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ACTUAL GOVERNMENT
IN ILLINOIS



BY

MARY LOUISE CHILDS

Teacher of History and Civics, Evanston
Township High School




NEW YORK

THE CENTURY CO.

1917



rt






Copyright, 1914, 1917, by
THE CENTURY Co.






TO

THE GIRLS AND BOYS

OF MY CIVICS CLASSES WHOSE INTEREST

AND LOYALTY HAVE BEEN THE

INSPIRATION OF THEIR

TEACHER



37170C



FOREWORD FOR THE TEACHER

How may a civics teacher make vital the study of State
and local government in Illinois? What are the essential
facts with which the immature pupil should be familiar at
the end of 'the course? What method of instruction will
most quickly arouse his interest and give him the best train-
ing in citizenship? An earnest attempt has been made in
this brief text book to suggest an answer, in part, to these
important questions.

The first indispensable requisites are enthusiasm and
active interest in the subject on the part of the teacher. A
bored, indifferent teacher can never kindle interest or en-
thusiasm in the minds of high-school pupils of civics, or
guide them into the broad, far-reaching fields of citizenship.
The essential facts of government, particularly State and
local, are dry as sawdust unless vitalized by a live teacher
through connecting them at every step with the actual
government in the community in which the pupils live.

Among the necessary devices to arouse interest and catch
the attention is the bulletin board. Try a large one covered
with dark green felt and hang it in a conspicuous place. If
your pupils have access to Chicago dailies, they will be
keenly interested in illustrating their note-books from the
cartoons. A very interesting, instructive commentary on
local and State government can be made by these cartoons.
Pupils soon learn to select wisely, avoid the vulgar or simply

vii



viii FOREWORD FOR THE TEACHER

grotesque, and choose the most effective ones. Try an
8 x 10 notebook, loose leaf, with manila sheets added to
the note paper for the cartoons and newspaper clippings.
If you " shingle " the cartoons slip one under the other,
and paste along upper edge only five or more can be put
on one page of the manila sheet.

A " camera squad " to conduct a camera tour through
the pupils' ward or village arouses much interest. Their
kodaks of alleys and back yards, garbage cans, paper- and
refuse-littered streets and parkways, the city " dump " on
the crematory, should be mounted and hung in the civics
room where all may share the results of the " camera tour."
Have them show praiseworthy conditions as well as things
to criticize.

The newspaper clippings should always have noted on
them name of paper, date, and an underscore in red ink or
blue pencil to show why the item was cut out. This under-
score saves much written explanation and is helpful in
training a pupil's judgment of the essential thing in a news-
paper article.

Official stationery and all kinds of official seals serve a
useful purpose. A letter from some official makes that
officer seem a real human being instead of a noun in a text-
book, and to make this vital, human connection between
text-book and actual government is the most essential part
of our work. Every report, annual message, budget,
ordinance, legal paper, that can be secured and their name
is legion is grist for the civics mill.

But the human element, the meeting with officials, hear-



FOREWORD FOR THE TEACHER ix

ing them explain the duties of their office, the visits to in-
stitutions and buildings where they actually see the govern-
mental wheels in motion these are the things that seem
to make the deepest impression on a pupil's mind. You may
secure this vivid human illustration in several ways: by
excursions of all the class (but if the class is large, all
can not hear and see equally well, although they enjoy
the trips in large numbers) ; by small groups under a pupil
leadtr who makes the arrangements for the party and
is responsible for the group, each pupil to make an oral or
written report of the trip in his own section. This method
brings good results in studying your own town and saves
the time of officials sometimes the latter get a bit im-
patient if the individual pupils go to them, but they are
glad to give some time to a group. Another method is to
bring the official, as the mayor or health commissioner, to
the class for a talk on their duties. If a stereopticon can be
used and slides shown in illustration of the talk, so much
the better.

