debater in these "First of a Kind" 1858 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.
Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 Learning
Whys and Where's of the Great Debates
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
Learn about issues leading up to the Great Debates,
and how each debater responded to each issue