Ottawa in La Salle County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Site of First Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Principally, the great debates revolved around a single sentence in the Declaration of Independence. The phrase "all men are created equal" was central to Lincoln's argument, his primary evidence for the antislavery intentions of the Founding Fathers. Lincoln eloquently dwelled on the original premise of the Declaration of Independence, and declares "...there is no reason in the world why the Negro is not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man." Douglas, however, refused to address the morality of slavery. He insisted that the people in individual states should be left to decide the question, a concept he endorsed as "popular sovereignty".
Lincoln came to Ottawa several times throughout his life. In May of 1832 Captain Lincoln was mustered out of the service in the Black Hawk War at the mouth of the Fox River. Lincoln practiced law before the Supreme Court of Illinois at sessions held in the old LaSalle County Courthouse, and many times before
Washington Square was platted as part of the original town plan of Ottawa in 1831 by the Illinois and Michigan Canal Commission.
Erected 1996 by City of Ottawa and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Location. 41° 20.944′ N, 88° 50.483′ W. Marker is in Ottawa, Illinois, in La Salle County. Marker is at the intersection of Columbus Street (Illinois Route 71) and Jackson Street, on the right when traveling south on Columbus Street. Touch for map. Located in Washington Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 E Lafayette St, Ottawa IL 61350, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The First Lincoln-Douglas Debate (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln and Douglas Debate (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named First Lincoln-Douglas Debate (about 300 Lincoln the Litigator (approx. 0.2 miles away); William D. Boyce (approx. 1.4 miles away).
More about this marker. An identical sign is found at the northwest corner of the park at Lafayette & La Salle Streets.
The marker incorrectly spells John C. Frémont as Freemont.
Categories. • Abolition & Underground RR • African Americans • Civil Rights • Politics •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 11, 2018. This page originally submitted on May 13, 2013. This page has been viewed 485 times since then and 23 times this year. Last updated on May 14, 2013. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 13, 2013. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.