Illinois History Minutes

April 18 Illinois History Minute


It’s April 18th, and on this day in 1818, President James Monroe signed a bill into law enabling Illinois to become a state. When delegates met to draft a state constitution, the biggest debate centered on slavery.  Delegates agreed to ban any new enslavement in Illinois, but to let indentured servitude continue until 1825 at the salt works near Shawneetown. Illinois officially became the 21st state on December Third.

Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since William Hale Thompson. “Big Bill” had stepped down as mayor after two terms. But he came back four years later to win a third term on this day in 1927. Thompson was politically effective but ethically challenged. A rise in gangland violence during his third term was a factor in his failure to win a fourth one.