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logical survey, Lincoln Park and West Park Boards in
Chicago; the fish commission, State charities commission,
and the Illinois park commission; the State highway de-
partment, the State board of administration to care for
the twenty charitable institutions; members of various
examining boards for trades, business, or professions li-
censed, or regulated, by the State, in order to protect the
lives, health, or property of the citizens, as dentists, pharma-
cists, architects, doctors (who are examined by the State
board of health), barbers, plumbers, and a State superin-
tendent of insurance; trustees for the penal institutions
and for the five normal schools ; three members of the board
of pardons; commissioners of labor; five members State
public utilities commission ; State board of arbitration to
try to prevent strikes by arbitrating the differences at issue
through State aid; three members of the State mining
board ; six members of the mine rescue station commission,
created immediately following the terrible Cherry disaster
and now maintaining three rescue stations and three mine
rescue cars in the mining regions of the State; food and
game commissioners ; four superintendents of the free em-
ployment agencies. This long list is only a partial one. (2)
Each session of the Legislature creates new boards and
commissions that increase the governor's appointing power.
Keep up with these through the Session Laws published


usually by the middle of August of every odd year.

Power of Removal. The governor himself can be re-
moved only by impeachment. Charges are preferred
through a majority vote in the House of Representatives
and the impeachment is tried by the Senate acting as a
court of justice. Two-thirds of the senators must con-
cur to convict. No governor, of Illinois has ever been
impeached. The impeachment and removal from office of
Governor Sulzer of New York, October 1913, has given
recent illustration of the danger of this method of trial
when controlled by the political enemies of the execu-

Pardoning Power. The governor may grant reprieves,
or delayed sentences, commuted or lessened sentences, and
full pardons for all offenses committed against the State;
but he can not grant a pardon before the conviction of the
offender. He has the advice of the State board of pardons,
which investigates all applications for pardons, and makes
recommendations to the governor, but he is not compelled
to follow their advice. A criminal may also be released
in other ways. Under the indeterminate sentence and parole
laws, after serving one year, if his conduct in prison has
been good, he may be released on parole. If, however, he
breaks his parole, he may be arrested and made to serve
out his sentence without a new trial.

Other Powers. The governor is commander-in-chief
of the State militia and may call them out in case of strikes
or mobs. The adjutant-general, whom he appoints, is prac-
tically the head of the militia. The fighting strength of
the State or its militia, consists of all able-bodied male per-
sons between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, except
certain persons exempt by the laws of the United States.


All such persons enrolled in the militia may be called out
in time of danger in the State or nation. Usually the mi-
litia consists of men who voluntarily enroll in the Illinois
National Guard, of which the governor is commander-in-
chief, acting through the adjutant-general. All enlistments
are for three years. There is also a naval branch called
the Illinois Naval Reserve.

The governor may request the President of the United
States to send Federal troops into the State to quell any
unusual disturbance which the militia cannot control. The
governor may also request of the President the extradition
of fugitives from justice who have broken the laws of Illi-
nois and fled to a foreign country. Persons who have com-
mitted a crime in Illinois and fled to another State may be
returned for trial through requisition papers granted by the
governor of the State to which the fugitive has fled. The
governor of Illinois must make request for such papers.

Social and Political Powers. The governor is often the
head of his political party in the State and has an unrivaled
opportunity to build up his own " political machine "
through his control of State patronage, familiarly known
as the State " plum tree." His influence in his party is
great because of this appointing power. A State-wide
civil-service law, vigorously carried out, would do a great
deal toward correcting this condition and putting the State
service on a genuinely efficient basis. The present civil-
service law is excellent as far as it goes ; but it is too limited
to cover the needs of the State.

The governor has many social duties in attending all
kinds of public meetings and opening many conventions
and conferences; he also welcomes and frequently enter-
tains distinguished visitors to the State.


The Lieutenant-Governor. If the governor is re-
moved by impeachment, resignation, or death, the lieuten-
ant-governor succeeds to the office. He must have the same
qualifications as the governor and is elected at the same time
for the same term. Whenever the governor is absent from
the State, the lieutenant-governor acts for him. Governor
Dunne was indeed absent from the State, for good reasons,
a number of times after his inauguration February 1913.
Lieutenant-Governor O'Hara was thus left acting governor
an unusual number of times. The only work required of
him in the meantime is to preside in the Senate and cast
a vote if there is a tie. He is not required to reside at
Springfield during his term. His salary is $2,500.

The Secretary of State. This elected executive of-
ficer is custodian of the great seal of Illinois and affixes it
to all important documents; publishes the laws; keeps all
State papers; distributes public documents to any citizens
requesting them; issues certificates to corporations present-
ing legal charters; has charge of all State property at
Springfield. His salary is $7,500 per year.

