaths, subpoena wit- 
nesses, and perform other acts of a quasi-judicial body. 8 
Among other provisions of the act were those prohibiting 
members of the classified service from soliciting, receiving, or 
paying political assessments or engaging in partisan activities, 
and prohibiting the comptroller or other auditing officer of a 
city from approving the payment of compensation to any per- 
son holding a position in violation of the provisions of the 
law. The act also attempted to make any person convicted 
of violating the act ineligible to hold any public office or public 
employment for a period of five years, but this disqualification 
was subsequently held unconstitutional. 9 

There were about fourteen thousand positions in the classi- 
fied service of Chicago at the time the law of 1895 went into 
effect upon adoption by the voters of that city. The law, how- 
ever, did not apply, except potentially, to persons already in 
the service but only to vacancies subsequently happening. The 
result unfortunately was that there was a tendency to fill the 
ranks of the service with members of the party in power, be- 
fore the rules of the commission should go into effect. The 
restrictions on removals operated, therefore, to protect per- 
sons in the service who had been appointed under the old 
spoils system. Experience in the working of the civil service 
law in Chicago has shown that where the mayor is of the 

7 The action of the Chicago commission in removing a police patrolman 
might be reviewed on certiorari by the circuit and superior courts of Cook county. 
Powell et al. v. Bullis. 221 Illinois, 379. 

8 It has been held, however, that this provision does not vest judicial power 
in the commission. People ex rel. f. City of Chicago, et al., 234 Illinois, 416. 

9 People ex rel. <v. Kipley et al., 171 Illinois, 44 (73-74). In other respects, 
however, the supreme court upheld the constitutionality of the act in the Kipley 


spoilsman type, the civil service commission, composed of his 
appointees, may become a tool in his hand for the purpose of 
building up a political machine ; and the result is that the in- 
tent and spirit of the civil service law may be practically nulli- 
fied. On the whole, however, the operation of the act has 
generally been in the direction of the improvement of the serv- 
ice. The more marked immediate effects of the law were to 
relieve the mayor and the heads of departments from the pres- 
sure of applicants for office, thus leaving them free to attend 
to their more important public duties and to relieve city em- 
ployees from the burden* of political assessments. 10 

The municipal civil service law, in common with the other 
civil service laws in the state, has been subjected to various 
attacks, in the courts, in the legislature, and in the forum of 
public opinion. Some of these attacks have been justified by 
demonstrated defects in the working of the law, some have 
been inspired by purely political motives, and some by mixed 
motives. Among the latter may be mentioned the investiga- 
tion by a senatorial committee in 1898 of the operation of the 
civil service law in the Chicago police department. This in- 
vestigation was probably inspired largely for the purpose of 
finding plausible reasons for the enactment of the metropolitan 
police board bill, which Governor Tanner wished to have 
passed by the legislature at the special session of 18971898 
and which provided for a state police board, appointed by the 
governor, to control the police department of Chicago. As a 
result of its investigation the committee reported that the law 
as administered by the city administration was a sham and a 
delusion and that a large number of persons had been ap- 
pointed to the police force of Chicago, at the suggestion of the 
mayor and with the consent of the civil service commission, 
whose records showed that they were entirely unfit. The re- 
port of the committee was approved by the senate by an almost 

10 Report of the Chicago Civil Service Commission, 1896, p. 7. In the impor- 
tant case of People ex rel. v. Kipley et at., 171 Illinois, 44, the supreme court in 
1897 upheld most of the provisions of the act as constitutional and cleared up 
some ambiguities which had arisen in the interpretation of some of its provisions. 


strict party vote. Although colored by party animus it never- 
theless disclosed conditions which undoubtedly needed im- 
provement. One of the direct results of the investigation was 
that more than one hundred policemen, whom the committee 
found unfit, were suspended by the civil service commission. 11 

Subsequent to the passage of the act of 1895 relating to 
cities, the general assembly enacted an amendment to the Cook 
county commissioners act which applied the merit system to 
about eight hundred positions in the county service.' This 
amendment was put into effect without the formality of sub- 
mission to a popular referendum. Attempts still further to 
amend the Cook county act so as to extend it to more positions 
and to make it more effective were made at subsequent sessions 
of the general assembly, but with little success. The adminis- 
tration of the law fell into disrepute. In 1901 it was declared 
that the law was a farce and that successive civil service boards 
had violated almost every provision of the law and had made 
political appointments to county positions at the behest of ma- 
chine bosses. In the same year, the members of the Cook 
county civil service commission were indicted by a grand jury, 
tried, convicted, and sentenced for malfeasance in office; and 
the sentence was sustained by the supr&me court. 12 The par- 
ticular charge against them was that they certified applicants 
for appointment without the formality of holding open com- 
petitive examinations as required by law. 

In 1903, an optional act was passed providing for the 
introduction of the merit system for positions in the police 
and fire departments of the cities having a population of from 
seven to one hundred thousand. About eight cities of this 
class have adopted the provisions of the act by popular vote. 
In each city adopting the act, its provisions are administered 
by a board of fire and police commissioners appointed by the 
mayor with the consent of the city council. It was provided 
in the act that appeals might be taken from the orders of the 

11 Chicago Tribune, January 12, 13, 14, 15, February 10, 1898. 

12 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 34, section 62 ; Chicago Tribune, February 
3, 1901, April 18, 1902. 


board to the circuit court of the county in which the city is 
located. This provision, however, was declared unconstitu- 
tional by the supreme court, as being a delegation of executive 
power to a judicial body. 13 

During the first few years of the twentieth century, there 
was a growing feeling in favor of the further extension of 
civil service reform. Until 1905 the state service was still 
largely under the spoils system. The evils of this system were 
especially noticeable in the state charitable and corrective in- 
stitutions. At the fifth annual meeting of the Illinois State 
Conference of Charities held at Champaign in 1900, a resolu- 
tion was passed that " this conference unanimously favors the 
elimination of partisan political influences from the administra- 
tion of the State institutions of Illinois in order that the State 
may retain the services of faithful and efficient officers." 14 
Conditions, however, continued bad, and when, in 1902, the 
secretaryship of the state board of charities was filled by an 
appointment made for obviously political reasons, two of the 
most prominent and best qualified members of the board 
handed in their resignations. 15 In the same year it was stated 
by a competent authority that " Illinois probably suffers more 
than any other state in the Union from partisan political con- 
trol of public institutions. This evil is not chargeable to any 
one party nor to any one administration. It has gradually in- 
creased until it has become the fashion, not only to change the 
administration of state institutions when there is a change of 
parties, but even to change their administration with the advent 
of a new governor." 16 

The ideal in regard to the treatment of inmates of 
charitable institutions was gradually changing during the 
period from mere segregation to cure. Hence the work was 

13 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 24, section 4343; City of Aurora v. 
Schoeberlein, 230 Illinois, 496. 

14 Chicago Tribune, November 16, 1900. 

15 Blair, "Partisan Appointments to Institutions for the Care of the Insane," 
Conference of Charities and Correction, 1902, p. 333. 

18 Hart, "Reports from States: Illinois," Conference of Charities and Cor- 
rection, 1902, p. 42. 


of a delicate nature, requiring skill and scientific training. It 
was in such institutions, therefore, that political appointments 
were likely to do most damage. Although both political par- 
ties declared themselves in 1902 in favor of the reform of the 
state service, a bill drawn up by a commission appointed by 
Governor Yates to put this reform into effect failed of passage 
in the senate after having passed the house. Finally, however, 
in 1905, the efforts of the civil service reformers were at least 
partially successful. In the legislative session of that year two 
bills were reported from committee, one known as the " Com- 
prehensive Bill" and the other as the "Half-loaf Bill." The 
latter measure finally became a law. The half-hearted way in 
which this law was passed is indicated by the failure of the 
legislature to make any appropriation for its enforcement, but 
Governor Deneen turned over $14,000 from his contingent 
fund for this purpose. In general, the law applied the prin- 
ciples and provisions of the optional city act of 1895 to the 
employees in the state charitable institutions. At the time of 
the passage of the act there were seventeen such institutions in 
the state and about two thousand employees to whom the act 
applied. Members of boards of trustees, superintendents of 
institutions, and one chief clerk and stenographer for each in- 
stitution were exempted from the operation of the act. The 
system was to be administered by a commission of three mem- 
bers to be appointed by the governor with the consent of the 
senate. The act contained the usual "blanket clause," accord- 
ing to which existing employees passed under civil service with- 
out examination. The insertion of such clauses constitutes a 
temporary concession to the spoils system, but it has been 
found to be practically necessary in order to secure the passage 
of the act. The law of 1905 confined the privilege of taking 
the civil service examinations to citizens of the state, and this 
caused some difficulties in the administration of the law. 17 One 
result of the operation of the law was the almost entire elimina- 

11 Laws of 7905, p. 113; Report of the State Civil Service Commission, 1908, 
p. ii ; Report of the Attorney-General, 1908, p. 658. 


tion of the "hospital tramp" who had been in the habit of 
drifting from one institution to another. In 1907 the law was 
amended so as to give the state civil service commission power 
to investigate any removal in the classified service with the 
right to reinstate an employee wrongfully discharged. The 
probationary period of six months was abolished. 

During the years immediately succeeding the act of 1905 
there was a growing feeling in favor of extending the civil 
service system to the entire state service. This step was 
vigorously recommended by the state civil service commission 
in its annual reports. It should be mentioned'that, in securing 
the passage of the various civil service laws and in maintaining 
a general vigilance with regard to civil service matters, much 
aid has been derived from the activities of voluntary, unofficial 
organizations, such as the Illinois and Chicago civil service 
reform leagues. Both in 1906 and 1910 the two principal 
political parties declared in favor of the extension of the act. 
In the latter year there was submitted to the voters under the 
public policy law the question : " Shall the next General As- 
sembly extend the merit system by the enactment of a com- 
prehensive and adequate state civil service law, thus promoting 
efficiency and economy? " This proposition was carried favor- 
ably by a majority of 290,000 in a total vote of approximately 
530,000. As a result of this unmistakable expression of 
opinion on the part of the voters, the legislature in 1911 passed 
an amendment to the law of 1905 which extended the merit 
system to all appointive positions in the state service with cer- 
tain exceptions. The law was not only extended so as to place 
under the jurisdiction of the commission about twenty-seven 
hundred additional employees, bringing the total up to about 
eighty per cent of the entire state service, 18 but also amended 
so as to provide that in original as well as in promotional ap- 
pointments, only the highest name should be certified; a pro- 
bationary period of three months was provided; and im- 

18 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 243, section 1-37; Report of the State 
Civil Service Commission, 1911, 1:7. 


portant changes were made in the provisions concerning 

In its general form, the law of 1911, which, with a few 
amendments, still remains upon the statute book, resembles 
very closely the optional civil service law for cities enacted in 
1895; in fact, most of its provisions are copied almost bodily 
from the earlier law, with the necessary changes to make them 
applicable to the state service. One of the important features 
of the law of 1911 is its rigidity so far as exemptions from 
competitive examination are concerned. A blanket clause 
brought into the classified service without original examination 
all existing employees at the time the act was passed, with the 
exception of persons in the exempted classes. All subsequent 
applicants for positions in the classified service are subject to 
competitive examination, and the state civil service commis- 
sion, composed of three persons appointed for six-year terms 
by the governor with the consent of the senate, has no power 
to classify a position as exempt or noncompetitive or to permit 
the appointment of a designated person without examination. 
Even laborers may be selected competitively, though, in the 
case of laborers the law also allows a selection to be made by 
lot from among those candidates proved fit by examination. 
Examinations may be conducted by the commission or by per- 
sons appointed by it to act as examiners. The examinations are 
not necessarily written but may include tests of a practical 
character. They are open only to residents of the state, except 
that in examinations for technical positions, the residence re- 
quirement may be waived. 

In certifying the names of eligibles the commission is re- 
quired to give preference to Civil War veterans provided they 
have the requisite business capacity. By an amendment of 
1915 the same preference is extended to veterans of the Span- 
ish-American and other wars. In view of the provision of the 
constitution prohibiting the general assembly from passing laws 
granting special privileges, some doubt was produced as to the 
constitutionality of this provision by an opinion of the attorney- 


general; but this doubt has now been dissipated by a decision 
of the supreme court. 19 

As a result of the rigidity of the law, the public service of 
Illinois was, at the time of its enactment, placed more com- 
pletely under civil service rules than that of any other state. 
The list of the positions in the unclassified service, however, is 
rather large: they include all officers elected by the people or 
appointed by the governor subject to senate confirmation; all 
officers and employees of the general assembly; notaries public, 
clerks, and other officers of courts ; persons in the military serv- 
ice of the state ; the academic staff of the university and normal 
schools; assistants and special attorneys employed by the at- 
torney-general; superintendents, wardens, and chaplains of the 
state charitable and correctional institutions; one private secre- 
tary in each of the elective offices, and in the offices of the presi- 
dents of the University of Illinois and the normal schools; and 
all clerks and watchmen in the offices of governor, lieutenant 
governor, and the elective heads of departments. 20 By an 
amendment to the civil service law enacted in 1917 the list of 
exempted positions was extended so as to include all law clerks 
and special investigators employed by the attorney-general and 
all policemen employed in the offices of the elective officers in 
the executive department. 21 

In providing for promotions, the commission is directed to 
note the duties of each office and to fix lines of promotion 
where practicable. Whenever a vacancy occurs in a superior 
grade, the commission is required to hold a competitive ex- 
amination to fill the same, and incumbents of places next lower 
in rank are solely eligible for such promotional examination, 
unless the commission deems it for the interest of the service 

19 Laws of 1915, p. 322 ; Constitution, article iv, section 22 ; Opinions of the 
Attorney-General, 1913, p. 21-22; People ex ret. <v. Brady et at., 262 Illinois, 578. 

20 The act also placed in the unclassified service one private secretary or 
stenographer in the offices of the dean of men and dean of women at the Univer- 
sity of Illinois, and provided that students in the university and normal schools 
might be employed under the rules of the commission without examination or 

21 Laivs of 1917, p. 290. 


to throw the examination open to the general public. Com- 
petition in promotion is not limited to the same department or 
institution, but persons of similar grade in all departments may 
compete for promotion. The statute makes no specific provi- 
sion for transfers within the same grade, but the commission 
has at times suggested the transfer of employees from one de- 
partment to another; and, in other cases, it has brought about 
cooperation in certain lines of work between departments. 22 

The provisions of the law relating to removals are dis- 
tinctive. Prior to 1917, no person in the classified service, ex- 
cept laborers and employees having custody of public funds 
for the safe keeping of which another is responsible, was to be 
removed except for cause, upon written charges and with an 
opportunity to be heard in his defense. All charges were to be 
investigated by the civil service commission or its authorized 
representatives, and the decision of the commission must be 
enforced by the superior or appointing officer. In the holding 
of hearings for the investigation of charges, each member of 
the commission and any officer appointed by it to investigate 
has power to administer oaths and to secure by subpoena the 
attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of 
books and papers. " When the commission has proceeded ac- 
cording to law and has jurisdiction, its decision is not re- 
viewable." 23 

Suspensions may be made for a period of thirty days, but 
even in the matter of suspensions, the commission may make 
an investigation and restore the pay of an employee wrong- 
fully discharged. The commission has provided for a local 
representative or investigating officer to hear charges in each 
place where a public institution is located. The provision that 
all appointments both original and promotional are to 
be made by selecting the highest name on the eligible list de- 
prives the superior officer of all discretion in making an ap- 
pointment. Furthermore, as a result of the former restrictions 

22 Report of the State Civil Service Commission, 1912-1913, p. 9. 

23 Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1913, p. 457. 


upon removals, the discretion of the superior officer to dis- 
charge a subordinate was practically eliminated; and while this 
might lessen the possibility that the principles of the merit 
system would be evaded, it at the same time affected adversely 
the disciplinary power of the superior officer over the sub- 
ordinates upon whom he was dependent for the performance 
of the duties of the office. Doubtless, under present conditions, 
some restriction upon the free power of removal is desirable; 
but even from the standpoint of the principles of the merit 
system, such restrictions may be pushed too far. The principle 
upon which civil service laws are based is essentially that of 
promoting the general welfare as contradistinguished from the 
protection of individual rights. Where restrictions upon re- 
moval are so rigid as to prevent the discharge of lax or in- 
different employees, such restrictions really operate for the 
protection of the individual incumbent of the position rather 
than for the public interests. In order to remedy this difficulty, 
it has been suggested that it would be sufficient to require that 
removals be reported to the civil service commission and 
authorize that body to investigate any cases which it deems 
necessary, with power to reinstate after investigation, where 
conditions warrant such action. 24 

Since the making of the above suggestion as to the revi- 
sion of the removal provision in the civil service law, the es- 
sence of the reform thus recommended has been put into effect 
by an amendment to the law enacted by the general assembly in 
1917. According to this amendment, it is provided that no 
hearing is necessary for removing an employee in the classified 
service or for reducing him in rank or pay, but such employee 
may be removed or reduced by the appointing officer for any 
cause other than political, racial, or religious; and the re- 
moval or reduction becomes effective immediately upon the 
filing of a statement of the cause in the office of the civil serv- 
ice commission. The employee thus removed or reduced, how- 
ever, has the right of appealing to the commission, which may 

24 Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 935-936. 


reinstate him in his former position and direct the payment 
of all back salary due him, if, after holding a hearing, the com- 
mission finds that the removal or reduction was made for politi- 
cal, racial, or religious causes. 25 

In its provisions requiring the keeping of efficiency records, 
the Illinois law contained, at the time of its enactment, an en- 
tirely new feature in state civil service reform. The re- 
sponsibility of the state civil service commission does not end 
with the certification of a suitable employee to the proper ap- 
pointing authority, but it may also follow the employee into 
the service and verify or withdraw his certification on the basis 
of his record in office. The commission prescribes standards 
of efficiency for each grade of employment, and keeps a record 
of the relative efficiency of each employee in the classified serv- 
ice. Moreover, the activities of the commission are not con- 
fined merely to the classified service, but the commission has 
been given the additional power to investigate the nature, 
tenure, and compensation of all places in the civil service of the 

In order to secure the enforcement of the civil service act, 
it is provided that all payrolls for the payment of persons in 
the classified service shall be certified by the state treasurer 
and auditor. It is made unlawful for such officers to be con- 
cerned in any way with the payment of a person, unless such 
person is holding his position according to law. Any person 
who wilfully violates or refuses to obey any provision of the 
law or the rules made in pursuance thereof is declared to be 
guilty of a misdemeanor, and any public office that such a per- 
son may hold is declared vacant upon his conviction. 

Shortly after the passage of the act of 1911, a contro- 
versy arose between the civil service commission and two state 
officers, the secretary of state and the state treasurer, as to the 
applicability of the law to certain employees in their offices. 
The attorney-general rendered an opinion holding the act un- 
constitutional on the ground that the journals of the general 

25 Laws of 1917, p. 290-291. 


assembly did not show that amendments to the bill had been 
printed as required by the constitution. The matter was car- 
ried to the state supreme court, where certain clerks in the 
office of the secretary of state sought to compel the state audi- 
tor to issue them their salary warrants without the approval of 
the civil service commission, and where the constitutionality 
of the law was assailed on the ground that it violated the prin- 
ciple of separation of powers laid down in the constitution and 
that it also violated the provision of the constitution naming 
the officers of whom the executive department shall consist and 
the provision directing the executive officers to perform such 
duties as may be prescribed by law. The court, however, nega- 
tived all these contentions and upheld the constitutionality of 
the law. 26 

At the same session of 1911 at which the state wide civil 
service law was passed, the general assembly also passed an act 
broadening the Cook county civil service act so as to make it 
apply with certain exceptions to the entire county service. The 
same provisions were made applicable to any other county upon 
reaching a population of one hundred and fifty thousand or 
more. 27 

At the same time an act was passed putting under the merit 
system the employees of the parks of Chicago. Provision was 
also made at the same session to extend the Chicago civil serv- 
ice law to cover the employees in the municipal courts upon 
adoption by popular vote. There was also added to this provi- 
sion a clause increasing the salaries of the municipal court 
judges. It was partly due to this clause and partly to the feel- 
ing that the judges could usually be expected not to make ap- 
pointments for purely partisan reasons that the act was de- 
feated at the popular referendum in November, 1911, by a 
vote of two to one. 28 

In 1913, the supreme court declared the county civil serv- 

26 Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1913, p. 117; People ex rel. v. McCul- 
lough, 254 Illinois, 9 ; see also People v . Brady, 262 Illinois, 578. 

27 Hurd's Revised Statutes, 1911, chapter 243, sections 38-72. 

28 Ibid,, 73-106; Good Government, 28: 114. 


ice act of 1911 unconstitutional on account of the failure of the 
journal of either house to show that the conference committee 
amendments to one of its sections had ever been printed.* 9 
The county commission, however, held that the previous county 
civil service law was not affected by the supreme court's deci- 
sion. In 1914, all three of the leading political parties in the 
state pledged themselves in their platforms to comprehensive 
civil service legislation for Cook county. A vigorous effort to 
get such legislation through the session of 1915 was made but 
failed. The need for such legislation has long been felt. 
" For years," it has been said, " the county Civil Service Com- 
mission was a sorry joke, a byword and reproach .... 
it became a menace to merit and an engine of unscrupulous 
politics under a deceptive mask. The law was manipulated 
at the bidding of tyrannical bosses and cynical spoilsmen." 
The weakness of the county civil service system seems to have 
been due in part to the indifference of public opinion and in 
part to the power of political executives to appoint and remove 
the commissioners for partisan reasons. In order to take the 
commissioners out of politics, it has been suggested that they 
should be chosen by the same standard of fitness which they 
later apply to other applicants for public office. A bill sug- 
gested for enactment by the fiftieth general assembly provides 
that the commissioners can be removed only after fair trials 
by two circuit judges and the county judge. 30 The existence of 
three separate and distinct civil service commissioners in Cook 
county county, city, and park appears to be an unneces- 
sary and cumbrous duplication of machinery; and it has been 
suggested that they might well be consolidated into one com- 
mission. 31 

As noted above, an attempt was made to place the civil 
service commissions in cities adopting the act of 1903 under 
some sort of superior control by providing that an appeal 

29 McAuliffe v. O'Connell, 258 Illinois, 186. 

30 Chicago Record-Herald, February 27, 1913; Chicago Herald, November 
21, 1916, January 6, 1917. 

31 Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 937. 


might be taken from the orders of the commission to the circuit 
court of the county in which the city is located, but this pro- 
vision was declared unconstitutional by the supreme court of 
the state. The result of this decision is that the city commis- 
sioners are left without any superior state control. The same 
is true of city commissions operating under the act o'f 1895. 
In order to remedy this condition, the city commissions might 
be placed under the administrative supervision of the state 
civil service commission. There would seem, however, to be 
no good reason why the state commission might not be charged 
directly with the administration of the law in the city service of 
any city electing to come under the state commission. This 
would avoid some of the expense, cumbrousness, and duplica- 
tion of machinery of the present system. 32 

Under the present civil service system for cities and coun- 
ties, the commissions are appointed by the mayor and the presi- 
dent of the county board respectively, and the city commission 
is also removable by the mayor at his discretion. The result 
is that, as has already been noted, if the mayor or president 
of the county board is a politician of the spoilsman type, the 
civil service commission may be so subject to political influences 
that the object of the law is almost entirely defeated. Some 
improvement might be brought about by eliminating the re- 
quirement that not more than two of the three members of the 
commission shall belong to the same political party. The mem- 
bers of the board should be selected for fitness irrespective of 
party affiliations, and the responsibility for the selection and 
for the work of the commission should rest squarely on the 
party in power. In the last analysis, however, it is not so much 
the machinery as the men in charge and the spirit- actuating 
them which determines the manner in which the merit system is 

32 This is similar to the New Jersey plan. A bill permitting cities to adopt 
the law in force in Chicago, but containing the provision that the state commis- 
sion should have the work of enforcing the law was introduced in the forty-fifth 
general assembly by Senator Logan Hay. See Report of the State Civil Service 
Commission, 1906-1907, p. 16; Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 


THE legislature of Illinois, known officially as the general 
assembly, and composed of two branches, the senate and 
the house of representatives, is, in spite of the restrictions 
under which it operates, the most important and powerful 
organ of the state government. The senate is composed of 
fifty-one members, while the house of representatives is exactly 
three times as large. This fact points to the greater dignity 
and importance of the position of senator as compared with 
that of representative. This inference is further borne out by 
the difference in the length of terms, senators serving four-year 
terms and representatives, two years. Since only one regular 
session is held in each biennium, a representative, elected for 
the first time, has but little opportunity of learning the business 
and methods of legislation before it is necessary for him to 
start his campaign for reelection, if he wishes to continue in 
the position, while on the other hand, a senator has a greater 
opportunity of acquiring experience in legislative methods and 
procedure. In each regular session of the general assembly, at 
least half of the senators are "hold-over" members, having 
served in the preceding regular session, while, on the other 
hand, it is at least possible that every member of the lower 
house may never before have served in the general assembly. 
This, however, is never actually the case as a certain number 
of members of the lower house are in practice always reflected. 
Nevertheless, the necessity of biennial elections in the case of 
house members may mean that they are more in harmony with 
the latest trend of public opinion than are the hold-over 
senators. Another difference between the members of the two 
houses is the requirement for eligibility that a senator must be 
at least twenty-five years of age, while a representative need 


Vote for Representatives 
in the Forty-sixth Gen- 
eral Assembly, Novem- 
ber 3, 1908 

DTwo republicans 
One democrat 

HTwo democrats 
One republican 

33 Republicans 
24 Democrats 


have attained the age of only twenty-one years. This differ- 
ence, however, is in practice of comparatively slight impor- 
tance, so that for practical purposes, the principal differences 
between the senate and house of representatives are the longer 
term and smaller size of the former. If, on account of these 
differences the senate is, as a usual rule, perceptibly superior to 
the house in legislative ability and experience, the question 
might be raised, why not elevate the character of the house by 
reducing its size and lengthening the term of its members? 
But if the two houses are made identical in these respects, 
there would appear to be little reason why one house might 
not be abolished. Another difference between the houses, how- 
ever, as will be noted later, is the system of cumulative voting 
used in electing the lower house, which does not apply to the 
senate. Other requirements for eligibility, applying to mem- 
bers of both branches, are that they must be citizens of the 
United States, residents of the state for five years, and, for 
two years next preceding election, residents of the districts 
from which they are respectively elected. Disqualifications 
for holding a seat in the general assembly consist in holding any 
lucrative office under this state, the United States, or any for- 
eign government, or being convicted of bribery, perjury, or 
other infamous crime, or failure on the part of a collector or 
holder of public moneys to make proper accounting therefor. 
Members of the general assembly, before entering upon their 
official duties, are required to take an oath, administered by a 
supreme or circuit court judge, to support the constitution and 
faithfully discharge their duties, and stating that they have not 
engaged in bribery in securing their seats nor will accept any 
bribe to influence their votes. 1 Members of the general assem- 
bly may vacate their seats by filing their resignations with the 

Illinois has thus embodied in her fundamental law two 
widely practiced principles of American politics, that of local 
residence for legislative representatives and that of the separa- 

1 Constitution, article IV, sections 3, 4, 5, 15. 


tion of governmental powers. So well grounded in unwritten 
law and custom is the practice of requiring local residence for 
legislative representatives that it would probably prevail very 
largely even in the absence of any constitutional requirement, 
but the presence in the general assembly of at least some mem- 
bers who represent the state at large and the general interest 
rather than local and special interests might be secured by 
amending the constitution so as to make no absolute require- 
ment of local residence for all members of the general 

The provision that no member of the general assembly 
shall, at the same time, hold any lucrative office under the state 
is merely an application of the general principle of separation 
of governmental powers stated in the constitution as follows: 
" The powers of the government of this state are divided into 
three distinct departments the legislative, executive and 
judicial; and no person, or collection of persons, being one of 
these departments, shall exercise any power properly belong- 
ing to either of the others, except as hereinafter expressly 
directed or permitted." 2 This prohibition upon the holding 
of both legislative and executive position at the same time was 
doubtless actuated by a fear of tyranny resulting from too 
much concentration of power and from a fear that the gov- 
ernor might exercise undue influence over the members of the 
general assembly by appointing or refusing to appoint them 
to public office. It prevents, however, the introduction in the 
state government of the parliamentary form of government 
found in certain foreign countries, in which the executive and 
legislative authorities are merged. In order to remove this 
limitation upon freedom of action in adopting whatever form 
of government may be best suited to the needs of the people, 
it has been proposed that the constitution be amended so as to 
allow the governor to appoint the heads of executive depart- 
ments from among the members of the general assembly. 3 

2 Constitution, article m; see also Report and Opinions of the Attorney- 
General, 1913, p. 363-364; 1915, p. 14. 

3 By Senator Logan Hay and others. 


For the purpose of electing members of the general assem- 
bly, the state is divided into fifty-one senatorial districts, from 
each of which one senator and three representatives are 
elected. One-half of the senators and all of the representa- 
tives are elected in November of the even years. Senators 
are elected in the odd and even numbered districts alternately, 
beginning with the even numbered districts in 1872. The 
constitution requires that the senatorial districts shall be formed 
of compact and contiguous territory, bounded by county lines, 
and contain as nearly as practicable an equal number of 
inhabitants. The constitution further provides that the gen- 
eral assembly shall apportion the state every ten years by 
dividing the population of the state, as ascertained by the fed- 
eral census, by the number fifty-one, and the quotient is the 
ratio of representation in the senate. If a county contains not 
less than the ratio and three-fourths, it may be divided into 
separate districts, and shall be entitled to two senators, and 
"to one additional senator for each number of inhabitants 
equal to the ratio contained by such counties in excess of twice 
the number of said ratio." 4 Cook county is the only county 
in the state which has a population sufficient to entitle it to be 
divided into senatorial districts. Under the last apportionment 
act passed in 1901 it has nineteen senatorial districts or more 
than a third of the whole number. Under this apportionment 
Peoria, La Salle, and St. Clair counties each constitutes a sep- 
arate senatorial district, but all the other senatorial districts, 
except those in Cook county, are composed of two or more 
counties. Within the districts representatives are elected at 
large, and it frequently happens that not only the senator but 
all three representatives hail from the most populous county in 
the district. 

Although the constitution provides that the districts shall 
contain as nearly as practicable an equal number of inhabi- 
tants, in practice they are sometimes very unequal in that re- 
spect. Thus, under the apportionment act of 1901, the 

4 Constitution, article iv, section 6. 


twelfth district, in the northwest end of the state, contained 
only 78,429 population according to the census of 1900, while 
the fiftieth district, in the southern end of the state, contained 
a population of 104,019. The ratio of representation, accord- 
ing to the population of the state at that census, was 94,540, 
so that the twelfth district lacked 16,000 of equalling the ratio, 
while the fiftieth district exceeded it by 10,000, making a total 
disparity between these districts of 26,000. According to the 
census of 1910, the twelfth district contained a population of 
775 I 3 while the fiftieth district contained a population of 
131,288, so that the disparity had increased to nearly 54,000, 
or more than half the ratio of representation. According to 
the last federal census, twenty-six districts have a population of 
2,497,226, while the remaining twenty-five districts have a 
population of 3,141,360. "The result is that 44.3 per cent of 
the population controls a majority of the legislature." 5 In 
spite of these inequalities and in spite of the constitutional 
mandate for a decennial apportionment, no apportionment has 
now been made for sixteen years. 

The supreme court of Illinois has been rather lenient in 
construing the power of the general assembly in making the 
apportionment. In the apportionment act of 1893, Lee, De 
Kalb, Kendall, and Grundy counties formed the twenty-ninth 
senatorial district, while Will, a neighboring county, alone 
formed the twenty-fifth district. Had Grundy and Will coun- 
ties been joined together as one district, and the other three 
counties left together as the twenty-ninth district, both greater 
equality in population and compactness of territory would have 
been secured. The constitutionality of the act was therefore 
attacked in the supreme court, but the court upheld the act 
as constitutional. The reasoning of the court was that " an 
act apportioning senatorial districts is unconstitutional if it 
appears that the constitutional requirements of compactness 
of territory and equality in population have been wholly ig- 
nored , . but if considered and applied, although to 

5 Garner, Legislative Organization and Representation, 60. 


a limited extent only .... the act is constitutional, 
although the legislature may have imperfectly performed its 
duty." "The question whether the constitutional require- 
ments .... have been applied at all, is one which 
the courts may finally determine; but whether or not the 
nearest practicable approximation to perfect compactness and 
equality has been attained is -a question for the legislative 
discretion." 6 

The apportionment act of 1901, though containing the 
inequalities already noted, was also upheld as constitutional by 
the supreme court. Less than ten years had elapsed since the 
previous apportionment act, but the court held that the require- 
ment of a decennial apportionment means that the legislature 
may make one apportionment, but only one, within each period 
of ten years intervening between the taking of the federal 
census. The court also made a distinction between the abso- 
lute constitutional requirements and those which permit of leg- 
islative discretion. The former are that the districts shall be 
bounded by county lines except where a county contains suffi- 
cient number of inhabitants to make more than one district 
that they shall be composed of contiguous territory, and that 
no district shall contain less than four-fifths of the senatorial 
ratio. The latter are the requirements regarding compactness 
of territory and equality of population. " If," said the court, 
"the absolute requirements . *' , . have been observed 

. . . and there is an approach toward equality in popu- 
lation as determined by the ratio, and the districts are in some 
degree compact, the court cannot hold the act invalid upon the 
ground that a nearer approach toward equality of population 
and compactness of territory could have been made." 7 Within 
the wide limits of discretion thus allowed the general assembly, 
it is possible for that body to gerrymander the state very effec- 
tively in the interests of the political party which is, for the 
time being, in control of the lawmaking power. 

> 6 People ex rel. v. Thompson, 755 Illinois, 451 (452). 
7 People ex rel. <v. Carlock, 198 Illinois, 150 (151). 


The general assembly also divides the state into districts 
for the election of members to congress. Under the last 
apportionment act, passed in 1901, the state is divided 
into twenty-five districts, from each of which one member 
of congress is elected. Under the census of 1910, the 
state became entitled to two additional congressmen. Since 
no new congressional apportionment has been made, these 
two congressmen are now elected at large over the entire 

In electing members of the general assembly, one senator 
is elected from each of trie fifty-one senatorial districts, and 
each voter has one vote in voting for a senator; but three rep- 
resentatives are elected from each senatorial district and each 
voter has three votes which he may " plump " for one candi- 
date or distribute among the candidates for representative in 
such manner as he sees fit. This is known as the system of 
minority representation or cumulative voting provided for in 
the constitution of 1870 and is unique among the methods of 
electing legislative representatives found in the various states. 
At the time when that constitution was adopted the sectional 
feeling between the northern and southern parts of the state 
was so strong that almost solid republican delegations were sent 
to the legislature from the northern part of the state, while 
almost solid democratic delegations were sent from the south- 
ern part of the state, with the result that many democrats in 
the northern part and many republicans in the southern part 
were without representation. The system of minority repre- 
sentation was designed to remedy this condition, and it has been 
successful in attaining this object. 8 Thus, a study of the matter 
made in 1908 showed that in only three instances since 1870 
had the principal minority party failed to secure at least one 
representative in each district, and third parties also had usu- 
ally been able to secure some representation. 9 The represen- 
tation secured by minority parties has not, of course, been ex- 

8 See map facing p. 288. 

9 Moore, History of Cumulative Fating and Minority Representation in Illi- 
nois, 93 IF. 


actly proportional to their strength, but more nearly so than 
would have been possible without the system of minority rep- 

The sectional issue which brought forth the sytem of minor- 
ity representation is no longer so acute as formerly, and the 
system must now be judged by certain other more or less un- 
foreseen results which have arisen from it. One result has been 
the limitation of the number of candidates brought forward by 
the two leading political parties. Prior to the enactment of the 
direct primary law, the party leaders in caucus or convention 
controlled nominations and determined the number of candi- 
dates to be nominated. In most districts, the majority party 
nominated two candidates and the principal minority party 
nominated only one, while in districts which were nearly evenly 
divided between the two leading parties, it was a frequent prac- 
tice to alternate, one party nominating two candidates at one 
biennial election and the other at the next. This " resulted in 
members of the legislature being appointed by the extra-legal 
government. The electorate has been wholly and palpably dis- 
franchised Thus the voter is given no choice 

whatever and the nominations are an appointment 

Thus the electorate in very many Illinois districts has had com- 
paratively little or no real representation in the lower house 
for years." 10 At the elections of 19021908 inclusive, the 
number of districts in which only three candidates were nomi- 
nated by the two leading parties averaged thirty-six, while the 
number of districts in which more than three were nominated 
averaged fifteen. The influence of the party machine in con- 
trolling nominations and elections to the lower house, there- 
fore, is very great. 

It was expected by some that, with the enactment of the 
direct primary election law, the influence of the party machine 
would be weakened. The act, however, provides that u the 
Senatorial committee of each political party shall meet and by 
resolution, fix and determine the number of candidates to be 

10 Kales, Un-popular Government in the United States, 166-167, note. 


nominated by their party at the primary for Representative in 
the General Assembly." X1 The law has thus left with the 
party committee the power of limiting the number of candi- 
dates. As a matter of fact, some limitation upon the number of 
candidates is essential to the working of the system, since, if 
each party nominated three bona fide candidates, the result 
would be that normally the majority party in each district 
would elect all three of its candidates. Since the enactment of 
the primary law, in the elections of 1912 and 1914 the num- 
ber of districts in which only three candidates were nominated 
has shown a reduction from about thirty to about twenty. But 
in 1916, the two major political parties nominated only 181 
men to be elected to 153 seats. This, however, has been due 
not so much to the primary law, which has disturbed machine 
rule very little, as to the growing civic consciousness and the 
meteoric career of a strong third party. 

