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Near Freeport in Stephenson County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Second Joint Appearance

Abraham Lincoln & Stephen A. Douglas

 
 
Second Joint Appearance Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, March 30, 2016
1. Second Joint Appearance Marker
Inscription.  The second round in a seven-round bout between political giants Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln was held in Freeport on August 27, 1858. In what has become a legendary struggle, Lincoln and Douglas contested for a seat in the United States Senate, but the soul of the nation was at stake – not just a Senate seat.

Douglas was the incumbent. However, the election was a hurdle in his dream of becoming President of the United States in 1860. Lincoln was a relatively unknown Springfield attorney seeking to unseat a powerful politician.

While the topic of the Freeport debate, like all the other debates, was slavery, the underlying subject was an issue of morality. Douglas argued that in a democracy, the majority could do as it pleased. Lincoln argued that even in a democracy there were moral limitations that even the majority could not exceed.

A town of some 5,000 in 1858, Freeport was inundated with a crowd estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000 on that cold, windy day. What the throng heard from the two men included what has become known as the “Freeport Doctrine.” Pronounced by Douglas in response
Second Joint Appearance Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, March 30, 2016
2. Second Joint Appearance Marker
Convention and Visitors Bureau building
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this page online
to a question from Lincoln, the Freeport Doctrine was a restatement of Douglas’ popular sovereignty stance – that a people could vote for or against slavery as they saw fit.

Douglas went on to win re-election to the senate, but the Freeport Doctrine split Douglas’ National Democratic Party, a major factor in electing Lincoln President in 1860.
 
Erected 2008 by The Lincoln-Douglas Society, The Freeport/Stephenson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Illinois State Historical Society.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RRGovernment & PoliticsNotable Events. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Illinois State Historical Society series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is August 27, 1858.
 
Location. 42° 16.608′ N, 89° 31.341′ W. Marker is near Freeport, Illinois, in Stephenson County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 20 and Browns Mill Road, on the right when traveling west on U.S. 20. Marker is located in the parking lot of the Freeport/Stephenson County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4596 US-20, Freeport IL 61032, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies
Debate Square image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, March 30, 2016
3. Debate Square
located in downtown Freeport at 114 East Douglas Street
. Soldiers' Monument (approx. 5.3 miles away); Cedarville (approx. 8.9 miles away); Central House (approx. 14.7 miles away); People's State Bank (approx. 14.7 miles away).
 
More about this marker. Illinois State Historical Society marker
 
Lincoln - Douglas Sculpture in Debate Square image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Paul Fehrenbach, March 30, 2016
4. Lincoln - Douglas Sculpture in Debate Square
The site of the Freeport Debate is located at 114 East Douglas Street, Downtown Freeport
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on April 1, 2016, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 514 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on April 1, 2016, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Oct. 4, 2022