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Laws of Illinois Territory

Illinois Territory was established in 1809 when Congress divided Indiana Territory into two separate territories:

An Act for dividing the Indiana Territory into two separate governments. Statutes at Large, 10th Congress, 2nd Session, pages 514-516. From: Library of Congress, A Century of Lawmaking


All of the early laws enacted by the governor, judges and the Territorial assemblies are available online. When Illinois Territory was created, it included the area now covered by Illinois, Wisconsin, eastern Minnesota and the western part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Territory was initially administered by a Territorial Governor and judges. The first elected territorial legislature met in 1812. The laws passed by the first few territorial legislatures were collected and held by Nathaniel Pope, the Territorial Secretary. They were finally printed in two volumes, known as Pope's Digest, in 1815. A reprint of Pope's Digest, edited by Francis S. Philbrick was issued by the Illinois State Historical Library in 1938 and 1940. Several other volumes of territorial laws have also been reprinted.

James, Edmund J., editor, 1901. The Territorial records of Illinois. Publications of the Illinois State Historical Library, no. 3. Springfield, IL: Phillips Brothers, State Printers. This volume includes the Executive Register (a list of official acts of the Governor of Illinois Territory), Journal of the Executive Council (Senate) and the Journal of the House of Representatives of the Territory for 1812, which are the equivalent of the records of the 1st Territorial Assembly held at Kaskaskia between September 12 and December 26, 1812.

James, Edmund J. and Spear, Stephen L., editors, 1899. Information relating to the Territorial Laws of Illinois, passed from 1809-1812. Publications of the Illinois State Historical Library, no. 2. Springfield, Ill., Phillips Bros., State Printers.

Pope, Nathaniel. Pope's digest, 1815. Edited by Francis S. Philbrick. (Published 1938-40). Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library, vol. 28 & 30. Law series, volume 3 & 4. Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library. Digitized by the Illinois State Library.

Acts of 1815-1816: Laws passed by the Legislative Council and House of Representatives of Illinois Territory at their Fourth Session held at Kaskaska, 1815-1816. Springfield, IL: Reprinted by Phillips Bros., 1898.

Laws passed by the Legislative Council and House of Representatives of Illinois Territory at their Fifth Session held at Kaskaskia, 1816-1817

Laws passed by the General Assembly of Illinois Territory at their Sixth Session held at Kaskaskia, 1817-1818. Springfield, IL: Reprinted by Phillips Bros., 1898.


The complete laws of Illinois Territory were compiled into a single print volume in 1950. It was digitized with permission from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and is available online:

Philbrick, Francis S., 1950. The Laws of Illinois Territory, 1809-1818 . Collections of the Illinois Historical Library, volume 25, Law Series volume 5. WIU Malpass Library ILLINOIS 977.308 I29c v.25