Conference, 36,366 of the General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 14,768 of the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and 14,005 of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Iowa and other states), 152,870 were Baptists (118,884 of the Northern Convention, 16,081 of the National (Colored) Baptist Convention, 7755 Free Baptists, 6671 General Baptists, and 5163 Primitive Baptists), 115,602 were Presbyterian (86,251 of the Northern Church, 17,208 of the Cumberland Church (now a part of the Northern Church), and 9555 of the United Presbyterian Church), 101,516 were Disciples of Christ, 50,973 were members of the German Evangelical Synod of North America, 54,875 were Congregationalists, and 36,364 were Protestant Episcopalians.
Government.—Illinois has been governed under four constitutions, a Territorial constitution of 1812, and three State constitutions of 1818, 1848 and 1870 (subsequently amended). Amendments may be made by a Constitutional Convention or a two-thirds vote of all the members elected to the legislature, ratification by the people being required in either instance. To call a Constitutional Convention it is necessary that a majority popular vote concur in the demand therefor of two-thirds of the members of each house of the General Assembly. The executive officials hold office for four years, with the exception of the treasurer, whose term of service is two years. The governor must be at least thirty years of age, and he must also have been a citizen of the United States and of Illinois for the five years preceding his election. His veto may be over-ridden by a two-thirds vote of all the members elected to the legislature. Members of the legislature, which meets biennially, are chosen by districts, three representatives and one senator from each of the 51 districts, 18 of which are in Cook county. The term of senators is four years, that of representatives two years; and in the election of representatives since 1870 there has been a provision for “minority” representation, under which by cumulative voting each voter may cast as many votes for one candidate as there are representatives to be chosen, or he may distribute his votes (giving three votes to one candidate, or 1½ votes each to two candidates, or one vote each to three candidates), the candidate or candidates receiving the highest number of votes being elected. A similar system of cumulative voting for aldermen may be provided for by ordinance of councils in cities organized under the general state law of 1872. Requisites for membership in the General Assembly are citizenship in the United States; residence in Illinois for five years, two of which must have been just preceding the candidate’s election; and an age of 25 years for senators, and of 21 years for representatives. Conviction for bribery, perjury or other infamous crime, or failure (in the case of a collector or holder of public moneys) to account for and pay over all moneys due from him are disqualifications; and before entering upon the duties of his office each member of the legislature must take a prescribed oath that he has neither given nor promised anything to influence voters at the election, and that he will not accept, directly or indirectly, “money or other valuable thing from any corporation, company or person” for his vote or influence upon proposed legislation. Special legislation is prohibited when general laws are applicable, and special and local legislation is forbidden in any of twenty-three enumerated cases, among which are divorce, changing of an individual’s name or the name of a place, and the grant to a corporation of the right to build railways or to exercise any exclusive franchise or privilege. The judiciary consists of a supreme court of 7 members elected for a term of 9 years; a circuit court of 54 judges, 3 for each of 18 judicial districts, elected for 6 years; and four appellate courts—one for Cook county (which has also a “branch appellate court,” both the court and the branch court being presided over by three circuit judges appointed by the Supreme Court) and three other districts, each with three judges appointed in the same way. In Cook county a criminal court, and the supreme court of Cook county (originally the supreme court of Chicago), supplement the work of the circuit court. There are also county courts, consisting of one judge who serves for four years; in some counties probate courts have been established, and in counties of more than 500,000 population juvenile courts for the trial and care of delinquent children are provided for.
The local government of Illinois includes both county and township systems. The earliest American settlers came from the Southern States and naturally introduced the county system; but the increase of population from the New England and Middle States led to a recognition of township organization in the constitution of 1848, and this form of government, at first prevalent only in the northern counties, is now found in most of the middle and southern counties. Cook county, although it has a township system, is governed, like those counties in which townships are not found, by a Board of Commissioners, elected by the townships and the city of Chicago. A general law of 1872 provides for the organization of municipalities, only cities and villages being recognized, though there are still some “towns” which have failed to reorganize under the new law. City charters are granted only to such municipalities as have a population of at least 1000.
Requirements for suffrage are age of 21 years or more, citizenship in the United States, and residence in the state for one year, in the county ninety days, and the election precinct thirty days preceding the exercise of suffrage. Women are permitted to vote for certain school officials and the trustees of the State University. Disfranchisement is brought about by conviction for bribery, felony or infamous crime, and an attempt to vote after such conviction is a felony.
The relation of the state to corporations and industrial problems has been a subject of important legislation. The constitution declares that the state’s rights of eminent domain shall never be so abridged as to prevent the legislature from taking the property and franchises of incorporated companies and subjecting them to the public necessity in a way similar to the treatment of individuals. In 1903 the legislature authorized the municipal ownership of public service corporations, and in 1905 the city of Chicago took steps to acquire ownership of its street railways—a movement which seemed to have spent its force in 1907, when the municipal ownership candidates were defeated in the city’s elections—and in 1902 the right of that city to regulate the price of gas was recognized by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. Railways organized or doing business in the state are required by the constitution to have a public office where books for public inspection are kept, showing the amount of stock, its owners, and the amount of the road’s liabilities and assets. No railway company may now issue stock except for money, labour, or property actually received and applied to purposes for which the corporation was organized. In 1907 a law went into effect making two cents a mile a maximum railway fare. An anti-trust law of 1893 exempted from the definition of trust combinations those formed by producers of agricultural products and live stock, but the United States Supreme Court in 1902 declared the statute unconstitutional as class legislation. According to a revised mining law of 1899 (subsequently amended), all mines are required to be in charge of certified mine managers, mine examiners, and hoisting engineers, when the services of the engineers are necessary; and every mine must have an escapement shaft distinct from the hoisting shaft. The number of men permitted to work in any mine not having an escapement shaft cannot, in any circumstances, exceed ten during the time in which the escapement or connexion is being completed.
Economic conditions have also led to an increase of administrative boards. A State Civil Service Commission was created by an act of the General Assembly of 1905. A Bureau of Labor Statistics (1879), whose members are styled Commissioners of Labor, makes a study of economic and financial problems and publishes biennial reports; a Mining Board (1883) and an inspector of factories and workshops (since 1893) have for their duty the enforcement of labour legislation. There are also a State Food Commission (1899) and a Live Stock Commission (1885). A Board of Arbitration (1895) has authority to make and publish investigations of all facts relating to strikes and