Lincoln and Douglas
It was then that Abraham Lincoln came forward
as the champion of
Stephen A. Douglas was a candidate for reelection to the Senate,
found it necessary to defend himself before the people of his
the part he had taken in repealing the Missouri Compromise.
He went from
one city to another, making speeches - and at each place Abraham
met him in joint debate.
"I do not care whether slavery
is voted into or out of the territories,"
said Mr. Douglas. "The question of slavery is one of climate.
it is to the interest of the inhabitants of a territory to
property, there a slave law will be enacted."
But Mr. Lincoln replied, "The
men who signed the Declaration of
Independence said that all men are created equal, and are endowed
their Creator with certain inalienable rights - life, liberty,
pursuit of happiness.... I beseech you, do not destroy that
emblem of humanity, the Declaration of Independence."
At last, Mr. Douglas felt that he was beaten. He proposed
should go home, and that there should be no more joint discussions.
Lincoln agreed to this - but the words which he had spoken sank
the hearts of those who heard them.
The speeches of Lincoln and Douglas were printed in a book.
all parts of the country read them. They had heard much about
Douglas. He was called "The Little Giant." He had
long been famous among
the politicians of the country. It was believed that he would
next President of the United States.
But who was this man Lincoln, who had so bravely vanquished
Giant? He was called "Honest Abe." There were few
people outside of his
state who had ever heard of him before.
Mr. Douglas returned to his seat in the United States Senate.
Lincoln became the acknowledged edged leader of the forces
the extension of slavery.
In May, 1856, a convention of the people of Illinois was held
Bloomington, Illinois. It met for the purpose of forming a
party, the chief object and aim of which should be to oppose
extension of slavery into the territories.
Mr. Lincoln made a speech to the members of this convention.
It was one
of the greatest speeches ever heard in this country. "Again
during the delivery, the audience sprang to their feet, and,
long-continued cheers, expressed how deeply the speaker had
And so the new party was organized. It was composed of the
men who had
formed the old Free Soil Party, together with such Whigs and
as were opposed to the further growth of the slave power. But
greater number of its members were Whigs. This new party was
In June, the Republican Party held a national convention at
Philadelphia, and nominated John C. Frémont for President.
But the party
was not strong enough to carry the election that year.
In that same month the Democrats held a convention at Cincinnati.
effort was made to nominate Stephen A. Douglas for President.
But he was
beaten in his own party, on account of the action which he
had taken in
the repeal of the Missouri Compromise.
James Buchanan was nominated in his stead, and, in November,
And so the conflict went on.
In the year 1858 there was another series of joint debates
Lincoln and Douglas. Both were candidates for the United States
Their speeches were among the most remarkable ever delivered
Lincoln spoke for liberty and justice. Douglas's speeches
were full of
fire and patriotism. He hoped to be elected President in 1860.
end, it was generally acknowledged that Lincoln had made the
arguments. But Douglas was re-elected to the Senate.