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

By Harold Holzer | Go to book overview

THE FIFTH JOINT
DEBATE AT
GALESBURG

Thursday, October 7, 1858


•THE SCENE•

THE “IMMENSE” AUTHENCE that massed on the campus of Knox College in Galesburg for the fifth Lincoln-Douglas meeting was by some accounts the largest of the debates. It might have been even larger had not the perils of nineteenth-century rail travel conspired with the extremes of autumn prairie weather to inhibit attendance.

A twenty-two-car special train from Peoria, overflowing with 2,000 Galesburg-bound passengers, ran into mechanical problems that day, failing to arrive until the debate was nearly over. And after a day of downpours on October 6, the seventh dawned raw and cold. A strong sun failed to melt the “Arctic frost,” and cold winds whipped banners into shreds and sent Lincoln and Douglas signs flying “pell mell all over town.” But even bad weather, a journalist declared, failed to dampen the “political ardor.”

By midday, between 15,000 and 20,000 spectators had converged on the college from all directions. An eyewitness recalled the outskirts of town cluttered with the “tents of farmers, who had come

-234-

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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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