The following excursions were given during one year
for the civics class in a suburb of Chicago: A session of
the Chicago council and of their own council ; to the county
and Federal buildings and the city hall in Chicago; to the
county infirmary at Oak Forest ; to Lockport via the Drain-
age Canal in the boat owned by the sanitary district and
courteously loaned the class for that day; to the State
prison at Joliet; for the boys alone, to the House of Cor-
rection ; for the girls alone, to Hull House and the Crane
Nursery to show how a famous social settlement is helping



x FOREWORD FOR THE TEACHER

to make good citizens of aliens; a carefully chosen session
of the United States district court, the docket for that day
being planned six weeks in advance through the kindness
of Judge Landis so the pupils might see a trial by jury;
a .trip to the Naval Training School at Lake Bluff and to
Fort Sheridan. These excursions include the illustrative
work for local, State, and National Government. They
mean much work for the teacher, and every detail must be
carefully planned if they are successful. But they are of
great value in making vivid and practical the civics work
and are well worth all they cost in time and effort. De-
bates and reports on suitable articles in current magazines
will of course find a place in the work.

One main object has been kept constantly in mind in
writing this text book: First and always to direct the
pupil to the actual government in his own locality. The
theory embodied in the statute and ordinance is one thing;
the practical working out of the law is frequently quite a
different matter ; but the practical method by which the law
is enforced or not is the vital matter to every citizen
and the side of government too often neglected in our civics
'teaching. There is no subject taught in the high-school
course where mere routine, text-book recitation, is so
deadly as in civics. Therefore every effort has been made
to make practical and vital the teaching of actual govern-
ment within the State of Illinois.

The writer is greatly indebted to many officials for per-
sonal interviews, letters, and reports. Every courtesy has
been extended to her in the work by officials in all depart-



FOREWORD FOR THE TEACHER xi

ments of the State and local governments. Special ac-
knowledgment is made to the officers and director of the
Chicago Bureau of Public Efficiency for permission to use
their exceedingly valuable charts and reports. Mrs.
Catharine Waugh McCulloch very kindly read part of the
manuscript and gave the writer the benefit of helpful sug-
gestions and criticisms.

No doubt many errors will be discovered, due to the
short time allowed in preparation and the pressure of
school-room duties. Much is purposely omitted that
usually finds place in a civics text book. But the purpose
of the book as expressed in its title has been ever in mind.
It is not intended in any sense for a manual, and only
points a way, tested for many years in large classes of
pupils in a suburban high school, to arouse keen interest
in the vital matters of home government.

A Russian Jew said to the writer recently, " You are a
patriot because you teach of the government!" If all of
us to whom are given the honor of guiding these junior
citizens of Illinois in their first steps in citizenship could
always be mindful of that fact, would not our work be
ennobled immeasurably? On our faithful, intelligent ef-
forts will depend in large degree the progress Illinois will
make in wise, humane, efficient government. We can so
vitalize and clothe with flesh the dry bones of civic facts
that our pupils will count their study of State and local
government the most human, intensely alive subject in all
the high-school curriculum. Is not the end worth all the
effort?



FOREWORD TO THE EDITION OF 1917

No practical method of keeping a textbook in civics up to
date has yet been evolved. A " loose-leaf " collection of
printed lessons easily and economically exchangeable for
new ones each year as governmental facts and devices for
teaching the same evolve seems to be the only possible
method of keeping pace with civic progress. But no one
has yet come forward with such a series of lessons suitable
for Illinois and therefore our textbooks on state and local
government must be reprinted at frequent intervals if we
would keep them within sight of present conditions.

From the printer's standpoint an important one it
proved impossible to incorporate in the text the principal
changes in city, county and state government within Illinois
made during the last three years, or to include all these
changes in footnotes. Therefore they have been gathered
mainly in Appendix D at the end of the volume where it is
hoped teachers, pupils and others using the book will avail
themselves constantly of these collected notes and additions
to the text. Illinois has been making progress during the
last three years and particularly in the social legislation
written on her statute books.

The new law for the care of the feeble-minded, the great
increase in parks and playgrounds, the wider use of school
buildings and equipment for the social needs of their dis-
tricts and the steady growth of the movement to " pull Illi-
nois out of the mud " through a fine system of highways



xiv FOREWORD TO THE EDITION o

are all proofs of the dawn of a new social conscience in our
state.

When Illinois' greatest need is met, a new constitution
adapted to twentieth-century conditions, no reprint of a
textbook like this one will do, but there must be an entire
revision based on the new instrument of government.



CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I CITIES AND VILLAGES 3

II GOVERNMENT OF CHICAGO 16

III TOWNS AND TOWNSHIPS IN ILLINOIS .... 54

IV COUNTY GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS ..... 65
V THE PUBLIC POCKETBOOK : How IT Is FILLED . 88

VI ELECTIONS AND THE BALLOT 99

VII JUDICIAL TRIALS AND THE JURY SYSTEM . . .113

VIII STATE OF ILLINOIS : PHYSIOGRAPHY AND HISTORY 126

IX THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY 138

X EXECUTIVE 151

XI STATE JUDICIARY , 159

XII PUBLIC EDUCATION IN ILLINOIS 165

XIII THE MERIT SYSTEM IN ILLINOIS 175

XIV STATE CHARITY SERVICE 188

XV AMENDMENT OF THE ILLINOIS CONSTITUTION . . 198

XVI ILLINOIS MOVING FORWARD 201

APPENDIX A REFERENCE LIST OF BOOKS AND PAM-
PHLETS VALUABLE FOR STUDY OF " ACTUAL GOVERN-
MENT IN ILLINOIS" 215

APPENDIX B VALUABLE PUBLICATIONS OF Civic OR-
GANIZATIONS IN CHICAGO 217

APPENDIX C VITAL STATISTICS LAW 219

APPENDIX D GENERAL NOTES 222

INDEX 231



ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS



ACTUAL GOVERNMENT
IN ILLINOIS

CHAPTER I

CITIES AND VILLAGES

REFERENCES :

1. Revised Statutes (igi5-'i6), ch. xxiv.

(This general law for cities and villages covers 229 pages in 1
the Revised Statutes of Illinois, not including the Session
Laws for 1913-15.

2. Greene: Government of Illinois, pp. 101-106.

3. Garner: Government in the United States, pp. 25-56; Govern-

ment of Illinois, pp. 55-60, rev. ed.

The city corporate touches the life of the people more
intimately than any governing body in the world. To
speak of just one factor in its varied relations with the peo-
ple, notice its streets, the " arteries through which flow the
life-blood of the city trade and traffic." " Here persons
of all ages and all tastes go to meet one another, to talk
over the affairs of the day, to be entertained, to eat,' to
drink, to inspect shop windows, to do marketing, to buy
and sell merchandise, and to perform a thousand offices
which the needs of the city life make profitable, healthful,
or agreeable." ' Then consider the influence of the streets
on the habits of the people. In the congested areas of the
city, the people must spend a large portion of their leisure

3



4 /. ; ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

on the streets, because their homes are too small for com-
fort, and if the city allows the streets in these sections to
remain unkempt and dirty, the homes bordering them will
reflect the dirt and grime of the city highway, inevitably
much more, should that * highway ' be an unpaved alley."
(Beard: American City Government, pp. 242-244.) And
the city streets represent only one small segment of the
great circle of the city powers surrounding city homes.

Are you familiar with the poster, " Madame, Who Keeps
Your House ? " issued by the Woman's City Club of Chi-
cago, 116 South Michigan Avenue? If not, make its ac-
quaintance, for this famous poster has nearly circled the
globe since it was published 4 years ago to illustrate pic-
torially the intimate relation existing between the city hall
and the home. " The poster contains a large * C ' made up
of fifteen pictures illustrating the city departments that
touch the home ; in the center are the words, ' City Hall,'
surrounded by a small ' c ' made up of the names of the
city departments illustrated. Betow are these words : * The
homely activities of your daily life make necessary these
departments in the government of the city in which you live.
Its interest in you is personal and kindly. Make your in-
terest in it vital and helpful. Educate yourself in civic
affairs.' ' Know your own city !

What is the organization in Illinois of this city govern-
ment that affects the daily life of its citizens so powerfully?

Cities. There are over one thousand cities and vil-
lages in Illinois. The present State constitution of 1870
forbids special legislation of any kind except for Chicago
in a few definite cases, provided by recent amendment to the
constitution. Therefore, in 1872, the General Assembly
passed a law known as the Cities and Villages Aci, for the



CITIES AND VILLAGES 5

government of municipalities in the State, if they chose to
come under its provisions. Only about seventy-five cities,
towns, and villages preferred to retain their original special
charters granted by the Legislature before 1870. The rest
by vote have adopted the Cities and Villages Act, and it has
therefore become their charter. This general law covers
about two hundred forty pages in the Revised Statutes of
Illinois and carefully details what a city may do, and pro-
vides the general framework of city government.

