Edgar Lee Masters
Edgar Lee Masters was an American attorney, poet and dramatist. He is the author of Spoon River Anthology, The New Star Chamber and Other Essays and Satires, The Great Valley, The Serpent in the Wilderness, An Obscure Tale, The Spleen, Mark Twain: A Portrait, Lincoln: The Man, Illinois Poems. In all, Masters published twelve plays, twenty-one books of poetry, six novels and six biographies, including those of Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Vachel Lindsay, Walt Whitman. Born in Garnett, Kansas, to attorney Hardin Wallace Masters and Emma J. Dexter, his father had moved to set up a law practice soon moved back to his paternal grandparents' farm near Petersburg in Menard County, Illinois. In 1880 they moved to Lewistown, where he attended high school and had his first publication in the Chicago Daily News; the culture around Lewistown, in addition to the town's cemetery at Oak Hill and the nearby Spoon River, were the inspirations for many of his works, most notably Spoon River Anthology, his most famous and acclaimed work.
He attended Knox Academy in 1889–90, a now defunct preparatory program run by Knox College, but was forced to leave due to his family's inability to finance his education. After working in his father's law office, he was admitted to the Illinois bar and moved to Chicago, where he established a law partnership in 1893 with the law firm of Kickham Scanlan, he married twice. In 1898 he married Helen M. Jenkins, the daughter of Robert Edwin Jenkins, a lawyer in Chicago, had three children. During his law partnership with Clarence Darrow from 1903 to 1908, Masters defended the poor. In 1911 he started his own law firm, despite three years of unrest caused by extramarital affairs and an argument with Darrow. Two of his children followed him with literary careers, his daughter Marcia pursued poetry. Hilary and his half-brother Hardin wrote a memoir of their father. Masters died at a nursing home on March 5, 1950, in Melrose Park, age 81, he is buried in Oakland cemetery in Illinois. His epitaph includes his poem, "To-morrow is My Birthday" from Toward the Gulf: Edgar's father was Hardin Wallace Masters, whose father was Squire Davis Masters, whose father was Thomas Masters, whose father was Hillery Masters, the son of Robert Masters.
Edgar Lee Masters wrote in his autobiography, Across Spoon River, that his ancestor Hillery Masters was the son of "Knotteley" Masters, but family genealogies show that Hillery and Notley Masters were, in fact, brothers. Masters first published his early poems and essays under the pseudonym Dexter Wallace until the year 1903, when he joined the law firm of Clarence Darrow. Masters began developing as a notable American poet in 1914, when he began a series of poems about his childhood experiences in Western Illinois, which appeared in Reedy's Mirror, a St. Louis publication. In 1915 the series was bound into re-titled Spoon River Anthology. Years he wrote a memorable and invaluable account of the book's background and genesis, his working methods and influences, as well as its reception by the critics and hostile, in an autobiographical article notable for its human warmth and general interest. Although he never matched the success of his Spoon River Anthology, he did publish several other volumes of poems including Book of Verses in 1898, Songs and Sonnets in 1910, The Great Valley in 1916, Song and Satires in 1916, The Open Sea in 1921, The New Spoon River in 1924, Lee in 1926, Jack Kelso in 1928, Lichee Nuts in 1930, Manila, Acoma in 1930, sequel to Jack Kelso in 1931, The Serpent in the Wilderness in 1933, Richmond in 1934, Invisible Landscapes in 1935, The Golden Fleece of California in 1936, Poems of People in 1936, The New World in 1937, More People in 1939, Illinois Poems in 1941, Along the Illinois in 1942.
