Lincoln Douglas debates

The debates

The debates between Douglas and Abraham Lincoln were held during the 1858 campaign for a US Senate seat from Illinois. The debates were held at 7 sites throughout Illinois, one in each of the 7 Congressional Districts...

Douglas, a Democrat, was the incumbent Senator, having been elected in 1847. He had chaired the Senate Committee on Territories. He helped enact the Compromise of 1850.

Lincoln was a relative unknown at the beginning of the debates.