|. . . Each debater in these "First of a Kind"
Political Debates was given a total of 90 minutes to present his
solution to problems. Lincoln and Douglas had been following each
other around for weeks, to all kinds of Illinois places to present
their platforms. Lincoln suggested to Douglas that they should
come together in a joint "debate" at places where they had not been
yet. Douglas was the incumbent and was not in a big hurry to plan
something not advantageous for him, but he agreed to Lincoln to have
seven debates in cities and places around the state.
At each debate one of the men would get to talk for the first 60 minutes. The second man would then talk for 90 minutes. The first 30 minutes for the second man would be to respond to the first speakers comments, and the last 60 minutes would be to introduce new details of how the "problem" should be solved. The first speaker would then get to talk for 30 minutes to respond to what the second speaker had to say. At each debate location Lincoln and Douglas would alternate who would be first.
To really know about the debates, why things were said, and so forth, you need to know about each debate "in order," as they occurred You can read the actual text of each debate at the Abraham Lincoln Digitization Project web site . This is serious reading and rather long.
This activity will use short sample excerpts from each of the seven debate locations to demonstrate the main points as Lincoln and Douglas spoke. You will then make a decision as to who you would vote for (if you would have been a voter in 1858). Remember in 1858 only white males were allowed to vote. That's what the whole Debate Theme was about: Racial Equality and curtailment of slavery.
The Problems (Topics) Covered in the Debates:
of the Time
Resources for you to Use
Slavery in America
by the Skies Elementary Team,
from the Thinkquest Competition, 2002
Slavery and the Making of
America, the PBS documentary
Return My Lincoln-Douglas Debates Page
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