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The little men behind the curtain: the committees, connectors, and carpenters who made the Lincoln-Douglas debates happen.

"In ordinary times," wrote Samuel P. Bowles' Springfield, Massachusetts Republican, in June, 1858, "the force of party machinery is all-powerful in this country,--defying even the assaults of its architects." It was the great disgrace of American politics that it had degenerated by the 1850s into "the rule of party as against both men and principles." In campaign after campaign, "the [news]papers and leaders that constitute this machinery exhibit a bitterness of spirit towards all who differ with their policy that shows how determined is their purpose." In that respect, Samuel Bowles, who "hated the rule of party almost as heartily as he hated negro slavery," could easily have served as clinching proof of the most contentious of recent interpretations of popular American politics in the 19th century, that of Glenn Altschuler and Stuart Blumin, whose Rude Republic: Americans and Their Politics in the Nineteenth Century (1) insists that American politics was really governed by small cadres of party elites. Even though large numbers of Americans were involved in voting and political meetings, Altschuler and Blumin argue, their involvement was only for the sake of the show. Americans were actually "skeptical and indifferent" about politics, and their "involvement" in popular democracy was characterized by "engaged disbelief." (2) Actually, Altschuler and Blumin are only the latest in a chorus of voices stretching back through the Progressive historians, who have handled, often with irritated skepticism, the notion that the American political parties have ever really served the interests of the American people. At their best, the parties served as vehicles for manipulating ethnic and cultural allegiances; at their worst, they allowed party hacks to stage-manage a show of democratic participation, while the people enjoyed the circus. Samuel Bowles would have loved it. (3)

Of course, skepticism about how democratic democracy really is, is always likely to flourish in a national climate of skepticism about the efficacy of government, and it flourishes best of all in the minds of those who lose elections and can find no better explanation for their loss than that democracy itself has gone to the dogs. But transferring that skepticism to 19th century political history is a risky venture. First, as Mark Neely has argued in criticizing Altschuler and Blumin, the idea that "the activities of election constituted an anomaly, an interruption in family and workaday lives," is an implicit criticism of democracy itself, adding for good measure a dash of contempt for the political aptitude of the mass of 19th century Americans, and thus suggesting that either the people or the democracy itself are incapable of sustaining genuine popular government. Second, Altschuler and Blumin's skepticism functions almost entirely on an either/or basis--either there was total popular engagement, or else it was total contrivance--something which, as Michael D. Pierson was at pains to point out in 2002, excludes the practical reality that 19th-century politics could "be both planned and genuinely enthusiastic." (4) But the third rock on which this skepticism about broad-based political participation founders is surely the Lincoln-Douglas senatorial campaign of 1858, and the seven great debates which form its core. For if any political event in the 19th century spoke directly to broad-based engagement and popular political agency on the part of the electorate, it was Illinois in the summer and fall of the very year the Springfield Republican made its complaint. As Richard Carwardine has written, "The Lincoln-Douglas contest of 1858 brilliantly revealed the extraordinary appetite of the Illinois public for democratic engagement" and demonstrated "a remarkable example of sustained participatory politics." (5)

That engagement, however, was a complex one, for what a grass-roots analysis of the Lincoln-Douglas campaign shows is a constant shuttling of power and control back-and-forth between the political public and the structures of party, and sometimes even between structures within the parties. It also shows how political engagement could take a number of forms, at a number of levels. It is easy to imagine the Lincoln-Douglas contest as a boxing match between the two principals, as though Lincoln and Douglas were the sole actors, and all the rest of the world an audience. But even a moment's reflection on a professional boxing match will remind us of the myriad demands such an event makes--there are managers to be solicited, schedules to be matched, arenas to be leased, people from trainers to ushers to be hired, broadcasters to be hooked-up. If Lincoln and Douglas materialize in our imaginations as the Great Oz on the platform, there needed to be regiments of little men behind the curtain--from contractors and carpenters to conventions and committee-men--who were absolutely indispensable to the image of authority and concern each candidate needed to project. And in 1858, they provided a climate of engagement which was not only popular, but very nearly frantic. "In the political world," wrote the journalist Edwin L. Godkin in the summer of 1858, "everybody's attention is absorbed by the canvass for the Illinois election in the autumn." (6)


Creating a candidate in 1858 began with a convention--or rather, multiple conventions, since Illinois was divided and subdivided politically into municipalities, counties (100 of them in 1858), state House districts (58 of them), state Senate districts (25 of these), and nine federal Congressional districts, some of which overlapped the others, and all of which relied on conventions to designate candidates. The convention system had come late to American politics--up until the 1830s, candidates for offices had either been self-nominated, singled out by newspaper editors who acted on behalf of the party leadership, or selected by caucuses of party colleagues at the same level (municipal, county, state or federal). The convention system, by contrast, was built up from below by a pyramid of local conventions, which sent delegates to the next level of conventioneering, and then from these dispatched another set of delegates to a state convention and a national party convention. "Each Congressional District," ran one circular of instructions, was to hold a District Convention on or before the first Monday of May next, to be composed of a number of delegates from each county equal to double the number of its Representatives in the General Assembly, provided each county shall have at least one delegate. Said delegates to be chosen by primary meetings ... at such times and places as they in their respective counties may see fit. Said District Conventions, each, to nominate one candidate for Congress, and one delegate to a National Convention, for the purpose of nominating candidates for President and Vice President of the United States. The seven delegates so nominated to a National Convention, to have power to add two delegates to their own number, and to fill all vacancies.

