Jonesboro in Union County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
on the afternoon of
September the 15th, 1858
upon this acre in the Jonesboro fair-grounds
and as rival candidates for the United States
Senatorship from the State of Illinois.
Stephen A. Douglas
met in the third joint-debate of the seven
Upon the principles set forth here the Senate election was lost to Mr. Lincoln, but he did gain much prominence nationally and was elected to the Presidency in 1860. Served as Civil-War President. Was re-elected in 1864. He truly was Illinois' gift “The Man for the Ages”. This debate cast a long shadow upon the pages of history.
50th-75th-100th anniversaries celebrated here. In 1963 the old stone marker became defaced and was replaced with this stone and this plaque was dedicated on September 15th, 1963.
Location. 37° 27.444′ N, 89° 16.112′ W. Marker is in Jonesboro, Illinois, in Union County. Marker is on North Main Street 0.1 miles north of Whitlock Street, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Located at the Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds. Marker is in this post office area: Jonesboro IL 62952, United States of America.
1. Background of the Debates
Young Abraham Lincoln "lost his taste" for politics and was content with his thriving law practice after having served four terms in the Illinois Legislature in the 1830's and a term in Congress in the 1840's. However, several national events stirred his moral conscience and spurred him into action. U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas' Kansas-Nebraska Act stated that the choice of slavery was up to the citizens of each new state--or "popular sovereignty." The Dred Scott decision in 1857 claimed that slaves are property, and the book Uncle Tom's Cabin caused abolitionists to presume Congress to outlaw slavery. Lincoln didn't promote abolishing existing slavery, but he followed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which allowed for an equal number of slave and free states in new territories. He challenged incumbent Douglas to debate him and allowed Douglas to select the sites of Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburg, Quincy and Alton. At the Jonesboro debate Douglas stated, "... the negro is not and never ought to be a citizen of the United States."
Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition
"Jonesboro was a sleepy town, and the city of Anna was only four years old in 1858. Douglas chose Union County for the site of this debate because of strong Southern sympathies here, hoping Lincoln would express abolitionist views. Douglas had said he wanted to "trot Lincoln down to Egypt," a common name for Southern Illinois. Douglas believed this strongly Democratic county, under the leadership of John S. Hcker, would support him. the party was split, however, with one group of Democrats calling themselves "Danites." They were led by John Daugherty (later to be Lt. Gov. of Illinois). David L. Phillips, a friend of Lincoln who was campaigning against John A. Logan fo a seat in Congress, encouraged Lincoln to come to Jonesboro and stay at his home in Anna, which is still standing today."
-- Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition
3. 150th Anniversary
On July 4, 2008, a ceremony took place to dedicate the life size statues of Lincoln and Douglas. The sculptor was Tom Allen of nearby Makanda.
Categories. • Politics •
Credits. This page originally submitted on January 20, 2013, by Larry Senalik of Pleasant Plains, Illinois. This page has been viewed 405 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 20, 2013, by Larry Senalik of Pleasant Plains, Illinois. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.