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.