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The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

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The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
By Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. (Dover Publications, Mineola, New York: 2004. Pg. x, 340.) ISBN: 0-486-43543-1.

Reviewed by Angela Evans - January 27, 2005

In 1858 Abraham Lincoln and Stephan A. Douglas met for a series of seven debates. When looked at as a whole, they were significant in terms of Lincoln's political career, but also for brining several controversial issues to the fore, including slavery and state's rights. As such, they are seen as some of the most significant debates to have occurred in the United States. At the time of the debates, Lincoln was a regionally respected lawyer and state politician who was a Republican candidate running for the Senate and Douglas was the two-term, Democrat incumbent who held the senatorial seat for Illinois that Lincoln coveted.

Although Lincoln was to lose his bid for the Illinois senate seat, the fame he garnered from these debates helped to propel him to the presidency in 1860. The text of all seven debates, as well as two speeches, one each by Lincoln and Douglass are included in: The Lincoln-Douglas Debates by Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. In addition, this text includes an informative introduction that puts the debates in perspective to current (at the time) political turmoil in the United States. This introduction also provides a historical overview of the debates, and how, and why, they were organized, and the effect of the debates, for both men.

This Dover edition of The Lincoln-Douglas Debates is an unabridged republication of the edition that was initially published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, in 1913. This text is ideal for use in classes on Political Science, American History, Oratory, and the Civil War. These debates will also delight modern political pundits who will discover that political campaigns and speech giving hasn't changed all that much, despite the flow of time.


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