It was largely through extensive reprinting that people read the debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Printed by partisan newspapers, there were times when a candidate’s speech was printed garbled or completely wrong. This was the case with an anonymously printed pamphlet of the Charleston debate that made Lincoln’s words very difficult to read. Supporter James Wright wrote Lincoln that it was doubtlessly issued by the Chicago Times, a Douglas paper, and referred to the pamphlet as a “damnable document.” Upset over the practice, Wright asked Lincoln to address this “shameful and dishonest” act at the upcoming debate in Quincy. (By Ben Lyman)
James G. Wright to Abraham Lincoln, October 11, 1858, Naperville, IL, Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/alhtml/malhome.html.
Transcribed by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, IL
Adapted by Don Sailer, Dickinson College