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Vandalia in Fayette County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Internal Improvements

1837

 
 
Internal Improvements Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., April 10//2011
1. Internal Improvements Marker
Inscription.
In Lincolnís first campaign speech on March 9, 1832, he expressed support for internal improvements.

“Time and experience have verified to a demonstration, the public utility of internal improvements. That the poorest and most thinly populated countries would be greatly benefited by the opening of good roads, and in the clearing of navigable streams within their limits, is what no person will deny.”

Consistent with their Whig political philosophy, Lincoln and the other members of the “Long Nine” had two major goals during the Tenth General Assembly of the Illinois Legislature, which convened at Vandalia on December 5, 1836. Those goals were the passage of a bill providing for a system of internal improvements and removing the state capital to Springfield. Some historians would say that the Long Nine provided support for provisions in the Internal Improvements Act in exchange for support for moving the state capital to Springfield. Whether or not this was the case, the mood of the state was in support of internal improvements.

The bill that eventually passed the legislature provided for the construction of roads, canals, or railroads in almost every county in the state. The cost of this plan was $10,250,000, which was financed through the issuance of bonds by the
Internal Improvements Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., April 10//2011
2. Internal Improvements Marker
Old State Capitol in background
state of Illinois. The net result of the whole project was a mammoth debt for the state. Not until 1882 were the bonds finally paid, forty-five years after the passage of the measure and seventeen years after Lincolnís death.

The interest in internal improvements resulted in part from the success of the Erie Canal which was completed on October 26, 1825 and connected the Hudson River to Lake Erie. The Erie Canal became the model for internal improvements. It was based on the economic principle of connecting large commercial centers to one another. Unfortunately, that pattern could not be duplicated in the sparsely settled Illinois of the 1830ís.

During the early 1800ís Illinois was largely undeveloped. There was great difficulty in bringing agricultural products to markets in the cities. Few roads, canals, or railroads existed. Illinois farmers and merchants built flat boats, loaded them with salted pork and other produce, and took them to New Orleans with the spring floods. They would return over land or by steamboat with cloth and other manufactured items which they would sell when they returned. Lincoln himself navigated a flatboat to New Orleans on two such trips.
 
Erected 2008 by Looking For Lincoln Heritage Coalition.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in
Flatboat Painting on Internal Improvements Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, undated
3. Flatboat Painting on Internal Improvements Marker
Courtesty of Abraham Linoln Presidential Library and Museum
the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
 
Location. 38° 57.684′ N, 89° 5.607′ W. Marker is in Vandalia, Illinois, in Fayette County. Marker is on Kennedy Boulevard (3rd Street) (U.S. 40/51) near Gallatin Street, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is on the east lawn of the Old State Capitol. Marker is in this post office area: Vandalia IL 62471, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Site of Ernst Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln As A Polished Politician (within shouting distance of this marker); House of Divine Worship (within shouting distance of this marker); Third State Capitol (within shouting distance of this marker); Robert K. McLaughlin Home (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln and the "Long Nine" (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Ebenezer Capps' Store (about 300 feet away); First Protest Against Slavery (about 300 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Vandalia.
 
Also see . . .
1. Looking For Lincoln Story Trail. (Submitted on May 16, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Springfield, the Law, and the Whig Party, 1837-1843. (Submitted on May 16, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommercePoliticsSettlements & Settlers
 
Erie Canal Painting on Internal Improvements Marker image. Click for full size.
By John William Hall, unknown
4. Erie Canal Painting on Internal Improvements Marker
Courtesy of I. N. Phelps Stokes Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs. The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.
Internal Improvements Rubbing Medallion image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., April 10//2011
5. Internal Improvements Rubbing Medallion
Looking For Lincoln Story Trail Logo image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr.
6. Looking For Lincoln Story Trail Logo
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 713 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.   6. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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