chapter  Chapter 7
35 Pages

Competing Political Cultures in Illinois

WithDaniel J. Elazar

Illinois is simultaneously the western anchor of the industrial and megalopolitan greater Northeast and the gateway and chief trading center for the greater West. Two regional political cultures of unequal population, political strength, and geographic spread—the individualistic and the moralistic—have had to coexist within the boundaries of the state. The individualistic political culture is dominant in Illinois. Its beginnings lay in the breakdown of the kinship-oriented traditionalistic subculture brought into the state by its early Southern settlers under the impact of the frontier and the force of the individualistic political culture brought in from the Middle States. The values and attitudes which characterize the minority political culture are significantly manifested only at the civil community level, even in those areas. The rise of the Republican party and the change in the origins of the migrants to Illinois coincided with major changes in the state’s overall economic order.