Illinois gave 3 historic US presidents and a number of noteworthy statesmen/women to American politics.


Did you know?

  1. The name "Illinois" comes from a Native American word meaning "tribe of superior men."

  2. Illinois became a state on December 3, 1818. Illinois was the 21st state to enter the Union. It had a population of 34,620 people. Illinois is now the fifth most populous state in the country with almost 12.9 million people.

  3. The state song is “Illinois.”

  4. Illinois’ state animal is the white-tailed deer.

  5. The state slogan, "Land of Lincoln," was adopted by the General Assembly in 1955. The State of Illinois has a copyright for the exclusive use of the slogan.

  6. Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburg, Quincy, and Alton hosted the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates that stirred interest in the slavery issue all over the country.

  7. The first aquarium opened in Chicago in 1893.

  8. Chicago is home to the world's first skyscraper.

  9. Chicago is home to the Chicago Bears Football Team, Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, Chicago Bulls basketball team, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox baseball teams, and Chicago Fire soccer team.Illinois

  10. Peoria is the oldest community in Illinois.

  11. Illinois’ state fruit is the Goldrush apple.

  12. The Illinois state reptile is the painted turtle.

  13. The Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), located in Chicago, is the tallest building on the North American continent. It was the world's tallest building from 1973 until 1996. It covers two city blocks and rises one-quarter mile above the ground. From the top of Willis Tower, you can see four states.

  14. Metropolis, the home of Superman, really exists in southern Illinois.

  15. Illinois is home to Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, which is the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico.

  16. Illinois had two different capital cities, Kaskaskia and Vandalia, before Springfield.

  17. The Illinois state fossil is the Tully monster.

  18. The Illinois state prairie grass is big bluestem.

  19. Illinois was the home of President Ulysses S. Grant, whose home is preserved in Galena.

  20. The NFL's Chicago Bears were first known as the "Staley Bears." They were organized in Decatur in 1920.

  21. In 1865, Illinois became the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery.

  22. On December 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi and a small band of scientists and engineers demonstrated that a simple construction of graphite bricks and uranium lumps could produce controlled heat. The space chosen for the first nuclear fission reactor was a squash court under the football stadium at the University of Chicago.

  23. Illinois’ state tree is the white oak.

  24. The Illinois state mineral is fluorite.

  25. Springfield is the state capital and the home of the national historic site of the home of President and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln is buried just outside Springfield at Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site.

  26. Chicago is home to the Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station, the only buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire.

  27. The Illinois state insect is the monarch butterfly.

  28. Illinois’ state snack food is popcorn.

  29. Before Abraham Lincoln was elected president, he served in the Illinois legislature and practiced law in Springfield.

  30. Carlyle is the home of the largest man-made lake in Illinois.

  31. Illinois has 102 counties.

  32. Ronald Reagan, born in Tampico and raised in Dixon, became the 40th president of the United States in 1980.

  33. The highest point in Illinois is Charles Mound at 1,235 feet above sea level.

  34. The state motto is “State Sovereignty, National Union.”

  35. The Illinois state amphibian is the eastern tiger salamander.

  36. Illinois’ state flower is the violet.

  37. Evanston is the home of the ice cream sundae.

  38. The first silo was constructed on a farm in Spring Grove.

  39. The Illinois state dance is square dancing.

  40. The Illinois state bird is the cardinal.

  41. Illinois’ state fish is the bluegill.

  42. At over 6,000, Illinois has more units of government (i.e., city, county, township, etc.) than any other state. One reason for this may be the township governments, which generally govern areas of just 6 square miles.

  43. In 1905, the president of the Chicago Cubs filed charges against a fan in the bleachers for catching a fly ball and keeping it.

  44. Unlike most skyscrapers, the Chicago's Mercantile Exchange building was built entirely without an internal steel skeleton; it depends on its thick walls to keep itself up.

  45. The abbreviation "ORD" for Chicago's O'Hare airport comes from the original name, Orchard Field. The airport was renamed in honor of Lieutenant Commander Edward H. "Butch" O'Hare.

  46. The trains that pass through Chicago's underground freight tunnels daily would extend over 10 miles total in length.

  47. In Mount Pulaski, it is illegal for boys (and only boys) to hurl snowballs at trees.

  48. Illinois is known for its varied weather, including major winter storms, deadly tornadoes, and spectacular heat and cold waves.

  49. The first birth on record in Chicago was that of Eulalia Pointe du Sable, daughter of Jean-Baptiste Pointe du Sable and his Potawatomi Native American wife, in 1796.

  50. Chicago's Mercy Hospital was the first hospital in Illinois.

  51. The first animal purchased for the Lincoln Park Zoo was a bear cub, which was bought for $10 on June 1, 1874.

  52. The University of Chicago opened on October 1, 1892, with an enrollment of 594 and a faculty of 103.

  53. Comedy showcase "Second City" was founded on North Wells Street in a former Chinese laundry in 1959.

  54. Chicago's first African American mayor, Harold Washington, took office in 1983.

  55. The four stars on the Chicago flag represent Fort Dearborn, the Chicago Fire, the World's Columbian Exposition, and the Century of Progress Exposition.

  56. The Chicago Public Library is the fourth largest public library in the United States with a collection of more than 5.7 million books.

  57. The Chicago Post Office at 433 West Van Buren is the only postal facility in the world you can drive a car through.

  58. The Chicago River is dyed green on Saint Patrick's Day.

  59. Chicago is home to the world's largest cookie and cracker factory, where Nabisco made 16 billion Oreo cookies in 1995.

