The Civil War

Abraham Lincoln    

Lesson 6 

Lincoln Douglas Debates

Stephen Douglas

In 1858 another important election was held for the Senator of  Illinois. The election was important because of the two men who were running for that office.

One candidate was Stephen Douglas, the man who introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He ran as a Democrat. The other candidate was Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln wanted all states to be free, but did not want to stop slavery in the states where it was already decided. Lincoln was a Republican.

Lincoln gave a famous speech after being chosen to run for Senator. In it he said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe that the government cannot last as long as America is half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to fall apart - the house to fall. I do expect that it will become either all one thing or all the other - either all slave or all free. Either the people against slavery will stop it forever, or it will become lawful in all the states, old and new, north and south alike."

Douglas and Lincoln held a series of debates. Douglas and Lincoln talked about a war. The debates helped the Americans decide how they really felt about slavery. People came for hundreds of miles to hear the debates. Lincoln lost the race by only a few votes.

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