Much ingenuity has been displayed by the legislators in
framing laws needed for a city like Chicago and a county
like Cook yet not wanted in other cities and counties of
Illinois. The favorite device is to put cities and counties
into classes according to population and so arrange the
groups that Chicago and Cook County will each come into
a class by itself. " For cities having over 350,000 popu-
lation " (only Chicago), or " counties having over 125,000
population " (only Cook), is frequently the wording of some
law intended to apply to Chicago and Cook County alone.
So far the supreme court has generally sustained such laws
on the ground of necessity, although they plainly violate the
spirit of the State constitution while obeying the letter.

ORGANIZATION OF A CITY. Any territory in Illinois not
less than four square miles in area, having at least one
thousand inhabitants, may petition the county judge (pro-
bate judge if the county has one) for a special election to
vote on a city organization.

CITY OFFICERS. If carried, the people elect a mayor,
aldermen, clerk, treasurer, city attorney, and police magis-
trate. The wards into which the city is divided must num-
ber not less than three or more than thirty-five, depending
on population, and two aldermen are chosen from each



6 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

ward, one each year. The term of office is two years ex-
cept that of the police magistrate, who is elected for four
years. The aldermen are paid from three to ten dollars
per session except in Chicago. 1

There are over a hundred powers granted the council in
the Cities and Villages Act, so its power is ample to do
whatever is necessary for the city. The mayor and other
officers have the same powers given under Chicago. 1 The
mayor, with the consent of the council, may appoint a city
collector, to have charge of special assessments, special
taxes for local improvements levied on property benefited,
as for paving a street or putting in a sewer ; a commissioner
of public works to care for streets, alleys, sewers, water
system, garbage collection, city buildings; corporation
counsel to be legal adviser of the city officials ; comptroller
to have general oversight of all city accounts and expendi-
tures; chief of police, health commissioner, fire marshal,
whose names explain their work. If the city so orders
through a special vote, a civil service commission of three
members is also appointed by the mayor with the consent of
the council to conduct the examinations required for all city
employees, like policemen and firemen, who are placed in the
classified service. Any of these appointed officers may be
elected if the council pass an ordinance to that effect. All
the officers allowed for governing a city in Illinois are
named in the General Municipal Act of the State.

COMMISSION PLAN OF CITY GOVERNMENT. By a law
in effect in 1910, cities not over 200,000 in population may,
through a special election, adopt the commission plan of
government, electing a mayor and four commissioners at
large to have charge of the city. This act is applicable to

1 Chap, ii, pp. 20-22.



CITIES AND VILLAGES 7

all the cities in the State except Chicago, and about thirty
odd have adopted it, Springfield, Rock Island, Elgin, De-
catur, Cairo, and Waukegan, among the number. The five
commissioners elected serve for four years and are called
the council. The commissioner known as the mayor pre-
sides at all their meetings and has charge of the department
of public affairs. There are five departments created by
the law: (i) Public Affairs, (2) Accounts and Finances,
(3) Public Health and Safety, (4) Streets and Public Im-
provements, (5) Public Property.

The five commissioners determine by majority vote what
duties shall be vested in each department and which com-
missioner shall be its head. The mayor does not have the
veto power. The council appoints all city officers needed;
civil service is provided for all employees. To prevent abuse
of power by the commissioners, they may be recalled at any
time by a majority vote at a special election. The initia-
tive and referendum are also provided to allow the voters
directly to initiate and pass any necessary law. All fran-
chises granted public service companies must be approved
by the people before going into effect. Provision is made
to discontinue the commission government if the voters are
dissatisfied after trying the plan.

The Chautauquan Magazine (Vol. LI) has an excellent
symposium on " Commission Government for Cities." In
the Debaters' Handbooks is a volume devoted to commis-
sion government.

CITY MANAGER. The most recent innovation in city
government is the city manager, an appointed officer who
looks after the city's business exactly as a general manager
directs the affairs of a private concern. River Forest in
Cook County experimented with this new kind of city



8 ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

official but petty politics caused him to resign. It is
claimed he considerably more than saved his year's salary
through careful supervision of the village work. The ex-
periment is being watched with great interest and seems full
of promise for more efficient city government.

