The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

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Before the election of 1860, Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln had already ran against each other in the senatorial campaign for Illinois in 1859. (The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Lincoln-Douglas Debates.” Paragraph 1). During the senatorial campaign Lincoln and Douglas had seven debates throughout the state of Illinois, these were known as the Great Debates. Slavery was the main issue the candidates debated over, as it was also a popular topic during this time. (History.com staff, “Lincoln-Douglas Debates”, paragraph 1). Three parties had the top four candidates for president. Abraham Lincoln ran for the Republican party, Stephen Douglas ran for the northern Democratic party and John Breckinridge ran for the southern Democratic …show more content…
Douglas and Lincoln agreed to have seven public debates in different areas of Illinois during the senatorial campaign. Douglas was up for reelection in the U.S. Senate and Lincoln was running to take his place as a Republican. (History.com staff, “Lincoln-Douglas Debates”, Paragraph 2) The first debate was in Ottawa, then Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburg, Quincy, and Alton. In Charleston, Lincoln opened his speech talking about when a gentleman asked him if he really was in favor of making whites and african americans perfectly equal. Lincoln answered the gentlemans question in his speech. The answer was, Lincoln was never in favor of having perfect equality in social and political aspects. Socially, he thought african americans should not marry into white families, and the physical differences between the two would forever hold them back from being together and living together. Politically, Lincoln thought african americans should not be voters or jurors and they were not qualified to hold office. Despite his views on african americans, he was very against slavery. Douglas addressed Lincoln’s opinion in his speech. He was happy to get an answer from Lincoln about african americans citizenship and eligibility for office. (“Fourth Debate: Charleston, Illinois.” National Parks Service. Lincoln’s first speech, paragraph 1 and Douglas’ response speech, paragraph 1) Lincoln lost the election for the Senate seat of Illinois to Douglas but would later beat him in the Presidential Election of 1860. (“The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858.” National Parks Service, paragraph

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