A Book of Verses Songs and Sonnets Spoon River Anthology Songs and Satires Fiddler Jones The Great Valley Toward the Gulf Starved Rock Jack Kelso: A Dramatic Poem Domesday Book The Open Sea The New Spoon River Selected Poems Lichee-Nut Poems Lee: A Dramatic Poem Godbey: A Dramatic Poem, sequel to Jack Kelso The Serpent in the Wilderness Richmond: A Dramatic Poem Invisible Landscapes Poems of People The Golden Fleece of California The New World More People Illinois Poems Along the Illinois Silence George Gray Many Soldiers The Unknown Children of the Market Place: A Fictitious Autobiography. Life of Stephen Douglas. Levy Mayer and the New Industrial Era. Chicago attorney Levy Mayer. Lincoln: The Man Vachel Lindsay: A Poet in America Across Spoon River: An Autobiography Whitman Mark Twain: A Portrait The New Star Chamber and Other Essays The Blood of the Prophets Althea The Trifler Mitch Miller Skeeters Kirby The Nuptial Flight Kit O'Brien The Fate of the Jury: An Epilogue to Domesday Book Gettysburg, Acoma: Three Plays The Tale of Chicago The Tide of Time (no
Oak Hill Cemetery (Lewistown, Illinois)
Oak Hill Cemetery is located in the city of Lewistown, Fulton County, in west central Illinois. It lies along Illinois Route 100 in the 1000 block of North Main Street; the south part of the cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places. The first cemetery in Lewistown, was located on city lot 16, on land donated for this purpose by Ossian M. Ross, the founder of Lewistown; this cemetery was abandoned after a few years due to pressures from commercial development, many of the bodies were reinterred in what is now Oak Hill Cemetery. The first tract of land in Oak Hill Cemetery was located in what is now the southeast corner and was one acre in size; the second tract of land and west of the original section, was deeded to the Lewistown Cemetery Association in 1865 by Reuben R. and Ruth McDowell. Subsequent additions have brought the total size to 30 acres. Only the south portion of the cemetery, an area of 13 acres, is included in the National Register of Historic Places; the first interment in Oak Hill Cemetery was Maria Coulter, sister of Lewistown's founder, Ossian Ross.
However, the dates of her death and interment are unknown. The earliest date of death on a headstone in Oak Hill Cemetery is 1829, but it is unclear whether that date refers to a new burial or to a body being reinterred from the first cemetery. Oak Hill Cemetery is still in active use; as of 2015, there are more than 5,000 individuals interred there. Among them are some of the early settlers of the Lewistown area, including members of the Beadles, Phelps and Walker families. At age 108 years, Jacob Harwick was the oldest person buried in the cemetery. Nathaniel Bordwine is notable as being the only person buried in the cemetery who lived in three centuries. Oak Hill Cemetery provided the inspiration for Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology, many of the characters in this work have been linked to individuals interred in the cemetery. Oak Hill Cemetery is referred to as "The Hill," in reference to the first section of Masters' Anthology. A walking tour brochure is available from the City of Lewistown that lists the characters in the verse and their counterparts in the cemetery.
This brochure includes a map of the cemetery layout and the location of the gravesites of individuals linked to the Anthology. The gravesites of these individuals are indicated by numbered markers that are located beside the corresponding gravestones and are shaped in the silhouette of Edgar Lee Masters. There are 40 such markers. However, there is still some uncertainty as to the exact relationship between the individuals interred in the cemetery and the characters in the Spoon River Anthology. According to Masters, 66 of the anthology characters correspond to persons buried in the cemetery. Located at the south entry of the cemetery is a memorial to Edgar Lee Masters, highlighting his close relationship to the cemetery. Nearby is a "Looking for Lincoln" exhibit, devoted to Masters. In a central part of the cemetery there is a Civil War memorial that includes a pair of sandstone columns that were quarried from the Spoon River bottom; these columns were salvaged from the old Fulton County courthouse, burned by a fire of uncertain origin on December 13, 1894.
On separate occasions, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas each gave speeches from between the columns when the columns were in their original location in front of the courthouse. Lincoln's famous "Back to the Declaration of Independence" speech was given there on August 17, 1858; the tallest monument in the cemetery is the memorial for William Cullen Bryant. This was not the poet William Cullen Bryant, but a distant relative, the inspiration for the character "Percy Bysshe Shelley" in the Spoon River Anthology; the memorial consists of a marble shaft, topped by a statue of a woman. Thomas A. Boyd, United States Congressman Don F. Dickson, Founder of the Dickson Mounds Museum William S. Jewell, State's attorney for Fulton County, Illinois Ossian M. Ross, Founder of Lewistown, Illinois Lewis W. Ross, United States Congressman Leonard F. Ross, Brigadier General in the American Civil War John W. Ross, Mayor of Washington, D. C. Newton Walker, Designer of the third Fulton County courthouse and close friend of Abraham Lincoln Oak Hill Cemetery at Find a Grave Oak Hill Cemetery, City of Lewistown website Return to Spoon River - Movie based on Masters' Spoon River Anthology that contains footage from Oak Hill Cemetery
Illinois's 17th congressional district
The 17th Congressional District of Illinois is represented by Democrat Cheri Bustos. It includes most of the northwestern portion of the state, with most of its population living on the Illinois side of the Quad Cities, as well as parts of Peoria and Rockford; the 17th congressional district has shifted northward after the 2012 redistricting. It lost Decatur, as well as its share of Springfield, it was thought that the redrawn map would allow the district to revert to the Democrats, who held it without interruption from 1983 to 2011. As expected, one-term Republican incumbent Bobby Schilling was defeated by Democratic opponent Cheri Bustos in the 2012 election cycle; the district covers parts of Peoria and Winnebago counties, all of Carroll, Henderson, Henry, Jo Daviess, Mercer, Rock Island, Stephenson and Whiteside counties, as of the 2011 redistricting which followed the 2010 census. All or parts of Canton, East Moline, Galesburg, Moline, Rock Island, Rockford and Sterling are included; the representatives for these districts were elected in the 2012 primary and general elections, the boundaries became effective on January 5, 2013.
