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Portal:Illinois

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Illinois is a state in the Midwestern United States. It is the 5th most populous and 25th largest state, and is often noted as a microcosm of the country. With Chicago and its suburbs in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base and is a major transportation hub.

Prehistoric Illinois was the site of Cahokia, the largest urban center of the Mississippian culture. The Illinois Confederation, from which the state takes its name, dominated the region during the contact period, but by the time of the American Revolution, only about 2,000 Native Americans and a small number of French villagers inhabited the area. Anglo-American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1810s. Illinois achieved statehood in 1818. Northerners arrived later via the Great Lakes, founding Chicago in the 1830s. The invention of the steel plow and growth of railroads made it possible to profitably farm the rich prairie land of central Illinois, attracting large numbers of immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. Northern Illinois provided major support for Illinoisans Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War. By 1900, industry was growing rapidly in the northern cities, along with coal mines in central and southern areas. This industrialization attracted large numbers of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe and many African Americans in the Great Migration from the Southern United States, who developed renowned jazz and blues cultures in Chicago.

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A view inside the Interstate Exposition Building (known as the "Glass Palace") during the convention.

The 1880 Republican National Convention convened from June 2 to June 8, 1880 at the Interstate Exposition Building in Chicago, Illinois, United States, and nominated James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur as the official candidates of the Republican Party for President and Vice President of the United States, respectively, in the 1880 presidential election.

Of the 14 people nominated for the Republican nomination, the three strongest candidates leading up to the convention were Ulysses S. Grant, James G. Blaine and John Sherman. Grant had served two terms as President from 1869 to 1877, and was seeking an unprecedented third term in office. He was backed by the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party, which supported political machines and patronage. Blaine was a senator and former representative from Maine who was backed by the Half-Breed faction of the Republican Party. Sherman, the brother of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, was the then Secretary of the Treasury under President Rutherford B. Hayes. He was also a former senator from Ohio and was backed by a delegation that did not support the Stalwarts or Half-Breeds. Garfield's Ohio delegation chose Chester A. Arthur, a Stalwart, as Garfield's vice-presidential running mate. Arthur won the nomination by capturing 468 votes, and the longest-ever Republican National Convention was subsequently adjourned. The Garfield-Arthur Republican ticket later defeated Democrats Winfield Scott Hancock and William Hayden English in the close 1880 presidential election. (Read more...)

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Wild Bill Hickok

James Butler Hickok—known as "Wild Bill" Hickok—was a folk character of the American Old West. Although some of his exploits as reported at the time were fictionalized, his skills as a gunfighter and gambler, along with his reputation as a lawman, provided the basis for his enduring fame. Born and raised on a farm near Troy Grove, Illinois, Hickok went west at age 18 as a fugitive from justice, first working as a stagecoach driver, then as a lawman in the frontier territories of Kansas and Nebraska. He fought and spied for the Union Army during the American Civil War and gained publicity after the war as a scout, marksman, actor, and professional gambler. Hickok was involved in several notable shootouts. He was shot from behind and killed while playing poker in a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory (now South Dakota) by an unsuccessful gambler, Jack McCall. The card hand he held at the time of his death (aces and eights) has come to be known as the "Dead Man's Hand".

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A mural by Chicago artist Louis Grell in the Springfield Amtrak station. The mural depicts a quote by Abraham Lincoln, a map of the post-1947 Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad, and the seals of the seven states that the railroad served.
Image credit: Louis Grell (painter), RI-Bill (photographer)

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