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Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858

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Daguerreotype, Abraham Lincoln. . . , 1858, Chicago Historical Society

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 website covers precisely what it sounds as if it would—the famed debates between senatorial candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

Navigation is simple, divided into sections by primary source type. Debate Text from Nicolay and Hay includes "transcriptions" of the debates recreated by two of Lincoln's secretaries circa 1894, as well as debate-related publications by the same two individuals. The transcriptions are based on Lincoln's own writings and newspaper accounts of the debates. Debate Text from Newspapers provides links to newspaper versions of the debate. The website notes that newspapers were affiliated with a political party, and that it can be intriguing to compare Democratic and Republican accounts of the same speech. Debate Commentary from Newspapers is similar to the newspaper debate text section except that it covers period observations on the debates rather than the words spoken.

Additional sections contain video commentary on the debates, maps, relevant images, and two lesson plans. Note that the lesson plans do not specify appropriate grade levels.