Guide The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The History and Legacy of America’s Most Famous Debates

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Contents:
  1. The Debate over the Debates: Debating Those Debates: The Historians Weigh In
  2. Lincoln-Douglas debates
  3. Lincoln-Douglass Debate?: A View from Colorado State University
  4. Citation Information

Others hated Douglas for his opposition to an imposition of slavery on federal territory unless the people there wanted it. Despite appeals to reassure the South that he would not touch slavery in states where it existed, Lincoln stayed home and stayed silent throughout the campaign. In contrast Douglas took his belief in local self-determination across the country, including two trips through the South despite threats against him.


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Most often with his beautiful young wife at his side, Douglas spent days campaigning in more than towns in twenty-three of the thirty-three states. Several hundred thousand persons saw and if they could heard him. He was a national celebrity who was cheered even in the heart of antislavery New England and the pro-slavery South.

He continued even after he knew he would not win. He made his second foray into the South in order to persuade its people not to secede from the Union. His consistency was as impressive as his purpose and effort. While he was a master democratic politician who did his homework and knew what rhetorical buttons to press in every locale, he did not trim his message. He believed in local self-government, in the right of local majorities, whether in states or federal territories, to decide domestic issues for themselves — including the question of slavery.

Lincoln of course won the election, kept silent until he was inaugurated four months later, and came into office facing a country that had already split apart. Douglas became a confidante of sorts and important ally in trying to restore the Union.

Their relationship in was fascinating because for the first time in the quarter-century they had known each other their roles were now reversed. But in June Douglas died at age 48, exhausted physically from his grueling campaign, which also straitened his estate. Modern Presidential campaigns have turned candidates into national celebrities who have been able to parlay their fame into wealth. Why he did it, why he truly believed his message, and why he sacrificed his health and wealth for politics is a story about American democracy as it used to be.

Quitt is the author of Stephen A. Douglas and Antebellum Democracy Keep up with the latest from Cambridge University Press on our social media accounts.

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The Debate over the Debates: Debating Those Debates: The Historians Weigh In

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Lincoln-Douglas debates

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Unavailable for purchase. Continue shopping Checkout Continue shopping. You are in the Greece store Not in Greece? Choose Store. The most famous debates in American history were held over years ago, and today they are remembered and celebrated mostly because they included future President Abraham Lincoln, one of the nations most revered men. But in the Fall of , Lincoln was just a one-term Congressman who had to all but beg his U.

Senate opponent to debate him.

Lincoln-Douglass Debate?: A View from Colorado State University

Thats because his opponent, incumbent U. Senator Stephen Douglas, was one of the most famous national politicians of the era. When Congress created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska in , it followed this model, and Douglas believed it was a moderate position that would hold the Union together. As a result, the Lincoln-Douglas debates would be almost entirely about issues pertaining to slavery.

Douglas would go on to win reelection in , but Lincoln would win the war, literally and figuratively.

Citation Information

In the presidential election of , Lincoln would win the Republican nomination and the presidency in large part because Douglas had fractured the national Democratic Party with some of his stated policies during the debates. When the Democrats ran a Northern Democrat Douglas and a Southern Democrat Breckenridge in , they split the vote and handed the election to Lincoln.

Lincoln, of course, would go on to become one of the most famous Americans in history and one of the countrys most revered presidents. Lincoln successfully navigated the Union through the Civil War but didnt live to witness his crowning achievement, becoming the first president assassinated when he was shot at Fords Theater by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, In the generation after the Civil War, Lincoln became an American deity and one of the most written about men in history.

With such a sterling reputation, even historians hesitate to write a critical word; in Team of Rivals Doris Kearns Goodwin casts Lincoln as an almost superhuman puppet master in control of his Cabinets political machinations and the wars direction, juggling the balancing act flawlessly. As a result, Lincoln the man is far less known than Lincoln the myth. This book also discusses lesser-known facts about both men and their enduring legacies.

Along with pictures of Lincoln, Douglas, and other important people and events in their lives, you will learn about the 16th President, the Little Giant, and the Lincoln-Douglas debates like never before. Skip this list. Ratings and Book Reviews 0 0 star ratings 0 reviews. Overall rating No ratings yet 0.