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Title:Liberty protected by law: race, rights, and the Civil War in Illinois
Author(s):Heinzel, Sally E
Director of Research:Levine, Bruce
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Levine, Bruce
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hoxie, Frederick E.; Roediger, David; Gifford, Ronald
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
politics, 19th century
Black laws
Civil War
Abstract:Illinois was a hostile place for free blacks to live before the Civil War. Its racial laws, built on the principles of white supremacy and exclusivity, were among the most restrictive in the antebellum North. Illinois’s legal code discouraged blacks from moving to the state and severely circumscribed the rights of those who did. Yet, only weeks before the Civil War ended, Illinois lawmakers repealed the state’s most oppressive black laws. This dissertation explores how the war destabilized the racial order that white Illinoisans had constructed. It travels from the home front to the frontlines in order to understand the ways civilians and soldiers responded to a war that evolved into an assault on slavery. As Illinois soldiers became willing participants in the process of emancipation, Republicans back at home strove to eliminate the vestiges of slavery by striking down state statutes that denied blacks natural rights and equal protection under the law.
Issue Date:2015-04-20
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Sally E. Heinzel
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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