It cannot be said that the system of minority representa- 
tion has increased the character and ability of the men elected 
to the house. It has been observed as a serious objection to 
the system that the " assembly chosen under it is apt to be a 
heterogeneous body in which no political party has a work- 
ing majority, as has not infrequently happened and that the 
house is apt to be controlled by a different political party from 
that which is in control of the executive department, so that, in 
consequence of the lack of harmony between the executive and 
the legislature and the lack of a working majority by any 
party in the house, the legislative programs of the adminis- 
tration are frequently unrealized." 12 On the whole, therefore, 
it would seem that the system of minority representation or 
cumulative voting should be abolished. 

The regular biennial sessions of the general assembly begin 
on Wednesday after the first Monday in January of the odd 
years, following the November election. Special sessions may 

11 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, section 542. 

12 Garner, Legislative Organization and Representation, 69-70. 


be called by the governor whenever, in his judgment, re- 
quired. 13 Although, in general, each house chooses its own 
officers, an exception to this is the fact that the lieutenant 
governor, chosen by the people, is the president of the senate. 
The lieutenant governor chosen at the November election, how- 
ever, cannot be officially declared elected until the general 
assembly meeting in the following January has been organ- 
ized, for the two houses must meet in joint session to canvass 
the vote for state executive offices and declare the result of the 
election. 14 Consequently, the lieutenant governor under the 
preceding administration, whose term extends until his succes- 
sor is elected and qualified presides over the senate until the 
new state officers have been duly declared elected and installed 
in office. Similarly, the secretary of state in the preceding ad- 
ministration presides over the house of representatives until a 
temporary presiding officer thereof shall have been chosen. 
The presiding officer or speaker of the house is ordinarily 
chosen at a caucus of the members of the majority party, but 
this unofficial action must, of course, be confirmed by a vote of 
a majority of all elected members after the organization of 
the house. Permanent organization of the general assembly 
in 1913 was delayed three weeks and in 1915 seven weeks 
on account of a deadlock over the election of a speaker. 
There appears to be no positive provision of law requir- 
ing the selection of the speaker from among the mem- 
bers elected to the house; but, in practice, he is always a 
member. 15 

Under the constitution, each house is the judge of the elec- 
tion, returns, and qualifications of its members and may there- 
fore severally hear and determine contests of election to seats 

13 The holding of special sessions considerably increases the public expense, 
as, under the constitution, each member receives fifty dollars for incidental ex- 
penses for each session, and there is, in addition, the expense of the usually 
swollen pay roll of employees. In 1912 there were two simultaneous special ses- 

14 The general assembly by joint ballot also determines the contested elec- 
tions for such offices. Constitution, article v, section 4. 

15 Ibid., article IV, section 9; Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1915, p. 
I44-I4S, 455-456- 


in their respective bodies. 16 The temporary presiding officers 
in the two houses during the process of organizing must, since 
no committees on credentials are yet chosen, determine tem- 
porarily who is entitled to be sworn in and seated as members 
of their respective houses. 17 After organization, however, 
committees on credentials are constituted for the purpose of 
hearing contests for seats. Formerly all expenses connected 
with such contests, such as attorneys' fees, et cetera, were borne 
by the state, and at nearly every session amounted to thousands 
of dollars. Recently, however, a change has been made 
whereby the state bears the expenses only of those contestants 
who are successful, with the result that the number of con- 
tests brought has been greatly reduced. 18 At the close of the 
fiftieth general assembly, Governor Lowden by the use of his 
veto cut nearly ten thousand dollars from the appropriations 
for election contests. His action had the effect of cutting off 
all allowances for attorneys and expenses of contestants and 
permitting payment by the state only of expenses of members 
of subcommittees. 

With the exception of the lieutenant governor in the senate, 
all officers and employees of the general assembly are chosen 
by the respective houses or their presiding officers. These in- 
clude secretaries, clerks, chaplains, sergeants-at-arms, door- 
keepers, janitors, postmasters, mail carriers, policemen, stenog- 
raphers, and pages. None of these employees are under civil 
service regulations and the appointments are often made as 
rewards for party services. There are undoubtedly, as a rule, 
many more legislative employees than are necessary for the 
work to be performed. Under an act of the legislature passed 
in 1911, the number of house officers and employees was fixed 

16 Constitution, article iv, section 9 ; Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, 
sections 78, 95. The state canvassing board, composed of state executive officers 
in the presence of the governor is empowered to canvass the votes for senators 
and representatives and declare the results of the election. 

17 Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1915, p. 457. 

18 Thus the appropriations for the contested election expenses at the forty- 
eighth general assembly amounted to $65,000, which by the governor's vetoes 
was reduced to $57,000, while in the forty-ninth general assembly the total 
amount appropriated for this purpose was only about $22,000. 


at ninety-one and those of the senate at sixty; but the law is dis- 
regarded and the actual number has usually been in excess of 
that fixed in the law. This statute, however, is, of course, not 
binding upon the legislature. Each employee receives a per 
diem which continues throughout the session, irrespective of 
the fact that the general assembly is actually sitting on an aver- 
age only three or four days a week. The number and cost of 
legislative employees reached the high water mark in the forty- 
third general assembly, which employed 393 persons, of whom 
92 were janitors, at a cost of $i 10,000. At the following gen- 
eral assembly, there was a considerable reduction in number 
of employees and cost, but in recent years the figures have 
tended to rise again. In 1913 a total of 226 employees were 
hired at a cost of $97,000 and in 1915 the total number of 
legislative employees was 231 and the cost involved was about 
$104,000. Where no party has a clear majority in the general 
assembly, the number of legislative employees tends to be 
larger on account of the supposed necessity of placating the 
different factions by distributing among them the control over 
the appointment of employees. 19 

The constitution of Illinois leaves the amount of the com- 
pensation of the members of the general assembly to be de- 
termined by that body itself, subject to the limitation that no 
change shall be made in the compensation of members during 
the term for which they are elected, and that they shall receive 
no other allowance or emolument except fifty dollars per ses- 
sion for incidental expenses and except also mileage for neces- 
sary travel in going to and returning from the seat of govern- 
ment. Prior to 1915 the salary of members of the general 
assembly was two thousand dollars per biennium, and they 
were accustomed to make week-end trips to their home towns 
at the expense of the railroads, which granted them passes. 
The feeling grew, however, that the members could not accept 

19 It should be added that, in the house in 1915 and 1917 and in the senate in 
1917, the number of unnecessary employees was greatly reduced. At the ses- 
sion of 1911 in Wisconsin, where the legislative employees are under civil service 
regulations, the numbers of employees was only 88 and the cost only $50,000. 


passes from the railroads consistently with independence of 
action in performing their legislative duties. Nevertheless, 
bills which were introduced at various sessions, to prohibit the 
granting and acceptance of passes failed to be enacted into 
law. In the session of 1913, provisions for an increase of 
legislative salaries and the abolition of railroad passes were 
combined in one bill, but it failed of passage. In the same 
session, however, the public utilities bill was enacted, one sec- 
tion of which prohibited any public utility from granting any 
preference or advantage to any corporation or person as to 
rates or charges, or in any other respect. In this indirect way, 
railroad passes for legislators were abolished. In the session 
of 1915, a joint resolution was passed providing that each 
member should be allowed mileage for twenty-one round trips 
from the capital to his home at the rate of two cents a mile. 
The appropriation of $26,000 made under this resolution, 
however, was declared invalid by the supreme court in the 
Fergus case. At the same session, however, an act was passed 
providing that the compensation of members of the general 
assembly elected in 1916 and thereafter should be $3,500 per 
biennium, which is larger than the salary received by legislators 
in most states. Members of the general assembly ordinarily 
draw their entire biennial salary in a lump sum immediately 
after the organization of the legislature. Payment in quar- 
terly installments might, perhaps, be a more satisfactory plan 
for several reasons. Heretofore it has been customary for 
members who are temporarily seated but whose elections are 
subsequently declared invalid to draw the entire pay for the 
session in spite of the fact that they had no good claim to it. 
This could be prevented in part by quarterly payments. 20 

Under the constitution, members of the general assembly 
are entitled to certain privileges which do not attach to ordinary 
citizens. They are privileged from arrest during the session of 
the general assembly and while going to and returning from the 

20 Constitution; article iv, section 21; La<ws of 1913, p. 479; Laws of 1915, p. 
464, 738 ; Fergus et al. v. Russel et al., 2~o Illinois, 304. 


same for all offenses except treason, felony, or breach of the 
peace. It is also provided that " for any speech or debate in 
either house, they shall not be questioned in any other place." 
In other words, they are not liable in damages for slanderous 
utterances made in the course of debate. The object of these 
provisions is to allow to the members the largest freedom and 
independence in the performance of their duties consistent 
with the maintenance of the public welfare. For the same rea- 
son, members of the general assembly rest under certain disa- 
bilities. They cannot receive a civil appointment during their 
terms, nor can they be interested in any contract with the state, 
nor with any county thereof, authorized by any law passed dur- 
ing their respective terms or within one year thereafter. A 
member may be expelled by either house by a two-thirds vote 
of all the members elected to that house; but if, after expul- 
sion, a member is reflected from his district, he cannot be again 
expelled for the same offense. 21 

The principal business of the general assembly is, of course, 
the passage of bills; and in order that this important function 
may be carried out in regular and orderly fashion, certain 
definite rules of procedure are laid down. These rules are 
found partly in the constitution and partly in the body of rules 
adopted by each house. The principal constitutional provisions 
are as follows : a majority of the members elected to each house 
shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. A 
specific form of enacting clause is provided for all bills, which 
may originate in either house, but may be amended or rejected 
by the other. On the final passage of all bills, the vote must be 
by yeas and nays upon each bill separately and must be entered 
upon the journal. In the senate at the request of two members 
and in the house at the request of five members, the yeas and 
nays shall be taken on any question and entered upon the 
journal. That is, the roll is called and each member is 
given the opportunity of answering to his name; and the results 
are published so that all may know how their representatives 

21 Constitution, article IV, sections 9, 14, 15. 


stand on the various propositions brought to a vote. A mem- 
ber may, however, endeavor to avoid taking sides on the ques- 
tion by declining to vote or by absenting himself from roll 

Other constitutional provisions relating to procedure are : 
that every bill shall be read at large on three different days, in 
each house ; and the bill and all amendments thereto must be 
printed before the vote is taken on its final passage. No act 
shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be ex- 
pressed in the title. No law shall be revived or amended by 
reference to its title only, but the law revived or the section 
amended must be inserted at length in the new act. No bill 
can become a law without the concurrence of a majority of the 
members elected to each house. No act can take effect until 
the first day of July next after its passage except in the case 
of emergency measures passed by a two-thirds vote in each 
house, which may take effect immediately. 22 

Within the limits of the above constitutional provisions 
each house may adopt such further rules of procedure as it 
sees fit. The constitutional rules, of course, cannot be legally 
changed by the legislature, but each house may change the 
rules of its own adoption at pleasure. A new set of rules 
is adopted by each house at the beginning of each session, 
but they usually differ little from those of the preceding 

As already indicated the presiding officers in the two houses 
are the speaker and the lieutenant governor. The speaker is 
technically elected by the house. In reality, he is frequently 
chosen by the caucus composed of the members of the house 
belonging to the majority party. Sometimes the real choice is 
pushed one step further back. A small group or coterie of 
leading members of the majority party may get together shortly 
after the November election and select the candidate of their 
party for speaker. This choice is then ratified by the caucus of 
the majority members held just before the opening of the next 

22 Constitution, section 13. 


regular session and later ratified by the whole house. The 
speaker is always a party man, and this ordinarily insures a 
partisan organization of the house. If no party has a major- 
ity or if some members of the majority party refuse to act with 
their party caucus, on account of a split in the party over some 
question, such as the "wet" and "dry" issue, a deadlock over 
the selection of the speaker may occur. This has sometimes 
caused the postponement of the election of the speaker and of 
the permanent organization of the house for many weeks 
after the beginning of the session. Thus, at the beginning of 
the forty-ninth general assembly, the speakership fight lasted 
seven weeks and the republican candidate was finally elected 
through a combination of democrats and republicans. The 
similarly long-drawn-out contest in 1913 was doubtless due 
partly to the fact that two United States senators were to be 
elected and a number of contests were pending, so that the 
speaker, in appointing election committees, might determine 
the senatorial elections. A speaker chosen as the result of a 
bipartisan combination and who is not the choice of his party 
caucus is likely to be weaker than one who comes to office with- 
out obligation to minority members. This is due to the fact 
that the bipartisan combination is ordinarily held together by 
an understanding in regard to the distribution of committee 
chairmanships, so that the speaker does not have a free hand 
in this matter. The candidate for speaker nominated in the 
house caucus of the minority party ordinarily becomes the 
minority leader on the floor of the house. 23 

The selection of the speaker is an important matter on 
account of the large powers of that officer. He preserves 
order and decorum, directs and controls the officers and em- 
ployees of the house, and decides all questions of order, subject 
to an appeal to the house, but his decisions are seldom over- 
ruled. He recognizes or refuses to recognize members who 
desire to speak; he refers bills to the proper committees, he 

23 The candidate for president pro tem. of the senate nominated in the senate 
caucus of the minority party becomes the minority leader on the floor of the 

appoints the committees, and is himself chairman of the com- 
mittee on rules and ex officio member of each committee. 24 

The lieutenant governor in the upper house is by no means 
so powerful as the speaker. He presides, decides questions 
of order, subject to an appeal to the senate, and assigns to the 
various senate employees their respective duties. He has no 
vote, however, except when the senate is equally divided, nor 
does he appoint the senate committees. Technically the senate 
committees are appointed by the senate; in reality, they are 
appointed by the committee on committees, composed of major- 
ity leaders, and itself appointed by the chairman of the senate 
caucus of the majority party. The minority candidate for 
president pro tern, of the senate, who becomes the minority 
leader on the floor of the senate, usually controls the committee 
positions assigned to minority members, or occasionally a 
minority committee on committees may exercise this power. 
In either case, however, the minority assignments are subject 
to revision and ratification by the majority committee on com- 
mittees. The senate chooses a president pro tern, from its 
members to take the place of the lieutenant governor when ab- 
sent. He is nominated for the position by the senate caucus 
of the majority party. In the senate, the powers correspond- 
ing to those exercised by the speaker in the house in controlling 
the course of legislation are largely in the hands of the presi- 
dent pro tern., the floor leader of the majority party, and a small 
coterie of majority leaders, known as the " triumvirate " or the 
"big four." 

The committee system is an important feature of legislative 
procedure. The Illinois legislature has usually had an extraor- 
dinarily large number of standing committees of extraordinar- 
ily large size as compared with other states. In the forty- 
eighth general assembly, the number of standing committees 

24 In appointing the minority members of the committees, he ordinarily con- 
fers with the leader of the minority party in the house. The democratic state 
platform of 1912 declared in favor of the selection of house committees by a 
committee on committees instead of by the speaker, but this plan was not carried 
into effect. 


of the house was sixty-seven and of the senate, fifty-one. In 
the house, the appropriations and judiciary committees each 
contained forty-four members. Some members of the senate 
were on as many as thirty different committees. These condi- 
tions were unsatisfactory for the efficient performance of the 
duties before the committees. It was impossible for the legis- 
lators to attend the meetings of all the committees of which 
they were members, and it was often difficult to secure a 
quorum for committee meetings. The large size of the com- 
mittees rendered them easily subject to the management of a 
few leaders and necessitated the performance of much of the 
real work by subcommittees. The unusual size to which Illi- 
nois legislative committees has grown appears to be due in 
large measure to the desire of each member to recognition by 
being placed on as many committees as possible. In the senate, 
the number of committees seems sometimes to be determined, 
not so much by the amount of work to be done, as by the num- 
ber of members of the majority party who desire chairman- 
ships. 25 

In the forty-ninth general assembly, the number of stand- 
ing committees was considerably reduced. There were but 
thirty-three in the house and twenty-six in the senate. The re- 
sult was better attendance on committee meetings and more 
careful consideration of bills. 26 This reduction was continued 
in the fiftieth general assembly. There is still room for im- 
provement, however, in reducing the size of committees and 
the number of committees to which each member is assigned. 

Ordinarily, the chairman and the majority of the members 
of each committee are members of the majority party in the 
house, but minority representation on committees is accorded 
in a certain proportion. Where no party has a clear majority 
in the whole house, as in the forty-eighth general assembly, a 

25 In 1915 when no party had a majority and therefore all factions had to 
be considered in appointing committees there were fifty-one committees, or 
exactly the same as the number of members. Each member was assigned one 
committee chairmanship. 

26 Legislative Voters League, Assembly Bulletin, July 20, 1916. 


bipartisan combination may be. effected, whereby the chair- 
manships may be parcelled out among the various parties; and 
one party may have the majority of the members of some 
committees and the other, of others. Where difficulties are 
met in reconciling differences between the two houses over 
pending legislation, conference or joint committees may be ap- 
pointed to effect a compromise between the opposing views, and 
the report of the conference committee is usually adopted as a 
matter of course. 

Bills may be introduced in either house by any member 
or by a standing committee. In the forty-ninth general assem- 
bly, nearly a thousand bills were introduced in the house and 
over five hundred in the senate. There is usually a qualified 
limitation, however, on the time when bills may be introduced. 
Thus, under the rules of the fiftieth general assembly, no bill 
could be introduced in the senate after May 22, 1917, except 
upon motion supported by a majority of the senators present, 
while in the house, no bill could be introduced at the expira- 
tion of three weeks after the adoption of the permanent rules, 
except upon each Tuesday and except by standing committees 
of the house. In practice, however, these qualified limitations 
may not very greatly reduce the number of bills which would be 
introduced after those dates. When bills are introduced, they 
are read by title, ordered printed, and referred by the presid- 
ing officer to their proper committees. The attitude of a com- 
mittee, and especially of its chairman, toward the subject mat- 
ter of a bill is very largely the determining factor in the fate 
of the bill. If the committee and its chairman, together with 
the speaker and the " organization " are in favor of a bill, it is 
ordinarily railroaded through on lubricated skids; whereas, if 
they are opposed to the bill, it will very likely never again be 
heard from after reference to a committee. 27 Thus, in the 
forty-ninth general assembly, the omnibus appropriation bill, 

27 A graphic account of the various ways in which the progress of a bill may 
be advanced or impeded is contained in a bulletin of the Legislative Voters 
League of Illinois, reprinted in Reinsch, Readings on American State Govern- 
ment, 74-79. 


carrying more than fifteen million dollars and containing over 
fifty printed pages was introduced into the lower house on June 
first, read a second time on June second, and passed on the 
third. On the other hand, bills abolishing railroad passes or 
designed to improve social and industrial conditions for women 
workers have often met such insurmountable obstacles that all 
hope of passing them was abandoned. 

In order to curtail somewhat the undue power of commit- 
tees over the fate of bills, some restrictive provisions have 
been included in the rules of each house. Thus, under the 
house and senate rules of the fiftieth general assembly, a con- 
stitutional majority of the senators or representatives may 
recall a bill or resolution from a committee, discharge the com- 
mittee from its further consideration and have it placed on the 
house calendar. 28 This rule tends to make the house its own 
master by enabling a constitutional majority to control the 
proceedings. Provision is also made in the rules of the lower 
house whereby in the case of measures of general state impor- 
tance, the speaker may reserve the bill, with the consent of the 
house, to be considered in the committee of the whole house. 
If, however, the house fails to consent to such reference, the 
bill or resolution must be referred to its appropriate com- 

The chairman of a committee may, and sometimes has, 
attempted to block the consideration of a measure by failing 
to call a meeting of his committee ; but, under the house rules, 
it is provided that, in such case, fifty per cent of the members 
of the committee shall have a right to call a meeting. Prior 
to the forty-eighth general assembly no record was kept of 
committee meetings. The constitution requires that each house 
shall keep a journal of its proceedings, which shall be pub- 
lished, but since the really important proceedings and decisions 
take place in committee rooms rather than on the floor of the 
house, it seems that some record of committee meetings should 

28 Except that in the house a bill cannot be recalled from the appropriations 


be preserved, in order that there may be some means of fixing 
responsibility for committee action. Consequently, in order 
to bring committee meetings under some degree of outside con- 
trol, the rules of the house in the forty-eighth general assem- 
bly were amended so as to provide that the chairman of each 
committee shall keep a record of the time of committee meet- 
ings, the attendance of members, names of lobbyists appearing 
before the committee, and the vote of each member on all 
actions taken by the committee. It was also provided that 
every committee hearing should be open to the public and that 
the committee record on each bill should be made accessible to 
the members of the house and the public during the session, and 
should thereafter be filed in the office of the secretary of state. 
No provision, however, was made for holding anyone person- 
ally responsible for filing the records with the secretary of 
state, and this function seems to have been performed either 
carelessly or not at all. 

Just as the movement to bring the deliberations of the 
house under control tends to shift the real procedure to com- 
mittees, and just as the movement to control the process of 
nominating officers tends to push the real process one step 
further back than formerly, so the attempt to bring legislative 
committees under outside control may have the effect of caus- 
ing the real power to be- transferred to subcommittees or com- 
mittees of committees. The large size of committees, as al- 
ready noted, also tends in this direction. 

As indicated above, bills must, under the constitution be 
read at large on three different days. On second reading it is 
subject to amendment, but not on third reading. As already 
noted, all amendments must be printed before the final pas- 
sage, which requires a roll call of yeas and nays and an affirma- 
tive vote of a majority of all members elected. 

Each house publishes a daily calendar for the use of mem- 
bers, containing all special orders of the day and all bills before 
the house in their proper order of reading, usually according to 
the order in which they were reported. Bills may be advanced 


out of their order, however, by unanimous consent, or by a con- 
stitutional majority in the house, or by a majority of those 
present in the senate. Subject to the consent of a constitutional 
majority in the house and of a majority of those present in the 
senate, the house rules committee, of which the speaker is 
chairman, and the senate executive committee may report a 
special order for the day which shall take the place of the regu- 
lar order. These committees, therefore, may become very 
powerful in deciding the course of legislation in their respective 
houses. There is also sometimes found a steering or sifting 
committee which exercises important powers in virtually deter- 
mining the fate of bills, particularly toward the close of the 
session when the great rush of legislation occurs. Any party, 
faction, or group may have a steering committee, either self- 
constituted, chosen by its own members, or appointed by the 
speaker or by the chairman of the party caucus. The legisla- 
tive caucuses and steering committees represent tendencies 
toward concentration of party control and responsibility. The 
fact that the chairmen of all committees usually belong to the 
majority party also tends in the same direction. Party respon- 
sibility in the general assembly, however, is not very strong, 
and comparatively few of the votes in that body are taken on 
strictly party lines. On important issues, however, party cau- 
cuses are held to determine party policy, but occasionally some 
members of the party refuse to attend or to be bound by the 
caucus. It sometimes happens that real control of the course 
of legislation is in the hands of a bipartisan combination, com- 
posed of the organization members of the two major parties. 
Under the rules of each house, means exist whereby debate 
may be limited. In order to secure the floor, the member must 
be recognized by the presiding officer. Under the house rules 
of the fiftieth general assembly, no member may speak longer 
than thirty minutes at one time, no more than once on the same 
question, except by leave of the house; while, under the senate 
rules, no member may speak more than twice on the same ques- 
tion, nor longer than fifteen minutes at any one time, without 


the consent of the senate. Moreover, in each house the previ- 
ous question may be ordered, which has the effect of putting 
the main question to a vote and of bringing all debate to an 
end. Formerly, the legislative debates were not published, ex- 
cept in some newspapers, and even there very meagerly or not 
at all. Beginning with the forty-ninth general assembly, how- 
ever, a daily stenographic record of debates has been taken and 
later printed in book form. Each house has a committee to 
edit the daily stenographic reports of debate. The principal 
advantage of publishing the debates seems to be in operating 
as a deterring influence upon members against indulging in un- 
seemly or ill-considered remarks. 

An attempt to confer upon the executive greater and more 
positive control over legislation, as well as to place upon him 
the responsibility of having a legislative program, was made 
in the forty-eighth general assembly, when a rule was adopted 
in the house providing that " when any bill or resolution is in- 
troduced for the purpose of carrying into effect any recommen- 
dation of the governor, it may by executive message addressed 
to the speaker of the house be made an administration meas- 
ure," and "may be sent to the appropriate committee or 
to committee of the whole house," and, when re- 
ported out, " shall have precedence in the consideration of the 
house over all other measures except appropriations bills." 29 
This rule, however, was little used and has not since been in- 
cluded in the rules of the house. 

The rules of the legislature are hardly adapted to the most 
efficient transaction of business, and it is felt by many legisla- 
tors that they might be improved in various respects. It has 
been suggested that some means should be adopted to prevent 
the great congestion of business during the last few days of the 
session, and that there should be such order and deliberation 
in the proceedings as to deprive members of any excuse for 
voting blindly and without sufficient consideration on impor- 

29 House Journal, 1913, 315; Hull, "Legislative Procedure," American 
Political Science Review, 7:239-241. 


tant measures. At the expiration of a certain time, if a bill has 
not been acted upon by a committee, it should automatically 
come out and be placed on the calendar. The introduction of 
bills "by request" should be prohibited so that each member 
may take the responsibility for his own bills. 30 In a legislative 
body where there are many new members, it is almost inevi- 
table that large powers over the course of legislation should 
gravitate into the hands of a small group of leaders. Some 
means should be adopted, however, whereby such large powers 
may rest in the hands of those who can be held effectually re- 
sponsible for their proper exercise. 

Even though the rules, however, were perfected so as to 
be entirely unobjectionable, it still remains true that there 
would be no assurance that the rules would be observed if it 
should be to the interest of the various factions and members 
generally to disregard them. The rules may at all times be sus- 
pended by unanimous consent, and this is the common way of 
conducting house business. It often happens that, even though 
a member may disapprove of the irregularity of the proceed- 
ings, he hesitates to raise an objection and thereby endanger 
his usefulness as a legislator by rendering himself obnoxious to 
the leaders and other members whose consent he must obtain in 
order to get his own measures through. When the irregularity 
of the proceedings becomes so flagrant, however, that a mem- 
ber or members raise objections, their objection may be ignored 
if the presiding officer and the "organization" are determined 
to brook no opposition, and the measure may be declared car- 
ried by " gavel rule." One of the most notorious attempts 
to gavel through a measure occurred in 1903, when the speaker 
ignored repeated cries for a roll call during the fight over 
the traction bill and was finally forced to leave his chair by the 
rush of indignant members. A resolution protesting against 
the conduct of the speaker was unanimously adopted at a meet- 
ing of ninety-seven house members and ordered spread upon 
the journal. The preamble of the resolution recited that " The 

30 Legislative Voters League, Assembly Bulletin, November 20, 1914. 


Speaker of this House has by revolutionary and unconstitu- 
tional methods, denied a hearing in this House or a roll call 
constitutionally demanded upon measures of grave importance, 
and has attempted by the same methods to force the same be- 
yond the point where they can be amended or calmly considered 
by this House upon their merits." 31 This public condemna- 
tion of the speaker's course has not, however, had the effect of 
eliminating gavel rule altogether. Such methods, when de- 
signed merely to prevent the dilatory tactics of the minority, 
are not objectionable, but when used to deprive either the ma- 
jority or the minority of their constitutional rights, are highly 
censurable. 32 

Although the houses cannot be compelled by any outside 
authority to observe their own rules, the disregard of rules of 
legislative procedure laid down in the constitution rests upon 
a somewhat different basis. Where the journal does not show 
that all amendments to a bill have been printed before its final 
passage, as required by the constitution, and the question as to 
whether the bill was properly passed is raised in the courts, 
the validity of the act will not be sustained. A statute which 
bears the signatures of the presiding officers of both houses 
and of the governor will be presumed to have become a law 
pursuant to the requirements of the constitution; but this pre- 
sumption will be overcome if the journal fails to show that the 
act was passed in the mode prescribed by the constitution. 33 
It sometimes happens, however, that constitutional require- 
ments are disregarded by unanimous consent, and the question 
of the validity of the passage of the bill is never raised in the 
courts. A constitutional requirement which is often waived by 

31 House Journal, 1903, 833. 

32 Another example of gavel rule recurred in 1913 when the speaker refused 
to grant a roll call when demanded by the number required by the constitution, 
and gavelled through a resolution providing for the appointment of a number 
of additional legislative employees. 

83 Neiberger <v. McCullough, 253 Illinois, 312; People ex rel. v. Bowman 
247 Illinois, 276; People <v. McWeeney et al., 259 Illinois, 161 ; McAuliffe v. 
O'Connell, 258 Illinois, 186; People ex rel. <v. Brady, 262 Illinois, 578; People 
ex rel. v. Knopf, 198 Illinois, 340; Chicago Telephone Company v. Northwestern 
Telephone Company, 199 Illinois, 324; Lynch v. Hutchinson, 219 Illinois, 193; 
Illinois Central Railroad Company <v. People, 143 Illinois, 434. 


unanimous consent is that which provides that " every bill shall 
be read at large on three different days." To comply literally 
with this requirement would consume so much time that little 
progress could be made. Few, if any, members of the legisla- 
ture would be inclined to insist on literal compliance with this 
provision in the case of such a bill as the Gilbert court practice 
bill in the forty-seventh general assembly, which contained 
fifteen hundred printed pages and was calculated to require 
about sixty-five hours to read in full. Moreover, even though 
constitutional requirements are not actually complied with and 
the question of the validity of the act is raised in the courts, if 
the official journal does not disclose on its face any irregularity 
in the proceedings, the courts will ordinarily not go behind the 
face of the official record. Inasmuch as the proceedings are 
recorded by the clerk in accordance with the decisions of the 
presiding officer, it may result as has been said, that " what the 
Speaker declares the clerk must record, and what the clerk 
records no court will set aside." 34 

The powers of the legislature are much broader than those 
of either the executive or judicial branches of the government. 
In general, the legislature may pass any law and do any legis- 
lative act not prohibited by the constitution of the state or of 
the United States. 35 There are, however, numerous limita- 
tions on the legislature in the state constitution. The due 
process clause of the constitution has within recent years oper- 
ated as a serious limitation on the legislature in attempting to 
bring under legal regulation many of the economic phenomena 
of the new industrial age. In particular there is a stringent 
prohibition placed on the legislature against the passage of 
local or special laws in any of twenty-three enumerated cases, 
and a general prohibition against the passage of such laws in 
all other cases in which a general law can be made applicable. 36 
As to the enumerated subjects, the prohibition against special 

34 Reinsch, Readings on American State Government, 75. 

35 People ex rel. <v. McCullough, 254 Illinois, 9. At a special session, how- 
ever, the powers of the legislature are limited by the call of the governor. 

30 Constitution, article iv, section 22. 


legislation is absolute, but the provision that no special law 
shall be enacted where a general law can be made applicable 
is directory and not mandatory, and the action of the general 
assembly in such case is not subject to review by the courts. 37 
Prior to 1904, the general assembly found itself impeded by 
the constitutional prohibition against special legislation in 
adapting laws to the different conditions found in Chicago as 
compared with the rest of the state. By a constitutional 
amendment adopted in that year, however, the legislature may 
pass special acts relating to the government of the city of Chi- 
cago, which, however, can go into effect only when ratified by 
the voters of that city. 38 

Under the constitution the general assembly is prohibited 
from appointing or electing any public officer, and since 1913 
it has been debarred from choosing United States senators. 
This is fortunate, as the election of senators often greatly inter- 
fered with the regular work of the legislature, as in the case of 
the deadlock of 1913, which was ended by a bipartisan com- 
bination which sent a republican and a democrat to the senate. 
The senate, however, has the important power of confirming 
most of the governor's appointments to office. This power 
tends to divide the responsibility for the appointment between 
the governor and the senate and, if abolished, would enable 
the senate to apply itself solely to its strictly legislative func- 
tions. Any civil officer of the state may be removed from 
office through the process of impeachment, in which the accu- 
sation is made by a majority of the house of representatives 
and the case is tried by the senate. A two-thirds vote of all the 
senators elected is necessary for conviction, which operates to 
remove the officer from office and to disqualify him from hold- 
ing any official position under the state government. 39 

Each house may punish by imprisonment any person, not a 

37 Wilson <v. Board of Trustees el al, 133 Illinois, 443 (446); Knopf v. 
People ex rel., 185 Illinois, 20; Owners of Lands <v. People ex rel., 113 Illinois 
296 (315)- 

38 Constitution, article iv, section 34. 

39 Ibid., sections 10, 24. 


member, who Is guilty of disrespectful behavior to the house in 
its presence. Any person may be compelled by subpoena to 
appear and give testimony as a witness and produce papers and 
documents before either house, or a committee thereof, or a 
joint committee of both houses. 40 

Methods of legislation in the general assembly as effecting 
the character of the output seem to indicate the need for 
greater system and more concentrated responsibility. This is 
shown by the fact that not infrequently conflicting measures re- 
lating to the same subject are passed at the same session. Thus, 
in the forty-seventh general assembly, two acts were passed, 
the state civil service law and the state mining law, which con- 
tained provisions relative to the appointment of state mine in- 
spectors which were in plain and irreconcilable conflict. 41 The 
quantity of legislation put out by the general assembly is more 
imposing than its quality. The fiftieth general assembly passed 
407 bills, of which Governor Lowden signed 225, vetoed 69, 
and permitted 1 13 to become laws without his signature. The 
session laws of the fiftieth general assembly require for pub- 
lication a volume of over eight hundred pages. 

The scramble, haste, and confusion amid which bills are 
amended, reported, passed, sent to conference, and repassed, 
especially in the closing hours of a session, are responsible for 
the passage of much ill-considered legislation as well as for the 
killing or smothering of many meritorious bills. It is par- 
ticularly in the field of financial legislation that more systematic 
methods and concentrated responsibility seem desirable. Total 
appropriations in recent years have mounted at a rapid rate. 
In 1905, the biennial appropriations were only about sixteen 
million dollars while ten years later they had increased to about 
forty-six million dollars and in 1917 they amounted to more 
than fifty million dollars. This rapid increase in the expense 

* Constitution, article IV, section 9 ; Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 63, sec- 
tion 6; Report and Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1913, p. 351-353. 

41 Report of the Attorney-General, 1912, p. 1073. For additional instances of 
confusing and contradictory legislation see the annual address of President Ham- 
line, Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar Association, 1897, part 2, p. 3-5. 


of running the state government has naturally drawn attention 
to the unsystematic and haphazard method of financial legis- 
lation and caused a movement toward bringing about an im- 
provement in this direction. Evidence of the lack of, and need 
for more systematic methods in financial legislation is found in 
the amount of deficiency appropriations passed in each general 
assembly, which increased from about $133,000 in the forty- 
seventh, to about $400,000 in the forty-ninth general assem- 
bly. Much money also is wasted in making appropriations to 
pay claims for private relief, which, in some cases, had been 
denied by the court of claims. The constitutionality of defi- 
ciency and private appropriations is somewhat questionable. 
In the forty-eighth general assembly there were ninety-four 
separate appropriation acts, and two years later there were 
eighty-eight, containing hundreds of detailed items. Most of 
these bills were reported from committee and passed near the 
close of the session when any adequate consideration of them 
was practically impossible. Under the constitution, appropria- 
tions for salaries of state officers must be in a separate bill, but 
all other appropriations might be combined in one or a few 
measures. 42 Greater uniformity in the classification of items 
would facilitate comparison between different institutions and 
different fiscal periods. 

In making appropriations for state institutions and depart- 
ments the legislature has heretofore derived the information 
upon which the appropriations were based largely from the 
estimates of needs made by the heads of the respective depart- 
ments or institutions. 43 The total estimates, therefore, were 
the result of no state wide plan. It has been customary, it is 
true, for committees of legislators to be appointed to visit the 
various state institutions with the ostensible purpose of inquir- 
ing into their financial needs, but such visiting committees sel- 
dom succeed in eliciting information of any real value and, in 

42 Legislative Voters League, Assembly Bulletin, March 9, 1916; Constitu- 
tion, article IV, section 16. 

43 These remarks, however, are not applicable to the charitable institutions 
since the creation of the board of administration in 1910. 


some cases, seem to have degenerated into legislative junkets. 
The real work of investigating the financial needs of the insti- 
tutions, so far as done at all, has usually been done by subcom- 
mittees of the appropriations committees. Even though the 
legislature did its full duty to the best of its ability, it is not as 
well suited as the head of the executive department to originate 
the state wide financial program. 44 

With a view of bringing about some improvement in the 
methods of financial legislation and of creating a permanent 
agency to assist the legislature in this respect, the joint legis- 
lative reference bureau was created in 1913. This consists of 
the governor and the chairman of the appropriations and 
judiciary committees of the two houses, with a salaried secre- 
tary. 45 One of the duties vested by the act in the bureau was 
to prepare for the use of the general assembly a detailed budget 
of appropriations for the several state departments for the 
succeeding biennium compiled from the statements of financial 
needs made by the several departments. This was a step in the 
right direction, but in several respects it fell short of what is 
needed. No provision was made for a statement of estimated 
revenues, and no authority was granted to the bureau to make 
any responsible recommendations in regard to the estimates. 
The consolidation act of 1917 did not abolish the legislative 
reference bureau, but it provided for the submission by the gov- 
ernor of a budget to the general assembly containing the recom- 
mendations made by him on his official authority as to appropri- 
ations for the various state departments and institutions. Al- 
though such a budget naturally carries more weight than one 
submitted without recommendation by the legislative refer- 
ence bureau, the general assembly is, of course, not legally com- 
pelled to follow it or to give it any consideration. 

Other functions conferred upon the legislative reference 
bureau were to supply information for the use of the general 

44 Legislative Voters League, Assembly Bulletin, November 17, 1915; Pro- 
posed Legislative Measures to Carry into Effect tfre Recommendations of the 
Efficiency and Economy Committee, 1915, p. 28. 

45 Laws of 1913, P- 391. 


assembly and to assist any member thereof in the drafting of 
any bills or resolutions which he may desire to introduce. Such 
assistance, if rendered by competent draftsmen, should be of 
considerable value, especially to new members, unskilled in the 
technical legal requirements of bill-drafting. 

