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Map of Illinois, c. 1830
Map of Illinois, c. 1830
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This map shows Illinois' early settlement patterns. Note how a dense network of counties define the state's southern regions, while Illinois' central and northern reaches remain largely untouched by political organization. This pattern emerged from early settlers' reliance upon water transportation, especially the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. These waterways carried a generation of southern-born settlers to southern Illinois, where they established a society much like the one they had left: devoted to subsistence agriculture, embracing individual rights and liberty for white men, and tolerant of slavery. In succeeding decades immigrants from the mid-Atlantic states settled central Illinois and New England Yankees peopled the state's northern tier.

Image source: Lewis University
©Copyright 2002 Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project