The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text

By Harold Holzer | Go to book overview

THE FIRST JOINT
DEBATE AT OTTAWA

Saturday, August 21, 1858


•THE SCENE•

THE FIRST LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE began late. No one was prepared for the crush of humanity that poured into the overwhelmingly Republican village of Ottawa on that searingly hot day, and no one made adequate provisions to control the crowd. The result bordered on chaos, and Lincoln later confided of the “vast concourse of people” that there were “more than could [geet] near enough to hear.”

A canal town hugging the Fox and Illinois rivers midway between Chicago and Peoria in the northern part of the state, Ottawa could claim a permanent population of at most 7,000. But by debate day, between 10,000 and 20,000 more—estimates varied wildly—arrived in town from all directions to fill Ottawa to overflowing.

“Men, women, and children, old, and young,” as one reporter described the arrivals, flooded in on foot, on horseback, in ox-drawn

-40-

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The Lincoln-Douglas Debates: The First Complete, Unexpurgated Text
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface to the Fordham University Press Edition xi
  • Preface xix
  • Acknowledgements xxiii
  • Introduction 1
  • A Word on the Texts 34
  • The First Joint Debate at Ottawa 40
  • The Second Joint Debate at Freeport 86
  • The Third Joint Debate at Jonesboro 136
  • The Fourth Joint Debate at Charleston 185
  • The Fifth Joint Debate at Galesburg 234
  • The Sixth Joint Debate at Quincy 277
  • The Seventh Joint Debate at Alton 321
  • Appendix - Lincoln vs. Douglas- How the State Voted 371
  • Notes 375
  • Index 383
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