“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Quincy in Adams County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Political Campaigning in 1858

Looking for Lincoln

Political Campaigning in 1858 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Pfingsten, June 11, 2012
1. Political Campaigning in 1858 Marker
Quincy was in a festive mood for the all-day event with bands, banners, and thousands of people in attendance. Historian E.B. Long said, "It was a carnival time in Illinois. Mobs of thousands journeyed by wagon, horseback, boat and train to stand for more than three hours to witness the political 'spectacular' of the day." Quincyan Abraham Jonas, an old friend, introduced Lincoln for his opening remarks. A young boy, Ben Miller, jumped to the platform and sold two cigars to Douglas who smoked constantly while waiting to speak. Campaigns of the frontier days involved "hell-for-leather" politics, extreme statements, sarcastic remarks, and slugging oratory. Although Lincoln and Douglas beseeched their followers for civility, applause, cheers, laughter, and shouting frequently interrupted the speakers. Both men baited the crowd to draw support. The Whig and Republican reported that in the last half-hour Lincoln gave Douglas one of the "severest skinnings" that he had received in the course of the debates. Historian Harold Holzer wrote, "The debate here degenerated into one of the nastiest of the campaign."


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in 1837, The second Adams County
Courthouse was an imposing Grecian-columned structure, located on Fifth Street directly across from the public square, site of the sixth Lincoln-Douglas Debate. One of the offices on the ground floor was used by Stephen A. Douglas during the 1840's. The wide steps leading up to the courthouse were a common gathering point, especially during the Civil War. The courthouse partially burned in January 1875, leading to the building of a new courthouse on Jefferson Square.

Lincoln arrived in Quincy the morning of the debate on the Burlington train from Macomb. A cheering crown and a cannon salute greeted Lincoln upon his arrival at the Spring Street depot. Lincoln hoped to walk to the home of Orville and Eliza Browning, but he rode in a parade led by a model ship on wheels, drawn by four horses, and labeled "CONSTITUTION." Filled with sailors, the helm was managed by a live raccoon. Later, John Tillson, candidate for state senator, presented Lincoln with flowers from the Republican ladies. Lincoln had dinner with friends before walking to the debate. Lincoln spent that night in the Browning home at Seventh and Hampshire, where he shook hands with throngs of well wishers from the front steps. The following day both Lincoln and Douglas boarded the imposing steamboat, City of Louisiana, for the seventh and final debate

Adams County Courthouse image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bill Pfingsten, June 11, 2012
2. Adams County Courthouse
at Alton on October 15th.
Erected 2010 by State of Illinois Historic Preservation Agency & Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Government & Politics. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Looking for Lincoln series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1875.
Location. 39° 55.958′ N, 91° 24.517′ W. Marker is in Quincy, Illinois, in Adams County. Marker is on 5th Street just south of Hampshire Street, on the right when traveling east. Marker is in Washington Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 124 North 5th Street, Quincy IL 62301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Changing Slavery (here, next to this marker); Lorado Taft (1860 - 1936) (a few steps from this marker); Lincoln-Douglas Debate (a few steps from this marker); Racial Equality (a few steps from this marker); Dred Scott Decision (a few steps from this marker); Morality of Slavery (a few steps from this marker); Spread of Slavery Into The Territories (a few steps from this marker); Permanency of Slavery (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Quincy.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 15, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 26, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 579 times since then and 33 times this year. Last updated on May 15, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 26, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 6, 2023