The forces influencing legislation in Illinois, as in most 
other states, are of a mixed character, sometimes sinister, 
sometimes public-spirited. Professional lobbyists representing 
powerful special interests are often very numerous and active, 
but are probably less numerous and influential at present than a 
few years ago. The withdrawal from the legislature of the 
power of electing United States senators operates to remove 
one important source of possible corruption, such as was 
alleged to have occurred in 1909 in the election of William 
Lorimer. In order to prevent lobbying from being carried on 
upon the floor of the legislative body, each house has adopted 
rules restricting the access to the floor of any person, with the 
exception of certain privileged classes not acting as attorneys 
for persons or corporations interested in pending legislation. 
In 1915, Governor Dunne sent a special message to the gen- 
eral assembly denouncing the corrupt lobbyist and advocated 
the passage of a law or resolution requiring registration of 
lobbyists. Such a resolution was passed in the senate but was 
not enforced. 

Although professional lobbyists usually exercise a perni- 
cious influence on legislation, it is of course true that lobbying 
of a certain kind is perfectly legitimate. On important bills, 
the general assembly frequently holds public hearings and at 
such hearings it is entirely proper for any citizen to appear and 
present his views on pending legislation. Much legislation of 
the present day relates to technical matters, about which no 
member of the general assembly may be as well informed as 
certain persons on the outside. Representatives of the Citi- 
zens' Association of Chicago, the Chicago Civic Federation, 
the Chicago and Illinois state bar associations, the Illinois 
Commission on Uniform Laws, and various other voluntary 


agencies active in proposing changes in the laws, have through 
bringing their influence to bear on the general assembly, been 
of great value in improving the character of the legislative 
output 46 The Legislative Voters League has been of great 
service in exposing legislative methods to public view and in 
publishing the records of legislators for the information of 

It is doubtless true that, within recent decades, the con- 
fidence of the people in the general assembly has been at a low 
ebb, as indicated by the numerous limitations placed on the 
legislature in the present constitution. Many incidents and 
much legislation may also be cited which seem, at first sight, to 
justify this lack of confidence. Such instances, however, should 
not be allowed to blind the people of the state to the really 
good and substantial work which the legislature has accom- 
plished in many lines in spite of the very considerable difficul- 
ties under which it operates. The release of the legislature 
from such difficulties and restrictions would probably enable 
it to do still better work. 

48 Cf. MacChesney, " A Legislative Programme for Law Reform," Illinois 
Laiv Review, 3: 512-521. 


JUDICIAL power has been defined by the supreme court of 
Illinois as " that power which adjudicates upon and pro- 
tects the rights and interests of individual citizens, and to that 
end construes and applies the laws." x Although power of a 
quasi-judicial nature may be exercised to some extent by the 
legislative, executive, or administrative organs of the state 
government, judicial powers, properly speaking, are vested 
in the main in such judicial tribunals as are provided for by the 
constitution or created by law in and for cities and incorporated 
towns. 2 Thus the power of the legislature in establishing 
courts is strictly limited. The state is provided by the consti- 
tution with a hierarchy of courts, comprising the supreme court, 
the appellate courts, and the circuit courts. In addition, there 
are numerous local courts, such as county courts, city courts, 
justices of the peace, and police magistrates, and certain special 
courts, such as probate courts and the court of claims. 

At the apex of the system stands the supreme court, which 
is organized upon the collegial principle. There are seven 
judges, elected by popular suffrage for nine-year terms. In 
order to be legally eligible for the position, each judge must 
be at least thirty years of age, a citizen of the United States, 
a resident of the state for five years next preceding his elec- 
tion, and a resident of the district in which he is elected. 3 In 
practice, supreme court judges must, of course, be learned in 
the law and frequently stand among the leaders of their pro- 
fession. Under the original constitution of 1818, the justices 
of the supreme court, as well as the judges of the inferior 

1 People ex rel. v. Chase, 165 Illinois, 527; Witter v. County Commissioners 
of Cook County, 256 Illinois, 616. 

2 Constitution, article vi, section i. 
8 Ibid., 'article VI, section 3. 



courts, were appointed by joint ballot of both branches of the 
general assembly and held their offices during good behavior. 
Since 1848, however, they have been elected by popular vote 
for definite terms of office. For the purpose of electing the 
supreme court judges, the state is divided into seven districts, 
each containing several counties. The boundaries of the dis- 
tricts may be changed by the general assembly at the session 
next preceding the election of judges therein, provided such 
alterations are made upon the rule of equality of population, 
as nearly as county boundaries will allow, and provided that the 
districts shall be composed of contiguous counties, in as nearly 
compact form as circumstances will permit, and provided fur- 
ther that the alteration of the districts shall not affect the tenure 
of office of any judge. The counties composing the districts 
were originally laid down in the constitution ; but, on account of 
the unequal growth of population in the various districts, some 
alterations in the boundaries were made in 1903 by the gen- 
eral assembly. The constitution apparently intends that the 
division of the state into supreme court districts shall be based 
upon the principle of approximately equal population. If so, 
the actual division has become archaic, since the seventh dis- 
trict, in which Chicago is located, contains nearly one-half the 
population of the state and an even larger percentage of the 
cases in the supreme court come from that district, yet the 
people of that district elect only one-seventh of the members 
of the court. It would seem that the division into districts 
should be made more equitable, or else the district system 
should be abandoned and the supreme court justices all elected 
on a general ticket. 4 

The election for judges of the supreme court are held in 
the separate districts and take place on the first Monday in 
June in such years as vacancies regularly occur. The judicial 
election was placed at a time different from that of executive 
officers and members of the general assembly in order to mini- 

4 Ibid., article vi, section 5; Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 37, section la, 
ib, which were held constitutional in People ex rel. <v. Rose, 203 Illinois, 46. 


mize the influence of political considerations in the selection of 
the judges. Five of the supreme court judges are elected every 
ninth year, as in 1915, 1924, et cetera, while the other two 
judges are elected at intervals between these dates, so that ordi- 
narily, there are always at least two judges with previous ex- 
perience on the supreme court bench. Moreover, supreme 
court judges are not infrequently elected to succeed themselves 
upon the expiration of their terms. In case of a vacancy occur- 
ring through death, resignation, or incapacity, prior to the 
expiration of the term of any judge, a special election is held 
in the district to fill such vacancy, unless the unexpired portion 
of the term does not exceed one year, in which case the vacancy 
is filled by appointment by the governor. 5 

Prior to 1897, the supreme court was held in three grand 
divisions, denominated the southern, central, and northern; 
and sessions were held for these divisions in three separate 
places, Springfield, Ottawa, and Mt. Vernon. There were 
very decided disadvantages in this division of the court. The 
judges, not having adequate opportunities for consultation and 
discussion, sometimes handed down inadequately considered 
opinions. 6 The demand for the consolidation of the court 
grew more insistent, until, in 1897, the court was consolidated 
by act of the general assembly, and since then the sessions of 
the court have been held in Springfield, beginning on the first 
Tuesday in October, December, February, April, and June 
of each year. It is not necessary that all the seven judges shall 
hear every case argued; a majority of them, constituting a 
quorum, is competent to sit and to render decisions. The 
court is presided over by a chief justice, who is nominally se- 
lected by the justices from among themselves. Under the 
present rules of the court, no justice is eligible to serve as chief 
who has not served as a justice at least two years. Among 
those who are eligible, justices who have not served before as 
chief are preferred; and among the latter, seniority, as de- 

6 Constitution, article VI, section 32. 
6 Chicago Tribune, April 3, 1897. 


termined by length of continuous service, shall control. If all 
the eligible justices have before served as chief, then that jus- 
tice succeeds whose last term as chief is most remote in point 
of time. 7 

The clerk of the supreme court, strangely enough, is not 
chosen by the court but, since 1 848, has been elected by popular 
vote, in accordance with the general tendency toward an un- 
duly long ballot. It may be noticed, in passing, that it is a gen- 
eral rule in Illinois to elect clerks of courts of record by popu- 
lar vote. This renders them subject neither to administrative 
control nor to judicial control. Neither are they subject to 
popular control in spite of popular election, because a clerk of 
court is too inconspicuous and too much of a ministerial officer 
to secure much attention from the voters. 

The supreme court, however, appoints its own reporter 
who edits and publishes the opinions of the court, and its own 
marshal, who attends upon the sittings of the court and per- 
forms such other duties, under the order and direction of the 
court as are usually performed by sheriffs of courts. The 
court also promulgates its own rules of practice, subject to the 
provisions of the constitution and acts of the general assembly. 
The salaries of the supreme court justices are fixed by the gen- 
eral assembly at $10,000 per annum, but may not be increased 
or diminished during the terms for which such justices are 
elected. The supreme court justices are prohibited from re- 
ceiving any other compensation, fee, or perquisite, and from 
performing any other than judicial duties to which may belong 
any emoluments. 8 

Next below the supreme court stand the appellate courts. 
In accordance with constitutional authorization, the general 
assembly in 1877 divided the state into four appellate court 
districts, of which Cook county comprised one district and the 

7 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 37, sections 2, 3. On the movement for 
the consolidation of the supreme court, see J. H. Hamline in Proceedings of the 
Illinois State Bar Association, 1897, part 2, p. 31-35; 1898, part 2, p. 6; Rules 
of Practice of the Supreme Court of Illinois, number 38. 

8 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 37, sections u, 12; Constitution, article VI, 
sections 7, 16. 


other three corresponded, in the main, to the three grand divi- 
sions of the supreme court, as they existed prior to 1897. No 
special appellate court judges are provided, but each appellate 
court is held by three circuit court judges assigned to duty in 
such appellate court for three-year terms by the supreme court. 
The three circuit court judges assigned to each appellate court 
choose one of their number to be the presiding justice of the 
appellate court in that district. The four appellate courts hold 
their sessions in Chicago, Ottawa, Springfield, and Mt. Vernon 
respectively. Provision is made in the law for the erection of 
branch appellate courts in any district in which the number of 
cases pending before the appellate court shall exceed two hun- 
dred and fifty. In pursuance of this authorization, two branch 
appellate courts have been erected in the Cook county dis- 
trict. In that district, superior court judges as well as circuit 
court judges are assigned to duty in the appellate court and its 
branches. In each of the other three districts, it is customary 
to assign no more than one circuit court judge from a given 
circuit to duty in the appellate court. The circuit court judges 
assigned to a given appellate court district, outside of the Cook 
county district, are not usually, or necessarily, drawn from a 
circuit composed of counties contained in such appellate court 
district. A circuit court judge, when sitting in the appellate 
court, is prohibited from passing upon any case previously de- 
cided by him in the circuit court. It is considered an honor for 
a circuit court judge to be selected to sit in the appellate court; 
but, for this service, he is not allowed to receive any addi- 
tional compensation. 9 

As the amount of judicial business in the state increases, 
the importance of the appellate courts is correspondingly en- 
hanced. The certiorari law of 1909 further enlarged the im- 
portance of these courts; and as the work of the supreme court 
becomes greater, there is an increasing tendency to give to the 
appellate courts more final jurisdiction, in order to relieve the 

9 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 37, sections 35C, 3$k; Constitution, article 
VI, section n. 


congestion in the supreme court. These considerations raise 
the question whether the appellate courts should be provided 
with judges of their own. To do this the constitution would 
have to be amended so as to provide for the selection of appel- 
late court judges either by popular vote or by appointment by 
the supreme court from among members of the bar. Such a 
change would relieve circuit court judges from appellate court 
duty and would tend to develop greater expertness in appellate 
court work among the judges of the latter court. 10 

The court of general original jurisdiction in Illinois is the 
circuit court, which stands next below the appellate courts. By 
act of the general assembly, the state has been divided into 
eighteen judicial circuits, of which Cook county is one, and 
each of the others is composed of three or more counties. In 
making such division into circuits, the general assembly rests 
under the limitations that outside of Cook county " such cir- 
cuits shall be formed of contiguous counties, in as nearly com- 
pact form and as nearly equal as circumstances will permit, 
having due regard to business, territory and population." n 
New circuits may be formed and the boundaries changed by 
the general assembly at its session next preceding the election 
for circuit judges, subject to the foregoing limitations, and to 
the condition that the tenure of office of no judge shall be 
thereby affected. 12 

In each of the seventeen circuits outside of Cook county 
three circuit court judges are elected by the people on a general 
ticket for six-year terms. The elections are held regularly on 
the first Monday in June of each sixth year, as in 1915, 1921, 
et cetera, but special elections may be held at other times to fill 
vacancies occurring more than a year before the expiration of 
the term. In order to be eligible to a circuit judgeship, the 
candidate must be at least twenty-five years old, a citizen of 

_ 10 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter no, sections 121, 122; see also Freitag <v. 
Union Stock Yard and Transit Company, 262 Illinois, 551 (552-553) ; Courier <v. 
Simpson Construction Company, 264 Illinois, 488 ; Illinois Law Review, 3 : 94. 

11 Constitution, article vi, sections 12, 13; Frackelton <v. Masters, 249 Illinois, 
30; Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 37, section 73. 

12 Ibid., article VI, section 13. 


the United States, a resident of the state for five years next 
preceding his election, and of the district in which he is elected. 
The compensation of a circuit court judge is $5,000 per annum, 
which is fixed by the general assembly but cannot be increased 
or diminished during his term of office. Like the supreme 
court justices he is prohibited from receiving any other emolu- 
ment. The circuit courts are empowered to make their own 
rules for the disposition of business before them, not incon- 
sistent with law. 13 

Although there are three circuit court judges in each cir- 
cuit, it is contemplated by the law that the circuit court shall 
be held by but one judge, so that three circuit courts may be 
held simultaneously in the several counties composing a circuit. 
Two or more regular terms of circuit court are held annually 
in each county of the circuit. The times for the beginning of 
such regular terms are specified in the law, but special terms 
may be held at the discretion of the judges. The distribution 
of the work among the judges of a circuit is arranged by the 
judges among themselves, but the supreme court may assign 
judges from circuits where the business is light to hold court in 
other circuits where the dockets are congested. 14 

In each county of the state there is a county court, with a 
single county judge, elected by popular vote for a four-year 
term. The county court has limited jurisdiction in civil and 
criminal cases, exercises certain administrative functions in con- 
nection with election and taxation matters and possesses juris- 
diction in probate matters, except in counties having a popula- 
tion of more than 70,000 in which separate probate courts 
have been established, with probate judges elected for four- 
year terms. The county and probate judges are not elected at 
separate judicial elections, but on Tuesday after the first Mon- 
day in November of every fourth year, as in 1914, 1918, et 
cetera, when certain political officers are also chosen. A clerk 
of the probate court is elected at the same time and for the 

13 Constitution, article vi, sections 16, 17. The Cook county judges receive 
additional compensation from the county. Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 37, 
section 69. 

14 Ibid., chapter 37, section 82 i. 


same term as the probate judge. The county clerk acts as clerk 
of the county court 15 

In addition to the above courts of record, provision is made 
for the establishment of city courts of record and for justices 
of the peace and police magistrates who do not hold courts of 
record. City courts, which may be established in any city con- 
taining at least 3,000 inhabitants when an ordinance to that 
effect is submitted by the city council and adopted by a two- 
thirds vote of the people, have concurrent jurisdiction with cir- 
cuit courts in civil and criminal cases arising in the city and 
entertain appeals from the justices of the peace in such city. 
City courts have now been established in about twenty-five cities 
of the state. The judges of city courts must be regularly 
licensed attorneys and are elected in the same manner as the 
city officers are elected, but not at the same time. Justices of 
the peace and police magistrates, outside of Chicago, hear petty 
causes, involving lesser offenses or small amounts of money. 10 
Justices of the peace and police magistrates are elected in town- 
ships and villages for four-year terms. 

In Cook county and Chicago, on account of the greater 
amount of litigation and judicial business, the organization of 
the courts, except in the case of the county and probate courts, 
is more complicated than in other parts of the state. The work 
performed by the circuit court in other parts of the state is in 
Cook county divided between the circuit, superior, and criminal 
courts. There are twenty judges in each of the circuit and 
superior courts, who are elected by popular vote for six-year 
terms. Under the constitution, the number of judges in these 
courts may be increased by the general assembly from time to 
time in accordance with the growth of population in the county. 
In each of these courts the judge having the shortest unexpired 
term is the chief justice of the court. The circuit and superior 
courts of Cook county have concurrent jurisdiction in civil 
cases such as may be brought in the other circuit courts of the 

15 Ibid., chapter 37, sections 216 ff. 

16 Laws of 1917, p. 328; Herman <v. Commissioners of Highways of Pitman 
Township, 797 Illinois, 94. 


state. The criminal court of Cook county has jurisdiction in 
criminal and quasi-criminal cases, concurrently with the circuit 
court. It has no special judges of its own, but the judges of the 
circuit and superior courts are ex officio judges of the criminal 
court. 17 

By a constitutional amendment adopted in 1904, it was 
provided that " in case the General Assembly shall create 
municipal courts in the city of Chicago it may abolish the offices 
of justices of the peace, police magistrates and constables in 
and for the territory within said city .... and in such 
case the jurisdiction and practice of said municipal courts shall 
be such as the General Assembly shall prescribe." 18 In ac- 
cordance with this constitutional authorization, the general 
assembly passed the municipal court act of 1905, whereby the 
offices of justices of the peace, police magistrate, and con- 
stable were abolished in Chicago; and in their place a court of 
record was established, known as the municipal court of Chi- 
cago. This court consists of one chief justice and thirty asso- 
ciate justices, each of whom presides over one of the branch 
courts into which the municipal court is divided. They are 
elected by popular vote for six-year terms. The chief justice 
has general superintendence of the business of the court and 
assigns the associate justices to duty in the several branch 
courts. The municipal court is provided with a clerk and a 
bailiff, both of whom are elected by popular vote for six-year 
terms. The elections for the judges, as well as for the clerk 
and bailiff, take place on the Tuesday after the first Monday 
in November. The judges of the municipal court hold fre- 
quent meetings for the consideration of matters connected with 
the administration of justice in that court. 19 

It was practically necessary to amend the constitution be- 
fore the municipal court could be properly established. This 

17 Constitution, article vi, sections 23, 26 ; Berkowitz <v. Lester et al., 121 Illi- 
nois, 99. 

18 Constitution, article IV, section 34. 

19 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 37, sections 264 ff. ; Lott <v. Davis et al., 
264 Illinois, 272. 


illustrates the rigidity of the constitution in respect to the or- 
ganization of the inferior judicial tribunals. The legislature 
does not possess sufficient discretion in the formation of courts 
to supply the needed flexibility in judicial organization required 
to meet changing conditions, especially in metropolitan areas. 

The municipal court of Chicago has been called by compe- 
tent authority " the pioneer modern judicial organization in the 
United States." It is a coherent and unified organization in 
that it has a real head in the chief justice. Under the statute, 
this officer is empowered to determine the number of branch 
courts to be necessary for the prompt and proper disposition of 
the business of the court. The judges of the court are em- 
powered to adopt rules regulating the practice in the court, sub- 
ject to the provisions of the acts of the general assembly and 
to the approval of the judges of the supreme court. The re- 
sult of these provisions is shown in the efficiency and prompt- 
ness with which the court dispatches business. Thus this court, 
" thanks to a modern organization and simple procedure, dis- 
posed in 1911 of 145,953 causes." 20 

Although a proper organization of judicial machinery is 
of prime importance in securing the efficient administration of 
justice, nevertheless much also depends on the character of the 
judges selected for the court. If the method of electing judges 
of the municipal court by popular vote does not eliminate parti- 
san political considerations, no matter how modern the organi- 
zation of the court, the best results cannot be expected to be 

The circuit and county courts in the several counties of the 
state have jurisdiction in juvenile cases, but in Cook county 
it is provided that the judges of the circuit court shall designate 
one or more of their number to constitute a branch court, 
known as the juvenile court, to hear cases relating to depen- 
dent, neglected, or delinquent children. 21 

20 Pound, " Organization of Courts," American Judicature Society, Bulletin 
VI, 23. 

21 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 23, section 171 ; upheld as constitutional 
in Lindsay et al. <v. Lindsay et al., 257 Illinois, 328. 


A state tribunal of a somewhat special character is the 
court of claims. This body is the successor of the commission 
of claims established in 1877, the name having been changed 
to court of claims in 1903. It is not, strictly speaking, a court, 
since it is not provided for by the constitution; and the general 
assembly has no power to create state courts in addition to 
those provided in the constitution. Nevertheless it hears cases 
in accordance with the usual rules of court procedure. It con- 
sists of a chief justice and two judges, appointed by the gov- 
ernor and senate for four-year terms. The secretary of state is 
ex officio secretary of the court. It has jurisdiction to hear and 
determine all claims against the state, but the judgment of the 
court awarding damages against the state can be carried out 
only through an appropriation passed by the general assembly. 22 

As already pointed out, the circuit court is the court of gen- 
eral original jurisdiction in all causes in law and equity both 
civil and criminal, irrespective of the amount of money in- 
volved or of the degree of the offense. The circuit court may 
also entertain appeals from the final orders, judgments, and 
decrees of the county courts, except in certain enumerated 
cases, which are taken directly to the supreme or appellate 
court. The appellate courts have no original jurisdiction of 
any sort, their judicial duties being confined to hearing causes 
carried, on appeal or writ of error from the county or circuit 
courts. Although the appellate courts were established mainly 
for the purpose of relieving the supreme court of some of the 
evils of an overburdened docket, the jurisdiction of the appel- 
late courts is not final in all cases; but, under the constitution, 
cases may be carried from the appellate court on appeal or 
writ of error to the supreme court in criminal cases and cases 
in which a franchise of freehold or the validity of a statute is 
involved and in other cases provided by law. 23 The jurisdic- 
tion of the supreme court is to a large extent appellate in char- 

22 Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1915, p. 704-705; La<ws of 1917, 325-327. 

23 Hurd' s Revised Statutes, chapter 37, section 212; Opinions of the Attorney- 
General, 1916, p. 673; Constitution, article vi, section n; cf. Freitag <v. Union 
Stock Yard and Transit Company, 262 Illinois, 551. 


acter, but original jurisdiction is conferred upon it in cases 
relating to the revenue and in mandamus and habeas corpus 
cases. In all other cases, it may hear and determine cases 
brought on appeal directly from either the appellate, circuit, or 
county courts. The decisions of the state supreme court are 
final except in cases where a federal right is involved or the 
validity of a federal statute is contested, which may be car- 
ried on writ of error to the supreme court of the United States. 
The judges of the state supreme court are bound by the pro- 
visions of the federal constitution, as well as by those of the 
state constitution. Under the latter constitution, judges of 
courts of record inferior to the supreme court are required to 
report annually to the judges of the supreme court such defects 
and omissions in the laws as their experience may suggest; and 
in turn the judges of the supreme court are required to make a 
similar report annually to the governor, together with appro- 
priate forms of bills to cure such defects and omissions in 
the laws. It? does not appear, however, that the judges have 
availed themselves of the opportunity thus afforded to exert a 
positive influence on the making of the law. In 1909 Governor 
Deneen requested the aid of the judges of the supreme court in 
framing a valid primary election law, but the judges replied 
that the aid sought could not properly be given under the above 
provision of the constitution. 24 

Although no specific authority is granted in the constitu- 
tion to the courts to declare acts of the legislature unconsti- 
tutional, such a power would seem to be implied in the provi- 
sion that from the appellate courts appeals and writs of error 
shall lie to the supreme court in all cases in which the validity 
of a statute is involved. At all events, the courts, both inferior 
and supreme, have assumed the possession of this power and 
have exercised it on numerous occasions. Moreover, the rule 
of presumption in favor of the validity of legislative acts is 
seldom observed in Illinois. From the adoption of the con- 

24 Constitution, article vi, section 31; Wright, Judicial Control of Legisla- 
tion in Illinois, 37-42. 


stitution of 1870 to the end of the June term of the supreme 
court in 1913 the validity of laws was passed upon by that court 
in 789 cases, in which the acts concerned were declared void in 
257 cases and upheld in 532 instances. Many limitations upon 
the legislature were placed in the constitution of 1870, which 
have tended to increase greatly the number of cases in which 
the constitutionality of laws is involved, as compared with the 
period preceding 1870. With reference to such limitations, the 
supreme court has declared that the general assembly is not 
the final judge of such limitation; but when the question arises 
in a judicial proceeding, the court must compare the particular 
act with the fundamental law; and if found to be in conflict, 
the limitation must be enforced. Or, as it was expressed in 
another case, "the courts are bound to obey both the consti- 
tution and the statutes, but in every case of a conflict between 
the two the constitution, being the highest written law of the 
State, must prevail." 23 To the extent, however, that an act 
of the legislature is expressive of discretion and judgment, its 
action must be regarded as final and not within the power of 
courts to review, unless the discretion has been so grossly 
abused as that it may be said not to have been exercised at all. 26 

The importance of the judicial control over legislation 
arises not only from the number of cases in which the validity 
of statutes is involved, but also from the importance of the 
statutes concerned. For example, as indicated in another chap- 
ter, the supreme court declared three primary election acts 
unconstitutional before a valid measure was enacted. The 
power of the courts in this respect extends not only to acts of 
the state legislature but also to acts of congress. 27 

Many of the acts of the general assembly have been held 
unconstitutional as being in conflict with the provision of the 
bill of rights to the effect that " no person shall be deprived of 

26 Constitution, article vi, section n; Wright, Judicial Control of Legisla- 
tion in Illinois, 47-48 ; Knopf v. People ex rel., 185 Illinois, 20; Haller Sign Works 
<v. Physical Culture Training School, 249 Illinois, 436. 

26 People ex rel. v. Carlock, 198 Illinois, 150. 

27 See, for example, People ex rel. v. Brady, 271 Illinois, 100 (101), in which 
parts of the federal reserve act were held unconstitutional. 


life, liberty or property, without due process of law." 28 The 
line of decisions of the supreme court, however, in which the 
construction of this provision was involved has not clearly de- 
fined its meaning; and it is impossible to foretell the fate of a 
measure which is running the gauntlet of the supreme court's 
interpretation of due process. Some acts of the general as- 
sembly have also been held unconstitutional as violative of the 
third article of the constitution providing for the distribution of 
powers among the three distinct departments, legislative, exec- 
utive, and judicial. This does not mean that the departments 
shall be kept so entirely separate and distinct as to have no 
connection with or dependence upon each other. From the 
principle of separation of powers, however, it follows that 
if the powers and duties of an officer belong to the judicial 
department, he must either be elected by the people as the 
ultimate sovereign authority of the state, or his appointment 
and removal must be vested in the judicial department, and 
his appointment cannot be delegated by the legislature to some 
other body, such as a county board, nor his removal to a civil 
service commission. It follows that the power to select officers 
who are to act as assistants to the court in the performance of 
judicial functions rests in the judicial department and is neces- 
sary to the independent exercise of judicial power and the sep- 
aration of the judicial department from the other departments 
which are prohibited from exercising its functions. In pur- 
suance of this principle, the court held unconstitutional a pro- 
vision of the juvenile court act of 1907 which attempted to vest 
the appointment of probation officers in the county board of 
Cook county. On the other hand, the principle of separation 
of powers is not an insurmountable bar to the conferring of 
certain nonjudicial functions upon the courts, provided they 
are not incompatible with the proper performance by the court 
of its strictly judicial duties. Thus, the county court exercises 
certain administrative powers, such as the appointment of 

28 Constitution, article n, section 2 ; many acts have also been held uncon- 
stitutional as violative of the prohibition against special acts conferring special 
immunities, privileges, or franchises. Ibid., article iv, section 22. 


drainage commissioners, of members of the county board of 
review of assessments, and of election commissioners in cities 
operating under the city election act and the exercise of gen- 
eral supervision over the election machinery. So, an act of 
the legislature giving the circuit or county courts the power to 
appoint commissioners has been held to be a valid law; and 
powers and duties imposed by statute upon a circuit judge, not 
incompatible with his duties as judge, such as celebrating mar- 
riages and taking the acknowledgment of deeds, may be right- 
fully exercised by him. On the other hand, however, it was 
held that the land title act of 1895 was unconstitutional by 
reason of the fact that it attempted to confer judicial power 
upon a nonjudicial officer, the county recorder of deeds. 29 

The principle of separation of powers is also involved in 
the question of the power of the courts to entertain appeals 
from the orders and decisions of administrative bodies and 
officers. In the well-known case of the City of Aurora v. 
Schoeberlein 30 the supreme court had under consideration the 
constitutionality of a section of the civil service act which al- 
lowed an appeal from the decision of the civil service commis- 
sioners to the circuit court. This provision was held invalid 
on the ground that it attempted to delegate executive power 
to a judicial body. In the course of the opinion, the court 
pointed out that there could be no appeal in the legal sense un- 
less there. had been a decision by a judicial tribunal. Under 
this ruling, therefore, the courts do not possess jurisdiction to 
review the findings of fact of an administrative body. In ques- 
tions of the interpretation of the laws, however, the courts 
may exercise jurisdiction over cases carried from such bodies 
on writs of certiorari. It has been held, however, that the sec- 
tion of the workmen's compensation act of 1913 providing that 
the supreme court may review the decisions of the industrial 
board as to questions of law by certiorari is invalid as it is in 

29 Witter <v. County Commissioners of Cook County, 256 Illinois, 616; People 
ex rel. v. Nelson et al., /jj Illinois, 565 (568) ; People ex rel. <v. Chase, 165 Illi- 
nois, 527. 

30 230 Illinois, 496. 


violation of that section of the constitution which expressly 
limits the original jurisdiction of the supreme court to cases 
relating to the revenue, mandamus and habeas corpus. On 
the other hand, however, it was held in the same case that the 
circuit courts have power, by certiorari, to review the decision 
of the industrial board in cases coming under the workmen's 
compensation act, to the extent of examining whether such 
board has acted within its powers or has proceeded ille- 
gally. 31 

Although, in legal and judicial theory, the action of the 
courts in declaring statutes unconstitutional consists merely in 
applying the law as they find it to the facts of the case and in 
discarding the less fundamental law in favor of the more fun- 
damental when there is a conflict between the two, nevertheless 
in reality the exercise of this power is the performance of a 
discretionary and political act. The result of its exercise is 
equivalent to the exercise of the legislative power of repealing 
a statute, which is clearly a political act. The frequent exer- 
cise of this power by the courts, therefore, tends to engender 
the idea that the courts constitute a branch of the political de- 
partment of the state government, and to encourage the move- 
ment in favor of subjecting them to greater political responsi- 
bility. In connection with this topic a competent authority has 
declared that " the judicial power to pass on the constitution- 
ality of legislation, as exercised by state courts with reference 
to state constitutions for the last three or four decades, has de- 
generated into a legislative power of veto, inviting parties 
beaten in the legislature to transfer their fight to the courts, 
converting the highest courts of the states into anomalous third 
legislative chambers, where political questions of governmental 
policy are debated and resolved by lawyers and judges under 
the guise of debating and resolving legal. questions of govern- 
mental power, substituting the arbitrary will of judges for the 

31 Britton, Judicial Control over Public Officers in Illinois, 45-46 ; Matheny, 
" Recent Legislation and Constitutional Decisions in Illinois," Illinois Law Re- 
view, 3: 134-135; Constitution, article VI, section 2; Courier <v. Simpson Con- 
struction Company, 264 Illinois, 488. 


expressed will of the people, undermining and destroying the 
principle of the supremacy of law, converting it into an intol- 
erable supremacy of judges, where the will and not the law has 
dominion." 32 

Even more potent, however, as a cause tending to bring 
the courts into politics is the prevalent method of selecting the 
judges by popular vote for comparatively short terms of office. 
This was introduced in Illinois as a result of the general dem- 
ocratic wave which swept over the country during the first half 
of the nineteenth century with the object and purpose of in- 
creasing the control of the people over their state governments. 
The result, however, has not been the success in accomplishing 
this purpose as was anticipated. The long ballot has placed 
such a heavy burden upon the voter that he has very largely 
abdicated the function which he was supposed to perform and 
has left the real selection of most of the elective officers to 
the party managers. The conditions were such that the average 
voter could not perform fully and intelligently the functions 
which the elective system required of him. Judges, as well as 
other officers remained nominally elective by the people, but 
were in reality appointed by the political experts who con- 
trolled the nomination of candidates and drew up the party 
slate. In an effort to counteract the tendency toward the par- 
tisan political control of judicial elections, the framers of the 
constitution of 1870 placed the election of the most important 
judges at a time separate from the election of other political 
officers. Unfortunately, however, the relative, unimportance 
of this election as compared with the joint election of governor, 
legislature, and president, has tended to decrease the interest 
of the voters in, and attendance at, judicial elections to such 
an extent that the party organizations have usually experienced 
little difficulty in controlling them. Prior to the enactment of 
the primary election law, the candidates for the various judicial 
offices were selected by the political parties in party nominating 

82 Schofield, " The State Civil Service Act and the Power of Appointment," 
Illinois La-io Review, 7: 343. 


conventions. When the system of nominating conventions was 
displaced and that of nominating candidates for public office 
through party primaries was introduced, there was some differ- 
ence of opinion as to whether judges should be included among 
the officers to be nominated at the primaries. It was finally 
decided, however, so to include them, in order that the people 
might directly nominate their own judges instead of leaving 
this function in the hands of the party bosses. As a matter of 
fact, however, both under the old convention system and un- 
der the system of nominating judges in party primaries, the 
real control over the selection of the candidates for judicial 
office, particularly in Cook county, has usually remained in the 
hands of the political experts acting through the county central 
committees of the principal political parties. Thus the judges 
have often been dependent for their nomination and election 
as well as for renomination and reelection at the end of their 
terms, upon the will of those who control the organizations of 
the principal political parties. 

In order to remedy this admittedly unsatisfactory condi- 
tion of affairs, a movement has grown in recent years to bring 
about reform in the method of choosing the judges. This 
movement for reform has taken two directions: first, toward 
discarding the method of popular election in favor of appoint- 
ment, and, secondly, toward retaining but improving the oper- 
ation of the method of popular election. The method of ap- 
pointment is deemed by many to be the natural and proper 
method of selecting state judges because, in the first place, this 
method has operated successfully in the case of the federal 
judges; and secondly because judges are or should be experts, 
and it is a well-recognized principle that the method of ap- 
pointment is more satisfactory than that of popular election in 
securing experts in any public office. Although our judges are 
nominated and formally elective by popular vote, the virtual 
abdication by the people of their function in choosing these 
officers brings it about, as we have seen, that they are in reality 
at present appointed by the person or group of persons who 


control the nomination of the candidates of the majority party. 
From this point of view, therefore, the proposal to change the 
method of selecting judges from popular election to appoint- 
ment is not so radical as it might at first seem. The substance 
of the proposal is that since in any case most of the judges 
must be selected by appointment, such appointment should be 
formally recognized in the law instead of being concealed be- 
hind the form of popular election, and that the power of ap- 
pointment should be transferred from the present more or less 
irresponsible holders of that power to some officer who can be 
held responsible by the people for the character of the ap- 
pointments which he makes. 

There appears, however, to be some difference of opinion 
as to who the appointing authority should be. Some favor ap- 
pointment by the governor; others by an elective chief justice. 
Either of these methods would probably be an improvement 
over the present method of irresponsible appointment, at least 
in the metropolitan districts of the state. 33 Should the power 
of appointing judges be lodged in the hands of a chief justice, 
the possible danger that the large powers vested in him might 
be abused could be guarded against by making him elective by 
popular vote for a comparatively short term of office and by 
subjecting him to the possibility of recall by popular vote dur- 
ing his term. It has been suggested that such possibility of 
recall should be allowed only at stated annual intervals and 
that the percentage of voters required to sign the recall petition 
be sufficiently high so as to prevent the invocation of the power 
of recall for trivial reasons and so as to prevent the manip- 
ulation of recall elections by politicians in their own interest. 
A chief justice vested with such large powers could not be ap- 
pointed by the politicians with the same ease with which they 
now frequently appoint inferior judges, for the election of 
such a chief justice would be sufficiently important to attract 
the attention and to arouse the intelligent interest of the mass 
of the voters. Furthermore, in order to retain some direct 

33 Illinois Law Review, 8:112-116. 


popular control over the judges appointed by the chief justice, 
it might be provided that, at the end of the first term of each 
such appointed judge, the question should be submitted to pop- 
ular vote as to whether he should be retained for another 
term. If the question is decided in the negative, the chief jus- 
tice must then appoint another judge in his place. 34 

In spite of the above considerations, however, it is hardly 
probable that the people of the state would at any time in the 
near future be willing to forego the right of electing their 
judges. In the present state of public opinion, therefore, the 
practical problem is, while retaining the form of popular elec- 
tion, to reduce the influence of the party organizations in nom- 
inating and electing judges. Prior to the enactment of the 
primary election law of 1910, candidates for judicial offices had 
been nominated under the delegate convention system. While 
this left the selection of the judges largely in the hands of the 
party organizations, the members of the bar, through their as- 
sociations, exercised some influence through recommending the 
selection of certain nominees for judicial positions. 35 

The general movement for bringing the control of nom- 
inations of elective officers into the hands of the people re- 
sulted in repeated attempts to enact a valid primary election 
law, which finally proved successful in 1910. This law pro- 
vided for the nomination of judges, as well as other elective 
officers, by direct primary. Under the provisions of this law, 
the primaries for the nomination of judges to be elected in 
June of any year were to be held in the preceding April. In 
1913, however, the general assembly enacted certain hastily 
considered amendments to the primary law, the effect of which 
was to place the judicial primary only three weeks before the 
election. Inasmuch as under the provisions of the primary 
election act and under the ballot act of 1891 at least thirty-one 

34 Kramer, " Constitutional Revision," Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar 
Association, 1915, p. 364-365. 