The Treasurer has charge of all State funds and pays
them out on a warrant issued by the auditor. By a re-
cent law he is required to turn over to the State all inter-
est allowed by the banks on deposits of State money.
Formerly he was allowed to retain such interest for his own
use. His term is two years and he can not serve two con-
secutive terms. His salary is $10,000 and the bond re-
quired is $500,000. His large salary is due in part to a
recognition of the disadvantage he is under through his
short term. This short term and no immediate chance of
a second one are among the devices by which Illinois safe-
guards the public pocketbook.


Auditor of Public Accounts. He is called the " watch-
dog of the State treasury " because he is bookkeeper for the
State and must balance accounts each month with the treas-
urer. With the governor and the treasurer, he determines
the tax rate required to raise the amounts appropriated by
the Legislature. He also issues all warrants on the treas-
urer for the payment of State money. Salary is $7,500.

Attorney General. Is the legal adviser of all State
officers and of the one hundred and two State's attorneys
who represent the State in the counties. He draws up all
contracts where the State is a party and prosecutes or de-
fends all lawsuits for and against the State. His salary is
$10,000, and this amount is supposed to secure a good
legal adviser for the State departments. But until the
voters of the State demand a State government run for
their interests more than for the politicians of some party,
we can not expect the best lawyers of the State will be will-
ing to accept this office, even if the salary is fair compensa-

Superintendent of Public Instruction. Is given under
Public Education, ch. xii, p. 168.

These seven elected executive officers are legally quite in-
dependent of each other although the governor is respon-
sible for the faithful execution of all the laws and there-
fore has general oversight of all the departments. The
heads of departments must make annual reports to the gov-
ernor and any special reports he may request.

Would Illinois gain through greater unity in her State
government? Give two arguments, pro and con, on this



1. If greater unity in State government is desirable, how could
it be brought about?

2. Give the historical reason for this universal American prin-
ciple of " decentralized power " ?

3. Why are we beginning to question 'its wisdom for the twen-
tieth-century State?

4. Why is it difficult for the governor of Illinois to carry oat
any far-reaching public policy?

5. What are the constitutional relations between the governor
and the General Assembly?

6. How is the governor dependent on the Legislature?

7. Is the Legislature in any sense dependent on the governor?

8. How does the State civil-service commission assist the gov-
ernor ?

9. It is almost impossible to obtain fresh, up-to-date informa-
tion from State officers. The reports of State officers and com-
missions are printed about ten months after the year for which
they give statistics. How can this very inconvenient custom be
remedied ?

10. Who is responsible for the printing of all State reports?




1. Constitution of Illinois, Art. vi.

2. Revised Statutes, 1915, chap, xxxvii, sees. 1-76.

3. Greene: Government of Illinois, pp. 90-94.

The constitution of Illinois makes definite provision for
a system of courts, from the highest to the lowest, in the
following words:

" The judicial powers . . . shall be vested in one supreme
court, circuit courts, county courts, justices of the peace, police
magistrates, and in such courts as may be created by law in and
for cities and incorporated towns." (Art. vi, sec. i.)

To aid in understanding the interrelation of our laws,
from State to Federal, the following diagram from Guit-
teau's Government and Politics in the United States, p.
117, is worth study:



Statutes and Treaties

State Constitutions

State Statutes

Common Law and Equity



Common Law is the customary, or unwritten, law
that prevails in this country. It is derived from England,
and is the great body of English customs, established
through centuries of usage, brought to America by the
English colonists, and cherished by them as their most pre-
cious legal heritage. It has been greatly modified by de-
cisions of judges in this country and by statutes. In Illi-
nois the statute provides " that the common law of Eng-
land so far as applicable, . . . shall be considered as of
full force until repealed by legislative authority." (Rev.
Stat., 1911, ch. xxvii, sec. i.)






Appellate Courts.

Cook County two

branch courts also.

18 Circuit Courts in State
Three Judges each except

Cook County ^ i8th Circuit, has
20 Judges.

Cook County has Superior,
Criminal, Juvenile Courts.

1 02

County Courts
Seven Counties also Separate Probate Courts

Municipal Court for Chicago, 31 judges.
Special City Courts in 19 other cities

Justices of the Peace Police Magistrates


Equity means justice. * The aid of a court of equity
is invoked where one has suffered a wrong which no actual
law forbids, or where there may be complicated account-
ings too detailed for the swift action of a court of law."
For instance, you may suffer wrong through the act of some
agent for your property where he has broken no law and
yet you have suffered the loss of a large sum of money.
You would try to recover your money through an equity
case. In Illinois any court presided over by a judge is
a " court of law and equity," but in some of the States there
are separate courts for the two kinds of causes. An equity
case is always a civil action.

