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Civil War - Business and Economy

Pre-Statehood Era: 1700-1818

Early Statehood: 1818-1861

Civil War Era: 1861-1865

Late 19th Century: 1866-1900

Early 20th Century: 1900-1914

World War I: 1914-1918

Roaring Twenties: 1918-1929

Great Depression: 1930-1941

World War II: 1941-1945

Cold War Era: 1946-1991

Millennium: 1991-Present

Lesson Plans


Banks and Economy

Albert H. Tracy v. The Board of Supervisors of Shelby County, January 1861 / Transcription

  • This document serves as evidence of how rural areas pursued economic development through internal improvements in the nineteenth century. Counties, (and other units of local government), sold bonds, thus raising funds to purchase railroad stock. This stock served as an investment opportunity for the county, and lured the railroad to build tracks in the county. Individuals who purchased the bonds were guaranteed a certain rate of return from the county bond. Albert Tracy sued the Shelby County Board of Supervisors when they did not pay him the interest due on the bonds he purchased, which had allowed Shelby County to invest in the stock of the Terre Haute and Alton Railroad Company.

  • Citation: I/B/Box 5 Shelby County Board of Supervisors 1861 (43) Number 123. IRAD in Booth Library at Eastern Illinois University.

An Act to amend the General Banking Law, in such a manner as to afford greater security to the public, February 14th, 1861

  • This law established comprehensive banking reform over six sections. Primarily, it affirmed that the stocks of the State of Illinois should be used as security for circulating notes to be issued upon.

  • Citation: Public Laws of the State of Illinois Passed by the Twenty-Second General Assembly, Convened January 7, 1861. Springfield: Bailhache & Baker, Printers, 1861. 39-52.

An Act to Establish a General System of Banking upon a Specie Basis, in the State of Illinois, February 20th, 1861

  • This law established the Union Bank of Illinois for a term of twenty-five years.

  • Citation: Public Laws of the State of Illinois Passed by the Twenty-Second General Assembly, Convened January 7, 1861. Springfield, IL: Bailhache & Baker, Printers, 1861. 53-71.

Banks and Currency, Journal of the Convention, 1862

  • Illinois constitutional convention members were hostile to banks and prohibited the incorporation of new banking powers. Further, issues of notes were restricted to not less than $10 in denomination. Members asserted that paper money had driven out a like amount of specie, the banking system had broken down completely, gold and silver are the best basis of currency, and Union patriotism demanded support of a stable currency. For additional background information, consult George William Dowrie, The Development of Banking in Illinois, 1817-1863.

  • Citation: Journal of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Illinois Convened at Springfield, January 7, 1862. Springfield, IL: Charles H. Lanphier, Printer, 1862. 1049-1050.


Canals and River Ways

Communication from the Mayor Concerning the Flow of the Chicago River, December 30th, 1862 / Transcription

  • This document discusses a contract submitted to the mayor to the canal committee to reverse the flow of the Chicago River to ease pollutants.

  • Citation: Bailey, Robert E. and Elaine Shemoney Evans. Early Chicago, 1833-1871 A Selection of City Council Proceedings Files. Springfield: Illinois State Archives, 1999. Document 41. Used by permission of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Accessed on 11/19/2016. https://cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/teaching_packages/early_chicago/doc41.html