“Kaskaskia and the Pursuit of a More Perfect Union”

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image of Kaskaskia Bell State Memorial site
Kaskaskia Bell State Memorial site

“Kaskaskia and the Pursuit of a More Perfect Union” premiered in fall 2022 with a series of short films and events in Randolph and Cook Counties. The series examines the complex history of Illinois’s first capital, Kaskaskia, with an in-depth look at the many demographic, cultural, and political shifts that have shaped Kaskaskia locally and impacted the democratic vision of the region and country.

By considering what “a more perfect Union” might have meant to people throughout the region’s history, we hope to stimulate thought and discussion about our own aspirations for a more perfect Union.

Watch Part 1

Watch Part 2

Read “When Illinois Joined the Union, Its Capital Was Kaskaskia”

Kaskaskia and the Pursuit of a More Perfect Union is made possible in part by a grant from National Endowment for the Humanities A More Perfect Union initiative.

About "The Country and the City"

Our social and political discourse appears to reflect deep divisions and oppositional relations between urban and rural Illinoisans, yet those who are familiar with both city neighborhoods and rural communities across the state sometimes comment that their residents’ needs, concerns, and values may be more similar than they initially seem. To what extent can rural and urban Illinoisans find common ground on issues that affect both the country and the city? That is the question examined by The Country and the City: Common Ground in the Prairie State?.

Contrasts between rural and urban perspectives on society have manifested themselves prominently in the news in recent years, but they are hardly new. Aesop’s famous fable, “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse,” indicates that such contrasts were on the minds of Ancient Greeks two and a half millennia ago. Rural-urban dynamics formed a significant part of the culture of the Mississippian people who occupied much of present-day Illinois 700 to 1,200 years ago, and they have influenced seemingly every aspect of public life here in the Prairie State throughout its 202-year history.

Developed in 2018 in conjunction with both the Illinois State Bicentennial and the Illinois tour of a Museum on Main Street exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution entitled Crossroads: Change in Rural America, this program series addresses issues significant to both urban and rural communities.

Past Events

View the events in each series of this program on our YouTube Channel.

Distributions: People, Places, and Power Series

Finding Common Ground in the Prairie State Series

The Country and the City: Common Ground in the Prairie State? logo