Civil War and After

There was conflicting sentiment on slavery in Illinois up to the time of the Civil War. Debates on the slavery question between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas during the 1858 election campaign for United States senator attracted nationwide attention and helped to propel Lincoln to the Presidency in 1860. During the Civil War, the state supplied more than 250,000 men to the Union army, including two noted generals—Ulysses S. Grant, later President, and John A. Logan.

After the war, Illinois became a major industrial state, and Chicago a leading industrial city. Farm-implement manufacture, in which John Deere and Cyrus McCormick were prominent figures, and the Chicago meat-packing industry, led by Philip D. Armour and Gustavus F. Swift, were important in the state's economic development.

With the growth of industry and the development of the labor movement, Chicago became the scene of much conflict, notably the Haymarket riot of 1886 and the Pullman strike of 1894. Meanwhile, in 1892 a farm-labor coalition of voters had elected Democrat John P. Atlgeld governor, and his administration enacted many social reforms. 1893–97.

Great Chicago Fire of 1871.Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The fire in Chicago, northern Illinois, destroyed much of the city and left about 90,000 people homeless.