United States Courts in Illinois. There are three
United States district courts, Northern, Southern, and
Eastern, and a United States circuit court of appeals held
in Illinois. The United States district court for the north-
ern district, eastern division (Chicago) has two judges as-
signed, Judge K. M. Landis and Judge George A. Car-
penter. The western division of the northern district holds
court at Freeport. The southern district holds court at
Springfield and Quincy. The eastern district holds court
at Danville, Cairo, and East St. Louis.

The Municipal Court was created by act of the Legis-
lature for Chicago and under the power of an amendment to
the State constitution (1904) allowing special legislation for
Chicago. This municipal court act had to be approved by
the voters. In addition there are now nineteen small cities
in the State, as East St. Louis, Peoria, and Springfield, that
have a special city court having a concurrent jurisdiction
with the State circuit courts in their respective cities.

Jurisdiction of a Court may be of four kinds:
Original, if a case must begin there; appellate, if the case


has been tried in a lower court and has come up on appeal ;
concurrent, when there are two or more courts having the
same kind of jurisdiction, and final, if the case must end in
that court with no chance of appeal to a higher court.

In what court in the United States is the jurisdiction al-
ways final? Has any Illinois court final jurisdiction?
What courts have no juries?

The work of the justice of the peace and the police magis-
trate has already been described. For the municipal court,
seepages 27, 28, 161.

Lawyers. All lawyers in Illinois must be formally
admitted to the bar after passing an examination. These
legal examinations are arranged by the State supreme court,
and every lawyer in the State admitted to the bar is an of-
ficer of the court, and must render obedience to the orders
of the court. Any lawyer, or attorney, who fails to obey
a court order, or to show proper respect to the judge, or
to other lawyers in court, may be fined for " contempt of
court," if the judge chooses to exact such a penalty. Many
judges, however, tolerate conduct and language in their
court rooms from lawyers trying cases before them that
never ought to be permitted. The dignity of our State and
local courts would be greatly improved if all the judges in
the lower courts were as particular about the decorum ob-
served in their court rooms as are the Federal judges.

Supreme Court. The supreme court is the highest
in the State : only one court in the land is higher. What
one? There are seven judges, elected for nine years, first
Monday in June: one from each of the seven judicial dis-
tricts into which Illinois is divided. They choose one of
their number for chief justice. Their sessions are all held
at Springfield, beginning in October. Their principal, or


" first-hand jurisdiction " is cases involving the constitu-
tionality of Illinois laws, cases involving taxes, habeas
corpus, and mandamus cases. Many appealed cases come
up from the circuit and appellate courts. There is no ap-
peal from their decisions unless the United States law is
involved, when the case goes direct to the United States
Supreme Court.

Appellate Courts. (Four: two branch courts in Cook
County.) There are four principal appellate courts and
two branch courts for Cook County, which makes a dis-
trict by itself. Three judges are named by the supreme
court to act as appellate judges in each district from the
large number of circuit judges elected by the voters. They
are appointed for three years, but are generally reappointed
if they do good work. It is counted an honor to be thus
chosen by fellow judges for the specialized work of the
appellate court. Cook County, making one of the appellate
districts, has to have nine judges appointed to care for the
large number of cases appealed mainly from the municipal
courts of Chicago. The county pays half the salaries of
these State judges, who preside in the courts of Cook
County. There are no juries in the appellate courts and
nearly all cases tried are those appealed from the county,
circuit, or municipal courts.

Circuit Courts. (18.) Illinois is divided into eight-
een circuits, Cook County making the eighteenth. Three
judges are elected the first Monday in June from each cir-
cuit except the eighteenth, and they serve six years. From
Cook County twenty judges are elected and the number
is increased nearly every session of the Legislature.
County judges are constantly called to serve in Cook
County to fill the places of the circuit judges chosen for


appellate duty. The circuit courts care for the cases ap-
pealed from the county courts and for any cases arising
between citizens living in different counties.

Outline the three State courts, supreme, appellate, and circuit,
under the following topics :

1. Composition.

2. Manner of choosing.

3. Term of Office.

4. Jurisdiction.

a. Original.

b. Appellate.

c. Final.

5. Salary.



1. Revised Statutes, ch. cxxii (School Laws, our final authority).

2. Greene : Government of Illinois, pp. 190-205 (a very clear, com-

plete account).

3. Boynton: School Civics with Civics of Illinois, pp. 60-63 (brief

but clear).

" Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to
good government and the happiness of mankind, schools
and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."

This sentence from the famous Ordinance of 1787 (Am.
Republic, p. 50) embodies the principal reasons for the
free public school system of Illinois as well as the other
States formed from the Old Northwest Territory. It de-
serves memorizing by every citizen in the State and is the
Magna Charta of our public schools. In harmony with
the Ordinance, the present State constitution says : " The
General Assembly shall provide a thorough and efficient sys-
tem of free schools whereby all the children of this State
may receive a common-school education." (Art. viii, sec.


