Lincoln-Douglas debates published

April 1, 1860

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 were hurried into print in April 1860 to help garner support for Lincoln’s presidential bid and immediately become a best seller. The impetus and final arrangements for publishing the debates came from several top Republican leaders. Although Lincoln lost the Senate seat in 1858, the debates became widely known due to this publication and were crucial to his subsequent nomination for president. Despite several better-known candidates, they made Lincoln an acceptable choice for the Republican Party. Of particular importance was the “Freeport Doctrine,” in which Lincoln maneuvered Douglas into spelling out his position on slavery.

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