Suffrage and Elections
Only white males were eligible to vote in Illinois. Unable to choose representatives or hold political office themselves, blacks were left at the mercy of whites. Like in other states of the Old Northwest, race prejudice influenced lawmakers who wanted not only to discourage the emigration of free blacks or runaway slaves, but also to oppress African Americans already in Illinois. The state legislature did not want to offer any illusion of freedom to African Americans; slave or free. The state's suffrage and election laws, therefore, were an important feature of the racial policy of Illinois.
Census. March 3, 1845, Revised Statutes.
Section 5. Each commissioner shall commence taking such enumeration on the first day of July in each year in which such enumeration is required to be taken, and shall ascertain and set down in a book to be kept for that purpose, in a convenient tabular form, the following facts: The number each, of white males and females of ten years of age and under; over ten and not over twenty; over twenty and not over thirty; over thirty and not over forty; over forty and not over fifty; over fifty and not over sixty; over sixty and not over seventy; over seventy and not over eighty; over eighty and not over ninety; over ninety and not over one hundred; over one hundred: Also, the number of white male persons between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, subject to military duty: Also, each, of free male and female persons of color, of all ages; of indentured or registered servants and their children; of French negroes and mulattoes held in bondage: Also, the number of manufactories of every kind, and the annual product of each kind; the number