School Taxes. Nine-tenths of the money needed to
support the public schools comes direct from taxes levied
in each school district. In addition to the local taxes of
the districts, the State levies a school tax of $3,000,000



annually. 1 This is appropriated by the General Assembly
at each biennial session. The Legislature of 1911 doubled
this tax, which helps the less wealthy districts maintain
better schools. This State school fund is divided by the
auditor of public accounts among the 102 counties of Illinois
in proportion to the number of children under twenty-one
years of age. The county superintendent of each county
receives his share of the State fund from the county col-
lector and distributes in turn to the township treasurers in
the county. The township (school) treasurer then divides
it between the school districts in his township according to
the children under twenty-one.

Permanent School Funds. The same process is used
in distributing the permanent school funds held by the State.
The largest of these for the common schools is the Town-
ship Fund, amounting now to more than fifteen millions.
By the Enabling Act of 1818, Section 16, or its equivalent,
in every township was given by the National Government
for the support of schools in that township. This grant
amounted to over one million acres. All of it has now been
sold except about seven thousand acres, lying principally in
Chicago. The Chicago schools receive nearly a million
dollars annually from the rentals of these unsold school
lands. Their market value is hundreds of millions and in-
creasing each year.

In some of the Western States, like Idaho and Wyoming,
where they have profited by our mismanagement of school
lands, no district tax is levied, but the schools are run
entirely from rentals from unsold school lands.

State School Fund. The second largest permanent
fund for the common schools is the State school fund.
a Act of Legislature, 1913.


Three per cent., less one-sixth (one-half of one per cent.)
of the proceeds of the sale of all public lands in Illinois
was given to the public schools. The one-sixth deducted
was set aside for higher education.

The surplus revenue fund is an interesting one because
of its source. Illinois received nearly half a million dollars
in 1835 from the National Government when, for the first
time in its history, the United States was not only free from
debt, but a capitalist. Congress voted to " permanently
loan " these surplus millions to the different States, and
suggested the application of this unexpected cash to the
school fund; which wise advice Illinois followed. The
principal of all these funds has been spent by the State long
ago; but Illinois has pledged her honor to pay to the com-
mon schools annually the interest on the funds at six per

Higher Education in the State. At the head of Illi-
nois' system of higher education stands the State Univer-
sity at Urbana. This great State school, or rather collec-
tion of schools, owes its existence to a large gift of land
made by Congress to the loyal States during the Civil War.
This grant was made for the express purpose of establish-
ing colleges whose leading object must be to teach " agri-
culture and the mechanic arts." The result of this wise
action by Congress was the founding of agricultural col-
leges in all of the Western States. The Illinois Industrial
University was founded then as the State's response to this
offer. The university was reorganized as the " University
of Illinois " in 1885.

The University is governed by a board of trustees in-
cluding the governor, president State Board of Agriculture,
superintendent of public instruction, and nine men and


women elected by the men and women voters of the State.
The Legislature makes very large appropriations for the
maintenance of the University in addition to the interest
received from the permanent funds for higher education.

There are also five normal schools for the training of
teachers, located in the different sections of the State, at
DeKalb, Carbondale, Normal, Macomb, and Charleston.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The
State superintendent of public instruction is the ranking
school officer in the State, although his actual power is not
great because the local boards manage the schools in their
districts quite independently. He is elected for four years,
in November of the alternate even year. His election is
planned to come in the even year between the election of
Presidential electors, to keep the State school offices out of
politics as far as possible.

Duties. His duties are mainly advisory. The county
superintendents report directly to him and he is their legal
adviser. He must send a biennial report to the governor
and recommend any changes in the school laws he thinks
wise; he issues State certificates for ten years and for life
to teachers who pass certain examinations and is ex-officio
a member of the University board of trustees. He is con-
stantly called on to give public addresses on educational
questions and an able superintendent may thereby exert
much influence indirectly on the school system of the State.

County Superintendent. This officer represents the
State in school matters in the county; is directly responsi-
ble to the State superintendent, and must report annually to
him. His salary is paid by the State. He distributes the
county's share of the annual State school fund of three
million dollars to the towns in his county ; conducts exami-


nations and grants certificates to all teachers, who without
such certificate could not draw salary from the taxes ; holds
teachers' institutes each summer and other meetings during
the year ; visits all public schools in the county and suggests
improvements. He is particularly required to supervise
and assist the rural schools. A movement has been started
under the county superintendents to encourage the teaching
of agriculture and give more practical education to the boy

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Online LibraryMary Louise ChildsActual government in Illinois → online text (page 11 of 16)