Near Freeport in Stephenson County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Second Joint Appearance
Abraham Lincoln & Stephen A. Douglas
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 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.
Erected 2008 by The Lincoln-Douglas Society, The Freeport/Stephenson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Illinois State Historical Society.
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. Touch for map. Marker is located in the parking lot of the Freeport/Stephenson County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4596 US-20, Freeport IL 61032, United States of America.
More about this marker. Illinois State Historical Society marker
Categories. • Abolition & Underground RR • Notable Events • Politics •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 1, 2016, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 365 times since then and 62 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.