How Did The Lincoln-douglas Debates Lead To The Civil War

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How Did The Lincoln-douglas Debates Lead To The Civil War

During the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the 1858 Illinois senatorial campaign, Democratic Senator Stephen A. A series of seven debates between Douglass and Republican challenger Abraham Lincoln, mostly concerned with the issue of the expansion of slavery into the territories.

The Lincoln Douglas Debates: The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text

The issue of the expansion of slavery was settled nearly 40 years earlier by the Missouri Compromise. However, the Mexican War added new territories and the issue flared up again in the 1840s. The Compromise of 1850 provided a temporary reprieve from sectional strife, but the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854—a measure sponsored by Douglas—brought the issue of the expansion of slavery to the fore once again. Douglas’s bill repealed the Missouri Compromise by removing the prohibition against slavery in territories north of 36°30′ latitude. In place of prohibition, Douglass offered popular sovereignty, the principle that the original settlers of the territory should decide the fate of slavery among themselves, not by Congress.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act spurred the creation of the Republican Party, which was founded to keep slavery out of the western territories. Both Douglas’s theory of popular sovereignty and the Republican position were invalidated by the Dred Scott decision of 1857, in which the Supreme Court held that neither Congress nor territorial legislatures could remove slavery from the territories.

When Lincoln and Douglass debated the issue of the extension of slavery in 1858, they were addressing an issue that divided the nation into two hostile camps and threatened the existence of the Union. Their contests, as a result, went beyond deciding who would win a Senate seat.

When Lincoln won the Republican nomination to run against Douglas, he said in his acceptance speech that “a house divided cannot stand by itself” and “this government cannot forever endure half slave and half free. Can’t.” Douglas then attacked Lincoln as a radical and threatened the continued stability of the Union. Lincoln then challenged Douglas to several debates, and eventually the two agreed to run jointly in the seven Illinois congressional districts.

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Three-hour talks each were held in Ottawa (August 21), Freeport (August 27), Jonesboro (September 15), Charleston (September 18), Galesburg (October 7), Quincy (October 13), and Alton (August). . 15 October). Douglass repeatedly tried to brand Lincoln as a dangerous radical who advocated racial equality and the dissolution of the Union. Lincoln emphasized the moral wrongfulness of slavery and attacked popular sovereignty for the bloody consequences it produced in Kansas.

At Freeport, Lincoln challenged Douglas to reconcile popular sovereignty with the Dred Scott decision. Douglass responded that the settler could block the decision by not establishing local police regulations—namely, a slave code—that protected the owner’s property. No one would bring slaves into the territory without such protection. This is known as the “Freeport Doctrine”.

Douglas’s position, while acceptable to many Northern Democrats, angered the South and split the last remaining national political organization, the Democratic Party. Although he retained his seat in the Senate, Lincoln suffered a narrow defeat when the state legislature (which elected US senators) voted 54 to 46 in his favor, establishing Douglas as the national leader of the Democratic Party. The height was severely reduced. Lincoln, on the other hand, lost the election but won acclaim as a brilliant spokesman for the Republican cause.

The Lincoln-Douglas Debate was published as a book in 1860 and used as an important campaign document in that year’s presidential contest, which once again pitted the Republican Lincoln against the Democrat Douglas. This time, however, Douglass was running as the candidate of a divided party and was second in the popular vote to the victorious Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Composite photo of Douglas. Despite their intertwined history, the pair have never actually been photographed together.

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ALTON – Abraham Lincoln made several appearances in Alton during his pre-presidency. But one is different from the others.

Lincoln and Stephen A. in Alton today. This is the 160th anniversary of the debate between Douglas, the last of seven famous meetings between the two in 1858 over a seat in the US Senate. This program is known for many features.

“The debates captured the nation’s attention and brought Lincoln into the national spotlight,” said Dr. Wayne Temple said. “People all over the country began to learn who Lincoln was and what he was about.”

Douglas, a two-term Democratic incumbent, and Lincoln, a Republican challenger, met two days earlier in the sixth debate in Quincy. They arrived at Alton by steamboat before sunrise on Friday, October 15. Lincoln headed to the Franklin House on State Street, while Douglas stayed at the Alton House on the corner of Front and Albee.

Lincoln Douglas Debates, The

The debate was held in front of the newly built City Hall, which had opened earlier that year, at Piazza and Broadway. The building was destroyed by fire in April 1924. The site is now commemorated by statues of both Lincoln and Douglas.

The day of the debate was overcast, but Elton was up for the challenge. In every city, the debates were a civic event, and as businesses were largely closed, the debates drew crowds.

“Those debates were great entertainment at a time when there wasn’t much else to do,” Temple commented. “And people were very serious about politics.

“The expeditions were spirited, though not as dirty as today,” laughs Temple. “But then people were very fixated on politics. Debating was a real form of entertainment for him.”

Created Equal? The Complete Lincoln Douglas Debates Of 1858 By Angle, Paul M.: Fine Hardcover (1958)

Many of the attendees came from St. Louis by steamboat for a dollar fare. The Chicago and Alton Railroad offered half-price fares, attracting visitors from as far away as Springfield.

“That was a different story at the Alton debate,” Temple said. “There was a good direct rail line from Springfield and because it was such a good connection, the railroad put together a special tour package, very cheap fares for the ride from Springfield to Alton.”

Each debate began with an hour-long opening speech, followed by ninety minutes of answering questions. The first speaker then gave a half-hour rebuttal. The candidates opened and closed each debate, and it was Douglas’s turn at Alton.

The debate began at 2 p.m., although Douglas’s voice was barely there. He was clearly drained from the stress of previous debates, as well as from the grueling schedule of other speaking appearances.

Lincoln Douglas: The Basics

Douglass repeated the mantra of “popular sovereignty” to settle the question of slavery in the western territories and claimed to have supported Henry Clay in the Compromise of 1850. In his reply, Lincoln argued that Dred Scott’s recent decision was “a part of a system or plan to make slavery national in this country.”

He added that Douglass had a “tendency to dehumanize” black people and that he actually contradicted Clay’s anti-slavery legacy. Douglass used his rebuttal to tear Lincoln apart for his opposition to the Mexican-American War, declaring that Lincoln was inconsistent in his support of his former party, the Whigs.

As in other debates, both candidates played to the crowd and the speeches were highly racist. Douglass said that he “cares more for the great principle of self-government … than all the negroes in Christendom” and that he would support that principle even if a state “chose to retain slavery for a time.”

Despite his criticism of slavery, Lincoln took pains to show that he was not an abolitionist and did not favor racial equality.

The Lincoln Douglas Debates

Temple commented, “With a few exceptions most of the debates were pretty much the same. “In fact, Douglas always said that he thought black people were not human and were in slavery, while Lincoln did not think they should be voting citizens, but that slavery should not exist.”

Recent accounts claim that the crowd was mostly for Douglas, while newspapers praised or condemned each candidate based on political views. The Chicago Tribune, a Republican outlet, labeled Douglass’s appearance at Elton a “grunt” against Lincoln’s “skillful argument…an able and comprehensive summary.”

The Elton debate was one of seven in which Lincoln’s wife, Mary, participated. She came to town with her eldest son Robert, who came with a group of his friends.

A politically astute woman, Mary followed her husband’s campaign closely in the paper and was probably influenced by the fervor of the event.

The Lincoln Douglas Debate Panoramic Sketch

“It would be nice to know what Mary was thinking when she joined the argument,” Temple mused. “But no letters or references exist, so, unfortunately, we can’t say for sure.”

An estimated crowd of 5,000 watched the exchange in Alton, one of the smaller gatherings of the seven debates. Tribune said

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