James L. Huston, Stephen A. Douglas and the Dilemmas of Democratic Equality (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2007), 142.
First-time readers of the debates are often surprised at the extent of repetition in them – indeed, at the amount of repetition in all political activity. Candidates repeated themselves for a particular reason: they could not assume that the different audiences they addressed knew the issues, the logic of the politician’s stand, or the defects in their opponents’. Not everyone read the papers or conversed constantly about politics. The only safe route was endless repetition. Except for a few interesting deviations, the seven debates illustrated this facet of American electioneering.