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Illinois (/ˌɪlɪˈnɔɪ/ (About this soundlisten) IL-ih-NOY) is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.

The capital of Illinois is Springfield, which is located in the central part of the state. Although today's Illinois' largest population center is in its northeast, the state's European population grew first in the west as the French settled the vast Mississippi of the Illinois Country of New France. Following the American Revolutionary War, American settlers began arriving from Kentucky in the 1780s via the Ohio River, and the population grew from south to north. In 1818, Illinois achieved statehood. Following increased commercial activity in the Great Lakes after the construction of the Erie Canal, Chicago was founded in the 1830s on the banks of the Chicago River at one of the few natural harbors on the southern section of Lake Michigan. John Deere's invention of the self-scouring steel plow turned Illinois's rich prairie into some of the world's most productive and valuable farmland, attracting immigrant farmers from Germany and Sweden. The Illinois and Michigan Canal (1848) made transportation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River valley faster and cheaper, and new railroads carried immigrants to new homes in the country's west and shipped commodity crops to the nation's east. The state became a transportation hub for the nation.

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A view inside the Interstate Exposition Building (known as the "Glass Palace") during the convention.

The 1880 Republican National Convention convened from June 2 to June 8, 1880 at the Interstate Exposition Building in Chicago, Illinois, United States, and nominated James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur as the official candidates of the Republican Party for President and Vice President of the United States, respectively, in the 1880 presidential election.

Of the 14 people nominated for the Republican nomination, the three strongest candidates leading up to the convention were Ulysses S. Grant, James G. Blaine and John Sherman. Grant had served two terms as President from 1869 to 1877, and was seeking an unprecedented third term in office. He was backed by the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party, which supported political machines and patronage. Blaine was a senator and former representative from Maine who was backed by the Half-Breed faction of the Republican Party. Sherman, the brother of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, was the then Secretary of the Treasury under President Rutherford B. Hayes. He was also a former senator from Ohio and was backed by a delegation that did not support the Stalwarts or Half-Breeds. Garfield's Ohio delegation chose Chester A. Arthur, a Stalwart, as Garfield's vice-presidential running mate. Arthur won the nomination by capturing 468 votes, and the longest-ever Republican National Convention was subsequently adjourned. The Garfield-Arthur Republican ticket later defeated Democrats Winfield Scott Hancock and William Hayden English in the close 1880 presidential election. (Read more...)

Selected biography

Timothy Blackstone

Timothy Blackstone (March 28, 1829 – May 26, 1900) was a 19th-century railroad executive, businessman, philanthropist, and politician. Blackstone worked in the railroad industry for most of his life after dropping out of school. Blackstone served as president of the Chicago and Alton Railroad from 1864 through 1899, was a founding president of the Union Stock Yards, and served one term as mayor of La Salle, Illinois. An active philanthropist, Blackstone was the benefactor of the James Blackstone Memorial Library in Branford, Connecticut. A nearly identical library, Blackstone Memorial Library, was donated to the Chicago Public Library by Timothy Blackstone's widow in 1902. The Blackstones also funded Blackstone Hall for the Art Institute of Chicago Building. Chicago's Blackstone Library is the first dedicated branch of the Chicago Public Library system, and later his mansion became the site of the Blackstone Hotel and the Blackstone Theatre. (Read more...)

Did you know...

12-1257-miniatures-chandelier-chicago-museum-art.jpg
Spot-winged Glider - Pantala hymenaea, Bles Park, Ashburn, Virginia - 7680788092.jpg
  • ... that Chicago alderman Dorsey Crowe survived falling 800 feet (240 m) from a plane and being thrown through the roof of a car?
  • ... that the spot-winged glider (pictured) is a migratory dragonfly?



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