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Joseph Duncan


In office
December 3, 1834 – December 7, 1838
Preceded by William Lee Davidson Ewing
Succeeded by Thomas Carlin

Born February 22, 1794(1794-02-22)
Paris, Kentucky
Died January 15, 1844 (aged 49)
Jacksonville, Illinois
Political party Democratic
Profession Politician

Joseph Duncan (February 22, 1794 – January 15, 1844) was a U.S. politician. He served as the sixth Governor of Illinois from 1834 to 1838. He was a Democrat and a two-term U.S. Representative.

Duncan lived in Jacksonville, Morgan County, Illinois. He was born in Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky. He served in the War of 1812 and the Black Hawk War as a soldier. Before becoming governor, he had a notable political career, serving in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1825 to 1829, and later as a U.S. Congressman.

Duncan was the governor who requested the legislature create an Internal Improvements Act, which paved the way for numerous roads, state highways, bridges and canals across the state. He later changed his mind, deciding the costs would be too high, but the legislature ignored this plea. The improvements were made, often by building roads between small towns that had little need of such monumental structures, and it forced the state into near-perpetual bankruptcy that guided economic decisions for generations. The debt from the Internal Improvements Act would not be fully paid off until 1882, costing the state more in interest than in the dollar amounts to actually build the so-called improvements throughout the state.

It was also during Duncan's tenure that the state capital was removed from Vandalia, Fayette County, Illinois, to the current location, Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois. This was controversially done in large part by the successful leadership skills of Springfield's representatives, one of whom was Abraham Lincoln, who was accused of a type of bullying called Logrolling.

Duncan died in Jacksonville. Interment is at Diamond Grove Cemetery there.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel P. Cook
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's At-large congressional district

1827-1833
Succeeded by
Charles Slade
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 3rd congressional district

1833-1834
Succeeded by
William L. May
Political offices
Preceded by
William Lee Davidson Ewing
Governor of Illinois
1834–1838
Succeeded by
Thomas Carlin
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