A new article at
www.illinoiscivilwar150.org explores the sharp divisions within
Illinois after Lincoln freed, at least on paper, all slaves living
in states that were battling to secede from the United States. The
article can be found by clicking the "Monthly
Highlights" tab at the top of the home page.
separate public meetings organized by Democratic and Republican
leaders to discuss the proclamation.
A Democratic meeting at the Illinois Statehouse (now the Old
State Capitol) quickly approved a resolution condemning Lincoln's
action. It said the Emancipation Proclamation "cannot be
contemplated without the most dismal forebodings of horror and
dismay." Lincoln's move invited insurrection by the nation's slaves,
the resolution warned.
Meanwhile, Lincoln's fellow Republicans had their own meetings
and produced their own resolutions supporting the president. Maj.
Gen. Richard Oglesby, a future Illinois governor, called the
Emancipation Proclamation "a great thing, perhaps the greatest thing
that has occurred in this century." He added: "It is too big for us
Reaction among the state's African-American residents was ignored
by the white press, so few details are available today. But it
appears they were celebrating even before Lincoln signed the
proclamation just after noon on Jan. 1, 1863. Frederick Douglass'
Monthly reported that people "celebrated the gladsome New Year's Day
with appropriate public festivities -- feeling sure of the coming of
the Proclamation, before it was issued."
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In addition to the monthly feature stories,
www.illinoiscivilwar150.org includes a comprehensive calendar of
events from across Illinois that are related to the Civil War; a
timeline of Illinois and the Civil War with illustrations, images
and documents; downloadable PDFs of articles related to the Civil
War; curriculum materials for teachers; and suggestions for further
The website represents the work of Save Illinois History and the
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and is supported in part by a
grant from the Illinois Humanities Council.
The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency operates all
state-owned historic sites and memorials, as well as the Abraham
Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The agency's list of Civil
War-related sites includes the presidential library and museum, the
Old State Capitol, and Lincoln Tomb in Springfield; Ulysses S. Grant
Home and Elihu Washburne House in Galena; the Stephen A. Douglas
Tomb in Chicago; the David Davis Mansion in Bloomington; and
Metamora Courthouse. For more information, visit
[Text from file received from the
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]