The editor of Illinois in 1837& 8 credits the accompanying map with being one of the most descriptive and complete maps, for its scale, available in the late 1830s. It contained all of the counties, seventy in number, organized in the young state. Also, the map corresponds with the written portion of the book by providing a frame of reference for the descriptions of the Illinois towns and counties, some of which are included in this Web document.
The total population of Illinois at the time Elijah Lovejoy moved to Alton was estimated at around 400,000 inhabitants. A chart included in Illinois in 1837 & 8 tells that the three largest counties in terms of population were Sangamon, Morgan, and Greene. These counties held 17,573; 16,500; and 12,274 people respectively. The counties with the least number of people living within their borders were the northern counties of Stephenson (400), Boone (600), and Henry (600).
Both these population figures and the appearance of the map illustrate how the southern counties of Illinois came to be populated long before their northern counterparts. The southern and west central counties held the largest number of people and, therefore, the most power in the young state legislature. The majority of the settlers to southern Illinois migrated north from states such as Kentucky and Tennessee south of the Ohio River. Many of these "upland southerners" benefited from the system of slavery or were at the very least used to the institution. Most opposed the radical ideas of New England men such as Lovejoy who wished to limit or abolish the slavery system in Illinois and the country.
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