From 2003 to 2013 the district was known as "the rabbit on a skateboard" for its unusual shape devised as the outcome of gerrymandering. The boundaries were drawn in a bipartisan deal to protect both Democratic incumbent Lane Evans and neighboring Republican incumbents; the lines of the district were drawn to move Republican voters into neighboring districts and to include Democratic neighborhoods in Springfield and Decatur. As of May 2015, two former members of the U. S. House of Representatives from the district are alive; the most recent representative to die was Lane Evans on November 5, 2014. Illinois's congressional districts List of United States congressional districts Gerrymander Martis, Kenneth C.. The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Martis, Kenneth C.. The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Congressional Biographical Directory of the United States 1774–present Washington Post page on the 17th District of Illinois U.
S. Census Bureau - 17th District Fact Sheet "U. S. Census Bureau - 17th District map"
Robert Fulton was an American engineer and inventor, credited with developing a commercially successful steamboat. In 1807 that steamboat traveled on the Hudson River with passengers, from New York City to Albany and back again, a round trip of 300 miles, in 62 hours; the success of his steamboat changed river trade on major American rivers. In 1800, Fulton had been commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte, leader of France, to attempt to design a submarine. Fulton is credited with inventing some of the world's earliest naval torpedoes for use by the British Royal Navy. Fulton became interested in steam engines and the idea of steamboats in 1777 when he was around age 12 and visited state delegate William Henry of Lancaster, interested in this topic. Henry had learned about inventor James Watt and his Watt steam engine on an earlier visit to England. Robert Fulton was born on a farm in Little Britain, Pennsylvania, on November 14, 1765, he had three sisters – Isabella and Mary, a younger brother, Abraham.
For six years, he lived in Philadelphia, where he painted portraits and landscapes, drew houses and machinery, was able to send money home to help support his mother. In 1785, Fulton bought a farm at Hopewell Township in Washington County near Pittsburgh for £80, moved his mother and family into it. At the age of 23, Fulton traveled to Europe, he went to England in 1786, carrying several letters of introduction to Americans abroad from prominent individuals he had met in Philadelphia. He had corresponded with artist Benjamin West. West took Fulton into his home, where Fulton studied painting. Fulton gained many commissions painting portraits and landscapes, which allowed him to support himself, he continued to experiment with mechanical inventions. Fulton became caught up in the enthusiasm of the "Canal Mania". In 1793 he began developing his ideas for tugboat canals with inclined planes instead of locks, he obtained a patent for this idea in 1794 and began working on ideas for the steam power of boats.
He patented a dredging machine and several other inventions. In 1794, he moved to Manchester to gain practical knowledge of English canal engineering. While there he became friendly with Robert Owen, a cotton manufacturer and early socialist. Owen agreed to finance the development and promotion of Fulton's designs for inclined planes and earth-digging machines, but Fulton was not successful at this practical effort and he gave up the contract after a short time. As early as 1793, Fulton proposed plans for steam-powered vessels to both the United States and British governments; the first steamships had appeared earlier. The earliest steam-powered ship, in which the engine moved oars, was built by Claude de Jouffroy in France. Called the Palmipède, it was tested on the Doubs in 1776. In 1783, de Jouffroy built the Phyroscaphe, the first paddle steamer, which sailed on the Saône; the first successful trial run of a steamboat in America had been made by inventor John Fitch, on the Delaware River on August 22, 1787.
