Learning Lincoln On-line


The Lincoln-Douglas Debates-- The Ottawa Debate

The 'First Joint Debate at Ottawa, August 21, 1858'

"Selected quotations" or "Excerpts"
by B.F. McClerren and Robert Sterling for the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Museum, Charleston, Illinois   SAD is Stephen A. Douglas, AL is Abraham Lincoln.

Ottawa, Illinois Lincoln-Douglas Debate Picture Album
Washington Square, Ottawa, the Site of the 1st Lincoln-Douglas Debate

4SAD-- Our fathers knew that the South and the North, so far apart--differing in climate and production, different interests . requiring different institutions. This doctrine of uniformity of Mr. Lincoln's making all of them conform alike, is a new doctrine, never dreamed of by Washington or Madison, or the framers of the Constitution. This government has flourished for seventy years upon the principle of popular sovereignty, recognizing the right of each State to do as it pleases.

5 AL-- When he is saying that the negro has no share in the Declaration of Independence, he is going back to the year of our revolution, and, to the extent of his ability, he is muzzling the cannon that thunders its annual joyous return. When he is saying, as he often does, that if any people want slavery they have the right to have it, he is blowing out the moral lights around us. When he says that he doesn't care whether slavery is voted up or down, then, to my thinking, he is, so far as he is able to do so, perverting the human soul and eradicating the light of reason and the love of liberty on the American continent.

Each debate would start with a speech, and then reply, and finally a reply.  Go to Bartleby.com to read the complete text:

Mr. Douglasís Speech   

Mr. Lincolnís Reply

Mr. Douglasís Reply

16th President Topic Index

Learning On-Line Home Page