BOOK CHAT: ATTEMPTING DEMOCRACY | Springfield, Illinois | Visit Springfield

July 30, 2024

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
112 N Sixth St




Two hundred years ago, on August 2, 1824, Illinois conducted the most consequential election in its history. The election would determine if Illinois became an unrestricted 'slave state'. The election came about when the legislature passed a joint resolution calling for the people, at the next general election, to approve holding a constitutional convention to modify the 1818 Constitution. The six-year-old constitution contained nebulose language regarding slavery, that was inserted to avoid congressional debate when reviewing Illinois' petition for statehood. The proslavery elements were strong, contained the majority in the legislature, and felt confident the citizens would approve holding a convention. The opposition was organized, well-funded, and led by the new governor Edward Coles, a newly arrived easterner who had served both Presidents Madison and Monroe. The campaign lasted 18 months and was controversial and violent. The campaign also presented a challenge for the new self-rule democracy - the people deciding the direction of government.

You're invited to "brown bag it" and join Bernard Sieracki for his special lunch hour presentation on Tuesday, July 30, from Noon-1pm in the ALPLM library's multi-purpose room as he reviews the 1824 campaign, the colorful characters involved, and the future consequences for Illinois regarding slavery.

This is a free program. Advance registration is not required.