Too often we tend to take for granted the political geography around us. County boundaries, for instance, have remained static for so long that most Americans assume these internal state subdivisions came about effortlessly, even automatically. This monograph, written with a lay as well as an academic audience in mind, focuses on paper counties in Illinois and demonstrates how chaotic the process of state subdivision really was, both in the Land of Lincoln and elsewhere. Paper counties are civil divisions that, despite approval by state legislators, failed to achieve countyhood. Illinois, with seventeen paper counties, had far more than any of its sister states - a distinction about which Illinoisans should not be overly proud.