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Lincoln-Douglas Debates (McPherson, 2001)


James M. McPherson, Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction, 3rd ed. (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2001), 119.

Although these debates illustrated the deep differences between Republican and Democratic attitudes toward slavery, they also reflected Republican ambivalence toward racial equality and the contradictions inherent in Lincoln's commitment to both 'ultimate emancipation and the indefinite continuation of slavery where it already existed. Douglas's insistence that the Republicans could not have it both ways hit uncomfortably close to the mark. But in 1858 this was the only way for Republicans to mediate the tension between the competing values of antislavery and union.
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