William Symington had tried steamboats in 1788, it seems probable that Fulton was aware of these developments. In England, Fulton met the Duke of Bridgewater, Francis Egerton, whose canal, the first to be constructed in Britain, was being used for trials of a steam tug. Fulton became enthusiastic about the canals, wrote a 1796 treatise on canal construction, suggesting improvements to locks and other features. Working for the Duke of Bridgewater between 1796 and 1799, Fulton had a boat constructed in the Duke's timber yard, under the supervision of Benjamin Powell. After installation of the machinery supplied by the engineers Bateman and Sherratt of Salford, the boat was duly christened Bonaparte in honour of Fulton having served under Napoleon. After expensive trials, because of the configuration of the design, the team feared the paddles might damage the clay lining of the canal and abandoned the experiment. In 1801, Bridgewater instead ordered eight vessels for his canal based on Charlotte Dundas, constructed by Symington.
In 1797 Fulton went to Paris. He studied German, along with mathematics and chemistry. In Paris, Fulton met James Rumsey, an inventor from Virginia with an interest in steamboats, who in 1786 ran his own first steamboat up the Potomac River. Fulton exhibited the first panorama painting to be shown in Paris, Pierre Prévost's Vue de Paris depuis les Tuileries, on what is still called Rue des Panoramas today. While living in France, Fulton designed the first working muscle-powered submarine, between 1793 and 1797, he experimented with torpedos. When tested, his submarine operated underwater for 17 minutes in 25 feet of water, he asked the government to subsidize its construction. He approached the Minister of Marine and in 1800 was granted permission to build; the shipyard Perrier in Rouen built it, the submarine sailed first in July 1800 on the Seine River in the same city. In France, Fulton met Robert R. Livingston, appointed as U. S. Ambassador to France in 1801, he had a scientifically curious mind, the two men decided to collaborate on building a steamboat and to try operating it on the Seine.
Dickson Mounds is a Native American settlement site and burial mound complex near Lewistown, Illinois. It is located in Fulton County on a low bluff overlooking the Illinois River, it is a large burial complex containing at least two cemeteries, ten superimposed burial mounds, a platform mound. The Dickson Mounds site was founded by 800 CE and was in use until after 1250 CE; the site is named in honor of chiropractor Don Dickson, who began excavating it in 1927 and opened a private museum that operated on the site. Its exhibition of the 237 uncovered skeletons uncovered and displayed by Dickson was closed in 1992 by then-Gov. Jim Edgar. Don Dickson discovered the burial mounds on his family farm. Instead of removing the bones, he only removed the dirt, he covered his excavation with a tent. He replaced his tent with a building and set up a private museum; the Dickson Mounds Museum is a museum erected on the site in 1972 by the U. S. state of Illinois. The museum is part of the Illinois State Museum system.
While the members of most hunter-gatherer cultures travel extensively or practice a nomadic lifestyle, the exceptional productivity of the Illinois River valley in fish and game made it possible for semi-permanent settlements to develop. Archaeological examination of these sites have generated significant insights into the living conditions of Native Americans over time and the levels of technology they possessed. A large parcel of the adjacent river bottomland is undergoing preservation and ecosystem restoration as part of the Emiquon Project; the Emiquon wetlands generated much of the food eaten by the people who lived on or near this blufftop site. In 2009, an excavation by Michigan State University turned up sherds of pottery and the foundations of houses and other structures that date back to about 1300 CE; some of the people who lived here were buried in Dickson Mounds itself. Their skeletons were excavated and displayed to the public from the 1930s until 1992, when in a controversial move the burial display was resealed due to Native American concerns.
It is estimated. The earlier burials were in mounds that were still being built as late as the ninth century, while burials were in cemeteries; this exemplifies the shift away from the earlier focus on burial mounds as the monumental foci of communities lacking large settlements to the emphasis on platform mounds at the center of towns. Mississippians decentralized cemeteries, making their communities rather than their burial places the center of their lives. "One group of four Mississippian people buried together appear to have been sacrificed at the Dickson Site". Their heads were replaced by pots; this was not a practice earlier. After the sealing, the museum was renovated as a series of galleries that attempt to portray the history of the site. For example, the River Valley Gallery exhibition attempts to depict indigenous life patterns here since the close of the last Ice Age, while the "Reflections on Three Worlds" Gallery exhibition attempts to describe how scholars have used archeological findings to generate inductive evidence on the residents' life and culture.
