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Lincoln-Douglas Debates

Major Topic - The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
The 1858 series of seven "joint discussions," as they were first called, between U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas and Illinois Republican Party leader Abraham Lincoln were unprecedented.  Never before had men openly campaigned for senator, especially by engaging in a direct public contest filled with dramatic debates.  People turned out by the thousands to hear these two political rivals debate the future of slavery in America, and newspapers across the country covered the exchanges. Democrats ultimately retained control of the assembly and reelected Douglas, but Lincoln knew he had done well for the new Republicans and for the anti-slavery cause, assuring correspondents afterward that the issue was "not half-settled." (By Matthew Pinsker)


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