Pros And Cons Of The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

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The Lincoln-Douglas debates, also known as the Great Debates of 1858, were a series of seven debates between two politicians running for the senate seat of the state of Illinois. The politicians were the republican nominee, Abraham Lincoln, and the democratic nominee, incumbent Stephen Douglas. The debates covered a series of topics, the most pertinent being the issue of slavery and its expansion into the newer western territories. The idea of the debates came forth after both Lincoln and Douglass had given speeches opposing one another in two of Illinois’ congressional districts. Lincoln and Douglas agreed to the series of seven debates in the remaining congressional districts: Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburg, Quincy, and …show more content…
Due to this statement, Douglas, in the first debate held in Ottawa, attempted to portray Lincoln as an abolitionist saying that his party was a “Black Republican party, who are in favor of the citizenship of the Negro”. Lincoln disputed this however, stating that the black man “…is not my equal in many respects… But in the right to eat the bread without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal… and the equal of every living man”. He continued to say leading up to the final debate the city of Alton, that the declaration of independence “intended to include all men, but they did not mean to declare all men equal in all respects”. He further disputed Douglas’ claims that he was an abolitionist through his support of the fugitive slave act which returned escaped slaves in the north to their owners back south. Lincoln stated that the point of his debates was not to abolish slavery in the old southern states but to stop it from spreading to the newer territories acquired in the …show more content…
Sandford. Lincoln tried to force Douglas to choose between his principle of popular sovereignty proposed in his Kansas-Nebraska Act which created the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska and endowed the citizens the legislative power to decide, through popular sovereignty, whether or not they would allow slavery, and the decision reached by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case. The case surrounded an enslaved African American man that was suing for his freedom after being held captive within the boundaries of two free states. The issues before the court had been whether or not entering “free” territory made a slave free and whether this freedom granted blacks the ability to sue in federal court. The justices ruled that under the language of the constitution did not apply to blacks because within the context of when the constitution was written, slaves were seen solely as property and had no rights. This Decision of the justices as well as the Kansas-Nebraska Act voided the Missouri

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