Excavators left 248 burials in place after exposure, these were long displayed inside a specially built museum enclosure. The American Indian objections to the display led to its closure in 1992. After that, three excavated dwellings now remain open to visitors at the site and the museum displays chronicle prehistoric life in the region. Combined, the various burial sites at Dickson Mounds comprehensively represent all of the known eras of Native American culture in Illinois. Excavation and analysis of over eight hundred Native American skeletons from these burial sites indicate a transition from hunting and gathering to an agrarian economy and significant health changes in the population as a result of this transition. Earlier settlements at Dickson Mounds indicate an economy based on hunting and gathering. Hunting and gathering provided this population with a mixed and balanced diet. At this time, the population was small and autonomous, traded little with outsiders, maintained only seasonal camps.
From 1050-1175, Dickson Mounds underwent a transitional phase, moving towards a mixed economy of hunting and gathering combined with agriculture the cultivation of maize. The population was developing more permanent settlements and trade networks. From 1175 onward to about 1350, the population size expanded and developed complex permanent settlements; these changes can be attributed to the increased reliance on agriculture and expansion of long-distance trade during this period. The significant lifestyle changes from a small, hunter-gatherer society to a large, agrarian society resulted in major health changes among the population. After analyzing trends in bone growth, enamel development and mortality, archaeologists determined that there was a major decline in health following the adoption and intensification of agriculture. Compared to the hunter-gatherers before them, skeletons of farmers at Dickson Mounds indicate a significant increase in enamel defects, iron-deficiency anemia, bone lesions, degenerative spinal conditions.
The decline in health of Dickson Mounds’ population over time can be attributed to the increased reliance on agriculture, which led to a less varied and less nutritious diet, more strenuous physical labor in the fields, more crowded permanent settlements that facilitated the spread of infectious diseases. Some say the
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product, the sixth largest population, the 25th largest land area of all U. S. states. Illinois is 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, natural resources such as coal and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, 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, 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, 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, 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 made transportation between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River valley faster and cheaper, 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. By 1900, the growth of industrial jobs in the northern cities and coal mining in the central and southern areas attracted immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. Illinois was an important manufacturing center during both world wars; the Great Migration from the South established a large community of African Americans in the state, including Chicago, who founded the city's famous jazz and blues cultures. Chicago, the center of the Chicago Metropolitan Area, is now recognized as a global alpha-level city. Three U. S. presidents have been elected while living in Illinois: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Barack Obama. Additionally, Ronald Reagan, whose political career was based in California, was born and raised in the state.
Today, Illinois honors Lincoln with its official state slogan Land of Lincoln, displayed on its license plates since 1954. The state is the site of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield and the future home of the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. "Illinois" is the modern spelling for the early French Catholic missionaries and explorers' name for the Illinois Native Americans, a name, spelled in many different ways in the early records. American scholars thought the name "Illinois" meant "man" or "men" in the Miami-Illinois language, with the original iliniwek transformed via French into Illinois; this etymology is not supported by the Illinois language, as the word for "man" is ireniwa, plural of "man" is ireniwaki. The name Illiniwek has been said to mean "tribe of superior men", a false etymology; the name "Illinois" derives from the Miami-Illinois verb irenwe·wa - "he speaks the regular way". This was taken into the Ojibwe language in the Ottawa dialect, modified into ilinwe·.
The French borrowed these forms, changing the /we/ ending to spell it as -ois, a transliteration for its pronunciation in French of that time. The current spelling form, began to appear in the early 1670s, when French colonists had settled in the western area; the Illinois's name for themselves, as attested in all three of the French missionary-period dictionaries of Illinois, was Inoka, of unknown meaning and unrelated to the other terms. American Indians of successive cultures lived along the waterways of the Illinois area for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans; the Koster Site demonstrates 7,000 years of continuous habitation. Cahokia, the largest regional chiefdom and urban center of the Pre-Columbian Mississippian culture, was located near present-day Collinsville, Illinois, they built an urban complex of more than 100 platform and burial mounds, a 50-acre plaza larger than 35 football fields, a woodhenge of sacred cedar, all in a planned design expressing the culture's cosmology.
Monks Mound, the center of the site, is the largest Pre-Columbian structure north of the Valley of Mexico. It is 100 feet high, 951 feet long, 836 feet wide, covers 13.8 acres. It contains about 814,000 cubic yards of earth, it was topped by a structure thought to have measured about 105 feet in length and 48 feet in width, covered an area 5,000 square feet, been as much as 50 feet high, making its peak 150 feet above the level of the pl