Coles thwarts Illinois slave interests
In the face of massive pro-slavery forces, Edward Coles entered the race to become Illinois’ second governor.
Opposing Coles was Jesse B. Phillips. Another pro-slavery candidate, Thomas C. Browne, joined the race. Not surprisingly, Phillips and Browne managed to split the pro-slavery vote, allowing Coles to win by a mere plurality of 167 ballots.
Coles launched his administration by insisting de facto slavery be ended in Illinois. He demanded that the widespread practice of kidnapping free African Americans be halted and that all slaves in the state be immediately freed. He also called for an end to the indenture system.