35 In 1893, fifty leading lawyers in Chicago met and chose a list of several 
republicans and democrats from which they recommended a selection for judicial 
officers in Cook county. Chicago Tribune, July 20, 1893. 


days must elapse between the date of the primary and the date 
of the election for judicial officers, the supreme court held in 
1915 that the primary law, as amended in 1913, is incapable 
of enforcement as to judicial offices. The result of this deci- 
sion was to place the nomination of judicial officers under the 
provisions of the ballot act of 1891, which provides for the 
nomination of- elective officers by caucus or delegate conven- 
tion or by the filing of nomination papers. 36 

By those who favored the elimination of partisan political 
considerations in the selection of judges, the effect of the su- 
preme court's decision in the Sweitzer case in reintroducing the 
old convention method of nomination was looked upon as 
tending unfortunately in the direction of reaction rather than 
of progress. The friends of nonpartisan election of judges 
were aroused and a bill with the object of taking the selection 
of judges out of politics was introduced in the general assem- 
bly of 1915. It failed of enactment, though a measure pro- 
viding for a separate judicial ballot in cities of more than 
200,000 population was passed. In view of the failure of the 
nonpartisan judicial election bill, the Chicago Bar Association 
held a bar primary in May for making recommendations to the 
voters to be followed in the judicial elections of June, 1915. 
By majority vote, the members of the bar association approved 
of certain candidates for supreme, circuit, and superior court 
judgeships. In most cases the sitting judges were recommended 
and elected. 37 

36 Laws of 1913, p. 312; People ex rel. <v. Sweitzer, 266 Illinois, 459. This 
decision of the supreme court, however, does not apply to the nomination of 
judges of city courts and of the municipal court of Chicago, since in the case of 
the latter judges three weeks is sufficient time to elapse between the nomination 
and election of such judges. Consequently the primary election law applies to the 
nomination of such judges. See Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1915, p. 722, 
733; 1916, p. 127, 159. 

37 In 1913, the Illinois State Bar Association adopted the following resolu- 
tions: "Resolved, That this Association favors a non-partisan judiciary in this 
state, and to this end it favors an amendment of our primary laws so that candi- 
dates for judicial positions shall be nominated by petition only, and that candi- 
dates for such offices shall be printed in one column on a ticket, and printed, the 
names to be interchangeable, so that one candidate will not occupy the first place 
on the ticket more than another." Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar Associa- 
tion, 1913, p. 218; Laws of 1915, p. 399. 


The decision of the supreme court in the Sweitzer case has 
applied primarily to judicial offices to be filled at the June elec- 
tion, and some doubt therefore existed as to whether it applied 
also to the election of certain members of the superior court 
of Cook county, which was to occur in November, 1917. In 
order to dissolve this doubt, the general assembly in 1917, in- 
stead of either remedying the defective provisions of the 
amendatory primary act of 1913 by providing for a nonpar- 
tisan judicial primary, or passing a genuine nonpartisan judi- 
cial election act which would take party labels off judicial 
ballots, enacted a measure which provides that candidates for 
the offices of circuit judge and judge of the superior court of 
Cook county shall be nominated by the county conventions of 
the various political parties. This is practically equivalent to 
nomination by the county central committees of the various 
parties. 38 

The question of the proper method of retiring judges is 
closely connected with that of selecting them. Although the 
popular recall of judges, strictly speaking, has not been intro- 
duced into Illinois, the system of electing judges for compara- 
tively short terms of office is tantamount to making them liable 
to recall, subject to the limitation that such recall is operative 
only at the end of the sitting judge's term, when he is a candi- 
date for reelection. Judges may, however, be removed from 
office during their terms by impeachment, and " the General 
Assembly may, for cause entered on the journals, upon due 
notice and opportunity of defense, remove from office any 
judge, upon concurrence of three-fourths of all the members 
elected of each house." 39 

In addition to improvement in the methods of selecting and 
retiring judges, other reforms which may be considered in con- 
nection with the courts of Illinois relate to the procedure fol- 

38 Laws of 79/7, 454-455 ; The Lawyer's Association of Illinois contends that 
this act is unconstitutional, Chicago Herald, August 24, 1917. This contention, 
however, was denied by the supreme court of the state, which held the act con- 
stitutional. In the Cook county election of November, 1917, the bipartisan judicial 
ticket was successful. 

39 Constitution, article VI, section 30. 


lowed in the administration of justice and to the organization 
of the courts. 

The procedure followed in the administration of justice 
in the courts of Illinois is derived originally from the practice 
of the English courts, though in England court procedure has 
now been simplified while in Illinois reform in this respect still 
lags behind. In Illinois, the same judicial system acts sep- 
arately both as common law and equity court, and both legal 
and equitable remedies may be administered in the same courts. 
Thus in matters relating to guardianship, the probate court 
may exercise equitable powers. In the trial of cases in equity, 
a jury is not required, and the judge may determine both law 
and fact. In all criminal cases, however, according to the crim- 
inal code, juries shall be judges both of the law and of the 
facts. In such cases, however, the power of the jury is in prac- 
tice not always as great as this provision might seem to indi- 
cate, for the supreme court has held that, under this provision 
of the criminal code, it is not improper for the court to tell the 
jury that " if they can say upon their oaths that they know 
the law better than the court itself, they have the right to 
do so;" but that "before saying this upon their oaths, it 
is their duty to reflect whether from their study and expe- 
rience they are better qualified to judge of the law than the 
court." 40 

In civil cases, trial by jury may be dispensed with by agree- 
ment between the parties. When a jury is employed, it is com- 
posed of twelve men, except in trials before a justice of the 
peace, where a jury of six may be used, unless either party to 
the case demands a larger number, not exceeding twelve. In 
all important criminal cases, the accused party has a constitu- 
tional right to trial by a petit jury of twelve men, and if the 
crime of which he is accused involves punishment by imprison- 
ment in the penitentiary, he cannot be held to answer for the 
offense except on indictment of a grand jury. A grand jury 

40 Dougherty, et al. <v. Hughes, et al., 165 Illinois, 384; Hurd's Revised 
Statutes, chapter 22, section 40, chapter 38, section 431 ; Spies et al. <v. People, 122 
Illinois, i (8), following Davison <v. People, QO Illinois, 221 (223). 


consists of twenty-three jurors, before whom the evidence is 
presented. The concurrence of a majority of these is necessary 
in order to find a " true bill " against a person accused of crime. 
A verdict of conviction by a petit jury requires a unanimous 
vote. 41 

In all counties outside of Cook, grand juries, whenever 
required, are selected by the county board from among the 
legal voters in the county, as near a proportionate number as 
may be being taken from each town or precinct within the 
county. For the purpose of selecting a petit jury, the county 
board in each county outside of Cook selects a jury list com- 
prising a considerable number of names of legal voters. Their 
names are deposited in the jury box, and from this box a suffi- 
cient number of names out of which to constitute the trial jury 
are drawn by the clerk of the court in which the trial is to take 
place. Members of juries must be residents of the county in 
which the court is held, but certain classes of persons are ex- 
empt by law from service on juries; these are usually the most 
intelligent classes of people in the community, such as public 
officers, ministers of the gospel, school teachers, and members 
of the legal, medical, and journalistic professions. 42 In Cook 
county, by an act of 1897, a board of jury commissioners com- 
posed of three competent electors is chosen by the judges of 
the several courts of record within the county, and serves for 
a three-year term, subject to removal by the judges for cause. 43 
It is the duty of the commissioners to make up a jury list con- 
taining the names of the persons within the county legally qual- 
ified for jury service and to maintain at all times a jury box 
and a grand jury box containing not less than fifteen thousand 
and one thousand names respectively, out of which a sufficient 
number of names for grand and petit juries are drawn at ran- 

41 Constitution, article II, sections 5, 8 ; Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 79, 
section 48 ; People v. Glowacki, 236 Illinois, 612. 

42 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 78, sections 4, 8, 9. The attorney-general 
has held that women are ineligible to serve on juries, notwithstanding the act of 
1913 conferring on them a limited right of suffrage. See his Report and Opinions, 

, P- 655; 1914, p. 387^ 

43 This act is constitutional. People ex rel. v. Onahan et al., i/o Illinois, 449. 


dom by the clerks of the courts in which such juries are to 
serve. 44 

In making up the trial jury, each side is allowed to chal- 
lenge any prospective juror for cause, and may also challenge 
a limited number of jurors without assigning a cause. Preju- 
dice against either party is a sufficient cause for challenge but 
the fact that a juror has formed an opinion based upon news- 
paper statements of the case does not necessarily disqualify him 
from jury service in such case. When there is general preju- 
dice against an accused person in a given locality, so that it 
would be difficult to secure an impartial jury for the trial of the 
case, a change of venue may ordinarily be granted so as to 
transfer the trial to some other jurisdiction. A change of 
venue for prejudice of the judge may also be secured, not by 
transferring the case to another locality, but by calling in an- 
other judge to try the case. 45 

The jury should be to a large extent under the control and 
subject to the direction of the court, but in some cases tried in 
Illinois, as has been pointed out, "the trial judge is reduced 
to the pitiful position of a mere presiding officer or moderator, 
whose advice, based, it may be, upon extensive knowledge of 
the law acquired by years of study and experience, may be dis- 
regarded by dull, perverse or dishonest jurors. ... A 
flagrant example of the 'lawlessness' of jurors in Illinois and 
of the impotency of judges under such a system to prevent out- 
right nullification of the law was recently afforded in Chicago 
where thirteen different juries in the face of incontrovertible 
evidence refused to convict saloon keepers for violating the 
Sunday closing law, thus presenting an example of a complete 
breakdown in the machinery of law enforcement." 40 

Although the grand jury may sometimes be useful in com- 

44 Kurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 78, section 29 ; cf. Ross, " The Jury Sys- 
tem of Cook County, Illinois," Illinois Laiu Review, 5: 283-299. 

45 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 78, section 14; People v. Gerold, 265 Illi- 
nois, 448. 

46 People v. McCauley, 256 Illinois, 504; People ex rel. v. Rodenberg, 254 
Illinois, 386 (387) ; Garner, "Juries as Judges of the Law," Journal of Criminal 
Law and Criminology, z: 184. 


pelling the attendance of witnesses and examining them under 
oath, and in supporting the public prosecutor in proceeding 
against powerful malefactors, it is nevertheless on the whole 
an inefficient and cumbersome body composed of untrained 
and irresponsible laymen. This inefficiency and cumbrousness 
is shown in the mistakes which the grand jury makes in select- 
ing the cases to be tried and in failing to examine at all many 
cases in which true bills should probably be returned. It is 
said that, in 1911, the grand jury in Chicago released with- 
out a hearing twenty-eight per cent of those held on felony 
charges. Furthermore, the necessity of waiting for grand 
jury action is one of the most potent causes of delay in criminal 
proceedings. 47 

Other causes of delay in judicial proceedings consist in the 
necessary compliance with the complicated and technical re- 
quirements relating to drawing indictments, making pleadings, 
setting aside verdicts for certain irregularities, and ordering 
new trials or taking appeals from one court to another, the 
reversal of lower courts for technical errors, and the granting 
of numerous continuances for insufficient reasons. According 
to the constitution, every person " ought to obtain, by law, 
right and justice freely, and without being obliged to pur- 
chase it, completely and without denial, promptly, and without 
delay." 48 On account of the congested dockets some of the 
courts, however, and the expense of litigation, the parties to 
a case in court are often practically deprived of such consti- 
tutional right. 

In several recent sessions of the general assembly, bills 
have been introduced looking toward the simplification of the 
rules of practice and procedure in courts of justice, but they 
have uniformly failed of passage. The Provine bill, Intro- 
duced in the forty-ninth general assembly was based on meas- 
ures previously proposed by the Illinois State Bar Association, 

47 Vernier, " Annual Meeting of the Illinois Branch," Journal of Criminal 
Law and Criminology, 4: 197; Mathews, Principles of American State Adminis- 
tration, 466. 

48 Article II, section 19, 


the Illinois Conference on the Reform of the Law of Practice 
and Procedure, the Chicago Bar Association, Judge Hiram 
Gilbert, and the Logan Hay subcommittee of the judiciary com- 
mittee of the senate in the forty-eighth general assembly. In 
spite of this imposing array of supporters, however, the bill 
was unable to overcome the forces of inertia and conservatism. 
The general principles relating to practice and procedure must 
naturally be sanctioned by the legislature, but the detailed rules 
might, as elsewhere, be drawn up by a commission of experts 
appointed by the supreme court and subject to such amendment 
from time to time by that court as experience may suggest. 

Another judicial reform which has been agitated relates to 
the proper organization and coordination of the courts. It 
has been said by a competent authority that " Instead of a uni- 
fied judicial system in Illinois we have a jumble of disconnected 
and disjointed courts each pursuing its own way with but little 
regard to any other. . . . As a system it has neither 
head nor tail. The Supreme Court has no power to direct the 
work of any other court or lay down a single rule for their 
adoption, while any justice of the peace may declare all laws 
of the legislature unconstitutional and void. Different meth- 
ods of procedure prevail in the different courts, resulting often 
times in the greatest confusion." 49 The truth appears to be 
that the courts are still organized, in the main, according to 
the plan and principle which were considered proper and suit- 
able for the state in its infancy, when it was scantily populated 
and largely rural in character. Under the present system 
judges have no opportunity of becoming specialists in the dis-' 
position of particular classes of cases, although some tenden- 
cies toward specialization in character of function can be dis- 
cerned, as in the case of the probate courts and such quasi- 
judicial tribunals as the state public utilities commission. For 
the most part, however, such specialization as exists is based 
merely on the territorial principle. Specialization according 

40 Gemmill, " What is Wrong with the Administration of Our Criminal 
Laws?" Journal of Criminal Laia and Criminology, 4:701-702. 


to the nature of the work to be performed and the character 
of the cases to be adjudicated is much more satisfactory from 
the standpoint of increasing the experience, expertness, and 
efficiency of the judiciary. This is especially true in metropol- 
itan districts, where the evils resulting from lack of proper 
specialization and coordination of the courts have been most 

A committee of the State Bar Association on judicial admin- 
istration reporting in 1909, complained that "there is the lack 
of any rational grouping of judges for the purpose of sitting 
continuously in certain classes of litigation, so as to become 
unusually expert in the handling of the trial of such cases;" 
and also a "lack of any authority in an administrative head, 
which may be exercised for the purpose of controlling the per- 
manent assignment of judges for different classes of work." 50 
The need here indicated has been supplied to some extent in 
Cook county through the establishment of the municipal court, 
with a chief justice having large authority over his subordi- 
nates. There is still a need, however, for the consolidation of 
the courts of Cook county under a system of complete coor- 
dination of its different branches and direction of an executive 
head. 51 At the present time, in the Cook county courts there 
is no system of assignments whereby a judge would specialize 
in one branch of the law and thus develop into an expert. In 
the general assembly of 1913, a bill known as the Curran-Kales 
bill was passed providing for the reorganization of the circuit 
and superior courts of Cook county so as to place the admin- 
istration of each court in the hands of a judicial council of 
three members, empowered to make up the calendars, assign 
the judges and perform other duties incident to centralized 
control and supervision. 52 In a metropolitan area, such as 
Chicago, there should be but one court, with divisions or 

50 Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar Association, 1909, p. 98. 

51 This, however, would require constitutional changes. " Report of the 
Committee on Judicial Administration," ibid., 204; 1914, part i, p. 213. 

52 This bill, however, was vetoed by Governor Dunne, House Journal, 1913, 


branches for various classes of judicial work. The increasing 
complexity of modern social and industrial conditions necessi- 
tates, especially in the metropolitan areas, an increasing spe- 
cialization in the organization and functions of the courts. As 
the tendency toward specialization proceeds, however, the 
greater becomes the need of coordination of the courts in order 
that the judicial system may be properly integrated. 


POPULAR government in Illinois, as in other states, in so 
far as it is really popular government at all, is such only 
in a limited sense, inasmuch as certain classes of persons have 
always been excluded from direct participation in public affairs. 
Those upon whom the right to such participation has been con- 
ferred may be called for distinction, the "political people," or 
" the people," par excellence. In theory, the latter were sup- 
posed to represent adequately the interests of those who were 
excluded from direct exercise of political rights. The classes 
of persons who are legally excluded have been reduced at pres- 
ent, practically speaking, to almost an irreducible minimum 
Grounds of disqualification for exercising the right to vote in- 
clude lack of residence, lack of citizenship, minority, convic- 
tion of an infamous crime, and sex (in the case of voting for 
certain officers). Ground of disqualification for holding pub- 
lic office include lack of residence, lack of citizenship, non- 
attainment of a certain age, conviction of certain crimes, and 
failure on the part of a holder of public moneys to make 
proper accounting for all such funds. 1 It has been held that 
all persons are equally eligible to office who are not excluded by 
some constitutional or legal disqualification, and the fact of 
eligibility does not even depend upon the right of suffrage. 2 
In general, with scarcely any exceptions, the qualifications or 
disqualifications prescribed for voters in state elections apply 
equally to national and local elections. 

In order to be eligible to vote in such elections, Illinois 
requires a person otherwise qualified, to be a full-fledged citizen 
of the United States, so that mere declaration of his inten- 

1 Constitution, article iv, section 4; article V, section 5; article VII. 

2 People ex rel. <v. McCormick, 261 Illinois, 413. 



tion to become a citizen is not sufficient. Such citizenship may 
of course be acquired either by birth in the United States or by 
the process of naturalization, or through what may be called 
vicarious naturalization, i.e., the foreign born wife or minor 
child may become a citizen of the United States through the 
citizenship or naturalization of the husband or father. More- 
over, it has been held that wives of sons made citizens through 
the naturalization of their father during minority are citizens 
entitled to vote, if otherwise qualified. Furthermore, under the 
ruling of the Illinois court, a foreign born wife of a citizen of 
the United States does not lose citizenship by the death of her 
husband and her subsequent marriage to an alien, and her minor 
children also become citizens by virtue of her citizenship. 3 

Under the constitution, all persons having the qualifications 
therein named have the right to vote, and the legislature has no 
power to restrict that right, except in the case of those con- 
victed of infamous crimes. It would seem to follow from this 
that the right of insane persons to vote could not be restricted 
by the legislature. There is a dictum of the state supreme 
court, however, to the effect that the vote of a person non 
compos mentis ought not to be received. The legislature has, 
moreover, provided by law that inmates of poorhouses, insane 
asylums, and hospitals shall not, for purposes of voting, be 
deemed residents of the city or election district in which the 
institution is situated. 4 

The requirements in regard to residence are that a person, 
in order to be a voter in any election must have resided in the 
state one year, in the county ninety days, and in the election 
district thirty days next preceding such election. In order to 
constitute a residence within the meaning of this provision, a 
"permanent abode" is necessary. What is meant by a "per- 
manent abode" has been defined by the courts as depending 
largely on the person's intention or animus manendi, and this 

3 Dorsey v. Brigham, 177 Illinois, 250; Kreitz v. Behrensmeyer, 125 Illinois, 
141 (142). 

4 Sanner v. Patton, 155 Illinois, 553 (554) ; Welsh v. Shumway, 232 Illinois, 
54 (55) i Kurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, section 66a. 


may be shown both by his declarations and his acts. It has 
been held that an absence even for years, if the party all the 
while intends it as a mere temporary matter, is not an abandon- 
ment of residence. 5 With respect to the right of a college stu- 
dent to vote, the rule has been laid down that he "may vote 
in the place where the college is located if he is free from 
parental control, regards the place where the college is located 
as his home and has no other home to which to return; but his 
mere presence at the college is not sufficient, as his residence 
must be bona fide, with no intention of returning to his parental 
home after completing his studies." 6 

The constitution of 1870 made no provision for the exer- 
cise by women of the right to vote, but they have nevertheless 
been entitled to exercise this right to some extent since 1891. 
In that year the general assembly passed an act granting to 
women the privilege of voting at elections for any officer of 
schools under the general or special school laws of the state. 
In order to exercise this privilege, however, they must possess 
all the qualifications applying to men voting in sucn elections, 
namely, age, residence, citizenship, and registration. Thus, 
where an immigrant has not received his naturalization papers, 
his wife cannot vote at school elections, while, on the other 
hand, the wife of a foreign born son, made a citizen during his 
minority by his father's naturalization, thereby acquires the 
right to vote at such elections, if otherwise qualified. 7 The act 
of 1891, granting women the right to vote at school elections 
was passed in pursuance of the constitutional mandate laid 
upon the general assembly to provide a system of free schools. 
In providing for such a system, the general assembly could in 
its discretion select such method of choosing school officers as 

B Kurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, section 66 ; Kreitz <v. Behrensmeyer, 
125 Illinois, 141 (142) ; Moffett v. Hill, 131 Illinois, 239. Under the constitution, 
" no elector shall be deemed to have lost his residence in this state by reason of 
his absence on business of the United States or of this state, or in the military or 
naval service of the United States." Article VH, section 4. 

6 Welsh *>. Shumway, 232 Illinois, 54 (55) ; Report of the Attorney-General, 
1910, p. 864; 1912, p. 1261; 1913, p. 598; 1914, p. 985, 993. 

7 Hurd' s Revised Statutes, chapter 46, section 332; Collier v. Anlicker, 189 
Illinois, 34; Dorsey <v. Brigham, 777 Illinois, 250. 


it might deem proper, and the qualifications of those voting 
for school officers need not be the same as those of electors as 
defined by the constitution, except in the case of school officers- 
named in the constitution. The only school officers so named 
are the state superintendent of public instruction and the county 
superintendent of schools, and, consequently, for these officers 
women cannot vote. The mere fact that women have the 
right under the act of 1891, to vote for school officers other 
than the two named in the constitution does not entitle them to 
vote upon propositions submitted at school elections, such as 
one for the establishment of a township high school. The pro- 
visions of the act of 1891 relating to woman suffrage were in- 
corporated in the general revised school law of 1909; and 
under the latter law, women possessing the usual qualifications 
of voters were also made eligible to any office under the gen- 
eral or special school laws of the state. 8 

The right of women to vote was further extended by an act 
of 1913, providing that all women having the usual age, resi- 
dence, and citizenship qualifications should be allowed to vote 
at elections for presidential electors, the state board of equali- 
zation, clerk of the appellate court, county collector, county 
surveyor, members of board of assessors, board of review, 
sanitary district trustees; for all officers of cities, villages, and 
towns (except police magistrates) ; upon all questions or propo- 
sitions submitted to a vote of the electors of such municipalities 
or other political divisions of the state; for the following town- 
ship officers: supervisor, town clerk, assessor, collector, and 
highway commissioner; and they might also participate and 
vote in annual and special town meetings. 9 This act has been 
upheld as constitutional in so far as it authorizes women to 
vote for the officers named, since the latter are within legisla- 

8 Plummet v. Yost, 144 Illinois, 68; People ex rel. v. English, 139 Illinois, 
622; People v. Welsh, 70 Illinois Appellate, 641; Hurd's Revised Statutes. 
chapter 122, sections 269, 270. 

9 Laivs of 1913, p. 333. Since highway commissioners are not township offi- 
cers in counties not under township organization, women do not have the right 
to vote for them in such counties. Report and Opinions of the Attorney-General^ 

tive control, none of them being of constitutional origin. The 
right of women to vote under this act, however, is not quite as 
extensive as might appear on the face of the act. Thus women 
cannot vote for county collector in counties where this office is 
exercised ex officio by the sheriff or county treasurer since the 
latter officers are of constitutional origin. Again, women may 
not vote for the county commissioners of Cook county, who 
are constitutional officers, nor for the president of such board 
of commissioners, nor for a judge of a city court, since the 
manner of selecting this officer is indirectly indicated by the 
constitution. Moreover, limitations rest upon the right of 
women to vote upon certain propositions. Thus, women have 
no right, as a rule, to vote at referendum elections provided for 
in the constitution, such as upon a proposition for changing a 
county seat, or for the holding of a constitutional convention. 
Moreover, it has been held that women are not authorized, 
under the act of 1913, to vote upon the question of organizing 
a high school district, since school districts are not among the 
municipalities mentioned in the act and do not become political 
subdivisions of the state until after organization. Further- 
more, it has been held that women are not entitled to vote for 
delegates to national nominating conventions or for party 
committeemen at primaries. 10 

As to the actual participation of women in the suffrage, it 
may be said that, in 1894, the number of women registered in 
Chicago was about 30,000 of whom about 24,000 voted. Ten 
years later the number registered was less than 2,000, of whom 
only about 1,000 voted. In 1909, in an election in which they 
could vote only for university trustees, 700 registered and less 
than 500 voted. This falling off in the registration and vote 

10 Scown <v. Czarnecki, 264 Illinois, 305 ; People ex rel. <v. Czarnecki et al., 265 
Illinois, 489; Franklin <v. Westfall, 273 Illinois, 402 ; People ex rel. <v. Peltier et al., 
265 Illinois, 630; People ex rel. <v. Militzer, 272 Illinois, 387; People ex rel. v. 
Byers, 271 Illinois, 600; Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1915, p. 307, 416, 861. 
The attorney-general has held that the mere fact that women have been made 
voters does not confer upon them the privilege of serving on juries. Report and 
Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1913, p. 655. On the other hand the attorney- 
general has held that a woman may hold the office of deputy sheriff. Ibid., 1914, 
P- 1339- 


was natural after the novelty of the first voting wore off, con- 
sidering the relative unimportance of the officers for whom 
women were allowed to vote and the indifference of the party 
organizations in getting out the woman vote. After the enact- 
ment of the law of 1913, enlarging the scope of woman suf- 
frage, there is naturally a great increase in the size of the 
woman vote. In the Chicago mayoralty election of 1915, 
about 232,000 women voted. In the presidential election of 
1916, about 842,000 women throughout the state voted for the 
candidates of the two leading parties, out of a total vote of 
2,102,000 for these candidates. The percentage of men and 
women voting the tickets of each of these two parties was about 
the same in each case, indicating that the result of the election 
would have been the same had the women not voted. It has 
been generally true that, on general party lines, the women 
vote substantially as the men do, and, in this respect, their influ- 
ence in the elections has not been so radical as was predicted by 
some persons. In elections, however, where party lines are 
largely obliterated and issues are involved having a moral 
aspect, the influence of the women has, with few exceptions, 
been more decided. They have sometimes been a deciding fac- 
tor in favor of the election of good government candidates in 
local elections and in favor of the abolition of saloons in local 
option contests. "At the local option elections in Illinois April 
27, 1914, about 1,100 saloons out of 3,000, where elections 
were held, were abolished; twelve dry counties were added to 
the thirty already dry." J1 

The influence of the electorate in choosing officers and 
passing upon public questions is not usually exerted en masse, 
but only through groups of voters organized into political par- 
ties formed for the purpose of influencing the elections to pub- 
lic office and of gaining control of the machinery of govern- 
ment. In endeavoring to accomplish this purpose, the political 
parties undertake to nominate candidates for office, to draw up 
platforms of principles, and to create and maintain permanent 

11 Chicago Tribune, April i, 1916. 


party organizations. Formerly the political party was re- 
garded as a voluntary association of voters, similar to a reli- 
gious sect, and therefore not a proper subject of legal regula- 
tion. This view, however, is no longer held and the political 
party is now regarded as a governmental agency which is an 
appropriate subject of legal regulation, but the movement 
toward such regulation has been a slow and gradual one. The 
early laws were optional and local in character and aimed prin- 
cipally at the correction of certain abuses which had grown up 
in connection with nominations and elections. An optional 
city election act was passed in 1885 which provided for the 
appointment by the county court of a board of three election 
commissioners in cities adopting the act, which should have 
charge of the registration of voters and the holding of elec- 
tions. The two leading political parties were recognized as 
entitled to representation on the board and in the selection of 
judges and clerks of election. 12 This act was immediately 
adopted by Chicago and has now been adopted by nearly a 
dozen cities, including East St. Louis, Springfield, and Peoria. 
The movement to subject political parties to legal regula- 
tion involved the formulation of a definition of a political 
party. This became especially necessary in connection with 
the introduction of the uniform Australian ballot, prepared 
and printed by the government, for the question immediately 
arose as to the method of determining what names should be 
printed on the ballot as the candidates of the several political 
parties. To print upon such official ballot the names of candi- 
dates in accordance with a mere certificate of nomination caused 
to be filed with the proper official by a convention or other body 
representing an association of qualified voters is in itself a 
recognition that such association of voters constitutes a politi- 
cal party. Thus, under the act of 1891 introducing the Aus- 
tralian ballot into Illinois elections, it was provided that " any 
convention of delegates, caucus or meeting representing a 
political party which at the general election next preceding 

12 Hurd'i Revised Statutes, chapter 46, sections 171, 180. 


polled at least two (2) per cent of the entire vote cast in the 
State or in the electoral district or division thereof, or the 
municipality for which the nomination is made, may for the 
State, or for the electoral district or division thereof or munici- 
pality for which the convention, caucus or meeting is held, as 
the case may be, by causing a certificate of nomination to be 
duly filed, make one such nomination for each office therein to 
be filled at the election." The two per cent rule, is, of course, 
an arbitrary limitation, and it may happen that an association 
of voters having all the other essential characteristics of a 
political party fails to poll the required percentage of votes. 
Provision is made for this case as well as for the case of a 
candidate of an independent group of voters by the next section 
of the same act, which provides that nominations of candidates 
for any office to be filled by the voters of the state at large may 
also be made by nomination papers signed for each candidate 
by not less than one thousand qualified voters of the state and, 
in the case of candidates for local offices, by a specified per- 
centage of the voters at the next preceding general election in 
the given locality. 13 

As illustrating the operation of the above provisions, it 
may be noted that, in the general election of 1916, nomina- 
tions for governor and state officers were made by five parties, 
democratic, republican, socialist, prohibition, and socialist 
labor. Of these, the last two had not polled two per cent of 
the total vote at the next preceding general election and conse- 
quently had to make their nominations by filing nomination 
papers. Of the other three parties, although each of them 
had polled at least two per cent of the total vote at the next 
preceding election, one of them, the socialist party, polled so 
few votes as compared with the two leading parties that it 
should be denominated a minor party and grouped for most 
purposes with the other two minor parties rather than with the 
two major parties. For the purpose of making nominations 
under the direct primary election law, however, as will be seen 

13 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, sections 291, 292; Report of the Attor- 
ney-General, 1908, p. 734. 


later, the parties coming under the two per cent rule are 
grouped together. 

No political party can, under ordinary conditions, expect 
to win success at the polls without maintaining some sort of 
organization. This organization consists principally of con- 
ventions and party committees of various grades and kinds. 
Provision is made under the direct primary election law for 
county, congressional, and state conventions. Formerly, the 
arrangements for holding the conventions, such as time and 
place of meeting and ratio of representation were entirely in 
the hands of the party committees. Thus, in 1898, the re- 
publican state committee decided that the state convention of 
that party should be held at Springfield on June 14, 1898 ; and 
the ratio of representation was fixed at one delegate for each 
four hundred votes and major fraction thereof cast for Mc- 
Kinley in 1896. This ratio made a convention of 1,521 dele- 
gates, of whom 555 were from Cook county. 14 The ratio of 
representation in the republican state convention of 1916 was 
fixed at one delegate for each four hundred votes cast for L. Y. 
Sherman for senator in November, 1914. In the democratic 
state convention of 1916, there were 1,029 delegates, of whom 
343 were from Cook county. 15 The date of holding state con- 
ventions and the method of electing delegates thereto have 
now come under legal regulation. Conventions are required to 
be held shortly after the April primaries. The county con- 
vention consists of a meeting of the members of the county 
central committee and is empowered to choose delegates to the 
congressional and state conventions of its party. The con- 
gressional convention is empowered to choose delegates to na- 
tional nominating conventions and to recommend to the state 
convention of its party the nomination of candidates for presi- 
dential electors. Since the amendments of 1913 to the primary 
law, however, the delegates and alternate delegates to the na- 
tional nominating conventions have been chosen by the party 

14 Chicago Tribune, February 24, 1898. 

15 Chicago Herald, April 14, 1916. 


voters at the direct primary election. Possibly, the power of 
congressional conventions to choose such delegates might be 
operative when, for any reason, the party voters fail to choose 
them at the direct primary election, but the attorney-general 
has held that the congressional conventions have no longer any 
official duty to perform with reference to the selection of such 
delegates. 16 

The power of the state convention to make nominations of 
candidates for state offices was formerly much greater than at 
present. Under the Australian ballot law, the convention was 
recognized as the official representative of the party for the 
purpose of making nominations to elective offices. But, under 
the present primary law, it is empowered to nominate candi- 
dates only for presidential electors, for trustees of the Uni- 
versity of Illinois, and for any other offices the nomination of 
candidates for which is not provided for in the primary elec- 
tion law. In addition, it is empowered to adopt the party 
platform. 17 The parties have adopted the practice, in years 
in which a governor is to be elected, of holding an adjourned 
session of the state convention after the September primaries 
and, at such session adopting the state platform. Since the can- 
didate of the party for governor is then known, this practice 
naturally gives the gubernatorial candidate of each party more 
influence in drawing up the platform and consequently more 
weight to the platform itself. 

Central or managing committees for each political party 
are specified in the primary election law, corresponding to the 
various grades of government. Thus, for each party there are 
a state central committee, a congressional committee for each 
congressional district, a senatorial committee for each sena- 
torial district, a county central committee for each county, a 
city central committee for each city or village, a precinct com- 
mittee for each precinct, and in Chicago a ward committee 
for each ward. 

16 Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1915, p. 731. 

17 People ex rel. <v. Sweitzer, 266 Illinois, 459; Hurd's Revised Statutes, chap- 
ter 46, section 461. 


Under the direct primary election law, it is provided that 
the state, senatorial, and precinct or ward committees shall be 
elected by the primary electors of the respective parties. State 
central committeemen are elected by the primary electors of 
each party, voting by congressional districts. The county and 
city central committees consist of the precinct and ward com- 
mittees, if any, within their respective territorial limits, while 
the congressional district committees are composed of the 
chairmen of the county central committees of the counties com- 
posing such district. Each committee may elect a chairman 
from its own membership. It has sometimes happened that 
the real party control was not in the hands of the party commit- 
tees but in those of one man or small group of men who held 
no official position in the party. An attempt to remedy this 
abuse is made in the direct primary election law by the pro- 
vision that the " several committees shall not have power to 
delegate any of their powers or functions to any other person, 
officer, or committee." 18 

The power of the party machine over the nomination of 
candidates for public office under the convention system was so 
extensive as to lead to grave abuses. The delegates to the con- 
ventions ceased to be representative of the rank and file of the 
party and were sometimes mere dummies acting under the 
domination of a small group of leaders. Of the more than 
seven hundred delegates to a Cook county convention which 
met in 1896, it is said that 265 were saloonkeepers, 148 were 
political employees, 84 were ex-Bridewell and jailbirds, and 43 
had served terms in the penitentiary for murder, manslaughter, 
or burglary. 19 It is not surprising that nominations made by 
such conventions were unsatisfactory to the mass of voters. In 
order to remedy these and other abuses, the system of nomina- 
tion by direct primary elections was introduced shortly after 
the beginning of the twentieth century. The demand for 
primary legislation arose immediately out of the gubernatorial 

18 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, section 460. 

19 Ray, An Introduction to Political Parties and Practical Politics, 92. 


contest in the republican party in 1904. There were six can- 
didates, five of whom made a general canvass throughout the 
state. At the republican state convention, there were double 
delegations from eleven counties. The republican state con- 
vention unseated 112 delegates, while the democratic conven- 
tion unseated 241 delegates. 20 The republican state conven- 
tion, consisting of 1,502 delegates, was in session from May 12 
to June 3, 1904, and took seventy-nine ballots for governor 
before a candidate was nominated as a result of combinations 
and withdrawals by some of the other aspirants for the office. 
During the deadlock a resolution was introduced to refer the 
governorship nomination directly to the republican voters of 
the state, to be voted upon at a special primary to be called for 
that purpose in all parts of the state on the same day. After 
some discussion, the resolution was tabled. Primary elections 
to choose delegates to nominating conventions had already 
been in existence for many years. In 1885 an act was passed 
prohibiting any except persons qualified to vote at regular elec- 
tions from voting at primary elections or elections called to 
select delegates to party conventions. 21 

The first of a long series of acts designed to regulate the 
whole process of the nomination of candidates by political 
parties was enacted in 1889 under the title, " an act to regulate 
primary elections of voluntary political associations, and to 
punish frauds therein." 22 This was merely an optional act, to 
be used or not at the discretion of the party committees and has 
since been repealed. The first primary election act in Illinois 
which introduced the compulsory principle was enacted in 1898, 
though it was compulsory in Cook county only and was optional 
in other parts of the state. This law, and the amendatory act 
of 1901 were noteworthy as early attempts to apply to primary 
elections the system of regulations and safeguards already in 
force at general elections. None of these acts, however, pro- 
vided for the nomination of candidates by direct primary elec- 

20 Chicago Tribune, May 24, 1906. 

21 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, section 360. 

22 Laws of 1889, p. 140. 


tion. The popular desire for the introduction of the latter sys- 
tem was indicated in November, 1904, when a proposition was 
submitted under the public policy law to the effect that the 
primary laws should be amended so as to provide for party 
primaries at which the voter would vote under the Australian 
ballot directly for the candidate whom he wishes nominated 
by his party. The proposition was approved by a decided 
majority of the votes cast on the proposition and also by a 
majority of all the votes cast at the election. 23 

In pursuance of this popular mandate, the legislature has 
passed in quick succession four direct primary election acts, in 
1905, 1906, 1908, and 1910. The first three of these acts 
were declared unconstitutional by the state supreme court for 
various reasons, none of which, however, went to the extent of 
affecting the general power of the legislature to regulate pri- 
mary elections. 24 The first act was held unconstitutional partly 
on the ground that it attempted to apply to Cook county pro- 
visions different from those in the rest of the state, and this was 
in violation of the constitutional prohibition against local and 
special legislation. The court also held that the act violated 
the constitutional provision that all elections shall be free and 
equal, as a primary election, the court held, is an election within 
the meaning of this provision. The act of 1906 was held un- 
constitutional partly because it permitted only one candidate 
for representative in the general assembly to be nominated by 
popular vote and required additional candidates to be nom- 
inated by the senatorial convention, and partly because it at- 
tempted to confer the power of establishing delegate districts 
upon county central committees, which were declared not to be 
public agencies. 

