Illinois: Ten Defining Moments

In honor of the Illinois Bicentennial, Professor Gary Midkiff has compiled a list of the 10 most important events in the history of our state (plus a few more that deserve attention). He will cover events from all corners of the state and connect many of those Illinois events to national history. Chicago will contribute a few stories (e.g. the Great Chicago Fire of 1871) but so will East St. Louis (the race riots of 1917) and the towns of Alton, Charleston, Freeport, Galesburg, Jonesboro, Ottawa and Quincy (sites of the 1858 Lincoln – Douglas debates).

Prohibition

From 1920 to 1933 the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution prohibited the public sale or consumption of alcohol. During those fourteen years our country struggled to manage the largest social engineering experiment we ever attempted. We had good intentions but experienced many unintended negative consequences: we limited government income and supported a system that promoted the rise of organized crime. Join Professor Gary Midkiff for an examination of the intense national lobbying effort launched by the Anti Saloon League, the gallant effort of the Untouchables, and the political careers affected by support for the “Wets” or the “Drys”. You’ll also learn where the phrase “There is no such thing as a free lunch” started.

D-Day: June 6, 1944

US Foreign Policy expert Gary Midkiff returns to deconstruct and discuss this historic event. The largest and most complex amphibious landing in military history was a success because of courage, training, luck, mistakes, planning, subterfuge, and the differences between the decision-making processes of Dwight Eisenhower and Adolf Hitler.