Lincoln-Douglas Galesburg Debate
Oct 8, 1994
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Stephen A. Douglas, the incumbent senator, and Abraham Lincoln, a former congressman and current attorney, met for the fifth in a series of seven debates for the right to represent Illinois in the Senate. They debated the .. Read More
Stephen A. Douglas, the incumbent senator, and Abraham Lincoln, a former congressman and current attorney, met for the fifth in a series of seven debates for the right to represent Illinois in the Senate. They debated the issues of the day before an outdoor crowd in Galesburg, Illinois. Mr. Douglas and Mr. Lincoln again directed charges and counter-charges at each other and reiterated their positions enumerated during the previous debates. Mr. Douglas again emphasized the notions of popular sovereignty and black inferiority, and he also accused Mr. Lincoln of duplicity depending on the part of the state in which he was speaking. Mr. Lincoln again defended himself and accused Mr. Douglas of not addressing the morality of slavery. This fifth debate is most significant for two main reasons. First, although Galesburg leaned Republican, the larger area in the center of the state was divided between Democratic and Republican supporters. One can see in their oratorical exertions that the debaters were trying to persuade the more undecided voters of this region as opposed to the more partisan voters in northern and southern sections of the state. Second, Mr. Lincoln’s emphasis on the moral issues surrounding slavery denoted a shift and a clear difference from Douglas' procedural arguments. These moral issues would continue to be important in the last two debates and the presidential campaign of 1860. This was the fifth of seven re-enactments of the Lincoln-Douglas senatorial debates in 1858. This debate occurred on October 7, 1858 from 2:30 to 5:30 pm. Mr. Douglas spoke for an hour, Mr. Lincoln for an hour and a half, and Mr. Douglas replied for another half hour. Between 15,000 and 20,000 people witnessed the event. In the 1994 re-enactment, the following people portrayed the characters: Tom Larson (James Knox), William Brady (George Ford), Larry Diemer (Stephen A. Douglas), Michael Krebs (Abraham Lincoln).