  60. Illinois’ state soil is Drummer silty clay loam.





“Insiders and special interests dominate the state. And too many politicians will do anything to hang on to power. Decades of mismanagement, corruption and insider deals have devastated Illinois.


We need a new path forward. Illinoisans from both sides of the aisle agree the current system only benefits the politically connected. It’s time to limit the insiders’ power by enacting term limits. To bring back Illinois, we need to start by changing the system. It’s time to fix Illinois.” -


The Foundation for Modern Youth & Civic Participation (FMYCP) agrees that the current government system in Illinois promotes mismanagement, corruption, insider deals and unprecedented gerrymandering, making it virtually impossible to change status quo.



on the office of the governor and legislators and proposed to eliminate gerrymandering.


  • The FMYCP supports the restructuring of voting districts to reflect civic reality, and supports the elimination of gerrymandering.


  • The FMYCP supports term limits of the governor.


  • However, instead of imposing term limits on elected legislators, the FMYCP proposes that term limits should be imposed on congressional leadership & committee positions held by legislators.


Limiting and rotating control and influence, would maintain operational stability and would prevent the creation of an overly powerful bureaucratic civil service. This would leave the decision with he voters to freely elect their legislators (senators and representatives) and would allow experienced legislators to continue in their elected functions.


Most legislation is written by a committee that handles a specific duty or topic. Committee appointments can be very prized positions for the power, influence and financial backing that can be attained. These positions are often assigned based on political favors and a willingness to support causes or projects. Therefore, career politicians who have formed the most self-serving relationships can often be given the most power in Congress. Term limits on committee positions would work to stop this cycle of political reward and power abuse and the excessive influence which legislators can stock up during their committee mandates and eliminate their abuse of power. Committee assignments would be determined by merit and expertise, resulting in fair and informed decisions.


Imposing term limits on leadership and committee positions vs legislator terms would increase feasibility and successful implementation of the proposal.  It has a higher possibility of success.


Term limits on leadership and committee positions target the core of the problem. It is effective enough if we throw out just the bathwater.  Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater too.


Further arguments for and against term limits below should be viewed under the premise, that gerrymandering is fixed in Illinois.


Arguments against term limits of legislators


  • Career politicians should be valued for their experience. If we regularly fill a Congressional office with a newcomer, we will lose the valuable experience on-the-job that person can offer in government.

  • Members of Congress will have less time in office to develop the base for their future “civil” activities, hence may be prone to expedited lobbying and questionable activities to increase monetary gain.

  • There are members of Congress who fought for their constituents and resisted the corrupt system of power abuse that is considered normal. Ultimately, the decision should be of the voters’, to directly decide, if their local legislator is performing to their satisfaction.  Taking that choice away is insulting, and assumes voters are too dumb to decide themselves.

  • Problematically, we continue to elect the incumbent because of name recognition and party affiliation rather than a proven track record. Realistically, there is usually someone just as qualified to take over the incumbent’s office.  However, the lack of voter knowledge should not be fixed by limiting legislators, rather civic participation and education programs should be introduced informing voters on progress.  Window politics is a helpful tool for voters to use to decide if they are generally satisfied with their legislator’s performance and party’s results.

  • Term limits are not necessary because members of Congress must be regularly re-elected. If they are not doing a good job in office, we can simply vote for someone else.

  • Term limits would give more power to bureaucrats and lobbyists.

  • This argument is based on the notion that incoming legislators will be inexperienced legislators and will be easily led astray by staff, bureaucrats, special interests, etc. The way the system works today suggests that the real problem is in the longevity of power and the complacency that can come along with it. For instance, lobbyists invest heavily in long-term relationships with sitting legislators. Congress members currently shirk many responsibilities by delegating them to bureaucratic agencies.

  • Term limits have the potential to greatly reduce these problems. When more Congressional races are won by challengers from outside the Beltway, this change is likely to bring new staffers with new ideas into Washington, rather than recycling the same old corrupt insiders.

  • State actions are often used as precedent for other states and federal direction.  Not every state faces issues similar to Illinois.  


Arguments for term limits of legislators


  • With term limits in place, Congress may be more responsible toward their constituents because they will soon be constituents themselves. They will have to live under the laws they have created while in office.

  • Members of Congress will have less time in office to develop financially beneficial commitments to lobbyists and other special interest groups, thereby undermining the threat of lobbyists being a primary influence on legislation.

  • Congress is heavily entrenched in partisan politics, resulting in gridlock when trying to pass any legislation. If term limits were enacted, toeing the party line would be less important, as the need for re-election and holding onto party seats would no longer be the driving force behind most legislative decisions. Congress would have an easier time passing the legislation that would make a positive difference for the nation.

  • Money is a major factor in who will win an election. Incumbents have the benefit of the profits they made while in power — plus the backing of their party, contributing organizations and special interests — to get re-elected. However, these wealthy incumbents are often not the best person for the job, as they are so far-removed from the daily realities of the American people. A middle-class person who better understands the problems facing the average citizen is highly unlikely to get elected over a wealthy incumbent. Term limits will help to eliminate the long, shady, profitable relationships between members of Congress and special interest groups, and therefore reduce the wealth gap between candidates. In turn, more qualified people will have a real opportunity to win elections.


What happens when a Democrat in the Illinois House won't kneel before Boss Madigan?

by John Kass , Columnist, Chicago Tribune

Punishment, isolation and mockery. State Rep. Scott Drury, of Highwood, is paying for not voting for Madigan for speaker of the house, where Madigan has reigned for decades.

The former federal prosecutor has been stripped of his position on a judiciary committee. His ethics legislation, he understands, will die. And he's been mocked by Madigan's smarmier mouthpieces.  


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