The act of 1908 was declared unconstitutional for two 

23 Laws of 1898, p. ii ; Illinois Blue Book, 1907, p. 515. 

24 The act of 1905 was declared unconstitutional in People ex rel. v. Board of 
Election Commissioners of City of Chicago, 221 Illinois, 9, that of 1906 in Rouse 
v. Thompson, 228 Illinois, 522; and that of 1908 in People ex. rel. v. Strassheim, 
240 Illinois, 279 (280). For a review of the acts and cases see Jones, " The Direct 
Primary in Illinois," Proceedings of the American Political Science Associa- 
tion, 7: 138 ff. 


principal reasons. In the first place, it was held invalid be- 
cause although it made provision whereby nonregistered vot- 
ers who had moved into an election district since the last regis- 
tration might be sworn in and allowed to vote, it made no 
similar provision for voters becoming of age, becoming natu- 
ralized or otherwise becoming entitled to vote since the last 
registration day in cities operating under the city elections act 
of 1885. The second reason for declaring it invalid was be- 
cause it allowed primary electors to cast only one vote for each 
of as many candidates for representative in the general assem- 
bly as are to be nominated by his party, as determined by the 
senatorial committee and thus denied to such elector the consti- 
tutional right to vote for three candidates for representative or 
to cumulate his vote upon or divide it between a less number. 
The court was thus led to some strange conclusions, due to its 
fundamental assumption that a primary election is an election 
within the meaning of the constitutional use of that term. 25 In 
spite of the invalidity of the three acts, nevertheless primary 
elections were held under them in 1906 and 1908, and the suc- 
ceeding elections were held at which the candidates nominated 
at such primaries were duly voted for. The supreme court held 
that, after an election has been held, the title of the successful 
candidates to their offices is not affected by holding unconstitu- 
tional the primary act under which they were nominated. 26 

In order to avoid, if possible, the fate which had befallen 
the previous primary election acts, that of 1910 is divided into 
two parts which are really separate measures, one of which 
relates to nominations for other than members of the legisla- 
ture and the other is confined to the nomination of candidates 
for membership in the house and senate and to the election of 
senatorial committeemen. In order to conform to previous de- 
cisions of the supreme court, the legislative primary act pro- 
vided for a cumulative vote for nominating candidates for rep- 
resentative in the general assembly. It was also provided that 

25 For criticisms of the supreme court's decision in the primary election 
cases see articles by L. M. Greeley in Illinois Laiu Review, 4:227-242; 5: 502-508. 

26 People ex rel. v. Strassheim, 240 Illinois, 279 (280). 


the senatorial committee of each party should, by resolution, 
" fix and determine " the number of candidates to be nominated 
by their party for representatives. This provision was made 
the subject of attack in subsequent proceedings before the su- 
preme court, but by a close vote, the court upheld it as not un- 
constitutional. 27 

The mandatory, state wide, direct primary law of 1910, 
with subsequent amendments thereto, has thus far, in the main, 
passed successfully the gauntlet of the courts. Its principal pro- 
visions are as follows: the names of the candidates for the vari- 
ous offices are placed on the primary ballot only as the result 
of the filing with the proper officer of a petition for nomina- 
tion, containing the required number of signatures. The can- 
didates to be nominated in the direct primary are all those for 
all elective state, congressional, county, city, town, and village 
offices, members of the board of equalization, clerks of the ap- 
pellate courts, and trustees of sanitary districts. Precinct, 
ward, and state central committeemen, and delegates and alter- 
nate delegates to national nominating conventions are also 
elected at the direct primary. In the case of a candidate for a 
state office, the signatures of not less than one thousand and 
not more than two thousand primary electors of his party are 
required. For most other offices, the signatures of at least 
one-half of one per cent of such electors in the district are re- 
quired. The petitions must be filed in the office of the secretary 
of state, the county clerk, or the city clerk (depending on the 
character of the office for which the nomination is sought) , not 
more nor less than a certain number of days prior to the date of 
the primary. In 1912, more than one thousand petitions of 
candidates for place on the primary ballot were received in the 
office of the secretary of state by mail and messenger. 28 In 
1916, the number was between twelve and fifteen hundred. A 
reduction in the number of petitions might be effected by in- 
creasing the percentage of voters required to put a name on 

27 People ex rel. v. Deneen, et al., 247 Illinois, 289. 

28 Chicago Record-Herald, February 10, 1912. 


the primary ballot but if the percentage were too great, undue 
weight might be given to the use of money in securing signa- 
tures. It seems possible that the means provided for ascertain- 
ing the authenticity of signatures might be improved. The 
names of candidates for nomination for each office are printed 
on the primary ballot, as a rule, in the order in which their 
petitions for nomination are filed. This provision has some- 
times led to disgraceful scrambles among the candidates or 
their representatives in order to secure the advantages deemed 
to arise from first place on the ballot. 29 The law in this re- 
spect might be improved by providing for alphabetical arrange- 
ment with rotation of names on different sets of ballots. But 
the mere fact that first place on the ballot is of such decided 
advantage to a candidate would seem to indicate that the can- 
didates are too numerous or the offices too unimportant for the 
voters to make an intelligent choice. 

At the direct primary election, the date for holding which 
is determined by law, the usual safeguards and methods of 
procedure in force at general elections are required. The 
judges and clerks at general elections occupy the same offices 
at primary elections. There are the same provisions regard- 
ing ballot boxes, challengers, electioneering, and bearing the ex- 
pense of the election in both cases. The primary elections for 
all political parties are held on the same day and at the same 
place, but there is a separate primary ballot for each such 
party. The same qualifications are in the main required of 
voters at primary elections as at general elections. Under the 
primary election law, women possessing the usual qualifications 
as to age, residence, and citizenship are given the right to vote 
at the primary " for the nomination of candidates for such 
offices as such women may vote for at the election for which 
such primary is held." 30 It has been held, however, that 
women are not entitled to vote for delegates to national con- 
ventions or party committeemen at primaries. 31 

29 Report of the Attorney-General, 1912, p. xxxiv. 

30 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, section 494. 

31 People ex rel. v. Byers, 271 Illinois, 600. 


The qualifications of voters at a primary election may be 
said to differ from those at a general election in that no person 
is entitled to vote at a primary election unless he declares his 
party affiliation. If the would-be primary voter has voted at a 
primary of another political party during the preceding two 
years or has signed the petition for nomination of a candidate 
of any party with which he does not affiliate or has signed the 
nomination papers of an independent candidate, he is disquali- 
fied from voting at the primary election at which such candi- 
dates are to be voted for. These provisions put into effect in 
Illinois the closed primary as distinguished from the open 
primary found in some states. It is said that the two-year rule 
of the primary law prevented thousands of progressives from 
taking part in the primaries of their party in the spring of 
I9I3. 32 The closed primary is embarrassing and discourag- 
ing to the independent voter who does not wish to affiliate with 
any political party, while at the same time exercising some in- 
fluence on the nominations, but is deemed desirable by some ob- 
servers in order to prevent the voters of one party from con- 
spiring to secure the nominations of undesirable candidates for 
another party. The person receiving the highest number of 
votes at the primary as a candidate of a party for the nomina- 
tion for an office is the candidate of that party for such office. 
Under this plurality system, where a large number of candi- 
dates are contending for nomination for the same office the 
candidate may be nominated by a very small percentage of the 

Most observers are agreed that the experience thus far had 
with the direct primary in Illinois shows it to be decidedly 
superior to the delegate-convention method of making nomina- 
tions. It tends to reduce the control of the party machine over 
nominations and correspondingly to increase that of the rank 
and file of the voters. It is not, however, without defects, 
some of which appear to be remediable while others appear to 
be inherent in the system. As actually administered, direct 

82 Chicago Record-Herald, April 10, 1913. 


primaries tend to complicate the system of elections and to 
multiply their number, so that such a burden is placed upon the 
voter that he may fail to bear it except perfunctorily, and thus 
the party machines may actually retain virtual control of nom- 
inations. The primary election tends to complicate the system 
of nomination machinery to such an extent that only the trained 
politician can operate it to advantage. Although frowned 
upon in some quarters as a violation of the spirit of the direct 
primary law, a natural result of the complicated primary elec- 
tion machinery is the practice of slate-making sometimes in- 
dulged in by the party leaders. The organization slate of can- 
didates usually wins, though not so frequently as under the 
delegate-convention system, for now the slates must be made 
up before the primary election and the voters have the oppor- 
tunity of eliminating the organization candidates if they are 
especially bad. This very fact places more pressure upon the 
organization leaders to put forward good men than was ex- 
erted upon them under the convention system. Many voters, 
however, maintain an apathetic state of mind toward the pri- 
maries; and the percentage of voters who vote at the direct 
primary elections is not usually as large as that at the general 
elections but is decidedly larger than that of the voters who 
participated in the indirect primaries under the old conven- 
tion system. Some of the remediable defects of the direct 
primary were indicated in one of the questions of public policy 
submitted to the voters in 1912, suggesting the passage of an 
act to " abolish the scandals and disorder now incident to the 
filing of petitions, to increase the secrecy of the ballot and the 
political freedom of the voter, to simplify the system and re- 
duce the expense of elections and to encourage a greater popu- 
lar participation in primary elections to the end that nomina- 
tions may represent more truly the judgment of majorities." 33 
It is generally agreed by competent observers that the prin- 
ciple of the short ballot should be applied to primary elections 
as well as to general elections, and that the people should be 

33 This proposition was approved by a vote of 524,00x3 to 158,000. 


expected to nominate candidates only for such offices as are 
sufficiently important to attract general public attention. Where 
the long ballot prevails, the system of nomination by primary 
election may be more objectionable in some respects in the case 
of state than in local elections, though, in the latter, nomina- 
tion by petition without party designation is preferable to nom- 
ination in party primaries. Direct primaries tend to increase 
the public expense in holding elections and may also largely in- 
crease the campaign expenses of the candidates for important 
state wide or city wide offices. This naturally gives an ad- 
vantage to the organization candidate or to the wealthy candi- 
date who is able to build up a personal organization backing 
him. It is necessary, however, under the direct primary sys- 
tem for the candidates for important offices to appeal directly 
to the rank and file of the voters instead of merely to organiza- 
tion leaders and party managers who control delegates, as was 
the case under the convention method of nomination. Al- 
though this circumstance may militate somewhat against the 
solidarity of party organization, it seems to tend in the direc- 
tion of more democratic control over the forces which, in turn, 
control the government. In the case of the governor, the 
method of nomination by direct primary election tends to in- 
crease his prestige and influence as the leader of his party, 
provided that the rivalries and enmities which may have been 
engendered during the primary campaign are sufficiently healed 
after the election. 

Some of the objections to the closed party primary, as 
operated in Illinois, might be avoided through what is known 
as the nonpartisan primary, which has been introduced in some 
states in connection with judicial and local elections. Nomina- 
tion of candidates for judicial office in Illinois is not provided 
for in the primary law in a manner capable of enforcement; 
and hence candidates for judgeships may be nominated by peti- 
tion or by party convention or caucus, as provided for in the 
ballot law of iSQi. 34 Provision is made, however, for the 

34 People ex rel. <v, Sweitzer, 266 Illinois, 459; Opinions of the Attorney- 


nomination of candidates for certain local offices by nonpartisan 
primary, under the commission form of government act of 
1910. It is provided under this act that the names of can- 
didates for mayor and commissioners shall be placed alpha- 
betically on the primary ballot as the result of the filing of peti- 
tions. It is specifically declared that the ballots "shall have 
no party, platform or principle designated, or appellation or 
mark whatever, nor shall any circle be printed at the head of 
the ballot." 35 The names of the two highest candidates for 
mayor and of the eight highest candidates for commissioner 
are printed on the official ballots at the regular election, and 
to these ballots the same prohibition regarding party designa- 
tion, circle, et cetera, applies as in the case of the primary bal- 
lots. 36 The advantages of this plan are, first, it tends to sep- 
arate local from state and national politics; secondly, it makes 
it unnecessary for the state to formulate a legal test of party 
affiliation; and, finally, it embodies the principle of a majority 
rather than a plurality election. It is felt by many persons 
that this plan should at once be extended to nominations for 
judicial offices, and, in time, for all state offices, in order to 
separate state from national politics. 

Whatever may be the form of nomination, whether con- 
vention or closed or nonpartisan primary, the regular or gen- 
eral election follows as the next step in the process of choosing 
public officers. For the purpose of holding such election, the 
practice is followed of appointing special election judges and 
clerks, rather than utilizing the regular local officials to per- 
form this function. In cities which have adopted the provi- 
sions of the city elections act of 1885, there is appointed by the 
county court of the county in which the city is located a biparti- 
san board of election commissioners composed of three mem- 
bers, which has general charge of registration of voters and 

General, 1915, p. 722. By an act of 1917 it is provided that candidates for the 
office of circuit judge and superior court judge of Cook county shall be nominated 
by county conventions of the various political parties. Laws of 1917, p. 454. 

35 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 24, section 1931114. 

36 Ibid., section 1931119. 


holding of elections. This board divides the city into election 
precincts, each containing approximately three hundred voters, 
and selects the judges and clerks of election for confirmation 
and appointment by the county court. 37 Of the three judges 
and two clerks appointed for each precinct, at least one judge 
and one clerk must be selected from each of the two leading 
political parties in the state. In places where the city elections 
act of 1885 is not in force, the county board of supervisors or 
commissioners establishes election precincts or districts, each 
containing approximately four hundred voters, and appoints in 
each such precinct or district three judges of election, no more 
than two of whom shall be members of the same political 
party. 38 The judges and clerks receive a compensation fixed 
by law, which, in the case of local elections, is paid by the city 
or township, and by the county in the case of general, county, 
and state elections. 

The judges in each precinct constitute a board of registry, 
which is required to meet three weeks before an election for 
the purpose of making a list of the qualified voters of the pre- 
cinct, drawn from the poll lists of the preceding election and 
from the personal knowledge of the judges. Names of quali- 
fied electors, however, may be sworn in on election day. In 
cities operating under the act of 1885, however, the method 
of personal registration is followed, and a person who is not 
registered cannot vote on election day even though he offers 
to make an affidavit that he is a qualified voter. By an act of 
1917 there is provided, in cities of one hundred and fifty thou- 
sand population and over, a central registration place, which 
remains open for the convenience of voters between general 
registrations. 39 

Under the ballot act of 1891, it is provided that, in all gen- 
eral elections, voting shall be by ballots printed and distributed 
at public expense and that no other ballots shall be used. This 

37 More than eleven thousand judges and clerks of election are appointed for 
Cook county alone. 

38 Report and Opinions of the Attorney-General, 1914, p. 553. 

39 Report of the Attorney-General, 1908, p. 724; Laws of 1917, p. 460. 


expense is a charge on the cities, villages, and towns in the case 
of municipal elections, and on the counties in all other elec- 
tions. The form of ballot required by law is that known as the 
Indiana or New York form of the Australian ballot, in which 
the candidates of the several political parties for the various 
offices are arranged in separate columns. Moreover, the party 
appellation and party circle are printed at the top of each 
party column. Prior to 1897 the same candidate might be 
nominated by two or more parties and his name appear in two 
or more party columns. Thus, on the official ballot used at the 
general election of November, 1896, the name of William J. 
Bryan, appeared in the democratic, people's, and middle of 
the road party columns and the name of John P. Altgeld ap- 
peared in that of the democratic and people's party columns. 
Under the ballot law as amended in 1897, however, the name 
of a given candidate is prohibited from appearing upon the 
ballot under the name of more than one party. 40 It is not 
difficult to imagine circumstances under which this provision, 
by preventing the fusion of independent groups or minority 
parties, might operate to the advantage of the major party 
organization. Although sample ballots may be distributed 
before the election, and must under the law, be published in 
newspapers, the official ballot, indorsed with the initials of one 
of the election judges, may as a rule be obtained by the voter 
only from such judge at the polls on election day. By acts of 
the general assembly passed in 1917, however, provision is 
made whereby legally qualified voters who are absent from 
their voting precincts on election day on account of business or 
other duties may have their votes counted by mailing their bal- 
lots to the election officers. At the same time provision was 
made for absent voting by qualified voters enlisted in the mili- 
tary service of the state or of the United States. 41 

Prior to 1899, if a constitutional amendment or other pub- 
lic measure were submitted to a popular referendum, such ques- 

40 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, sections 288, 295 ; People v. Czarnecki, 
256 Illinois, 320; Report of the Attorney-General, 1912, p. 389, 393; 1915, p. 720. 

41 Laws of 1917, p. 434, 440. 

tion was printed upon the ballot after the list of candidates. It 
was found, however, that, under this arrangement, many vot- 
ers, having voted for the candidates, either failed to notice the 
proposition printed at the bottom of the ballot or, else, were 
too little interested in the matter to take the trouble to vote 
upon it. This self-elimination of the indifferent voter would 
have been of no serious consequence had it not been that, under 
the provision of the constitution relating to amendments, it is 
required that a proposed amendment must, in order to be 
ratified, receive a majority not of those voting upon the propo- 
sition, but of those voting at the election. 42 Under this pro- 
vision, a failure to vote on the proposition at all practically 
amounted to a vote against it, and it was thus very difficult to 
secure a favorable vote upon such proposition. Thus, in 1892, 
1894, and 1896, proposed constitutional amendments were 
submitted to popular vote, and, with the exception of the first 
one, the votes cast upon the proposition were overwhelmingly 
favorable. But the amendments failed of ratification because 
they did not receive a majority of the votes cast at the election. 
Consequently by an amendment to the election law, enacted 
in 1899, it is provided that, whenever a constitutional amend- 
ment or other public measure is proposed to be voted upon by 
the people, the substance of such amendment or measure shall 
be printed on a separate ballot, which is handed to the voter at 
the polls together with the candidate ballot. Since the enact- 
ment of this provision of law, three proposed constitutional 
amendments have been submitted to the voters, two of which 
have received a majority of all votes cast at the election and 
the other one received a majority of all votes cast at the elec- 
tion for legislative candidates. It may also be noted in this 
connection that, under the act of 1901, questions of public 
policy submitted to popular vote, are also printed on separate 
ballots. 43 

The Indiana or party-column form of ballot, as used in 

42 Constitution, article xiv, section 2. 

43 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, sections 303, 429. Among the different 
forms of ballots used in Illinois elections are the following: men's general ballot 


Illinois, tends to facilitate straight party voting. By placing a 
cross in the circle at the top of the party column, the voter 
may vote for all of the candidates of the party, thus avoiding 
the trouble and expenditure of time which would be involved 
in placing a cross in front of the name of each candidate for 
whom he wishes to vote. It is necessary for him to take this 
time and trouble, however, if he wishes to " scratch his ticket," 
or to exercise independent judgment in voting, except that 
where he wishes to vote for one or more candidates of a cer- 
tain party, and, with these exceptions, to vote the straight 
ticket of another party, he may do so by placing a cross in 
front of the names of the one or more candidates and a cross 
in the party circle of the party for whose candidates he wishes, 
in the main, to vote. 44 Since a voter has a right to vote for 
the candidate of his choice and is not confined to those 
whose names are printed on the ballot, he may write in the 
name of his own candidate in a blank space on the ticket, and, 
by placing a cross in front of it have it count as a vote for such 
candidate. 45 If a qualified voter, by reason of illiteracy or 
physical disability, is unable to mark his ballot, he may be 
assisted in marking his ballot by two of the election officers, of 
different parties. In voting for representatives in the general 
assembly, the voter may cumulate or " plump " his votes, that 
is, he may divide his votes among candidates for representa- 
tive as he sees fit, and may cast one vote for each of three can- 
didates, three votes for one candidate, and one and one-half 
votes for each of two candidates, or one vote for one candidate 
and two for another. 46 In order to prevent illegal voting, each 

for national, state, and local officers; women's separate ballot at general elections; 
separate ballot for proposed constitutional amendments and public measures; 
separate ballot for questions of public policy; judicial ticket for municipal judges 
in Chicago; party ballot in primary elections; women's primary ballot; presiden- 
tial preference primary ballot; judicial ticket for supreme and circuit court 

44 Constant v. Shockey, 259 Illinois, 496. 

45 Pierce v. People, ex rel., 197 Illinois, 432 ; Sanner <v. Patton, 755 Illinois, 
553 ; Fletcher <v. Wall, 172 Illinois, 426. 

46 People ex rel. <v. Taylor et al., 257 Illinois, 192; People ex rel. <v. Nelson 
et al., 133 Illinois, 565 (567-568). 


party is allowed to have a challenger representing it at the 
polls. 47 

The polls are so arranged that the ballot may be marked in 
secrecy, and safeguards are provided to prevent undue influence 
or illegitimate pressure from being brought to bear on the 
voter to prevent him from exercising the free and untram- 
melled right to vote according to the dictates of his own con- 
science. Little is done by governmental action, however, posi- 
tively to assist the voter to cast an intelligent ballot. In order 
to preserve the secrecy of the ballot, the canvassing boards and 
courts will ordinarily refuse to count any ballots which are 
marked in such a way as to distinguish them from others, so 
that a bribe-giver may be able to know that the votes which he 
bought were delivered. As a rule, however, the courts will 
endeavor to avoid disfranchising a voter on account of slight 
inaccuracies in his ballot, and will give effect, as far as possible, 
to the intention of the voter as expressed in his ballot, within 
the forms prescribed by law. 48 

Immediately after the polls are closed on election day, the 
votes are canvassed by the judges of election. The returns 
are delivered by such judges to the county clerk and transmitted 
to the secretary of state. The county clerk issues certificates of 
election to the candidates for county offices receiving the high- 
est number of votes. The state canvassing board, consisting 
of the secretary of state and other state officers in the presence 
of the governor, canvasses the returns in the case of candidates 
for the higher offices, and the governor proclaims the result of 
the canvass. Election contests in the case of state executive 
officers are heard by the legislature in joint meeting. The two 

47 By an act of 1903, the use of voting machines at elections was authorized 
when adopted by the voters. The act has been declared not unconstitutional. 
Lynch <v. Malley, 215 Illinois, 574; People ex rel. v. Taylor et al., 257 Illinois, 192. 
In 1913 a legislative commission was named to investigate the Chicago voting 
machine contract and submitted two reports in 1915. The majority report advised 
the cancellation of the contract and the repeal of the voting machine law. It 
also stated that the machines were capable of being manipulated in a fraudulent 

48 Pierce <v. People ex rel., 197 Illinois, 432 ; Smith <v. Reid, 223 Illinois, 493 ; 
Winn v. Blackman, 229 Illinois, 198; Tandy v. Lavery, 194 Illinois, 372. 


houses hear and determine contests of election of their re- 
spective members. The circuit court determines contests for 
judicial offices and the county court for local offices. 49 

The influence of the voters at the polls may be exerted not 
only in connection with the election of candidates and the pass- 
ing upon proposed constitutions or constitutional amendments 
but also in connection with ordinary legislation. Several ex- 
amples of referenda on ordinary legislation are provided for in 
the constitution. Thus, no debt can be contracted by the state 
in excess of a quarter of a million dollars, except in case of 
invasion, insurrection, or war; no act conferring banking pow- 
ers upon corporations or associations can go into effect; and 
the Illinois and Michigan canal or other canal or waterway 
owned by the state can never be sold or leased unless ap- 
proved by popular vote. No special act relating to the munici- 
pal government of Chicago can go into effect unless approved 
by the voters of that city; and no county can be divided nor the 
county seat changed unless the proposition is approved by the 
voters of the county. The proposition for contracting the debt 
mentioned above must be submitted at a general election and, 
in order to be approved, must receive a majority of the votes 
cast for members of the general assembly at such election. 
The referendum on conveying canal rights requires, for ap- 
proval, a majority of all votes polled at the election. In the 
case of special legislation for Chicago, conferring banking 
powers and dividing a county, however, only a majority of the 
votes cast on the question is required. 50 In addition to the 
referenda required in the constitution, it seems probable that 
the general assembly may also, in its discretion, provide that 
the provisions of a law shall not go into effect in the state un- 
less approved by the voters of the state, nor in a particular 
locality unless approved by the voters of such locality. Thus, 
the general assembly has provided for township or city local 

49 Misch <v. Russell, 136 Illinois, 22; County of Lawrence <i>. Schmaulhausen 
et al., 123 Illinois, 321 ; Kerr v. Flewelling, 235 Illinois, 326. 

50 Constitution, article iv, sections 18, 34; article x, section 2; article xi, 
section 5. 


option on the proposition of voting out the legalized sale of in- 
toxicating liquor. Whether the proposition is to be submitted 
at a general or special election and what majority of the voters 
is necessary in order to approve the proposition are questions 
to be determined by the general assembly in the act providing 
for the referendum. The general rule seems to be that if a 
proposition is submitted at a special election, a majority of the 
votes cast upon the proposition is sufficient to carry it, but 
where a proposition is submitted to the voters at a general elec- 
tion it must receive a majority of all the votes cast at the elec- 
tion in order to carry, unless the statute providing for its sub- 
mission specifies that a majority of the votes cast upon the par- 
ticular proposition shall be sufficient. Under the latter ar- 
rangement, the measure is much more apt to carry, since many 
voters at a general election fail to vote either for or against 
a proposition. The device provided for under the act of 1899, 
already noted, whereby public measures submitted to popular 
vote are printed on a separate ballot, known as the "little 
ballot," also tends to increase the chances of securing a favor- 
able vote on the proposition. 51 

In addition to the referendum there has also existed in 
Illinois since 1901 a public policy law which confers upon the 
voters a power somewhat analogous to the initiative in ordi- 
nary legislation as found in some other states. Under this law 
on a petition signed by twenty-five per cent of the voters of 
any political subdivision of the state or ten per cent of the vot- 
ers of the whole state, it is the duty of the proper election 
officers in each case to submit any question of public policy so 
petitioned for to the voters of the subdivision or state respec- 
tively at any general or special election named in the petition. 
Not more than three propositions may be submitted at the 
same election. 52 The petition must be filed not less than sixty 

51 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 43, section 25; People ex rel. <v. Weber et 
al., 222 Illinois, 180; Report of the Attorney-General, 1912, p. 971. On this whole 
matter see Gardner, " Working of the State-Wide Referendum in Illinois," 
American Political Science Review, 5: 394-415. 

52 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, section 428. 

days before the election. The purpose of the law is to make it 
possible to secure an expression of public opinion as a guide to 
the general assembly in the enactment of laws. It does not 
follow, however, that because public opinion, as thus expressed, 
favors the enactment of a particular law, such law will neces- 
sarily be passed by the general assembly. There is no legal 
compulsion resting upon it to do so, and no pledge taken by the 
members of the legislature to vote in favor of such a law, and, 
in practice, most of the propositions favored by public opinion 
as expressed under the public policy law, have not been enacted 
by the general assembly. It should be added, however, that 
several public policy votes related to proposed constitutional 
amendments, and consequently could not have been enacted 
into law by the legislature. 

Among the propositions which have received the approval 
of public opinion, as thus expressed, but which have not been 
enacted into law by the general assembly, are those for the 
popular initiative and referendum, a corrupt practices act, and 
a short ballot commission. Neither the referenda mentioned 
above nor the power of the people under the public policy law 
constitute a real initiative and referendum in ordinary legisla- 
tion as found in Oregon and some other states, and there has 
been considerable agitation in favor of introducing in this state 
the Oregon system of direct legislation. A proposed question 
of public policy embodying this system was submitted to the 
voters of the state in 1902 and approved by a vote of 428,000 
to 88,000. The proposition was again submitted in 1910 and 
approved by a vote of 448,000 to 128,000. These repeated 
indications, however, of considerable public opinion in favor of 
the proposition have thus far borne no fruit in actual legisla- 
tion. 53 

A proposition was presented to the voters in 1910 under 
the public policy law to the effect that the next general assem- 
bly should " enact a corrupt practices act, limiting the amount 

53 The above figures take into consideration merely those who voted on the 
proposition. It should be noted that, in neither case, was the vote in favor of 
the proposition equal to a majority of all votes cast at the election. 


a candidate and his supporters may spend in seeking office, and 
providing for an itemized statement under oath showing all 
expenditures so made, for what purposes made and from what 
source or sources received, thus preventing the corrupt use of 
money at elections." This proposition was approved by a vote 
of 422,000 to 122,000. The state platforms of both the lead- 
ing parties have contained planks favoring the enactment of a 
corrupt practices law. 54 In 1913, Governor Dunne declared 
that "candidates have concededly spent in election contests 
more than twice the salary they could collect during the whole 
term of their offices;" and he recommended the passage of an 
act "which will limit, within reasonable restrictions, the ex- 
penditure of money during a political campaign, and compel 
the publication of all amounts collected and expended both 
before and after election." 55 The general assembly, how- 
ever, has not yet passed the act suggested. By an act passed 
in 1917, however, it is declared unlawful, under penalty of 
fine or imprisonment and forfeiture of office for any candidate 
for elective office to make any promise or pledge to any person 
or organization to further the interests of such person or or- 
ganization by his official action or lack of action if elected in 
exchange for support at the polls or financial assistance. 
Moreover, there are provisions in the election law against 
bribery and against electioneering at the polls, and in the civil 
service law against political activity on the part of civil serv- 
ice employees. The law against bribery, however, merely 
makes illegal the taking of bribes, and specifically provides that 
the bribe-giver shall not be liable to punishment. 56 This 
curious provision of the general election law is also found in 
the direct primary statute. 

The large number of elections, both primary and general, 
held in Illinois places a rapidly increasing burden of expense 

54 Chicago City Club Bulletin, 3 : 370. 

55 Inaugural Address of Governor Edward F. Dunne before the Forty-Eighth 
General Assembly, 8. 

56 Laws of 1917, p. 455 ; Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 46, sections 83, 518 , 
Report of the Attorney-General, 1912, p. 417. 


upon the taxpayers. Governor Dunne declared in 1915 that 
"in the city of Chicago alone a single primary election costs 
$275,000 and a single final election $320, ooo," 57 and Gover- 
nor Lowden declares that " the burden of expense which elec- 
tions impose is becoming unbearable." 58 The Chicago Bureau 
of Public Efficiency, in a report made in 1912, pointed out that 
in the period from 1896 to 1912, the annual expenditures for 
election purposes in Chicago and Cicero increased from $288,- 
281.36 to $911,807.29, or more than three hundred per cent. 
In order to lessen election expenses the bureau recommends a 
reduction in the number of primaries and elections and urges 
especially that city and judicial primaries should be abolished. 59 
Governor Dunne, in a special message to an extra session of 
the forty-ninth general assembly, quoted the estimate of 
County Judge Scully of Cook county that the total expense con- 
nected with the holding of elections in Chicago during the year 
1916 would reach a total of $2,225,500. This included the 
expense of three primary elections, three final elections, and 
six registration days, including the canvass of precincts and re- 
vision of registration on separate days required by law after 
each registration. As a partial remedy for this condition, Gov- 
ernor Dunne advocated the consolidation of registration and 
primary days. The Legislative Voters League adopted reso- 
lutions in 1915 advocating elimination of the pre-presidential 
registration; substitution of district or ward registration for 
precinct registration for primaries; and combination of the 
presidential primary and the city and town elections. 60 Al- 
though a reduction in the number and expense is undoubtedly 
desirable and even imperative, nevertheless it is generally 
agreed that this should not be done in such a way as still fur- 
ther to confuse the issues and the voters in elections as might 
be the result if the presidential primary and aldermanic elec- 

57 Biennial Message of Edward F. Dunne, 7. 

58 Inaugural Address of Governor Frank O. Lowden before the Fiftieth 
General Assembly, 5. 

59 Growing Cost of Elections in Chicago and Cook County, 5. 

60 Chicago Tribune, December 16, 1915, January 12, 1916. 


tions were combined. Much of the expense of elections could 
be saved in other directions, such as by combining certain local 
or nonpartisan elections in which the issues would not be 
greatly different, by the introduction of a system of permanent 
or central registration, and by abolishing the primary in cer- 
tain cases and nominating candidates by petition. 

As Governor Lowden pointed out in the inaugural address 
above mentioned, the expense of elections " is not the most im- 
portant consideration. The lengthening of the ballot and the 
increasing frequency of elections are tending to defeat the very 
purpose of democracy." This is a serious danger directly 
due to the excessive number of elections and of elective officers. 
A committee of the Chicago City Club, in a report made in 
1912, pointed out that the voter in Illinois is "called upon to 
make intelligently and conscientiously all the way from twenty- 
five (25) to fifty-five (55) separate decisions at the polls to 
pass upon the qualifications of hundreds of men who aspire to 
many offices of diverse character." 61 The men's candidate 
ballot supplied to voters in Chicago at the general election of 
November, 1916, was three feet long and twenty inches wide 
and contained about 270 names arranged in six party columns. 
In addition, the voter was expected to vote the separate ballot 
for judges of the municipal court, containing the names of more 
than thirty candidates, and another so-called " little ballot," 
two feet long, containing five propositions two city bond 
issues, park consolidation, banking law amendment, and tax 
amendment to the constitution. 

During the year 1916 the voters of Chicago were expected 
to choose or to assist in choosing more than three hundred 
different elective officials. To inform himself adequately re- 
garding the merits and qualifications of the multitude of candi- 
dates is a task which the ordinary busy citizen is unable to per- 
form without assistance. The Chicago Municipal Voters 
League and the Legislative Voters League are organiza- 
tions formed for the purpose of affording this assistance 

61 Short Ballot in Illinois, 7. 


and of enabling the voter to cast an intelligent ballot. 62 
Ordinarily, however, with regard to most of the candi- 
dates for minor and unimportant offices, the voter's only 
guide is the party label; and this circumstance tends to induce 
him in most cases to vote a straight party ticket by placing a 
cross at the top of the party column. Thus, in effect, he abdi- 
cates his supposed function of making an intelligent choice be- 
tween candidates, and the real control rests in the hands of the 
party managers who draw up the party slate. The short ballot 
principle requires that the voter should not be expected to vote 
for petty- officers, having merely ministerial duties, but only 
for a very few of the most important officers, who have some 
control over the determination of public policies. The introduc- 
tion of the short ballot would not only enable the voter to vote 
more intelligently, but would also conduce to a better inte- 
grated administrative system. 

The management of elections in Illinois is very largely 
decentralized; and the expense of holding election, even when 
state officers are chosen, is a charge upon the locality. The 
state as a whole, however, is interested in the efficient and 
orderly management of elections, especially where state officers 
are to be chosen. The question may, therefore, in the near 
future become acute whether, in all except purely local elec- 
tions, the state should not assume at least part of the expense 
and undertake the administrative control or supervision of 
such elections. 

82 Jones, Readings on Parties and Elections, 321. 


A" I A HE efficiency of law enforcement in Illinois is influenced 
JL by many factors, such as the character of the law, the 
nature of the conditions upon which the law is designed to 
operate, and the working of the machinery provided for its 
enforcement. The more nearly the laws express the opinion 
of the mass of the people, the more likely they are to receive 
that support of public opinion which is almost essential to 
their enforcement. If the population is fairly homogeneous, 
both the demands of public opinion for the enactment of 
laws and the support of such opinion in their enforcement is. 
other things being equal, more definite and certain than when 
the population exhibits a large degree of heterogeneity in race, 
color, and literacy. It is therefore of interest in this con- 
nection to note that, according to the United States census of 
1910, over thirty per cent of the total population of Illinois are 
native whites of foreign or mixed parentage, over twenty-one 
per cent are foreign born whites and among Negroes the 
proportion of illiteracy is more than ten per cent. The foreign 
born and Negro population forms a considerably greater per-- 
centage of the total population in the cities than in the rural 
districts. From this great diversity in the composition and 
characteristics of the population upon which the laws are de- 
signed to operate, it results that the problem of efficient law 
enforcement is by no means a simple one. 

The efficiency of law enforcement in the state is also influ- 
enced by the character of the machinery provided for such 
enforcement. In this connection it is to be noted in the first 
place that some dependence is placed upon private initiative 
to effect this purpose. Thus, the provision of the Illinois 
criminal code giving the heirs of a person who has been lynched 



a right to an action for damages against the county or city in 
which the lynching occurred is an example of the utilization of 
private initiative for the purpose of coping indirectly with 
criminal lawlessness. 1 The abatement and injunction act of 
1915 also invokes private initiative in law enforcement by 
giving to any citizen of a county in which a disorderly house 
exists a right to maintain a bill in equity perpetually to enjoin 
and abate such a nuisance. 2 Such organizations as the 
Anti-Saloon League, Law and Order League, Citizens' Asso- 
ciation, and similar bodies are examples of private agencies 
organized, either primarily or incidentally, for the purpose 
of assisting in the enforcement of certain particular laws of 
the state. 3 

For the most part, however, dependence for law enforce- 
ment must, of course, be had upon the regular constituted 
officers and authorities established for that purpose, such as 
the governor, the courts, the militia, state and local commis- 
sioners and inspectors, the attorney-general, the states attor- 
neys, sheriffs, mayors, constables, and police. These various 
officers do not constitute a unified department of justice for 
the state but merely a group of officers and agencies more or 
less independent of each other, between whom conflicts, friction, 
and lack of cooperation may and sometimes do arise. Thus, 
the enforcement of state laws is not infrequently impeded 
through the issuance of temporary injnctions by the courts. 
Conflicts may arise with respect to the enforcement of anti- 
liquor or anti-vice laws between the law-enforcing officers of a 
county and of a city located within the county, as well as be- 
tween state and local officers. In Cook county there are about 
a score of district governing agencies, most of them being 
largely independent of each other. Under these circum- 

1 Kurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 38, section 2s6w. 

2 Laws of 1915, p. 372. 

3 In the forty-seventh general assembly a bill was introduced providing an 
extension of the quo warranto statute so as to allow any public law-enforcing 
official, for example a mayor, to be brought into court on application of a tax- 
payer and compelled to show cause why he should not forfeit his office for failure 
to enforce existing laws. 


stances, conflicts between local law-enforcing officers, such as 
mayor and states attorney are the natural result, particularly 
when they belong to opposite political parties or factions. 
Under the cities and villages act, the mayor has the same 
authority as the sheriff to preserve peace and enforce order. 4 
If there is an understanding as to a proper delimination of 
authority between these officers, this provision may work no 
harm; but on general principles it is not usually wise to intrust 
the same functions to be exercised by separate and independent 
officials in the same territory. The result of such a provision 
may sometimes be that responsibility is divided, and an oppor- 
tunity is afforded whereby local officials may engage in the 
unedifying pastime of "passing the buck" in an attempt to 
shift responsibility for lawless conditions. 

