Lincoln and Douglas Debates
The main issue for the debates was overwhelmingly about slavery and anything tied into dealing with slavery. “As the fifties wore on, an exhaustive, exacerbating and essentially futile conflict over slavery raged to the exclusion of nearly all other topics. ” So, with slavery at the center of attention, you had two politicians at the end Of both spectrums. First, you had the incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas, who was definitely pro-slavery. Then, of course, you had Abraham Lincoln who opposed Stephen Douglass ideas.The debates were to be held in each of the nine congressional districts in Illinois.
The debates themselves were a very big deal. They came at a time in which our nation was at a crossroads of very important issues to come, with slavery at the helm. The abates drew very large crowds which were enormously in-tune with what was going on and were deeply entrenched to which side they were on. Newspapers also sent court reporters to type the complete text of the debates, which would be released nationally.The newspaper coverage of the debates was deeply biased as well, with each side having different newspapers in their corner. “For the first time reporters were assigned to cover candidates throughout the long campaign season. The Chicago Press and Tribune, the most influential Republican paper in the state, sent the skilled shorthand expert Robert R.
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Hit to report every word of the debates, ND James B. Sheridan and Henry Bonfire performed the same service for Douglass organ, the Chicago Times.Though each side accused the other of garbling, mutilating, or revising the speeches, the verbatim reports, which were widely copied and circulated in other newspapers as well, were largely accurate, both in substance and expression. ” The launching point of Lincoln run in this senatorial election was when he accepted the republican nomination at Springfield. In his first speech to start his campaign for the Senate he gave his famous “House Divided” speech in which he foretold what slavery would do to our country.With his “House Divided” speech he created a lasting image of the danger of disunion because of slavery. While slavery was the main issue being debated it was really the issue of slavery expansion into the nearby territories that really drove the intensity of the debates.
Douglas had already been making strides for pro-slavery voters. It was Douglass Kansas-Nebraska Act that repealed the Missouri Compromise’s ban on slavery in Kansas and Nebraska and replaced it with popular sovereignty, which allowed the people of a territory to decide whether to allow slavery. “.. He party in the interest of slavery effected in Congress the abrogation of the Missouri Compromise of 1820-?a compromise which was intended to shut slavery forever out of the northwest; and a bill organizing the territories of Kansas and Nebraska was enacted, which left them free to choose whether they would have slavery as an institution or not The intention, without doubt, was to force slavery upon those territories-?to make it impossible for them ever to become free states-?as the subsequent exhibitions of “border ruffians” in Kansas sufficiently testified.This great political iniquity aroused Mr..
Lincoln as he had never before been aroused. It as at this time that he fully comprehended the fact that there was to be no peace on the slavery question until either freedom or slavery should triumph. ” Lincoln was strongly opposed to popular sovereignty on the issue and believed that it would only help slavery endure for even longer. ‘when the Judge reminds me that have often said to him that the institution of slavery has existed for eighty years in some States, and yet it does not exist in some others, agree to the fact, and account for it by looking at the position in which our fathers originally placed it-restricting it from the new Territories here it had not gone, and legislating to cut off its source by the abrogation of the slave-trade thus putting the seal of legislation against its spread.The public mind did rest in the belief that it was in the course of ultimate extinction. But lately, I think-and in this I charge nothing on the Judge’s motives-lately, I think, that he, and those acting with him, have placed that institution on a new basis, which looks to the perpetuity and nationalization of slavery.And while it is placed upon this new basis, I say, and I have said, that believe we shall not have peace upon the question until the opponents f slavery arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or, on the other hand, that its advocates will push it forward until it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South.
After the 1858 debates in which these brilliant men engaged in over some very intense issues, the more well-known Douglas ended up being the victor, thus keeping his spot in the Senate. Though in defeat, Lincoln had paved the way for success in his legendary future in politics. Although he was crushed at yet another defeat in the political spectrum after so much effort and fight he still decided that the fight must go on. “l am glad made the late race” he wrote his old friend Dry. Henry. It gave me a hearing on the great and durable question of the age, which I could have had in no other way; and though I now sink out of view, and shall be forgotten, I believe have made some marks which will tell for the cause of civil liberty long after I am gone. “The fight must go on,” he assured another friend “The cause of civil liberty must not be surrendered at the end Of one, or even, one hundred defeats.
Though he thought he might sink out of view after losing this close race, he was wrong.