Back to top

Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Letter Overview (Guelzo, 2008)

Scholarship

Allen C. Guelzo, Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008), 91.

Lincoln was counting too heavily and too passively on the division of the Douglasites and Buchananites to hand him the election. Besides, the anti-Nebraska men on the state committee, who had lived most of their lives as Democrats in Douglas’s shadow, thirsted for something more from Lincoln than second-fiddle appearances in towns Douglas had just left “with a sort of Napoleon air.” And so, however reluctantly, Lincoln wrote to Douglas on July 24 to ask him “to make an arrangement for you and myself to divide time, and address the same audiences during the present canvass.” [Norman] Judd, taking no chances, insisted on delivering the letter personally.’ This was harder to do than Judd thought. Douglas was already preparing for his first major campaign tour into the vital midsection of the state, and it took three days for Judd to catch up with Douglas and present the letter to him. The Little Giant's first response was a contemptuous refusal. “What do you come to me with such a thing as this for?” he blazed at Judd, “and indulged in other equally ill-tempered remarks.” And James Sheahan's Chicago Times echoed Douglas's annoyance by running an editorial asking Judd why he didn’t look up the managers of the “two very good circuses and menageries traveling through the State” and persuade them, rather than Douglas, “to include a speech from Lincoln in their performances.”
How to Cite This Page: "Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Letter Overview (Guelzo, 2008)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/16736.