Dependence in the first instance for the enforcement of 
state law rests upon local officers, sheriffs, constables, states 
attorneys, mayors, and police. Direct action by state authori- 
ties takes place ordinarily only when local authorities fail or 
are unable to cope with the existing lawlessness. In legal 
theory, sheriffs, states attorneys, and police are state officers; 5 
but, for practical purposes, they bear more nearly the character 
of local officers, because they are, for the most part, subject to 
local control only. Under these circumstances, such officers 
are naturally influenced in enforcing state law by public senti- 
ment in their respective localities; and if such sentiment is very 
strongly opposed to a particular state law, that law is not 
likely to be very strictly enforced. Thus the system of de- 
pending upon local officers for the enforcement of state law 
may bring about a species of extralegal home rule in the 
localities. The exercise by localities within the state of the 
dispensing power may result in the practically open defiance of 
state law. In 1874, the Chicago city council repealed the 
Sunday closing ordinance which Mayor Medill had attempted 
to enforce. This action of the council was a virtual notice 

4 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 24, section 21. 

5 City of Chicago v, Wright, 69 Illinois, 318 (326). 


to the state that there was no intention on the part of the city 
government to enforce the state law in that city. The council 
flung down the gauntlet to the state, but the challenge was not 
accepted, and the state has weakly contented itself with a policy 
of inaction, neither repealing the law nor providing any effec- 
tive means for its enforcement. What virtually amounts to a 
referendum on the question of the enforcement of the state 
law requiring the closing of saloons on Sunday has been af- 
forded in recent mayoral campaigns in Chicago, for certain 
candidates have virtually pledged themselves to disregard this 
law if elected. A former mayor of Chicago has publicly 
declared that during more than twenty years while he and 
his father occupied the mayoral chair of Chicago, they 
had both construed the Sunday closing law in that city as 
a dead letter, believing that their attitude represented the 
majority sentiment of the community. 6 Practically, there- 
fore, the state law was nullified, and an extralegal form of 
local option or home rule was afforded the city with respect 
to this law. 

Several years ago, States Attorney Healey of Cook county 
attempted to enforce this law and tried many cases, but was 
unable to secure a single conviction because the juries either 
disagreed or acquitted the defendants in the face of almost 
conclusive evidence. In this, as in many other cases, the jury 
system has operated as an effective barrier to prevent the en- 
forcement of a state law in a community to the majority of 
whose people the law is obnoxious. The effectiveness of the 
jury system as a weapon of defense against the enforcement of 
a state law, which is obnoxious to a particular locality, is espe- 
cially noteworthy in Illinois, on account of the antiquated 
provision that, in criminal cases, the jury shall be the judge 
both of the law and the facts. In this connection, it may be 
noted that the injunction and abatement law enacted in 1915 
derives much of its effectiveness from the fact that it dispenses 
with the necessity for jury trial in cases involving the suppres- 

6 Chicago Tribune, October 18, 1915. 


sion of disorderly houses and substitutes therefor the action of 
the equity branch of the courts. 7 

The nonenforcement of state law in particular localities 
may sometimes be brought about not only through the practical 
dispensing power of local officers in regard to such law or 
through the failure of juries to convict, but also through the 
formal action of local units of government. Thus, in Decem- 
ber, 1911, the people of Springfield voted on the question of 
Sunday closing of dramshops on a referendum provided under 
the commission form of government act. By a vote of two 
to one they formally decided that the Sunday closing ordinance 
should not be enforced in that city. On the day after the elec- 
tion the State Register said: "By a decisive vote the four 
ordinances submitted to the will of the people were defeated 
yesterday .... by the voters who are the supreme authority 
of this municipality." 8 This statement, while seeming to 
ignore the legal supremacy of the state over the municipality, 
is doubtless to a certain extent in accordance with conditions 
which frequently exist. 

With respect to state laws the enforcement of which in 
certain localities is opposed by a considerable element of the 
population therein, the state might adopt one of three possible 
courses: first, repeal the laws by formal legislative action, or 
secondly, allow the localities, in a regular and legal manner, 
the option as to whether or not such laws shall be enforced 
within their boundaries, or, thirdly, retain the laws upon the 
statute books, but provide adequate machinery for their en- 
forcement. 9 The old saying, attributed to General Grant, 
that the way to secure the repeal of an obnoxious law is to 

7 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 38, section 431; Laws of Illinois, 1915, p. 
371, upheld as constitutional by the decision in People v. Smith, 275 Illinois, 256. 
A bill was introduced in the fiftieth general assembly providing for the removal 
from office of any county or municipal officer for misfeasance, malfeasance, or non- 
feasance through the filing of a petition in the circuit court by the attorney- 
general, states attorney or by any five qualified electors of the county, but it 
failed of passage. 

8 Illinois State Register, December 15, 1911. The italics are mine. 

9 Mathews, " Law Enforcement and Home Rule," Proceedings of the Third 
Annual Convention of the Illinois Municipal League, 43-54. 


enforce it rigidly does not apply to a situation where a law is 
obnoxious to some localities only, but the power of repeal can 
not be exercised except by the authority of the entire state. On 
the other hand, formal repeal of such laws is seldom seriously 
considered as a practical measure, partly because this would 
constitute a tacit admission of the state's inability to enforce 
them with the existing machinery, and partly because such ac- 
tion would be distasteful to the large number of people who 
still desire to retain such laws on the statute books as a matter 
of principle. 

The second possible course of action with regard to the 
enforcement of state laws, that of local option, represents an 
effort to adjust such laws to the sentiments and wishes of the 
majority of particular localities. In practice local option does 
not, of course, imply that certain state laws may be suspended 
in particular localities (though the result is practically the 
same), but that the law as applied to certain political subdivi- 
sions may be altered by a vote of the people of such subdivi- 
sion. Under the cities and villages act the city council in the 
cities and the president and board of trustees in villages have 
the option of licensing, regulating or prohibiting the sale of 
intoxicating liquor within their jurisdictions. This, however, 
gave the people of such subdivisions no power of directly 
deciding by vote the question of license or no license. In 1907, 
however, this power was extended to the voters of any town, 
precinct, city, or village. The law requires that, upon the 
filing of a petition signed by at least one-fourth of the legal 
voters of such political subdivision who voted at the previous 
election, the question of prohibiting the sale of intoxicating 
liquor shall be submitted at the next election, and if the major- 
ity of the voters voting on the proposition vote "yes," the 
political subdivision becomes anti-saloon territory, in which 
the issuance of licenses for the sale of intoxicating liquor be- 
comes illegal. As a result of the operation of this law, a 
considerable portion of the territory of the state has become 
" dry," but the largest cities, such as Chicago, Peoria, and East 


St. Louis, still remain "wet." Some question may arise as to 
what local subdivisions should be given the power of deciding 
this question. The anti-saloon forces have advocated that 
the law be changed so as to provide for county option. Some 
persons even advocate state wide prohibition by state authority, 
but public opinion does not appear to be ready to sanction this 
extreme step. In 1913, however, the legislature enacted the 
" four-mile law," which prohibits absolutely the sale, keeping 
for sale, distribution, or delivery of any intoxicating liquor 
within four miles of the main campus of the state university. 
No special state machinery, however, was provided for the 
enforcement of the law. 10 

In the case of a number of state laws, experience has shown 
that the placing of dependence entirely upon local officials for 
their enforcement almost inevitably results in lax or non- 
enforcement in many localities. In 1894, Governor Altgeld, 
in protesting against the action of President Cleveland in send- 
ing federal troops into this state to enforce federal law, main- 
tained that such action was a violation of the fundamental 
principle of local self-government. Opposition to state inter- 
ference in the localities to enforce state law has sometimes 
been based on the same ground. Local sentiment does not 
readily tolerate complete state centralization of law enforce- 
ment in the localities. It seems evident, however, that for the 
regular and permanent enforcement of state law, some state 
machinery of enforcement is needed in addition to the power of 
the governor to call out the state militia. If the state is in 
earnest in the enforcement of its laws, it is practically necessary 
in many cases that the state should definitely assume the re- 
sponsibility for such enforcement by providing some special 
machinery to that end, preferably of an extra-local or state 
character. Such special machinery has to some extent been 
supplied in Ilinois. By an act of 1905 to "suppress mob 
violence," it was provided that a county or city shall be liable 

10 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 24, section 62, paragraph 46 ; ibid., chap- 
ter 43, section 25 was upheld as constitutional in People <v. McBride, 234 Illinois, 
146; Laws of Illinois, 1913, p. 306. 


in damages to a person, or his legal representative, who has 
been injured therein in person or property by mob violence. 11 
Thus there is the possibility of a civil suit for damages against 
the local political subdivision with the resulting possibility of an 
increase in the tax rate, in addition to the possibility of a crim- 
inal prosecution. Although this act has been invoked on sev- 
eral occasions, it is doubtful whether it has had any very appre- 
ciable effect in deterring acts of violence. 

A somewhat more important provision is contained in an- 
other section of the same act, which provides that if a prisoner 
is taken from the custody of a sheriff and lynched, the governor 
is authorized by proclamation to declare the office vacant and 
the coroner immediately succeeds thereto. 12 The principle of 
administrative control embodied in this act represents a step in 
the direction of greater efficiency in law enforcement, but the 
operation of the principle is narrowly restricted, for the supe- 
rior administrative control is not capable of exercise in a general 
way but only under a given set of circumstances which is of 
comparatively rare occurrence. 

The constitution imposes upon the governor the duty of 
taking care that the laws are faithfully executed, but he is 
vested with comparatively little control over the officers upon 
whom he must largely depend for the execution of the laws. 13 
The governor, however, as the most conspicuous officer in the 
state, can occasionally accomplish something in the direction 
of law enforcement through the publicity which attaches to his 
words and actions. Governors of Illinois have not infre- 
quently written public letters to sheriffs calling upon them to 
remedy or prevent lawless conditions in their counties and 
thereby calling public attention to such conditions. If the 

11 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 38, sections 2$6v, 256w. This act sup- 
plemented the somewhat similar act of 1887, under which it was held that the 
city is liable for damages even when unable to prevent the violence; City o 
Chicago v. Sturges, 222 United States, 313. 

12 The sheriff may be reinstated upon showing that he did all in his power 
to protect the prisoner. This act was attacked on the ground that the legislature 
had no power to authorize the governor to remove an elective officer, but it was 
upheld as constitutional by People <v. Nellis, 249 Illinois, 12. 

13 Article v, section 6. 


governor is the recognized leader of his party in the state and 
the sheriff belongs to the same party, the directions of the 
governor will naturally have an added effect. Ordinarily, 
however, the sheriff may ignore with impunity the instructions 
of the governor. 

The authority of the governor in securing the enforcement 
of the laws rests, in last resort, upon his constitutional position 
as commander-in-chief of the state militia, consisting of all 
able-bodied male citizens of the state between the ages of 
eighteen and forty-five, with a few exceptions. The militia is 
partly organized into a " National Guard," but the governor 
may, by proclamation, call out the unorganized militia and 
organize it. In exercising his control over the organized 
militia, the governor ordinarily acts through the adjutant 
general, who is appointed by him. The purposes for which 
the governor may call out the military forces of the state are 
to execute the laws, suppress insurrection, and repel invasion. 
Under the bill of rights of the constitution, the military power 
is required to be in strict subordination to the civil power, and, 
in insuring this condition, the legislature has provided that 
when the military forces are ordered out on the application of 
the sheriff or other civil officer, they shall report to and act in 
subordination to such civil officer as the governor may desig- 
nate. Such subordination, however, consists only in obeying 
the orders of the civil authority as to the objects to be attained 
and not as to the methods to be employed in attaining such 
ends. 14 

In practice, the militia is utilized as a law-enforcing agency 
only on extraordinary occasions, such as where the local author- 
ities are unable to cope with the lawless element in the com- 
munity. In considering the power of the governor to enforce 
the dramshop act, Attorney-General Stead held in 1905 that 
"The enforcement of police law does not belong to the Gov- 
ernor, as the chief executive officer of the State, but belongs to 
the officers elected for that purpose in conformity with the 

14 Hurd's Revised Statutes, chapter 38, section 256111, chapter 129, sections 3, 207. 


provision of the Constitution. The Constitution does, how- 
ever, contemplate that when the regular administration of the 
law through the courts of justice is interrupted by violence or 
civil commotion the Governor may, by the military arm of the 
government, enforce the law. Until such event occurs the law 
is enforceable in the regular way, through the courts, and the 
Governor has nothing to do with its enforcement except where 
that duty shall be especially enjoined upon him, either by the 
Constitution or by some statute." 15 The power of the gov- 
ernor to call out the militia, however, may be exercised in his 
discretion whenever in his judgment the occasion demands it 
even though he has not been requested to do so by the sheriff 
or other officer. In practice, however, the governor does not 
usually call out the militia except in response to a request from 
the regular law-enforcing officers. Attorney-General Stead, in 
the opinion cited above, also intimated that the constitution 
and statutes do not contemplate any interference on the part 
of the governor if local officers should merely refuse or neglect 
to enforce the law, but only where civil commotion renders 
them unable to enforce it. There would seem to be no ques- 
tion, however, as to the governor's power to interfere in either 
case for the purpose of enforcing the law through military 

The use of the militia, as a law-enforcing agency has often 
been of great value in protecting life and property. Experi- 
ence in other states has shown, however, that there might be 
some advantages in retaining the militia as a reserve force to 
be used in the national defense and creating an additional 
agency of a more permanent, regular, and professional char- 
acter to assist, supervise, or displace local authorities in the 
enforcement of state laws. The need of such a permanent 
agency or force was illustrated in 1917 by the disturbances 
incident to the race riots in East St. Louis. This need has 
also become more acute on account of the mustering of the 

15 Report of Attorney-General of Illinois, 1905-1906, p. 371-372; Report and 
Opinions of Attorney-General, 1913, p. 81-83; City of Chicago <v. Chicago League 
Ball Club, 196 Illinois, 54. 


state militia into federal service for war purposes. 16 In other 
states, attempts have been made to secure better law enforce- 
ment either by the creation of a state constabulary primarily 
for the purpose of enforcing state law in the rural districts, or 
by the establishment of state supervision of metropolitan police 

An important and forcible recommendation for the estab- 
lishment of a state constabulary was made by the grand jury 
which investigated the East St. Louis riots, as follows: "We 
recommend to the governor and state legislature of Illinois 
that, in order to be on constant guard against such disasters, 
there be established by law a state police force or constabulary, 
partly mounted, and that this police force be a permanent body 
of 1,000 or more trained policemen on constant duty, to be 
moved in sections from one place in the state to another to 
enforce all law. If a portion of this constabulary were 
brought from a distant part of the state, they would not be 
affected by local prejudices and opinions. Each of these state 
constables should be given all the powers throughout the state 
that the sheriff of the county has in his own cqunty and police 
of every section of the state under the direction and authority 
of his honor the governor." 17 

In the cities, the feeling in favor of the maintenance of the 
principles of home rule is probably stronger than in the rural 
districts; and moreover the cities are usually better policed by 
their local constabularies than are the rural districts. The 
principle of home rule requires that the city police should be 
appointed, officered, and governed by local authorities. To 
the extent that the functions of the city police consist in the 
enforcement of local ordinances, there is no demand that the 
principle of home rule should be infringed. But city police 
are also charged with the enforcement of state laws. The 

16 An act of the fiftieth general assembly authorizes the governor to organize 
volunteer companies to constitute a reserve militia. See Laws of 1917, p. 782. In 
pursuance of this authorization, Governor Lowden issued in September, 1917, a 
proclamation calling for six thousand volunteers. Chicago Herald, September 
ao, 1917-. 

17 Ibid., August 15, 1917. 


latter functions might be transferred to state controlled agents 
if experience shows that the locally controlled police cannot be 
depended upon to perform them, or else the city police might 
be placed under state supervision. The state might set up a 
standard of efficiency for municipal police forces and exact a 
penalty from those cities whose forces fall below that standard, 
while granting aid to those whose forces meet or surpass such 
standard. For a short time during the Civil War, the police 
of Chicago were under state control. From time to time 
since then, as in 1897 and 1913, bills have been introduced in 
the general assembly, providing for the establishment of a 
state board of police commissioners to control or supervise 
city police forces, but have failed of passage. In calling the 
special session of 18971898, Governor Tanner stated that 
one of the measures which the legislature should take up was 
an act establishing metropolitan police boards in cities of over 
one hundred thousand population, in other words, a state police 
board appointed by the governor, which would control the 
police department in Chicago. The governor stated that he 
included the subject of a police board because he wanted to 
see the police force of Chicago taken entirely out of politics. 
To many persons, however, this seemed to be a move to trans- 
fer the control of the Chicago police from the dominant party 
in the city to the dominant party in the state. It was attacked 
as weakening the municipal civil service system and as being a 
violation of the principle of home rule, and was finally allowed 
to drop. 18 

In 1913, another attempt was made to take the police 
department of Chicago out of the hands of the mayor and the 
city administration through a bill providing a state board of 
police commissioners for cities having a population of more 
than one hundred thousand. The members of the commission 
were to have complete control of the city police department 
and were to be appointed by the governor for three-year terms. 
The act was not to go into effect with respect to any city, how* 

18 Laws of 1861, p. 151 ; Chicago Tribune, December 4, 1897. 


ever, except after a referendum vote of the qualified voters of 
the city. In describing the purpose of the bill, the author, 
Senator Clark, said: "My bill is modeled after the present 
Massachusetts law. You don't hear of police scandals in 
that state. You d'o not hear, as in Chicago, that because some 
lawbreaker in a ward is protected by an alderman or a political 
boss a policeman refrains from arresting him and a police cap- 
tain hesitates to enforce the law. We have got to take the 
police department of Chicago out of politics if we expect to 
have an efficient force." 10 The measure, however, failed to 
become a law. Another bill was introduced in the fiftieth general 
assembly in 1917 providing for the establishment of a state 
police department to be under the management of a board 
of four commissioners of state police, to be appointed by the 
governor. In enforcing state laws, the department was to 
have the same powers as sheriffs, police, or constables. This 
bill was backed by the Chicago Law and Order League and was 
designed to furnish a means whereby the governor may take a 
hand in a local situation involving vice, gambling, and liquor 
law violations when the states attorney, sheriff, or mayor fails 
to act. It, however, also failed of passage. 

The problem of the efficient enforcement of state law in 
the localities of Illinois is still largely unsolved. The generally 
law-abiding character of the people and a conservatism about 
entering upon governmental experiments have hitherto pre- 
vented any very determined steps toward its solution. As the 
problem becomes more acute, however, it will doubtless become 
necessary for the state authorities and the people to apply more 
thought to this problem and resolutely take such steps as may 
be adequate to meet it. Such progress in this direction as has 
already been made in Illinois, as well as the experience of other 
states, indicates that the most effective means available to this 
end will consist in the establishment of central administrative 
agencies, not only for the supervision of local law-enforcing 
officers, but also for the direct enforcement of state law. 

19 Chicago Record-Herald, January 13, 1913. 


THE prosperity of the people of Illinois received a severe 
shock in 1893 when a general crisis interrupted the finan- 
cial, commercial, and industrial development of the state. 
Probably in no state in the union were the effects of this panic 
more far-reaching, and certainly in no city were they attended 
with more suffering than in Chicago. Any account of the 
industrial and financial progress of the state during this period 
must therefore begin with this event. 

The causes of the panic of 1893 were deep-seated and com- 
plex and must be sought in national and even international 
events, running back at least as far as 1890. But back of all 
contributary factors lay the fundamental cause of all panics 
unwise speculation and in this the west shared largely. 
A decade of unexampled prosperity and expansion had tempted 
to unwise investment and extravagant expenditure. The storm 
had been sown and the whirlwind was now reaped. As the 
financial, commercial, and industrial development of Illinois 
had been especially rapid during the previous period, so now 
the people were called upon to pay in equal measure. 

The panic was precipitated, as is not uncommon in such 
events, by the failure of a few large institutions. In Chicago 
the first shock came with the failure of the Chemical National 
Bank of that city, with a capital of $1,000,000, which closed 
its doors on May 9, and was followed two days later by the 
Columbia National Bank of Chicago, with a similar capital- 
ization. 1 The smaller cities of the state were less affected 
than Chicago, though other failures which occurred during this 
month were those of the Evanston National Bank, with a 
capital of $100,000, and the First National Bank of Kankakee, 

1 Conant, History of Modern Banks of Issue, 674. 


THE PANIC OF 1893 395 

with a capital of $50,000, but the latter was restored to sol- 
vency before the end of the year. 2 These suspensions were 
followed by the collapse of three private banks. On June 5 
there occurred a run upon a number of savings banks of Chi- 
cago, involving eight state banks. In order to reassure the 
public as to the solvency of the state banks the auditor at once 
ordered these institutions to furnish and publish statements 
of their condition on the morning of June 5. These state- 
ments showed that the banks were sound and prevented the 
further spread of the panic at this time. 3 As the savings 
deposits in forty-four state banks at this time totaled about 
twenty million dollars, and as these banks were at the same 
time conducting a commercial banking business, it is clear 
that any wholesale withdrawal of these deposits would have 
affected seriously the condition of the banks throughout the 

In May the panic became acute and spread over the whole 
country. The stock market experienced a severe crash in that 
month, but a more serious one occurred in July. Money rates 
rose to abnormal heights and many holders of securities were 
forced to unload at low prices. The situation was aggravated 
by the banking practice of the time, according to which the 
reserves of the country banks were heaped up in New York 
City. In order to protect themselves the interior banks began 
to call in their deposits in cash from New York and other 
reserve cities. While the New York City banks lost heavily, 
the country banks, as in 1873, positively increased their cash 
holdings. Though the banks of Chicago experienced some 
loss, they were able by calling in their loans to increase slightly 
the proportion of cash to net deposits. 4 Thus the loans of the 
Chicago national banks were reduced $4,000,000 between 
March 6 and May 4. Between May 4 and July 1 2 loans were 
reduced from $96,000,000 to $82,000,000, the net deposits 
from $99,600,000 to $81,300,000, and the cash reserves from 

2 Report of the Comptroller of the Currency, 1893, i : 75-76. 

8 Auditor's Report, 1895, p. x. 

* Sprague, History of Crises under the National Banking System, 174. 


$29,300,000 to $24,900,000; but the ratio of reserve to liabili- 
ties was raised slightly from twenty-nine and four-tenths to 
thirty and six-tenths. By October 4, the loans had been still 
further reduced to $73,500,000. Contraction in loans by the 
banks was a general and striking feature of this panic. Be- 
tween May 4 and October 4 the loans of all the national banks 
in the United States were reduced fourteen and seven-tenths 
per cent, but the reduction of the Chicago banks during this 
period was twenty-six and seven-tenths per cent. 

During the first eight months of 1893 twenty-four banks 
other than national were reported by the comptroller to have 
failed in Illinois; of these one was a mortgage and investment 
company, with assets of $50,000 and liabilities of $70,000, and 
twenty-three were private banks with assets of $4,041,027 
and liabilities of $5,056,813. No state banks, savings banks, 
or trust companies went down in this period. During the 
year September i, i893~August 31, 1894, only four bank 
failures were reported in the state; these were all private 
banks, with assets amounting to $423,000 and liabilities of 
$534,ooo. 5 

One cause of banking failures was the distrust of the banks 
and the withdrawal of deposits by frightened depositors. In 
not a few instances country banks were forced to suspend at 
a time when their own cash reserves were on the way to them 
from the reserve city banks. 6 The wholesale withdrawal of 
their cash reserves by western institutions so depleted the east- 
ern banks that by the end of June these were forced to issue 
clearing house certificates. This had been done in 1873 an d 
1884, but was now resorted to on a much larger scale. The 
cities of New York, Boston, Philadelphia-, Baltimore, and 
Pittsburg issued a total of $63,152,000 during the year 1893.* 
" Chicago, however, where a strong local prejudice exists 

5 Report of the Comptroller of the Currency, 1893, 1:209. 

6 Noyes, "The Banks and the Panic of 1893," Political Science Quarterly, 
9:18. Mr. Noyes argued that if the western and southern banks had kept their 
own cash reserves they would in most cases have been able to maintain their 

7 Report of the Comptroller of the Currency, 1893, 1:16- 

THE PANIC OF 1893 397 

against the plan, refused to follow." 8 To be sure the Chi- 
cago clearing house had authorized on July 26, for the first 
time in its history, the issue of clearing house loan certificates, 9 
but no bank availed itself of their use. 

"The result," wrote A. D. Noyes, 10 "was exactly what 
might have been foreseen. In the Eastern cities the use 
of loan certificates so far offset the violent shrinkage in re- 
serves, that between May 4 and July 12 the loan account of 
the New York national banks actually increased; the loans of 
Philadelphia were cut down only two per cent, and those of 
Boston only four per cent. But Chicago, lacking the emergency 
provision of the Eastern clearing houses, was forced to reduce 
its loans no less than fifteen per cent. 11 In a city where local 
enterprises were already inflated by speculation incident to" 
the World's Fair, the result of this contraction was a col- 
lapse more violent than that of any other large commercial 

While they did not resort to the use of clearing house cer- 
tificates the Chicago banks endeavored to strengthen their 
reserves by the direct importation of gold from abroad. " In- 
stead of disposing of commercial bills to foreign exchange 
houses in New York, they were used to secure gold in London, 
which was shipped directly to the various banks engaging in 
the operation." 12 

These heavy imports of gold were also in part due to the 
low prices of wheat and the consequent large export of wheat 
and flour. On January 2, 1894, number 2 red winter wheat 
sold at 65.5 cents, against 79.75 cents on the same date in 1893, 
and 104.75 cents * in 1892. In some parts of the west farmers 

8 Noyes, " The Banks and the Panic of 1893," Political Science Quarterly, 

9 Cannon, " Clearing Houses," Senate Documents, 61 congress, 2 session, 
number 491, p. 121. 

10 Noyes, " The Banks and the Panic of 1893," Political Science Quarterly, 

11 The contraction of loans in Chicago was far more violent in July and in 
August, dates not covered by the national reports. The Chicago banks publish 
no statements, except when called for by government authorities. 

12 Sprague, History of Crises under the National Banking System, 194. 


sold wheat as low as thirty-five cents a bushel. 13 The already 
low prices were aggravated by the collapse of the Chicago 
wheat corner in August, 1893, which let prices fall below the 
lowest previous record. Another Chicago corner, this time in 
provisions, run by the same parties as that in wheat, collapsed 
with the failure of the clique, and brought the prices of hog 
products down to a level almost as low as that of wheat, lead- 
ing to large exportation of these also. 14 

Not only were foreign exchanges interfered with, but the 
domestic exchanges also were thoroughly disorganized; and 
exchange on New York was at a discount in Chicago during all 
of August, reaching $30 per one thousand on August 12. 
" Chicago packers and grain shippers," announced one of the 
leading financial journals, 15 " selling to interior eastern points, 
having been unable to sell their New York exchange, are order- 
ing the currency to pay for stuff shipped direct by express, thus 
doing away with banks." 

The effects of the crisis upon the industries of the country 
were soon evident. Railway gross earnings showed a loss for 
July and continued to register losses during the rest of the year. 
The general situation, which was typical of Illinois, was de- 
scribed as follows in the Chronicle: 16 

" The month of August will long remain memorable as one 
of the most remarkable in our industrial history. Never be- 
fore has there been such a sudden and striking cessation of 
industrial activity. Nor was any section of the country exempt 
from the paralysis; mills, factories, furnaces, mines nearly 
everywhere shut down in large numbers, and commerce and 
enterprise were arrested in an extraordinary and unprecedented 
degree. The complete unsettlement of confidence and the 
derangement of our financial machinery, which made it almost 
impossible to obtain loans or sell domestic exchange, and which 

13 Financial Review, 1894, p. 3. 

14 Pierce, " A Review of Finance and Business," Bankers' Magazine, 48: 184, 

15 Bradstre et's, 21: 511. 

16 Commercial and Financial Chronicle, 56:466. 

THE PANIC OF 1893 399 

put money to a premium over checks, had the effect of stopping 
the wheels of industry and of contracting production and con- 
sumption within the narrowest limits, so that our internal trade 
was reduced to very small proportions in fact was brought 
almost to a standstill and hundreds of thousands of men 
thrown out of employment." 

The production of both coal and iron, usually considered 
the barometers of trade, showed marked declines; the output 
of pig iron in Illinois fell off more than one-half from 949,450 
long tons in 1892 to, 405,261 in i893. 17 New railway con- 
struction almost ceased, that for the year 1893 being only 
2,549 miles for the whole United States, and 78 for Illinois. 
One-fourth of the capitalization of the railways in the country 
was in the hands of receivers, among which were several roads 
which served Chicago, as the Erie, Northern Pacific, and Union 
Pacific. The railways situated within the state of Illinois, 
however, fared rather better than the average in this respect, 
for while the dividends paid by all railroads in the country fell 
off $324,731 below those of 1892, those in Illinois increased 
somewhat. 18 

Another trustworthy index of the prosperity or depression 
of a period is the number of business failures. There was a 
fifty per cent increase in the number of failures between 1892 
and 1893 from 226 to 566 in the state of Illinois, which 
was about the same rate as in the country as a whole. But 
the growth in the amount of liabilities was startling from 
$2,651,638 to $18,777,462. Against the liabilities, however, 
were listed assets of $20,358,615, which was a better showing 
than that made by any other state except Wisconsin, and much 
better than that for the country as a whole. Most of these 
failures occurred in mercantile and commercial enterprises 
rather than in manufacturing establishments. 19 The following 
table gives the statistics of business failures in Illinois from 
1893 to 1916: 

17 Financial Review, 1894, p. 5. 

18 Poor's Manual, 1895, p. xiv. 

19 Report of R. G. Dun and Company, quoted in Financial Review, 1894, p. 18. 


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THE PANIC OF 1893 401 

The crisis of 1893 was followed by a prolonged period of 
depression in the industrial, commercial, and financial world, 
which continued until 1898. The number of business failures 
continued to increase until they reached their climax in 1896. 
After this they remained upon a permanently higher level, 
due to the growth of the business activities within the state. 
The year 1894 saw no such buoyant reaction from the 
panic of the previous year as was hoped might assert itself. 
Instead, it was filled with disturbing events which served only 
to deepen the gloom. Perhaps the most important obstacle to 
a business revival was the state of the national finances. 21 

Doubt as to the ability of the government to maintain the 
gold standard affected foreign trade adversely and halted busi- 
ness recovery at home. Another disturbing element was the 
necessity of reforming the tariff. All these general influences 
were felt in Illinois as elsewhere in the country. There were 
others, however, more local in their operation, which affected 
conditions in this state more directly. 

Manufacturers, menaced by the proposed reduction of 
import duties and a shrinking demand, curtailed production or 
in some instances closed their factories. The production of 
the mines fell off. Railway traffic and freight receipts de- 
clined, and new construction ceased. This meant a lessened 
demand for rails and structural iron and the steel manufac- 
turers reduced their output. Thus a vicious circle of lessened 
demand and reduced supply was created which reacted severely 
upon the wage earners. 

With the failure of so many businesses many persons were 
thrown out of work, and the problem of the unemployed soon 
became a serious one. Unemployed operatives crowded the 

21 Extravagant expenditures a legacy from a more prosperous period 
and the reduction of revenue left the treasury with insufficient funds for ordinary 
expenses. It, therefore, drew upon the gold reserve fund, which had been set 
aside for the redemption of the greenbacks. But at the same time there was a 
large export movement in gold $81,200,351 net in 1894 most of which was 
also drawn from the dwindling treasury reserve. This created an impossible 
drain which was met from the sale of bonds by the federal government to a 
total amount for the year of $100,000,000. 


streets of the cities demanding work or food, while other 
laborers from farm and mining districts flocked to the towns 
and added to the distress there. In no city was the suffering 
greater than in Chicago, where the boom period of the World's 
Fair had attracted a large number of workers, who now were 
left by the prostration of the city's industries without employ- 
ment or the prospect of any. Relief agencies came promptly 
and nobly to the rescue and did much to alleviate the general 
distress, but it was long before a full resumption of activity 
restored industry to a condition of prosperity and gave to 
labor opportunity for legitimate employment. 

Labor troubles arose out of the depression in trade, and 
in turn operated to intensify that depression. Such disorders 
generally follow financial collapse and industrial prostration, 
as had been the case in 1873 an d 1884. But in 1894 there 
were times when the industrial unrest assumed almost the pro- 
portions of anarchy. In April a strike of the bituminous coal 
miners in the middle states occurred against a reduction in 
wages and was joined in by between one hundred and fifty and 
two hundred thousand men before it was ended in June. Mean- 
time it resulted in such a lack of fuel that many industrial estab- 
lishments were forced to shut down, and even the railroads in 
some instances found it difficult to run their trains. 22 

This was but a prelude, however, to the bitter and historic 
railway strike which occurred in June and July of this year. 
Beginning with a demand on the part of the employees of the 
Pullman Palace Car Company for a restoration of wages, the 
strike soon spread to all railways handling Pullman cars, under 
the direction of the American Railway Union. Interference 
with mail cars soon led to the intervention of the federal gov- 
ernment and the use of armed troops. The strike was finally 
broken and the men returned to work defeated. 23 But the 
social, political, and industrial effects of these weeks of strife 
were felt for years afterwards. 

22 Financial Review, 1895, p. i. 

23 See above, chapter via. 

THE PANIC OF 1893 403 

In addition to trade depression, tariff legislation, and labor 
troubles, the year 1894 was one of agricultural disaster to the 
country as a whole. The corn crop of the United States was 
only 1,200 million bushels, as against 1,600 in 1892 and 1893, 
and 2,000 in 1891. Illinois, however, was more fortunate 
than its western neighbors, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska, where 
the crop was almost a total failure, for its yield increased over 
the two previous years though it did not approach the banner 
record of i89i. 24 The wheat crop was exceptionally large for 
1894, being over double what it was in 1893 an d almost up to 
the record yield of 1891, but unfortunately the price fell to ab- 
normally low levels owing to bumper crops in Europe, and 
wheat sold for only forty-three cents a bushel on the farm, 
which is the lowest price ever recorded by the state board of 
agriculture. This was less than corn brought during certain 
months of the year. The crop of oats was exceptionally large 
and brought fair prices. 25 

The shortage of crops throughout the country, even though 
not so marked in Illinois, affected the railways, the ware- 
houses, and the milling interests adversely; in all of these re- 
spects Illinois suffered. The receipts of grain at Chicago fell 
off from 222,870,166 bushels in 1893 to ^8,575, 748 in 1894, 
the greatest decline being in corn. Flour and pork receipts 
also showed a decline, though the number of live hogs and 
cattle somewhat increased. On the whole, however, there was 
a decrease in the shipments below those of 1893 and even 
more decidedly below those of 1891 and 1892. The produc- 
tion of pig iron increased from 405,261 long tons in 1893 to 
604,795 m X 894, but this latter figure was lower than any of 
the three previous years. 26 

A perusal of contemporary financial and trade journals 
leaves a strong impression that the most potent influence oper- 
ating to retard a complete resumption of normal economic 

24 Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture, 1893, 1894. 

25 Statistical Report of the Illinois Board of Agriculture, August i, 1915, p. 
4; Farmers' Bulletin, 1894. 

26 Financial Review, 1896, p. 27, 64. 


activities was the uncertainty which still prevailed as to federal 
financial and monetary legislation. While the administration, 
by the bond syndicate loan of 1895, had shown its determina- 
tion to maintain the gold standard at all hazards, the year 
1896 witnessed a determined assault upon this standard by one 
of the political parties. Not until a further loan of $100,000,- 
ooo had placed the national finances and the gold reserve upon 
a safe basis, and the election in November had definitely and 
finally decided the question as to the maintenance of the gold 
standard, did the country begin to recover from the depres- 
sion which characterized these years. 

An even more fundamental factor in determining the pros- 
perity of an agricultural state like Illinois was the well-being 
of the farmers. Large crops, especially of corn, were obtained 
in both 1895 and 1896, but this advantage was offset by 
ruinously low prices. The prices obtained in 1896 for corn 
(17 cents per bushel) and for oats (13 cents) were the lowest 
ever recorded in the fifty-eight years from 1860 to 1917, and 
that for wheat (48 cents) was the lowest with one exception 
in this period. 27 

Iron production for 1895 had shown a sixty per cent in- 
crease over the low output of 1894 and was maintained during 
1896 almost at the high level of the previous year, but here 
too prices were unsatisfactory and were downward until toward 
the end of the year, when there was a marked revival. The 
following year (1897) saw the production of pig iron in Illi- 
nois raised to the highest amount yet recorded, namely, 1,117,- 
239 long tons. This was in spite of a serious strike of the 
coal miners during the summer, not only in this state but also in 
Indiana, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania, which engaged alto- 
gether about 150,000 men. Prices remained steady. Each 
successive year now saw a new record of production estab- 
lished, the output being as follows in long tons : 

"Statistical Report of the Illinois Board of Agriculture, August i, 1915, 
p. 4-5, December i, 1915, p. 5. 





