History of Illinois

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIS 240

       Course Name: History of Illinois

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course surveys the history of Illinois, with emphasis on how growth of industrialization and urbanization has affected state development.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the major eras covered
  2. Describe the achievements of Illinoisans in political, cultural, and social terms
  3. Compare representative works of Illinois literature produced within this period
  4. Explain the ethnic, social, cultural, and economic diversity of Illinois and episodes of political, cultural, economic, and ethnic conflict
  5. Apply conflicting interpretations of Illinois history
  6. Describe change over time in local areas, industry, and agriculture
  7. Analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources of Illinois’ past, including local artifacts, oral testimony, books, and museum exhibits

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. The Land, Native Americans, and the French

  2. The Arrival of English-Speaking Settlers and the Development of New State.
    1. Illinois’ brief membership in the British Empire
    2. Laying the groundwork for peace and the U.S. statehood
    3. ;Pioneer problems
    4. Racial and Ethnic Conflict
  3. Antebellum Illinois

    1. Conformity and Assimilation
    2. Establishing institutions
    3. Economic integration
    4. Rails and farm implements bring an agricultural revolution
  4. Illinois during the Civil War and Reconstruction

    1. The Lincoln era
    2. Illinois after the Civil War
    3. Chicago and urbanization
  5. An Urban State with Urban Problems

    1. Chicago: one image of Illinois
    2. Urban settings for historical dramas
    3. Local politics in the “Gilded Age”
  6. Twentieth-century Illinois

    1. Illinois from the Progressive era to World War II
    2. The post-war period and suburbanization
    3. Late twentieth-century Illinois

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture and class discussion will be used extensively.  Visual media and clippings from newspapers will be incorporated in class.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:
  1. Read a standard textbook, as well as research materials
  2. Write outside of a class the equivalent of 12-14 double-spaced typed pages, in the form of a term paper, summaries of Journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Standard works in the Illinois and local history will be used.  Currently, the following texts are used:

Robert Howard, Illinois: A History of the Prairie State.

Wheeling Historical Society, Wheeling Through The Years, An Oral History of Wheeling, edited by Barbara and Robert McIntyre, 1987.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

Students will also be evaluated on a combination of written assignments and in-and out-of-class assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

Support Services: Tutoring in history is available at Instructional Support Services.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.