Stephen Arnold Douglas, Move to Illinois (American National Biography)

Robert W. Johanssen, "Douglas, Stephen Arnold," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
Douglas had already developed the driving energy that would later cause others to dub him a "steam engine in breeches." A young man in a hurry, he chafed at the long period of preparation required by New York law for admission to the bar. After six months of study, he headed for the "western country" where legal training and qualification were less formal. After brief stops in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville, and St. Louis, he settled in Jacksonville, Illinois, in November 1833. Within months he was writing in glowing terms of the opportunities that awaited him. Illinois was "the Paradise of the world," he informed his family. "I have become a Western man, have imbibed Western feelings principles and interests and have selected Illinois as the favorite place of my adoption." Admitted to the bar in 1834 after a cursory examination before a judge (who cautioned him to learn more of the law), Douglas entered the rough-and-tumble arena of frontier politics as a zealous partisan of Andrew Jackson and Jacksonian democracy. The mix of New Englanders who had settled Jacksonville and the area's farmers who had migrated from Kentucky and Tennessee added to his enthusiasm. "The people of this country," he wrote of his future constituents, "are more thoroughly Democratic than any people I have ever known . . . democratic in principle and in Practice as well as in name."
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