Number tons 

Price at Chicago 
Local Charcoal 

No. 2 ** pig iron * 

1893 405,261 $l2.8o $16.15 

1894 604,795 10.56 14.68 

1895 1,006,091 II.So . 13-85 

1896 925,239 11.64 13-62 

1897 1,117,239 10.68 13.00 

1898 1,365,898 11.32 11.58 

1899 1,442,012 18.40 19.81 

1900 1,363,383 1947 21-94 

1901 1,596,850 I5-38 17-50 

1902 1,730,220 20.86 23-50 

1903 1,692,375 '19-25 22.13 

1904 1,655,991 H-37 J 5-50 

1905 2,034,483 17.65 18.00 

1906 2,158,866 20.43 20.71 

1907 2,457,768 24.50 26.56 

1908 1,691,944 17.57 20.24 

1909 2,467,156 17.49 19.50 

1910 2,675,646 *7-O9 18.66 

1911 2,108,002 14-83 16.94 

i9"2 2,887,359 15.32 16.74 

1913 2,927,832 15.85 16.50 

1914 1,847,451 13.60 15.60 

1915 2,447,220 14.01 16.13 

19*6 3,922,512 20.26 21.33 

The year 1897 may be said to have witnessed the end of 
the long period of business depression and the beginning of 
an upward swing which continued for practically a decade, not 
only in Illinois but in the country at large. The movement 
thus begun was accelerated in the following year. For this 
improvement the Commercial and Financial Chronicle held 
the following causes responsible : " ( I ) Further victories for 
sound money, (2) good crops, (3) unprecedented exports of 
merchandise, and (4) a successful foreign war." 30 While 
these were not all equally important in Illinois, the first two 

28 Local number 2, at Chicago, per gross (long) ton, from Statistical Report 
of the American Iron and Steel Institute, 1914, p. 91. 

29 Prices of Lake Superior charcoal pig iron at Chicago. Ibid., 93. , 

30 Financial Review, 1899, p. i. 


were of undoubted influence in promoting a spirit of confidence 
and in providing a substantial basis for expansion. A series 
of lean years in the production of corn came to an end in 1898, 
and an even longer period of unprofitable crops ended in 1900 
in the case of wheat and oats, the three principal grain crops in 
Illinois. Since that time there has been no year in which the 
farmers of Illinois as a group have not made a substantial 
profit from the production of corn and oats, and only three 
years (1903, 1905, and 1912) in which the wheat crops re- 
sulted in failure and consequent loss. 31 

Another index of increasing prosperity and financial growth 
is furnished by statistics of bank clearings. 32 Statistics of crops 
and of iron production supply evidence of the strength of the 
fundamental basis of industrial expansion, but bank clearings 
are perhaps a better test of trade activity. Chicago passed 
Philadelphia in 1890 in the volume of bank clearings, and 
Boston in 1892, and since that time has ranked second to New 
York except in the years 1895, 1896, 1897, an d l %99- The 
following table shows their amount: 


1893 4,677 

1894 4,3iS 

1895 4,615 

1896 4,413 

1897 4,576 

1898... 5,517 

1899 6,612 

1900 6,800 

1901 7,756 

1902 8,395 

1903 8,756 

1904 8,990 

1905 10,142 

1906 11,047 

1907 12,088 

1908 ",854 

1909 13,782 

1910 13,940 

19" 13,926 

1912 15,381 

1913 16,073 

J9H 15,693 

1915 16,199 

1916 20,542 

1917 24,975 

81 Statistical Report of Illinois Board of Agriculture, August i, 1915, p. 4-5, 
December i, 1915, p. 5. 

32 In the account of banking which follows the author wishes to acknowledge 
the valuable assistance derived from State Bank in Illinois since 1863, prepared 
by Mr. William H. Dreesen as master's thesis at the University of Illinois in 1916. 



The bank clearings in the eight next most important cities 
in the state serve to emphasize the financial supremacy of Chi- 
cago, for they total only about $647,000,000 as compared with 
Chicago's $24,975,000,000 for 1917. Peoria showed a steady 
growth until 1912, since which time there has been a serious 
though fluctuating decline. A fairly steady development is 
evidenced by the transactions in Springfield, Rockford, Quincy, 
and Bloomington, but the three remaining cities, Danville, De- 
catur, and Jacksonville, have remained practically stagnant. 
The bank clearings in these cities for the last few years are 
shown in the following table: 





Rockford Bloomington 

I OOO.. . 

. I4C.848 


91. 824. 






I OI I. . . 





TQI2 . . 

. I71.O22 

eg. 740 

A1 6oi 



CO. 1 07 



. 171,022 


4.8 6lO 

1C. 078 

. ICC O7 1 

co 080 


2O5 262 

11 1O1 

61 085 

IOI7. . . 

. 2C2 tlO 

O7 OOJ. 

85 187 


















































The same forces which have given to Illinois and to Chi- 
cago, as its leading city, their commanding role in the commer- 
cial and industrial development of the central west, have also 


centered here the financial and banking power of this section. 
Chicago now ranks second only to New York City as a financial 
center in the United States. National banks, attracted by the 
opportunities for profit in a rapidly expanding commonwealth, 
have steadily grown in numbers and magnitude. State banks 
have shown an even more noteworthy development, which may 
be attributed to excellent banking laws and adequate super- 
vision. Only in the case of private banks has there been cause 
for criticism, and this is even now being removed. 

The history of banking in Illinois since 1893 contains little 
of new legislation, but is rather one of achievement under ex- 
isting law. Necessarily therefore the story is one of the 
establishment of new institutions and the development of old 
ones, as shown by statistics of growth in numbers, capital, 
loans, deposits, and other indices of banking power. Were the 
inner meaning of these figures revealed it would constitute a 
record of the agricultural, commercial, and industrial devel- 
opment of the state, for all these branches of activity have 
drawn as it were their very life blood from the financial insti- 
tutions. To the integrity, the far-visioned faith, and withal 
the reasoned restraint of Illinois bankers is due much of the 
economic advance of the past twenty-five years. 

During the years of depression following the panic of 1893 
the condition of the banks in Illinois was stagnant, though their 
reputation for soundness was maintained, 33 but after about 
1898 there was a steady and healthy expansion of banking. In 
1893 there were in the state 212 national banks with a capital 
of $38,195,000 and deposits of $104,833,000; the state banks 
numbered 117 with combined capital and surplus of $23,296,- 

33 In the eight years following the panic of 1893 only two national banks 
in the state failed. These were the Second National Bank of Rockford and the 
National Bank of Illinois of Chicago, both of which failed in 1896. The state 
of Illinois has an excellent record in this regard, as only four national banks 
have failed in Chicago in the thirty-seven years from July i, 1880 to June 30, 
1917. During the same period in the whole state only fourteen national 
banks failed, with a combined capital of $4,113,500. The loss to depositors 
amounted to thirty-two hundredths of one per cent, which was the lowest of any 
state in the union. Report of the Comptroller of the Currency, 1914, 2:114; 
X 9*7i P- 70, 76. 

THE PANIC OF 1893 409 

213 and deposits of $91,410,394; while the private banks were 
reported as 123, with capital of $3,769,308 and deposits of 
$10,481,511. These last figures were probably too low, but 
if they are accepted at their face value there was a combined 
banking capital of $65,260,000 in some 450 banks, with total 
deposits of $216,725,000. By 1914 the corresponding figures 
were as follows: 






. 4.71 



. 786 


s^s. 877.000 



A. 221 OOO 

28 271 OOG 

Total 1,481 $168,835,000 $1,149,187,000 

One movement that made for better banking throughout 
this whole period was the organization of the Illinois State 
Bankers' Association, formed in 1890. There was consoli- 
dated with it in 1894 the Private Bankers' Association, which 
had been organized as a separate body in i89i. 34 The 
bankers' association now consists of national, state, and private 
bankers. It has from the beginning of its existence been a 
strong factor in improving banking practice, in maintaining 
high ideals, and in urging legislation to promote these stand- 
ards. It has generally taken an unequivocal stand on the 
monetary and financial problems which confronted the Amer- 
ican people and always on the side of sound money and good 
banking. On the subjects of free silver and the gold standard, 
which agitated banking and financial circles during the last 
decade of the nineteenth century, they passed strong resolu- 
tions. At their annual convention on June 14, 1894, they de- 
clared themselves opposed to free silver. Two years later 
they announced themselves unalterably in favor of maintaining 
the gold standard, a declaration which they repeated in 

34 " Banking and Financial Items," Bankers' Magazine, 49:66. 

35 / bid., 51:69; 53:559- 


The tendency toward consolidation was evidenced in the 
banking world about 1900, just as it was in commerce and 
industry. Here it was restrained by positive law, however, 
which prevented the elimination of the small bank with limited 
capital, even in the largest cities. The prohibition of branch 
banking in the United States has prevented the development of 
great central institutions, but a consolidation of smaller banks 
in the cities into single large and strong institutions has fre- 
quently taken place. The growth of small banks in towns and 
villages was directly encouraged by the federal act of March 
14, 1900, which permitted the organization of national banks 
with a capital of $25,000 in places with a population not ex- 
ceeding 3,000. Between the date of the passage of this act 
and October 31, 1902, there were organized in Illinois 66 na- 
tional banks, of which 49 had a capital of less than $50,000, 
showing a rapid increase of the smaller banks. Four of these 
were state banks which reorganized as national banks. During 
the fourteen years ending in 1914 some twenty-four state banks 
changed to national associations or were consolidated with 
them. 36 

Another effect of the act of March 14, 1900, was to in- 
crease greatly the amount of bank notes issued by the national 
banks. The circulation in Illinois doubled in one year, increas- 
ing from $7,000,000 in 1899 to over $13,000,000 in igoo. 37 
This was needed by the expanding industry and commerce 
of the state. Much more important for this purpose, how- 
ever, has been the expansion of bank deposits which furnish 
a credit currency more in demand in American commercial 
and banking practice. The expansion of banking interests 
in Illinois is clearly indicated in the following table, in which 
the mere growth in number and capital is far exceeded 
by the other items. Not only has the average bank grown 
in magnitude, but it has to an even greater extent expanded 

86 Auditor's Report, 1900-1914, circa p. xi or xii. 

37 Bankers' Magazine, 64:653. In the United States as a whole the rate of 
increase was even greater, being over $100,000,000 in the two years following 
this act. 



its operations and thus proved of value to the community it 

















$4 680 



1 22. 7 5O 














1803 . . 










180.1. . 







4 643 

1805 . 








1896 .... 





30. 221 


5 O73 

1807 . 


133. 607 





4 826 









1800. . 














I 5,025 

7 303 






30.1 S4 

I 5,83O 


x 902 




14,31 5 




TOO! . 



241, 755 





TOOd . . 


3OO.I 5O 





IO. 572 

I OO 5 . . 








1 006 


336.1 17 










1916. . . . 


















Few events have caused serious disturbance in banking 
circles during the period since 1900. The effects of the panic 
of 1907 were felt for some time, but Illinois banks suffered no 
serious reverses. There were no receiverships during 1907 
and not a single national or state bank closed its doors. 38 Dur- 

38 Auditor's Report, 1908, p. xii. 


ing the ten years from 1905 to 1914 some sixteen state banks 
went into the hands of receivers, but the biennial reports of 
the auditor give no information as to the settlement of the 
affairs of the banks. 39 It may be concluded, however, that the 
failures of the state banks have probably not involved their 
depositors in any greater loss than in the case of failed national 

That the state banks have given satisfaction to the people 
is shown by the fact that these have passed the national banks 
in the state in number, in loans and discounts, and in capital 
stock. Not only has the increase in the total number of state 
banks been more rapid than that of national banks, but even in 
the case of those state institutions with a capital large enough 
to permit their incorporation as national banks the growth 
has been more rapid. If for instance the number of state and 
national banks with a capital of $50,000 and over be com- 
pared, it appears that in 1888 the former were about one-sixth 
as numerous as the latter (29 to 182), in 1899 about one- 
third (69 to 217), and in 1909 about two-thirds (187 to 
294). 40 There are obviously certain reasons operative in Illi- 
nois which make the incorporation of banks under the state 
laws more profitable or desirable than under the national bank- 
ing system. 

The national banks enjoy certain advantages in the monop- 
oly of note issue, which has been highly profitable since 1900, 
and in the wider credit they enjoy, which makes them more 
desirable in communities with far-reaching commercial and 
financial connections. On the other hand the state banks pos- 
sess the power to loan on real estate, which is particularly 
valuable in developing agricultural communities. Accordingly, 
a larger concentration of the national banks is found in the 
cities, where there is not so much desire to effect real estate 

^ 89 Usually the report contents itself with the statement " no report made," 
which refers to the biennial period covered. When the receiver's report is 
finally received it is not given by the auditor. See auditor's report for any year 
circa p. xi-xiv. 

40 Barnett, State Banks and Trust Companies since the Passage of the 
National-Bank Act, 221. 

THE PANIC OF 1893 413 

loans but where the wider credit of the institutions would be of 
value, while the state banks are widely scattered throughout 
the small towns and rural communities. 41 A considerable part 
of their business is with farmers and owners of agricultural 
land. Another advantage which state banks in Illinois possess 
over national banks is the lower reserve requirement, which is 
particularly important in the development of the savings bank 
business. 42 

There has been little banking legislation enacted in Illinois 
since the passage of the bank act of 1887, but a few amend- 
ments have from time to time been made to that measure, de- 
signed to strengthen some of its provisions. 43 The passage of 
the federal reserve act has brought about some changes in the 
national banks, but affected the state banks only slightly for 
two or three years. After the declaration of war against Ger- 
many in 1917, however, a large number of state banks entered 
the federal reserve system in order that they might be of 
greater service to the federal government in its enormous credit 
and loan operations. 

The following table, giving the essential facts in the de- 
velopment of the state banks, shows a steady and healthy but 
never an abnormal expansion. No sign is here to be found of 
unhealthy speculation or wildcat banking, but rather the 
growth of an institution which was proving itself of real serv- 
ice to the community. 

41 The majority of the small banks are state institutions, while the majority 
of the large banks are national. Thus in 1909 the situation was as follows 
(ibid., 231): 


Capital National State 

$ 25,000 and less than $ 50,000 125 232 

50,000 " " " 100,000 158 no 

100,000 and over 136 77 

42 See below, p. 419-420. 

43 Laws of 1897, p. 88 ; Laws of 1907, p. 53. 









180*. . 


$ 62,118 

$ SS.^2? 


$ 5 406 

$ 3,821 

180.1. . 
























8 OTO 









1800. . 














I gO I 





o 760 


I gO2 

20 5 

188 311 


4i. ^6< 



TQO3 . 


21 1,721 

1^8,^ S2 


1 1 QOI 


IOO . 





16 788 


IOO1 . 




4O. I QO 

1 8 274 


1 906 

4 4 

720 32Q 



19 620 

XI. I C2 

I OO7 . . 


<1 ci 862 



22 4.IO 

1 3.O2Q 



316 OO4 



213 1O 


I OOO . . 






1 1 ,4C I 

I glo 

CO 5 

J.O2 187 





IQI I . . 


/ICQ A87 





IQI2. . 


CI2 6^4. 





IQI3 . . 



317 Q43 



1 6, 740 

IOI-1. . 


c-}$ 2ie 



4,6.1 cq 


IQI 1 . . 


577 86 





1016. . 







Provision had been made by law in 1887 for the establish- 
ment of trust companies, but for a decade their growth was 
very slow. By 1898 only eleven companies had qualified under 
the act to execute trusts. Ten of these were located in Chicago 
and one in Quincy. The annual examinations showed the com- 
panies to be in a satisfactory condition. 45 When the trust com- 
panies began to develop their discount and deposit business and 
to invade the field of* banking immediate protest was made by 
the bankers, especially by those in the larger cities; and restric- 

44 Compiled from biennial reports of the auditor of public accounts. 

45 Auditor's Report, 1898, p. xii. 

THE PANIC OF 1893 415 

tive legislation was urged, some even going so far as to suggest 
that the trust companies be taxed out of existence. Bankers- 
contended that the trust companies were not authorized nor 
qualified to engage in the banking business. One cause of com- 
plaint against the trust companies was that they were not 
required by law to keep on hand the twenty-five per cent 
demanded of the reserve city banks, and that many of them 
maintained a cash reserve much smaller than this, but put 
large sums on deposit with the national banks, where it earned 
carrying charges and still remained a security at once 
available. 46 The national banks in particular felt this as a 

Trust companies have a decided advantage over banks or- 
ganized under either state or national law in being able to 
combine with their banking business a trust business. Such an 
institution may exercise a wide range of powers, such as receiv- 
ing valuables for safe-keeping, caring for property intrusted 
to them, managing estates, making investments, giving financial 
and legal advice, assisting in the preparation of wills and exe- 
cuting them after the decease of the customer. 47 In the larger 
cities, as Chicago, there has been a rapid growth of these insti- 
tutions, and their development in the smaller cities as well may 
be expected. 

The trust companies have shown a very rapid growth in 
number, but much more significant is the extraordinary expan- 
sion in business which these institutions have attracted. Some 
notion of their development may be gained from the figures 
published by the comptroller of the currency, though these rep- 
resent returns from only about two-thirds of the loan and trust 
companies in the state. These are given for the last few years 
in the table on the following page. 48 

Private banks have flourished most in the middle west 
and in no state more than in Illinois. Here there has been 
a steady growth in numbers, but a decline in the average cap- 

46 Chicago Banker, 3:129; 6:3. 

47 Herrick, Trust Companies, 32. 

48 Compiled from the annual reports of the comptroller of the currency. 


ital. 49 It would seem, therefore, that the private banks have 
filled a place from which the national banks were barred by 
reason of the larger capital necessitated by law, and one which 
even the state banks have not filled. In the thirty-two-year 










$2e? 166 




IOI I . . 


262 164 

oo. <84 



TQT2. . 



e 78.4.04. 


10, 22? 

TQT7 . . 


112 20O 



40, 6 SO 

IOIJ. . 


111 1Q7 

601 013 

4?6. 6<i 

41,42 e 

iqi e. . 


116, 7i< 




1016. . 

S 6 

A. I < .06 C 




period from 1877 to 1909 the number of private banks in Illi- 
nois trebled, increasing from 282 in the first year to 441 in 
1888, to 599 in 1899, and to 823 in I9O9. 50 These institutions 
fall into two distinct classes, according to the functions they 
fulfill. In the large cities they are organized by brokers as 
adjuncts to their business, and in the small agricultural com- 
munities they furnish the needed credit facilities which national 
and state banks provide in larger places. The chief character- 
istic of private banks of both classes is their small capital, and 
they would undoubtedly prefer to operate without incorpora- 
tion as long as the amount of capital which can find profitable 
employment in a given community is smaller than the minimum 
required for a state or national bank. In the following table 
are given the statistics furnished by the auditor concerning pri- 
vate banks: 

49 According to returns made to the internal revenue officials in 1882 the 
average capital of private banks in the middle western states was under $20,000. 
According to returns made to the national monetary commission in 1909, it was 
$11,000 in the same section. Most of them had between $10,000 and $15,000. 

50 Barnett, State Banks and Trust Companies since the Passage of the 
National-Bank Act, 208. 












paid in 

























3> 94 
















1 900 











































































The table concerning private banks in Illinois, though of 
interest, is unquestionably far from exact. It would indicate, 
for instance, that during the past five years there were on the 
average only two private banks in each county, whereas it is a 
matter of common knowledge that there are more. In 1892, 
according to the comptroller's report, there were only 149 
private banks in the state, but when the Private Bankers' Asso- 
ciation of Illinois was formed that same year they reported that 
there were 500 private bankers in the state. 51 For the year 
1909 the comptroller took his figures from the report of the 
national monetary commission, according to which there 
were 420 private banks with loans and discounts amounting 
to $46,489,546. Both the number of banks and their re- 

61 Bankers' Magazine, 46 : 659. 


sources as thus reported were more than double the same items 
as reported by the auditor for the years preceding and follow- 
ing. Undoubtedly the figures for 1909 are the more nearly 
exact. And finally a very careful count of all the private banks 
in the state, by townships, was made in 1915 by the legislative 
reference bureau, which enumerated 586, or more than double 
the number reported by the auditor. Of these forty-seven were 
located in Chicago. 

Efforts have been made from time to time to secure the pas- 
sage of a law requiring reports from and examinations of these 
private banks, but until 1917 without success. 52 The demand 
was strongest in the cities and especially in Chicago where the 
evils of unregulated banking were most keenly felt, but was 
successfully resisted by the interests in the rural districts and 
particularly in the southern section of the state. Here the pri- 
vate banks had been honestly and efficiently managed and had 
met the banking needs of communities which probably could 
not afford to support banks with the minimum capital required 
by state and national law. 

The movement to bring the private banks under the same 
sort of regulation and supervision that have served to give 
security and standing to the national and state banks grew 
stronger with the passage of time. It finally culminated in 
1917 after both parties had pledged themselves to some sort 
of reform of existing abuses, and Governor Lowden demanded 
such legislation in his inaugural address and again in a fiery 
message in the midst of the ensuing legislative session. 53 The 
measure passed the senate by a vote of 37 to 6, and the house 
99 to 42, receiving the governor's approval on June 22, 1917. 
In accordance with the constitution this act will be submitted 
for popular referendum in November, 1918. 

There are no special laws governing savings banks in the 
state of Illinois, and banks organized under the general laws 
may carry on a combined commercial and savings business or 

52 Bankers' Magazine, 45 : 706. 

53 Chicago Tribune, January 9, May 10, 1917. 

THE PANIC OF 1893 419 

may be conducted as savings banks only. Private banks and 
loan and trust companies, as well as national and state asso- 
ciations, may receive savings deposits. In 1893 the savings 
deposits in forty-four state banks totaled a little over $19,000,- 
ooo, and in 1899 had reached only $55,000,000 in forty-six 
banks. Since 1900, however, the growth in savings deposits 
has been very rapid, due largely to the increasing prosperity 
of the people. In 1912 over half of the state banks 371 
out of 618 held savings deposits, which aggregated $278,- 
047,586. The auditor reported two years later that thirty-five 
out of every one hundred inhabitants of the state had a savings 
account, whose average amount was $28i.5o. 54 

Loan and trust companies rank next to state banks in favor 
as depositories for the savings of the citizens of Illinois, hav- 
ing almost doubled such deposits in the past five years. As 
reported to the comptroller of the currency they increased 
from $121,000,000 in 1911 to $233,000,000 in 1914, but fell 
off slightly the following year. 

A considerable number of national banks 196 in 1911 
also maintained savings departments, for which accurate 
data are available in the comptroller's reports. Unofficial and 
incomplete statistics of savings deposits in private banks are 
also published in the same reports. And to these there should 
be added, since their establishment in 1910, the deposits in the 
postal savings banks. The available data on these various 
institutions for the last few years are presented in the follow- 
ing table: 55 

Si Auditor's Report, 1914, p. xv. 

55 Compiled from the annual reports of the comptroller of the currency. 
Faulty as the statistics presented undoubtedly are, they yet show an impressive 
volume of savings, which amounted in the year 1915 to over $500,000,000 or 
about $94 per inhabitant. But they would certainly be much larger if pro- 
vision were made by law for the organization of mutual savings banks, such 
as exist in other states. Over half of the savings deposits in the United States 
as a whole are made in mutual savings banks. Out of a total of $6,972,069,227 
on June 4, 1913, the following amounts were deposited in the institutions specified 
(000,000 omitted): state banks, $636.9; mutual savings banks, $3,768.9; stock 
savings banks, $744.5; loan and trust companies, $970.9; private banks, $26.4; 
national banks, $824.5. Report of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United 
States, 1913, p. 455. 




Loan and 







1910... . 












1912... . 














44,05 3,228f 






46,794,8 iof 




1916.. . . 






* Not reported. t Time certificates of deposit, payable after thirty days. 

The statistics of savings bank deposits in Illinois do not by 
themselves afford an adequate picture of the annual savings 
of the mass of the people, for other institutions, like building 
and loan associations, have served as agencies for the accumu- 
lation of small sums. These associations have always been 
popular in this state, though for a decade after 1895 they suf- 
fered somewhat of a decline from the high water mark of that 
year. Illinois ranks fifth among the states of the union in the 
total assets of these associations. Their growth is indicated 
in the following table : 




Total receipts 

Total assets 




I, i8ov. . 

. 726 


$ 82,639,259 


1 900 

. S72 

I OCX. . . 

. ?O< 

IQIO. . . 

. ?AO 

IOIS.. . 

. 6?? 



In this brief review there is recorded a growth not merely 
in the financial institutions which have been described, but in 
the wealth and resources of the people of Illinois. It is an im- 
pressive showing, and becomes the more so when one reflects 
that this financial strength is the result of only a century's 
growth. Toil, and self-denial, and wise investment lie at the 
basis of this development, as indeed they do of the economic 
progress of the state in all lines. 


IT WAS the famous French minister Turgot who originated 
the epigram pauvre peuple, pauvre royaume, which today 
may be translated "if the people are poor the state will be 
poor." The state finances of Illinois accordingly reflect in a 
measure the economic condition of the people, swelling to large 
proportions in times of prosperity and shrinking again under 
the chill winds of adversity. This is more true of taxes, which 
come directly out of the pockets of the taxpayers, than of 
expenditures, which are often light-heartedly voted in the face 
of an impending deficit. It is proverbially easy to spend other 
people's money. 

But the parallelism is not close. The household of the 
state is on a stable basis and taxes are collected in bad years as 
in good. There are to be found in the state finances, there- 
fore, fewer of the ups and downs which are characteristic of 
the income and expenditures of the average business man. On 
the other hand there has been a pretty steady and recently a 
startlingly rapid growth of both sides of the budget. The 
state of Illinois enjoys a patrimony the wealth and produc- 
tive power of its people which expands progressively and 
yearly permits the development of new activities and the ex- 
pansion of the old. The figures in which these services are ex- 
pressed are indicative of the economic development of the state 
along all lines of private as well as public activity. 

The finances of the state were adversely affected by the 
panic of 1893 a "d the resulting depression, and for several 
years showed the effect of smaller valuations on the assess- 
ment lists. From the high water mark of $5,854,269 receipts 
from the general property tax in 18911892, the revenue from 
this source fell off sharply by $1,000,000 the following bien- 



nium. And as the disbursements increased by another $1,000,- 
ooo, to which was added a small deficit from the preceding 
year, the biennium 1893-1894 ended with a deficit of almost 
$2,500,000. A considerable increase in revenues during the 
next two years served to reduce this figure to about $1,000,000; 
and further improvement during the biennial period 1897 
1898, with good crops and reviving business, transformed this 
deficit into a favorable balance of about the same amount. 
Only once since that time has the close of a biennial period 
recorded a deficit in the state treasury, and that was after the 
panic of 1907. But this was due to greatly enlarged appropria- 
tions rather than to declining revenues. A general summary 
of state finances since 1893 is given in the following table: 







1801-04.. . 

. $ Q.4.17.088 

$11 864. O77 

$2 426 080* 





1807-08. . 




iSoQ'OO. . 


I4.O27 587 

454 060 


16 382,020 




1 6 401.486 

l6 422 C76 


ioos-06. . 

IQ 761.176 

17 661 183 

2 IOI.OQ2 

1007-08. . 

19 588 842 

21 278 805 

I 689 963* 


21613 150 

21 Q4.C 8oi 

c67 147 


26 occ 101 

2<C 88l 487 

I O71 7O4 

IQI1-I4. . 

to 708 784. 

12 952 862 

6 7CC Q22 

ioi?-i6. . 

11 n/i/i 9 A T 

45 708 882 

6 Q2C O55 

* Signifies a deficit. 

Between 1893 an ^ 1906 the growth in expenditures by the 
state was steady, but no greater than was necessitated by the 
increase of population and the extension of governmental 
functions. Beginning with 1907, however, there is a very 
sharp increase in expenditures, which have advanced since that 
time at a progressive rate, so that while it took fifteen years 
between 1891 and 1906 to double the state expenditures, a 
single decade, from 1907 to 1916, has again seen a doubling. 
This is a rate of increase five times as rapid as the growth of 

C/3 : :::: 

CO I-!!: ! 


the population and almost twice as great as the increase in the 
estimated wealth of the people. 1 Such an expansion as this 
calls for a somewhat close scrutiny of the expenditures in order 
to ascertain what has caused this growth. 

Before attempting to analyze any particular expansion in 
Illinois state expenditures it must be pointed out that the last 
twenty years have been a period of rising prices and that the 
money values in which services and commodities are expressed 
have increased steadily, and in the last few years with ex- 
traordinary rapidity. There has therefore been a statistical 
increase in the monetary figures which express the activities of 
the state without a correspondingly great increase in these ac- 
tivities. This has been particularly marked in the last two 
years, since the deluge of gold which has flooded this country 
as a result of the European war and has caused a general rise 
in the price level. 

After making all possible allowance for this factor, how- 
ever, it still remains true that there has been a great expansion 
in the activities and expenditures of the state government. In 
the following table the expenditures of the state have been 
grouped in such a way as to present clearly the main lines of 
state activity and to show distinctly for what purposes the state 
revenues have been spent. 2 

The salaries and other expenses of administrative officers 
show a steady, and since 1904 a very swift, increase. This is 
due in part to the gradual increase in the salaries of state offi- 
cers, but more especially to the great multiplication of assistants 
and clerks, necessitated by the rapid increase in the volume of 
business transacted by the various departments. New offices 
have also from time to time been created. 

The cost of legislative sessions has increased less than 
most other items in the table. The unusually large expendi- 

1 Estimated Valuation of National Wealth, 1850-1912, p. 20. 

2 It may be said in passing that this is not the way they are presented in 
the auditor's reports, but the way they should be grouped. For a statement of 
the items included under each of the headings in the table see p. 427-429, and 
p. 511-515- 










Pay and 














$ 28,706 


$ 77,530 















1899-00. .. 







I9OI-O2. . . 





774, 6 95 


1903-04. . .| 

I74.Q5 1 













I9O7-O8. . . 







I909-IO. .. 







I9II-I2. . . 














I9I5-I6. . . 









house and 




and public 









$ 236,336 

$ 60,400 


$ 24,944 

$ 15,020 

$ 36,557 

1895-96. .. 














J899-OO. .. 







I9OI-O2. . . 







I9O3-O4. . . 







I9O5-O6. . . 







1907-08. . . 







I9O9-IO. . . 







I9II-I2. . . 












7 I 6,735 


Z9I5-I6. . . 











Penal and correc- 




tional institutions 


and sta- 






















$ 214,772 

$ 274,000 


$ 417,048 

$ 779,409 

































































363,7 4 








5,704> 77 







"n a 








id game 

cal nionu- 
s, celebra- 
a n d ex- 






*o >' 



*-" * 

rt g 



S Sjl 


'B S 














$ 168,158 

$ 1,940 


$ 17,923 


$ 6,000 

$ 81,165 

























































































45, "3, 474 

3 Warrants drawn by the auditor on the treasurer. 


tures for certain biennial periods, as 1897-1898, 1909-1910, 
1911-1912, were occasioned by the holding of extra sessions. 
There has also been observable in ordinary years a tendency 
toward longer sessions, due probably to the greater amount of 
legislative business coming before the general assembly. Sal- 
aries of employees have also shown a steady growth; and in the 
period 19111914 a number of legislative committees were 
appointed to investigate various phases of state activity, the 
expenses of which are included in column lia and which have 
helped to swell this column. 

The expenditures for the judiciary show a steady but nor- 
mal increase, due to the gradual expansion of the business of 
the courts, to the inclusion of the salaries of an increasing 
number of clerks, stenographers, and reporters, and also to 
the organization of certain special courts in some of the larger 
cities of the state. During the years 19051908, moreover, 
about $350,000 was spent for a new site and building for the 
supreme court. 

The cost of public printing shows the same upward ten- 
dency, which is especially marked after 1904, and is to be at- 
tributed to the increased size of the ordinary public reports, and 
to the increase in their number owing to the multiplication of 
special commissions which make annual or biennial reports. 
For the biennium 1915-1916 the increased cost of paper is of 
course an important factor. 

Expenditures for education have increased over twentyfold 
between 1893 and 1916, a rate of increase exceeded only by 
that for public works, but greatly surpassing this latter in abso- 
lute amount. Up to 1898 the expansion of educational expen- 
ditures, while marked, had been rather gradual, but beginning 
with the following year they expanded rapidly. New normal 
schools were being developed and after 1900 the state uni- 
versity exhibited an amazing growth, causing the expenditures 
in this column to increase by leaps and bounds. Appropria- 
tions for new grounds and buildings appear in the table on 
page 425, column Va. 


Expenditures for charitable institutions have grown very 
rapidly until today they represent the largest group of expen- 
ditures made for any object. Their growth has been par- 
ticularly rapid since 1900, the last decade and a half having 
witnessed a veritable campaign of building, not only in enlarg- 
ing existing institutions, but in erecting new ones. This has 
been necessitated by the growing recognition on the part of the 
people of the state of the value of these institutions and con- 
sequently of a constantly greater use of the opportunities for 
relief and cure afforded by them to the defective and dependent 
members of society. Since 1909 the control of all the state 
charitable and penal and correctional institutions has been 
centralized in the hands of the state board of administration. 

The same sympathetic attitude which was observable 
toward the charitable institutions has characterized in growing 
measure the attitude of the state government toward the de- 
linquent and criminal classes. The expenditures for their care 
have increased in about the same proportion as for the former 
group, though the totals are happily not so large. In the appli- 
cation of these sums, moreover, a new purpose has steadily de- 
veloped, that of reform rather than of vengeance. It is an 
expenditure that should grow less in the course of time, if the 
reformatory measures are effective and the therapeutic and pre- 
ventive institutions, such as schools, agencies for public health, 
and the prevention of industrial abuses, diminish the number 
of the criminal classes. Thus far, however, the expenditures 
for the penal and correctional institutions of the state have in- 
creased pretty steadily, due to the growth in the number of 
such institutions and to the better care and more humane treat- 
ment given the inmates. Some of the larger items which are 
responsible for the increase from year to year are given below. 4 

4 Current expenses (vn), 1893-1894: home for juvenile offenders, $32,000; 
large increases in all previously existing institutions; 1895-1896, economy due to 
financial depression; 1897-1898, increase necessary to wipe out deficiencies result- 
ing from under appropriations of previous biennium; also due to enlarged system 
of control under state board of pardons; 1905-1906, beginning of a policy of more 
liberal appropriations for these institutions. 

Other expenses (vna), 1893-1894, state reformatory for new buildings, re- 


Expenditures for militia and military affairs are not large 
in any of the state governments and show only a normal growth 
in Illinois. The cost of the adjutant general's department in- 
creased gradually with the increase in its duties, and expendi- 
tures for the national guard showed a similar upward ten- 
dency owing to the growing number of enlistments in this 
body. The fluctuations which appear from one biennium to 
another are due in great part to the mobilization of the na- 
tional guard for strike duty, upon which occasions the control 
and maintenance of the militia would be taken over by the 
state government. 

There is little need for comment on the expenditures for 
the statehouse and the executive mansion. Some of the items 
are noted below. 5 

Expenditures for common schools show very little variation 
from year to year until the year 1911 is reached, since which 
date they have gone up by leaps and bounds. This enormous 
increase, resulting in a doubling of expenditures for this pur- 
pose within half a decade, is due to the new policy of construct- 
ing and maintaining an adequate system of township high 
schools over the state. 

With the payment of the canal debt the expenditures for 
internal improvements and public works rapidly decreased un- 
til they reached the low water mark in 1 895-1 896. They then 

pairs, equipment, etc., $160,000; northern penitentiary, workshops, tools, and 
materials, $250,000; southern penitentiary, the same, $50,000; 1895-1896, asylum 
for insane criminals, new building, $20,000; home for juvenile female offenders, 
buildings and equipment, $70,000; northern penitentiary, new buildings and 
improvements, $130,000; 1897-1898, state reformatory, new cell house, $150,000; 
1901-1902, extensive repairs and improvements at all institutions; 1903-1904, home 
for delinquent boys, buildings, $210,000; northern penitentiary, materials for 
manufacturing, $100,000; state reformatory, repairing buildings damaged by fire, 
$75,000; training school for girls, cottages, $36,000; 1905-1906, training school 
for girls, cottages, $43,000; home for delinquent boys, new buildings, $150,000; 
northern penitentiary, materials, $174,000; 1907-1908, training school for girls, 
land and new cottages, $120,000; home for delinquent boys, new buildings, $110,- 
ooo. The last few years have seen no expensive new buildings erected, but liberal 
allowances have been made for the repair and improvement of existing institu- 

5 1897-1898, repairing and refurnishing executive mansion, $30,000; 1899- 
1900, large increase in number of porters, janitors, policemen, and watchmen at 
the statehouse; 1905-1906, great reduction in the same forces; 1907-1908, repairs 
on the statehouse, $106,029. 



remained practically stationary for a decade, at the end of 
which time the appropriations for the state highway commis- 
sion began. These have increased with great rapidity during 
the last half decade. 6 

The expenditures listed in the table under the title " agri- 
culture " are almost entirely devoted to the erection and main- 
tenance of buildings at the state fair grounds. In 1905 these 
were permanently located at Springfield and were put under the 
control of the state board of agriculture. Appropriations for 
this object have been continuous from that date to the present. 
Larger grants have also been made to county agricultural 
boards to assist in paying the expenses of county fairs and of 
county farmers' institutes. 

It is now generally admitted that there are phases of pri- 
vate enterprise in which it is not proper or safe to permit con- 
ditions to be determined by unrestricted competition, and other 
fields in which competition is inoperative, such as monopolistic 
industries. Unless the state itself undertakes the operation 
of these enterprises it is therefore necessary for it to super- 
vise and regulate the manner and conditions under which pri- 
vate individuals or corporations shall carry on these businesses. 
There has consequently been a great extension, not only in Illi- 

6 The main expenditures in this group are shown in the following table: 




and mu- 
seum at 




Rivers and 
lakes com- 


$ S,OOO 







$1 19,680 

1 003-04.. 


?O,'? 2O 





1907-08 . 








IQI I-I2 . 

7. COO 

178. <2Q 


$58 Arc 

TQT1-I4. . 