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SAFETY. Another experiment in
municipal government is director of public safety, who has
charge of the three principal municipal departments, health,
fire, and police. Evanston has experimented with such an
official (during 1913-15), and he worked for fire preven-
tion, better sanitary conditions through a clean-up cam-
paign, bakeries classified according to cleanliness, and to
make every policeman a health officer, so there could be
stricter enforcement of all sanitary regulations, (i) This
combining the great public safety departments of a city is
another step toward simpler municipal government because
the chief of police, health commissioner, and fire marshal
are put under civil-service rules, and the city gets one re-
sponsible officer instead of three.

CITY COURTS (Rev. Stat., ch. xxxvii, sec. 240-363.
Act amended 1909.) Any city having a population not
less than three thousand may establish a special city court
if the voters so elect. The jurisdiction of this city court
will be the same as the State circuit court. There can be
from one to five judges according to population, and the
salary is paid from the State treasury. The term is four
years and the judge must not be chosen at the same time
with other city officers. Why? Nineteen cities in Illinois
have adopted this city court. The justices of the peace
are retained for petty cases in cities having a special city
court; but there is no police magistrate.

Village Government. (Rev. Stat. (1915), chap, xxiv,



CITIES AND VILLAGES 9

sec. 178-193.) A village government differs from a city
in being more simple and therefore less expensive. It has
no wards. Any area, not less than two square miles, con-
taining at least three hundred inhabitants, if it is not already
within a village or city, may be incorporated as a village by
vote of the people at a special election and must there-
after remain a village until it has a thousand inhabitants,
when it has the privilege, if the voters desire, of changing
to a city government. There are now (9161) about eight
hundred villages in Illinois.

I. Legislative Branch of the Village Government. 2 Board of

. Trustees a president and six trustees elected for two years
with power of a mayor and council in passing the village ordi-
. nances.

II. Executive and Administrative Officers.

1. President elected for two years; has same veto power

as a mayor.

2. Village clerk elected for one year.

3. Treasurer, street commissioner, board of health, village

marshal, and other administrative officers appointed by
the president and board of trustees.

III. Judicial Branch.

Police magistrate one only unless more are authorized by
special acts. No police magistrate can also act as justice of
the peace, although his jurisdiction is the same.

OUTLINE GOVERNMENT OF A CITY IN ILLINOIS

I. Organization.

a. Petition to county (or probate) judge for special election

to decide question city government.

b. First election city officers: Mayor, aldermen, clerk, treas-

urer, attorney, police magistrate.

2 Greene : Government of Illinois, p. 268.



io ACTUAL GOVERNMENT IN ILLINOIS

c. " Cities and Villages Act," passed Legislature 1872, becomes
city's charter. Seal is granted by secretary of state at
Springfield.

II. Boundaries; number of wards and precincts.

III. Time of election.

IV. Term of office.

V. Legislative Department.

A. Council composed of mayor and aldermen.

1. Duties.

a. Levy taxes.

b. Confirm or reject appointments mayor.

c. Provide police, fire, health protection.
3. Grant franchises.

e. Provide for public highways and sidewalks.

f. Provide for street cleaning, lighting; water sup-

ply, garbage removal, etc.

2. Salary.

VI. Executive Department.

A. Mayor. Who? When elected?

1. Duties.

a. Preside council meetings.

b. Vote in case of tie.

c. Sign or veto ordinances : may veto separate items

in appropriation ordinance, or annual budget.
Veto overcome by two-thirds vote council.

d. Send annual message to council.

e. Appoint officers consent council.

f. Issue proclamations.

g. May pardon any violation of ordinance or remit

any fine imposed for such violation.

2. Salary. Find from city budget.

B. Clerk. Who? When elected?

i. Duties.

a. Keep minutes council meetings.

b. Keep seal and all important papers.



CITIES AND VILLAGES 11

c. Post ordinances and notices.

d. Issue licenses and permits by order Mayor.
2. Salary.

C. Treasurer. Who? When elected? Amount of bond?

1. Duties.

a. Charge of all city funds except special assess-

ments.

b. Acts as town collector for general taxes.

2. Salary.

D. City Collector. Who? When appointed? Amount of


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