Illinois History Minutes

January 5 Illinois History Minute


On this day in 1859, a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly voted to re-elect Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas to a third term. In those days, state lawmakers, not voters, chose U-S senators. And the legislature’s Democratic majority ensured Douglas victory, despite Republican challenger Abraham Lincoln’s strong showing in public debates with Douglas a few months earlier. Lincoln and Douglas plus two other candidates would face off for president in 1860, with Lincoln the victor.

“The Wiz”, an African-American take on Chicagoan L. Frank Baum’s “Wizard of Oz”, opened on Broadway on this day in 1975. The show won seven Tony awards, including one for University of Illinois alumnus DeeDee Bridgewater as the good witch Glinda.