388 in 


nois but in all industrial states, of expenditures for industrial 
supervision and investigation. In this state the increase during 
the period under discussion has been almost twelvefold, from 
$168,158 in the biennium 1893-1894 to $2,788,396 in the 
biennium 19151916. Hardly a year has passed but has seen 
the creation of an additional commission or two. Starting 
with a single commission in 1871 the railroad and ware- 
house commission with an expenditure for the first year of 
$18,000, the number has increased to over twenty-five, spend- 
ing during the last biennium about $2,800,000. And not 
merely has the number of these regulatory agencies rapidly in- 
creased, but the expenditures of each separate board or com- 
mission has swelled enormously from year to year. Their 
rapid expansion may be interpreted as a proof, in general, both 
of the need of such agencies and of the value of the services 
which they render. Some of the details as to these expendi- 
tures are given below. 7 

The column headed "refund of taxes improperly paid" 
is small, but was not classifiable with any other group. While 
there is considerable variation in the amounts, the range 
being from $6 to $17,997, even tne highest is so small that it 
gives evidence of some care in the collection of taxes. 

The expenditures for local bond payments are noteworthy 
because they constitute one of the very few groups which shows 
a decline. This decrease is especially marked after 1908 and 

7 1893-1894, expenditures for insurance superintendent begin here; they 
increase from $28,000 to $165,000 during this period; also factory and workshop 
inspectors, whose expenditures grow from $17,000 to $203,000; 1895-1896, first 
appearance of the state board of arbitration, with expenses from $6,000 to $24,000; 
1899-1900, beginning of expenditures for food commissioner, which grow from 
$18,000 to $164,000; also free employment bureaus in the larger cities of the state, 
with expenditures from $20,000 to 95,000; 1905-1906, first appearance of safety 
appliance inspector; 1909-1910, state fire marshal first appears, costing from 
$1,750 to $130,000; also mine rescue stations, increasing from $800 to $107,000 
and commissioners of mining investigations, spending about $5,000 per biennium; 
1911-1912, a large number of new commissions were created this year, among 
them the board of dental examiners, board of examiners for barbers, board of 
examiners for registered nurses, board of pharmacy, stallion registration board, 
inspector of apiaries, and grain inspection office; 1913-1914, this year marks the 
beginning of the state industrial board, and of the state public utilities commis- 
sion. This group also includes several less important commissions which existed 
for a number of years and then disappeared. 


indicates that the local communities are now beginning to pay 
off their indebtedness. 

Expenditures for the conservation of fish and game of the 
state began in 1879 with the establishment of the fish com- 
mission. In 1899 the game commission was provided for, be- 
ing given appropriations which grew from three thousand to 
two hundred thousand dollars. In 1914 the two were amal- 
gamated into the state fish and game conservation commission. 
There has been a rapid increase of expenditures for the pur- 
pose of conservation of the native fish and fauna of the state, 
especially since 1903. 

The people of Illinois have testified to their interest in the 
history, not only of the state, but of the nation as a whole, by 
the expenditures they have made for historic monuments, cele- 
brations, and exhibits. Illinois has taken some part in almost 
every historic celebration or exhibition held in the United 
States during this period. Beginning with the World's Colum- 
bian exposition in Chicago in the biennium 1893-1894, which 
naturally was the largest, they have continued until the cele- 
bration of the one-hundredth anniversary of the entrance of 
the state of Illinois into the union. Probably no group of ex- 
penditures has yielded or will yield larger returns in patriotism 
or in the elevation of standards of achievement and of life 
than those here recorded. 

The expenditures which are here grouped together under 
the title " grants to societies " began in 1 893 with an appropria- 
tion of $6,000 to the State Horticultural Society. From that 
time to 1910 every session of the legislature saw the addition 
of at least one society to the number receiving state aid. The 
regularity with which the number has grown is striking: 1895, 
State Dairymen's Association; 1897, Poultry and Pet Associa- 
tion; 1899, Live Stock Breeders' Association; 1901, State Fire- 
men's Association; 1903, Beekeepers' Association; 1905, Milk 
Producers' Institute; 1909, Grand Army of the Republic. The 
grants in all cases are small, the largest being that of $8,286 to 
the last-named organization for the biennium 1913-1914. It 


is apparently the purpose of the legislature to contribute suffi- 
cient to pay for printing the reports of the proceedings of the 
various societies. 

By way of conclusion the expenditures of the state may be 
grouped under four or five large purposes. The cost of run- 
ning the government administrative, legislative, and judicial, 
together with certain other expenses incidental thereto ab- 
sorbed about twelve and five-tenths per cent of all the expen- 
ditures for the last biennium. Those for carrying out the pro- 
tective functions of government militia and penal institutions 
were eleven per cent. Public works took two and one-tenth 
per cent, and the business of supervising and regulating private 
industry by means of commissions cost seven per cent. This 
left over two-thirds, or sixty-seven and four-tenths per cent, 
to be devoted to what may be called the developmental func- 
tions of government, namely education, charitable institutions-, 
public health, and similar activities. 

The great task of the state government of Illinois is thus 
seen to be the development of those lines of public activity 
which will best fit its citizens to realize their capacities, and to 
promote social activities which will elevate the conditions of 
life. Provided the work is economically and efficiently per- 
formed there can be no doubt as to its desirability. It is clear 
that the state of Illinois is performing services of the very 
highest character, which are destined to make it a better place 
of residence for succeeding generations. 


two things are certain," says an old proverb, 
" death and taxes." There is no well-authenticated 
evidence as yet that the laws of death have been suspended in 
the case of any citizen of Illinois, but in the case of taxes under 
the prevailing legislative and administrative system in Illinois 
the old proverb must be amended. Taxes are uncertain. The 
only thing which is certain is the fact of taxation, for the 
state must be supported and an adequate revenue provided. 
But as to whether the burden of taxation shall be justly 
distributed, equitably assessed, or fairly borne there prevails 
only uncertainty. The iniquities of the present system lie 
like a blot upon the fair page of Illinois history which these 
volumes unfold. It is to be hoped that the opening years 
of the second century of the state's history may record their 

State revenues in Illinois are received from various sources, 
but by far the most important source is the general property 
tax, the yield from this exceeding all other revenues put to- 
gether. Next to this come the corporation and inheritance 
taxes, and finally a number of fees which for the most part, 
however, cover only the expenses of the boards which collect 
them. The present system is based upon the revenue law of 
1872, which carried out the provisions of the constitution of 
1 870, but in reality the general property tax dates from a much 
earlier period. Since 1872 the only important addition to the 
sources of revenue has been the inheritance tax in 1905, which 
was increased and made progressive in 1909. Any account of 
the sources of revenue of the state between 1893 an d 1916 
must, therefore, be devoted largely to an account of the gen- 
eral property tax. 



It is obvious that the state of Illinois is committed to an 

antiquated system of taxation. While it has shown itself to be 
enlightened and progressive in matters of expenditure, on the 
side of revenues it is backward and unprogressive. Although 
it has developed its mining interests until it ranks as the second 
state in the union in this respect, and its manufactures until in 
this field it ranks third, it still clings to a system of taxation 
which was introduced when the state was almost purely agri- 
cultural and which is suited only to rural communities. The 
commercial and financial expansion and the extraordinary re- 
cent growth of corporate organization are all but ignored, and 
the futile attempt is made year after year to fit the economic 
frame of our expanding life to the Procrustean bed of an out- 
grown system of taxation. 

In the administration of the general property tax there are 
three distinct steps: first, there is an official assessment or valu- 
ation of the property subject to taxation; second, the tax rates 
ordered by the various taxing authorities must be determined, 
and the amount of taxes against each piece of property or 
property owner must be calculated and levied; and third, the 
taxes must be collected. 

The proper assessment of property presents the greatest 
difficulties to be found in connection with the administration of 
this tax, and this is true both of real and personal property. 
Little change or improvement has been made in this respect in 
the last forty-five years, but the important facts for this period 
may be noted, especially in their bearing upon present prob- 
lems. To set these forth clearly it will be necessary to analyze 
the general property tax into its component parts for it con- 
sists really of a complex of taxes and to discuss these 

The most important distinction is between real and per- 
sonal property. Real estate is defined as "not only the land 
itself .... but also all buildings, structures and im- 
provements, and other permanent fixtures .... thereon, 
and all rights and privileges belonging or in anywise pertaining 



thereto "* Until 1899 real estate was assessed 

annually, but in that year a quadrennial assessment was sub- 
stituted with annual additions and corrections. From 1872 to 
1898 the statutes prescribed that all property should be as- 
sessed at its fair cash value, but this ideal was ever more widely 
departed from and finally in 1898 the legislature recognized 
the existing undervaluation and declared that thereafter the 
assessed valuation for purposes of taxation and limitation of 
indebtedness should be one-fifth of the full value. In 1909 this 
proportion was raised to one-third. 2 It was apparently thought 
that the taxpayers could be tricked into fuller valuations if 
they were told that they would be taxed on only a fraction of 
what they declared. Illinois is the only state which has legal- 
ized a departure from the spirit of the tax law. 

Undervaluation has been the greatest evil of the tax sys- 
tem in spite of or perhaps because of the provision just 
described. In 1896 an investigation of a certain district in 
Chicago showed that the taxable real estate was worth $438,- 
447,180, while the assessed value was only $40,668,720 or 9.4 
per cent. The following table shows the disparity between 
true and assessed value for the whole state : 3 



Estimated true value 
of taxable real 

Assessed value 

Percentage of 
assessed to 
true value 


1800. . 





tooo. . 





I OO4. . 





I 12 . . 

10.046.310. <I2 

1, 648.1; 00,1:46 

1 6. 4 


From these figures it is clear that at no time has there been 
even an approach to full valuation. The law of 1898, instead 
of bringing about an agreement between the facts and the stat- 

1 Laws of 1871-1872, p. 69. 

2 Ibid., 2, 3 ; Laws of 1898, p. 40-41, 43 ; Laws of IQOQ-IQIO, p. 308. 

3 Based upon United States census reports on wealth, debt, and taxation. 


utes, simply stimulated to further undervaluation and two 
years later the assessed valuation was one-seventh of the true 
value. When the legal ratio was made one-third, it pulled up 
the actual valuation slightly, but still left it almost exactly half 
of what the law called for. 

Even greater than this evil, serious as it is, is another one 
which is closely connected with this, namely inequality in assess- 
ment. As soon as the assessor forsakes the standard of exact 
and full valuation he is left without guide or restraint and is 
exposed to the importunities of every taxpayer, who presses al- 
ways for a reduction in his assessment. The result is that the 
greatest inequalities are introduced as between districts, kinds 
of property, and individuals. Thus different parts of the state 
show varying results according to the honesty or efficiency of 
the local assessors. In 1912 the percentage of assessed to true 
valuation for the whole state was 16.4, but in Alexander county 
it was 37.1, in Hardin it was 31.9; in Coles, 15.1; and in 
Kankakee, 14.7.* 

Also two different kinds of real estate are assessed at dif- 
ferent ratios. Town lots are assessed at a relatively higher 
rate than farm lands. 5 The rapid increase in the value of farm 
lands since 1900 has not been reflected in the assessed valua- 
tions. Between 1900 and 1910 the value of farm lands in the 
state almost exactly doubled, but the assessors' valuations in- 
creased less than one-third. 

A still more irritating and unjust discrimination is that 
between large and small holdings. Thus in 1893 m Chicago 
thirty pieces of choice residence property, worth $20,000 and 
above, were assessed at from 4 to 12 per cent of the true value 
of the property, but eighty pieces of property, selling for less 
than $4,000 each, were assessed at from 12 to 40 per cent of 
the true value. 6 

Wherever similar investigations have been made it has 

4 Thirteenth Census of United States, 6:427, 430; Wealth, Debt, and Taxa- 
tion, 1913, 1:23, 759. 

5 Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 92. 

8 Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1894, p. 88, 92-94. 


been found that the smaller property has been assessed at the 
higher rate. Such discriminations are made possible just as 
soon as the rule of full valuation is departed from. The 
revenue commission of 1886 reported on this point that "the 
realty of one man is assessed at one-third, one-half, two-thirds, 
or even full measure of its actual value ; while that of his neigh- 
bor is assessed at one-sixth, one-tenth, one-twentieth, or as was 
shown in one case of considerable magnitude, one-twenty-fifth 
of its actual value. .... Such distinctions are too 
invidious to be meekly borne." 7 The same facts and conclu- 
sions hold with equal truth for today. 

The work of assessing property for taxation is performed 
for the most part by local officials. In counties not under 
township organization the county treasurer is ex officio county 
assessor, and appoints deputy assessors. In counties under 
township organization assessors are elected in each township 
for a period of two years. Cook county was made an excep- 
tion by an act of 1898, and there a county board of five asses- 
sors, elected for six years, exists; this board appoints deputy 
assessors for the townships which lie within the city of Chicago. 
The change in the manner of selecting these officials was made 
because the earlier system of elective township assessors had 
proven unsatisfactory, inefficient, and corrupt. 8 In general 
throughout the state the local assessor is the key to the effi- 
cient administration of the general property tax, for upon his 
initial valuation rests very largely the success or failure of the 
whole system. 

The assessor is required, before June i of every fourth 
year, actually to view and determine as nearly as practicable 
the value of all real estate listed for taxation. In the case of 
personal property the owner is supposed to list it, but in practice 
most of the personal property returned for taxation is assessed 
by the assessor. Boards of review and equalization are pro- 
vided for in order to correct mistakes and inequalities, but the 

7 Report of the Re-venue Commission, 1902, p. iii-iv. 

8 Law s of 1898, p. 36, 37-38; Laws of 1903, p. 299-300; Chicago Tribune, 
February 25, 1898; Sparling, Municipal History of Chicago, 106. 


changes made by them in the original assessments are few in 
number and insignificant in amount. Everything depends then 
upon the exactness and fairness of the initial work of the local 

The general system of township assessors was sharply at- 
tacked in the report of the revenue commission of 1886. They 
recommended the abolition of the township assessor and the 
substitution of a county assessor elected for four years, with 
power to appoint deputies, but no action was ever taken on this 
recommendation. Again in 1910 the special tax commission 
appointed by the governor under act of June 9, 1909, repeated 
substantially the same recommendation. 9 They believed this 
system would " provide a more efficient means for making fair 
and equitable local assessments of property for purposes of 
taxation." This report too suffered the common fate of most 
reform suggestions. 

The system of review and equalization was developed in an 
attempt to correct the evils which had arisen from the unequal 
valuation of property in different districts. The theory was 
that the assessments made by the local assessors should be 
checked up, corrected, and compared with the valuations 
arrived at by other assessors, and any omissions, inequali- 
ties, or undervaluations corrected. 10 Previous to 1898 town 
assessments were subject to review by a town board of re- 
view, consisting of the town supervisor, assessor, and clerk, 
but by the act of 1898, this town board was abolished, 
and increased powers over assessments were given to county 
officials. 11 

In each county there is provided a county board of 
review. In counties not under township organization this 
consists of the board of county commissioners. In counties 
under township organization it consists of the chairman of 
the county board and two citizens, one from each of the 

9 Report of the Revenue Commission, 1886, p. vi-vii; Special Tax Commis- 
sion Report, 7-13. 

10 Haig, History of the General Property Tax in Illinois, 173. 

11 Laws of 1898, p. 46. 


leading political parties, appointed each year by the county 
judge. In Cook county a board of review of three members 
is elected for six years, one member being elected every two 

Little can be expected of the system that prevails in the 
counties under township organization, where annual appoint- 
ments bring untrained and usually uninterested men to the 
board. In the case of Cook county, where long tenure should 
secure expert service, it has been charged that members of 
this board have made use of their office to aid their private 
business. Of recent years little complaint has been made. 
The functions of the county board of review are four: it may 
add property omitted from the assessment roll; it may remove 
property from the lists which is entitled to exemption; it may 
correct individual assessments; and it may increase or reduce 
the- entire assessment of either real or personal property so as 
to equalize the assessment between sections of the county or 
between classes of property. 12 

The last step in determining the valuation of property 
assessed by local assessors is the equalization of county valua- 
tions by the state board of equalization. This body consists 
of the auditor of public accounts and one member elected for 
a term of four years from each of the twenty-five congressional 
districts. The board has power to increase or decrease the 
aggregate amounts of the county valuation so as to make the 
assessments in one county bear a just relation to the assessments 
in other counties in the state. Before 1898 the total amount 
of increase or decrease by the board might not exceed five per 
cent of the total assessed value of property in the state, except 
for railroad property; but since 1898 the limit has been 
raised to ten per cent. 13 The work of the board has become 
more and more perfunctory and inefficient and in recent years 
has amounted to practically nothing. In the five years 1909 
1914 only twenty-nine changes were made from the returns of 

12 Report of Illinois Tax Reform Association, 1908, p. 6, 7; Laivs of 1898, 
p. 47-48. 

13 Ibid., p. 52. 


the county boards for the entire state, and in three of these 
years no changes at all were reported. 14 

Against the state board of equalization as at present con- 
stituted there has been directed a steady and unanimous stream 
of criticism and condemnation. The revenue commission of 
1886 characterized as "arbitrary and unjust" the equaliza- 
tion between counties by the state board. 15 Governor Altgeld 
in 1895 charged that the changes in valuations made by the 
board represented " simply an effort by one or more sections 
of the State to throw the burden onto some other portion of 
the State." 16 A well-known publicist described the present 
board in 1909 as "a clumsy and ineffective body." 17 The 
special tax commission of 1910, while less outspoken in its 
disapproval, recommended the substitution of a small perma- 
nent tax commission for the present board. But the most 
violent attack upon the board has been made by one of its own 
members, after the completion of the year's work in I9I3. 18 
According to his testimony the committees to which is referred 
the actual task of equalization perform their work in a hasty 
and perfunctory manner; their meetings are "a pefect bur- 
lesque." "The custom has been never to raise the assessments 
in a county unless the member from that district gives his 
consent." Here is an explanation of the small number of 
changes made by the board in recent years. 

Personal property is not formally defined by the tax laws, 
although real estate is. It may therefore be considered to 
consist of all property not specifically exempt, or taxed as real 
estate. The schedule furnished to the taxpayers by the as- 
sessor contains a list of thirty-six items, which may be re- 
grouped under the following three heads : tangible property, 
not ordinarily productive of money income, such as household 
furniture, pianos, sewing machines, watches, etc. ; tangible prop- 

14 Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 105. 

15 Report of the Revenue Commission, 1902, p. n, 12, 13. 
18 Senate Journal, 1895, 23. 

17 Fairlie, Report on the Taxation and Revenue System of Illinois, 65. 

18 H. T. Nightingale, in letters to the Chicago Record-Herald, November 25, 
1913 and Evamton Press, December 6, 1913. 


erty which is productive, as livestock, agricultural implements, 
manufacturers' machinery and stocks, merchandise, etc. ; and 
intangible property, including such items as money, stocks, 
bonds, credits, etc. 

The law provides that every person of full age and sound 
mind, being a resident of the state, shall list all his moneys, 
credits, and other personal property. 19 It is further provided 
that persons required to list personal property shall make out 
under oath a schedule of all their taxable personal property. 
Upon their failure to do so, the assessor shall list and assess 
it according to his best information. With respect to most 
of the items of tangible personalty and practically all the 
intangible personalty, the system is necessarily one of self- 
assessment. It is not easy to estimate exactly the efficiency of 
the assessment of personalty in Illinois because the statis- 
tics do not furnish full information, but from all available 
data it is clear that the system has completely broken down 
and that the assessment of personal property is a farce if 
not worse. 

One test of the completeness of assessment of personal 
property is to note the relation which it bears to real estate. 
The following table shows these facts since 1851 : 20 



Real estate 

Personal property 

Per cent 


$86."; 12, 537 

$75.51 5.708 




8o.72O.o 1 8 


1871. . 





8Q7,6l 5,103 

3O4. {18,34.0 







502, 766,180 




E72. 777. 684 

114 21 5.OO7 



IiT4.6.7.'l,1 l 6?2 

J5 C I36.24O 



1,633 456.568 



205 5.4O2 715 


14 4 

10 Laws of 18^1-1872, p. 3-4, 7-8. 

~ Report of the Efficiency and Economy Committee, 94. 


There is here shown a steady decline in personal property 
assessments from 1851 to 1898, since which year there has 
been a slight improvement. But there can be no doubt in the 
mind of anyone familiar with the rapid industrial development 
of the state in the last half century and of the multiplication of 
all forms of intangible wealth, such as bonds, stocks, credits, 
and other paper evidences, that the relation between realty and 
personalty is probably one of equality rather than of six to 

If particular items are considered in the list of intangible 
personalty there will be found still more glaring inequalities. 
In the following table are given the assessed values of credits : 21 



State Cook county 


State Cook county 



.... $22,181,440 $2,819,312 

T So 

IQO5- . 

.... 21,467,724 2,751,212 


11 IO2 J.O8 2CO23Q 


38,681,356 4,063,277 


II 17 C -280 IOO C^C 

38,194,460 5,315,282 

i8oc. . 

10,342,774 67.66O 

Under the definition of credits, other than bankers' credits, 
the chief item is mortgages. It does not need a detailed knowl- 
edge of investments or of mortgage records in Illinois to 
realize that undervaluation and evasion is the rule in the assess- 
ment of these forms of wealth. The slight gains as a result of 
the legalization of undervaluation by the laws of 1898 and 
1909 are by no means commensurate with the growth in popula- 
tion or in mortgage indebtedness. There are also wide varia- 
tions as between different parts of the state. It is not unrea- 
sonable to assume that at least as many credits are owned by 
city people as by country people. Yet in 1895 Cook county, 
which contained one-third of the population, returned only 
one hundred and fifty-fourth of the credits listed for taxation. 22 

21 Haig, History of General Property Tax in Illinois, 147 

22 Ibid., 148. 



Since the revision of the law in 1898 some improvement in the 
distribution between counties has been made. 

Another item which may be used as a test of the success of 
the assessors in listing personal property is that of bankers' 
credits. In brief this is the amount remaining after subtract- 
ing from the checks, accounts receivable, and discounts the 
deposits and accounts payable; the difference is taxed under 
this head. The following table shows the amount of these 
credits : 23 




Cook county 


State Cook county 

187?. . 




$1.010.722 $ 2l6. ^66 




I QO { . . 

1,{10.O{8 233.OI3 


1. 317. 1 Id. 


IQIO. . 

.... 7 180020 1,686 397 


I. OCO.48Q 



8.216, Q4{ 2.^28.421 

i8o"5. . 



It is clear from these few figures that the amounts listed 
under this item are insignificant. In 1893 the net taxable 
credits of the state banks of Chicago, as shown from reports 
made to the auditor, amounted to $2,497,722; the assessment 
of credits for that year for all the state banks in Chicago was 
$22,375 or about one per cent. The same situation is dis- 
closed in the item of money. 

It may be objected that these are all but impossible of 
ascertainment because they are intangible, easily concealed, and 
only disclosed by the owner himself, and hence do not afford 
a fair test. Let there be considered, therefore, another 
group, which consists of items not so easily concealed, namely 
tangible nonproductive property. A study of the returns of 
these articles as given in the auditor's reports reveals some 
curious situations. Thus it would appear that in the forty 
years between 1873 arj d 1916 the value of sewing and knitting 
machines has declined from $3,336,817 to $679,800. Simi- 

23 Haig, History of General Property Tax in Illinois, 154. 


larly the value of watches and clocks fell off from $1,949,401 
to $589,102. In 1916 there were listed in Cook county 
15,489 watches and clocks, or about one to every one hundred 
and seventy-seven of the population. 24 One is tempted to 
parody Goldsmith's well-known lines and to describe Illinois 
as a state 

". to hastening ills a prey, 

Where men accumulate and wealth decays." 

In fact the only group which shows even an approach to 
accuracy is that of tangible productive property, consisting of 
livestock, agricultural implements, manufactured goods and 
machinery, merchandise, etc. But the very success of the 
assessors in listing the articles in this group throws an addi- 
tional burden upon owners of real estate, who are already 
bearing a disproportionate share of the burden under the 
general property tax. The following table shows in brief the 
relation which these three groups of taxable property held to 
each other in the past forty years : 25 


By groups 





1871. . 


$27,34.8. 8 ";8 





3 1. 822.42 C 

IQOI . . 

77 486 Ol6 

12 76l I7O 

IO7 7J.J-.l6o 


I <Q.6 ? I.OIO 



The second step in the administration of the general prop- 
erty tax is the levy and extension of taxes. When the state 
board of equalization has completed its work, then the base of 
the tax is fixed; and against the various amounts are charged 
the taxes according to the rates determined by the proper 
authorities. In Illinois the rate actually levied is a combina- 
tion of state, county, city or village, road and bridge, school, 

24 Auditor's Report, 1912, p. 426. 

25 Based on auditors' reports. 


poor, and other rates, all of which are certified to the county 
clerk, who combines them and calculates how much each tax- 
payer must pay. 

The final step is the collection of taxes. This had already 
been well worked out when the new revenue law of 1872 was 
adopted, and little change has been made since. In counties 
under township organization, taxes are collected by town col- 
lectors, the county treasurer being the county collector. In 
counties not under township organization, the sheriff is both 
county collector and district collector. 

In addition to the taxation of individuals the property and 
corporate excess of corporations are also taxed under the gen- 
eral property tax. But the machinery by which these are ascer- 
tained and valued is different in the case of railroads and other 
corporations from that just described for the assessment of 
the property of individuals, although the final assessed valua- 
tions are all taxed alike at the rate of the general property tax. 
The assessment process must therefore be described separately, 
even though the receipts are not distinguishable in the financial 
reports of the state officers. 

The law of 1872 empowered the state board of equaliza- 
tion to assess the rolling stock and railroad track of railroad 
companies and capital stock of corporations organized under 
the laws of Illinois. In 1873 tne state board adopted rules 
providing that the value of the capital stock of each company 
should be determined by adding together the market value of 
the stocks and bonds and subtracting therefrom the assessed 
value of the tangible property. The value of the tangible 
property was to be assessed locally as before in the same man- 
ner as the property of individuals. 

The first assessment by the state board, 1873, made large 
additions to the total assessed property valuations, the value 
of railroad track and rolling stock amounting to $59,317,408 
and the excess value of the capital stock of railroads to $64,- 
611,071, while the corporate excess assessments on corpora- 
tions other than railroads was $21,898,451. This was the 


high water mark for thirty-five years, for until 1909 these 
assessments were not equalled in the case of railroads and only 
once (in 1902) in the case of other corporations. The total 
assessment on railroads by the state board fell to $40,461,865 
in 1878, and after that rose again very steadily until it reached 
$110,397,824 in 1908; the change in the law the following 
year, making the assessed value one-third instead of one-fifth 
of the real value, had the effect of bringing up the assessment 
in 1909 to $186,514,540. The following table shows the 
essential facts : 



Equalized local 

Assessed by state board of 

Total equalized 

R. R. track and 
rolling stock 


1875 . . 

2,245,9 I 3 

$ 59,317,408 



18??. . 



1800. . 

i8oc. . 

IQOO. . 

IQOC . . 


IQIO. . 

1016 . . 

Substantially the same thing as has been described for rail- 
roads has also been true of the assessments on the capital stock 
of corporations other than railroads, except that a significant 
increase occurred in the latter case at a somewhat earlier date, 
namely 1901, which calls for some further explanation. The 
great increase in 1901 was due to litigation brought on by the 
Teachers' Federation of Chicago. 

The work of the schools had been hampered by lack of 
funds in 1899 and 1900, and a new scale of salaries adopted 

26 Compiled from Proceedings of the Illinois State Board of Equalization. 


in 1898 was held up for the same reason. 27 The only way to 
secure more funds was to have more taxes collected and before 
this could be done the tax base must be increased. Upon 
looking into the revenue situation the Teachers' Federation 
found plenty of abuses, but selected the assessment of the cap- 
ital stock of corporations as the source which might be made 
to yield the largest returns with the least public antagonism. 
The assessments of twenty-three public service corporations 
were chosen for attack in a test case upon the lax and inefficient 
assessment methods of the state board of equalization. The 
federation claimed that the real value of the securities of these 
companies was $268,108,312, but most of them were assessed 
nothing at all upon their corporate excess, in spite of the fact 
that their tangible property was greatly undervalued by the 
local assessors. After petitioning in vain to have the board 
assess the corporations properly under their own rules, 
adopted in 1873, tne Y brought mandamus proceedings to com- 
pel the board to act. After legal proceedings had begun the 
state board adopted a new set of rules and assessed seven of 
the twenty-three companies for small amounts. In 1901 the 
circuit court held that the new rules were invalid and the assess- 
ments fraudulent and granted the. mandamus to compel the 
reassessment of twenty corporations under the former rules of 
the board. 

This decision was upheld by the supreme court of the 
state, 28 but it was carried to the federal circuit court, which 
held that the assessment was made under duress and that it 
was not upon a proper basis, but should have been on the capi- 
talization of net earnings. On this basis an additional assess- 
ment of $7,190,000 was made upon the companies, giving a 
total of $21,034,000 on which they paid taxes. This amount 
was increased slightly in 1902, but during the next five years 
there was a steady decrease until in 1907 the assessed valuation 
of capital stock was only $10,608,000 or less than half what 

27 Chicago Tribune, October 14, 1900. 

28 Ibid., October 9, 1900; State Board of Equalization <v. People, 191 
Illinois, 528. 


it was in 1901. The change in the legal assessment ratio from 
one-fifth to one-third brought up assessments in 1909 to the 
highest point yet reached, namely $35,394,441 ; but immedi- 
ately thereafter they began to decline again, until they have 
now fallen below the old low level of 1901. These facts are 
shown in the following table : 29 




No. of cor- 

Value of capital 
stock reported 

Equalized value 
of capital stock 
and franchise 

Equalized value 
of tangible 

Net assessment 
of capital stock 





f,\j I 

$ 40,777,920 



f** v , / j*-',^* j i 









m y 




>*/ y*r vv 


























i, 218 

















Whether the inefficiency and laxness of the board is due 
to corruption, as charged by the Illinois Tax Reform Associa- 
tion, or to its large size and elective character, as suggested by 
the special tax commission of 1910, it is clear that nothing can 
be hoped for from this source. 30 The work of original assess- 
ment now assigned to it could certainly be performed more effi- 
ciently and probably at no greater expense by a small expert 
tax commission. 

Next to the receipts from the general property tax the 
largest single source of revenue to the state is the payments by 
the Illinois Central railroad, amounting for the year ending 

28 Compiled from Proceedings o/ the Illinois State Board o/ Equalization. 
30 Report of special tax commission in Governor's Special Message, January 
31, 1911, p. 10. 



tx O to vn ts. t^ 

oo to M c$ *$- to 
to N ft O HI so 

O t^ HI N Os 

N oo to \o to t^ *J- o\ vo IN HI MOOOO t^NOO tr\ 
N N O'vvo O\\O w> rh T^ >H t^ ui Q O\O\N wvO 
tON NVO^O OOO t^.t^O\O w ONVO O <*>f>. 


SO to VO 
to HI N 

O M o 

O r*.*t-<*>M ovoo^o 

^- O O <*> v o f 

*N to fx, N HI OK 
OS O ' 

^ jf 4 j 

IN N M to ft 5 
^ N" to 

t^txt^NOO O M<^, 
tOHc O O V' M %fl to' 
mvo tooo vou^vo t^os 

O N 

>-c ^- 

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Os vo" oo" rf 10 


N t^ OO IN OO rt- IN 


vo O 


ot c M M in p 

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October 31, 1916, to $ 1 ,6 1 7,9 1 9. This road is not taxed as are 
other railroads but pays to the state seven per cent of its gross 
receipts in lieu of all taxes. This payment is in return for 
considerable railroad property which was given the railroad 
after the breakdown of the state internal improvement scheme 
and more especially for a princely grant of land which had 
been assigned to the state by congress for that purpose. 31 

The tax on inheritances brings in increasingly large returns. 
This tax was imposed in 1895 and was revised and the rates 
increased in 1909. Considerable sums are also obtained from 
taxes on insurance and telegraph companies, and from fees. 
These are all shown in the table on the preceding page. 32 

The injustice and inadequacy of the general property tax 
as a source of state revenue, especially for such a large propor- 
tion of state receipts, has long led to criticism. Demand for 
reform has always been met by legislative inaction or trifling 
changes in existing law. A step forward was, however, taken 
in 1915 when the legislature voted to submit to the people an 
amendment to the constitution permitting the classification of 
personal property for purposes of taxation. This was ap- 
proved in November of that year by popular vote. It is now 
made possible to impose taxes upon corporate property at a 
higher rate or upon intangible personal property at a lower 
rate than real estate. This method has already been adopted 
by Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, and 
Iowa; and it offers a measure of relief from the present evil of 
evasion on the part of intangible personalty. Thus far, how- 
ever, no change has been made in the statute law. 

The other parts of the tax system call for little or no crit- 
icism. The framework of a good revenue system is provided, 
which can be expanded as need arises. As in other industrial 
states among which Illinois must now be classed corpora- 
tion and inheritance taxes furnish the bulk of the revenues. 
These should be developed to meet the growing needs of the 

31 Tenth Census of United States, ^ : 625. 

82 Fairlie, Taxation and Revenue System of Illinois, 244. 


state and dependence upon the general property correspond- 
ingly lessened. Too long has inertia prevented Illinois from 
taking the leading position in this field to which it is entitled by 
reason of its financial, commercial, and industrial preeminence. 



IN THE early months of 1917 the American nation was 
called upon to decide a momentous question, whether or 
not to abandon the national isolation which had thus far saved 
it from fearful modern warfare with its ravenous appetite for 
life and property. For two and a half years Europe had been 
a seething mass of battling and suffering humanity; was this 
great peaceful republic now to be dragged into the maelstrom ? 
This was the question on every tongue as people watched the 
failure of the president's appeal for peace without victory for 
either side. 

The announcement of Germany's intention to undertake 
an aggressive submarine campaign against the Entente powers 
precipitated an unavoidable diplomatic break with the Teutonic 
nations. That war should of necessity follow this break was 
not believed by most Illinoisians. That events might rapidly 
and inevitably shape their course in that direction did seem 
probable to many clear-headed observers; moreover, there 
were many who in violation of President Wilson's early injunc- 
tion of neutral-mindedness had come to expect little of good 
from the Central powers and who were already cataloging the 
sins of the Teutons against humanity. The vast body of the 
citizenry waited patiently for advice from the national execu- 
tive, feeling that he held the key to American policy and that 
his recommendations ought to be backed at all hazards. 

As the clouds of war gathered, the various elements that 
hoped that the arbitrament of the sword might be avoided 
began to bestir themselves to influence public opinion. The 
most significant single group in Illinois was doubtless the Ger- 
man element. The German born population of Illinois in 1910 
numbered 319,199, a 13.7 per cent decrease for the previous 



decade, though still the largest number in any state in the 
union; there were also 163,065 Austrian born residents in the 
state, most of them newcomers, since the increase for the 
decade was 95,952.* The German- Americans, claiming that 
they were more American than their "unneutral and pro- 
British" critics, could not easily adjust themselves to the 
international crisis. 2 They recalled the visit of Prince Henry 
when the traditional friendship between the United States and 
Germany was firmly sealed. While to many a clash with Great 
Britain seemed possible, hostility to the Central powers 
appeared almost an impossibility. 3 

The sympathy with the fatherland had found expression 
in a number of activities looking toward relief of the wounded, 
the crippled, and the widows of those fallen in battle. Societies 
were organized with the object of gathering material and 
funds for that purpose; fairs and bazaars were arranged to 
which the German-American population contributed with the 
utmost liberality. In Chicago, soon after the outbreak of 
hostilities, the German and Austro-Hungarian Relief Society 
was formed under a charter from the state of Illinois. This 

1 These two groups led the foreign born elements and constituted consider- 
ably over one-third of the foreign born population of the state. These immi- 
grants from the domains of the Central powers were scattered through the 
state with especial strength in the cities, particularly in Chicago. Of the two 
million residents of Chicago, only 445,139 were native born of native parentage, 
while 643,733 were of German and Austrian birth or parentage. In addition, 
since German immigrants had steadily made a significant contribution to the 
population of Illinois, hundreds of thousands of Illinois citizens belonged in 
whole or in part to the same stock. Divided in religion, in politics, and in 
social and economic standing, this population element responded to a strong 
cultural bond which it found in the messages of the German newspapers of 
the state. Their journals had a combined circulation of a half-million. 
N. W . Ayer and Son's Newspaper Annual and Directory, 1916, p. 1277. 

2 To be sure, their sympathies at the beginning of the world war had been 
strongly with the German cause. Inclined to accept the interpretation that the 
Allies were the aggressors in the war, those of German descent or birth nat- 
urally sympathized with their kin across the water. They did not see in this 
a divided allegiance, or a defect in loyalty. 

3 This point of view had been stimulated by republican politicians, includ- 
ing German-American leaders, during the presidential canvass of 1916. Dele- 
gations of German republicans waited upon the editor of the Chicago Abendpost 
to secure a promise to support the candidacy of Hughes as more favorable to 
the German point of view ; when the editor refused he was denounced as 
pro-British and a tool of Northcliffe, and threats were made to boycott his 


society, active until the break of diplomatic relations, by vari- 
ous means succeeded in collecting almost a million dollars to be 
devoted to the alleviation of suffering in the warring countries. 4 
This work of charity received considerable recognition by the 
American Red Cross and by government officials. 

When now the war clouds appeared on the horizon, many 
German-Americans hoped that the government would find it 
unnecessary to resort to the ultima ratio regum. Some felt that 
this would be a concession to British influence, in favor of 
crushing Germany, "a nation of peace-lovers, who are fight- 
ing in desperation for their existence and have made the first 
move for peace;" 5 others believed that the vital reason for 
entry into the war was the fact that without American assist- 
ance the Allies were beaten. Many hoped, from the broad 
humanitarian course which President Wilson had followed in 
directing American neutrality, that, in the interest of humanity, 
he would now see how much more valuable it might be to 
reserve the vigor and power of this great nation for the time