Runaway Slaves and Servants
Whites in Illinois embraced a strong proslavery bias. A newspaper correspondent in Ohio considered Illinois the most proslavery free state in the Union. This label was appropriate. As we have seen, Illinois approved slave labor under the guise of indentured servitude and approved an assortment of policies to subordinate its black residents. The State also protected slave holders by adopting a fugitive slave law, mandating that runaways be delivered to a bona fide claimant. Furthermore, the legislature prescribed punishment for anyone who harbored or aided the escape of a runaway slave or servant. The following documents also demonstrate that the legislature abridged the civil rights of Indians. State law denied Indians the opportunity to purchase whiskey and required black and white merchants to obtain a special license in order to sell "legal" quantities to Indians.
An act concerning the Kaskaskia Indians. Approved December 22, 1814, Laws of Illinois.
Whereas a former law of this Legislature has been found insufficient to prevent evil disposed persons from selling and giving intoxicating drinks to the Kaskaskia Indians or from cheating and defrauding the said Indians out of their property by pretended or real purchases and whereas the former practice is productive of disorder and other pernicious consequences and the latter a violation of moral Justice and good policy. For remedy thereof,
Section 1. Be it enacted by the legislative council and house of Representatives and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That if