Chapter 4 focuses on the 1847 Illinois state constitutional convention and the constitution approved by voters in 1848. Democrats comprised a majority of delegates, but Whigs built many successful coalitions. The new constitution sought greater balance of governmental powers, reducing the legislature’s appointive power, bestowing on the governor a weak veto power, and calling for direct election of judges. Age and residency requirements were specified for government service; citizenship was required of voters. Two contentious provisions put separately to voters were ultimately approved: one prohibiting free blacks from immigrating to the state and one calling for a property tax to relieve the state’s debt. With the 1848 constitution, Illinois transitioned from a frontier to a modern state.
Keywords: Democrats—convention delegates; free blacks—immigration; Illinois—state constitution, 1848; Illinois—state constitutional convention, 1847; state government—balance of powers; state government—direct election; state government—veto power; state property tax; Whigs—convention delegates
Chapter. 10119 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Political History
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