It was never entirely clear whether the convention system meant greater or lesser control by the party leaders over the nominations process. Conventions were billed by Andrew Jackson's Democrats as a significant step toward putting nominations on a more popular basis. The veteran New York politician, Chauncey Depew, thought the convention system made for greater openness of participation: "The belief that they are generally boss-governed is a mistake," because the boss is compelled by the convention system to consult "with the strongest men there are in the convention before he arrives at a decision" and often finds "his own judgment ... modified and frequently changed in these conferences." But the convention system was resisted by principled Whigs as an insidious device for whipping the party faithful into line behind carefully vetted candidates; and the best evidence of that for Illinois Whigs was Stephen A. Douglas, who exerted so much personal control over the Illinois Democratic party and its conventions that, as the Chicago American complained in 1841, when Douglas "says 'stand aside,' none of the party dare say otherwise.... The Truth is that whole party are afraid of him; they all obey his nod most implicitly." However, by 1843, even the Illinois Whigs had largely given in to the convention system, and Lincoln joined in recommending "to the whigs of all portions of this State to adopt, and rigidly adhere to, the Convention System of nominating candidates." And when, after the self-inflicted demise of the Whigs in 1856, Lincoln aligned himself with the new Republicans, the means for giving the Republican party official life in Illinois was the calling of a convention at Bloomington which became the occasion for Lincoln's fabled 'lost speech.' (7)

But the convention system did not always deliver the results party leaders expected, as Lincoln learned very early. He came away from an 1840 county convention, complaining that "the country delegates made the nominations as they pleased; and they pleased to make them all from the country, except [Edward D.] Baker & me, whom they supposed necessary to make stump speeches." And however much Douglas ruled the Democrats of Illinois with a rod of iron, every Democrat in Illinois in 1858 knew that he had broken decisively with James Buchanan and the national party leadership over the Lecompton Constitution and popular sovereignty, and he had returned to Illinois in July with party loyalists unsure whether they could continue to be Douglas loyalists at the same time. When it met in April, the Democratic state convention fractured, with 275 of the 600 delegates walking out in support of President Buchanan and assembling a state convention of their own in June which looked like becoming "strong enough to cripple the energies of the Douglas party." Even within the Douglasite convention, there was "trouble in several of our representative districts in guarding against the danger of local questions, and personal rivalries that have to some extent endangered the Success of our cause." Nor was the Republican state convention which met in Springfield on June 16, 1858, entirely an example of smooth political sailing. The Republicans were both a new party and a coalition party, made up of a core of ex-Whigs, plus former anti-Nebraska Democrats and a scattering of abolitionists and Know-Nothings, incorporating "diverse elements whose tastes and feelings ought to be carefully handled until time renders us a homogeneous mass." Control was therefore the purpose of the convention, and with it the inculcation of loyalty and party identity. But even though Lincoln was nominated by the state convention by acclamation as "the first and only choice of the Republicans of Illinois for the U.S. Senate, as the successor of Stephen A. Douglas"-and what offered better evidence of a convention being "carefully handled" than acclamation?--that unanimity almost immediately broke down over one of the nominations for state offices. And Lincoln himself would regard as the chief accomplishment of the convention the symbolic repudiation of the ambitions of Chicago mayor John Wentworth to capture the Republican nomination himself. "It was really a grand affair," Lincoln wrote afterward, but "The resolution in effect nominating me for Senator I suppose was passed more for the object of closing down upon this everlasting croaking about Wentworth, than anything else." (8)

Chaotic outbreaks of "croaking" were even more likely to erupt at the other levels of convention-making in Illinois in 1858, where district conventions nominated congressional candidates between July 24th and August 25th and state House and Senate candidates between July and September. The disruption of the Democratic state convention, which had functioned "for more than twenty years ... with the greatest harmony," was replicated at the district and county convention level when those conventions met through the summer to nominate candidates for the state legislature. "The Democracy have had three conventions to nominate their candidate," a Republican from 9th state House district wrote to Lincoln in a spasm of political schadenfreude, "The White Co. delegates still, after a most stormy meeting, persisted in their man J[ohn G.] Powell" and "the Wabash [county] party swearing they would rather vote for the blackest Republican in Ills. The Lord keep & preserve them in their good intentions." But the Republican conventions were no less likely to bolt the traces: in the 3rd Congressional District, David Davis, a long-time friend and ally of Lincoln's but an

old-line Whig with no love for abolitionists, schemed to have the incumbent Republican, the abolitionist Owen Lovejoy, dumped in favor of himself, Leonard Swett or Oliver L. Davis. "Unless our friends are woefully out in their calculations," David Davis rejoiced, "some body other than Mr. Lovejoy will be nominated." Lincoln personally might have preferred retiring Lovejoy, but not at the expense of pulling down an incumbent with a winning record as well as a useful recruiter of abolitionist votes, and Lovejoy was safely re-nominated--but not without driving one Whig lawyer to write to W.H.L. Wallace that "If Lovejoy is to be the nominee, I am ready to vote for a Douglas Democrat" for Congress. A similar insurgency was afoot in the 1st Congressional District, where Stephen Hurlbut tried to persuade the Republican district convention to cast aside another incumbent, Elihu Washbume, this time on accusations of corruption. County conventions became so fractious that Lincoln began receiving pleas from county committees "to come down to our Convention and give us a speech"--and some direction about what to do. (9)

It was the task of committees to serve as a convention-in-being, and it was to these committees--starting at the top with the state central committee of each party--that the details of the nominees' campaigns were entrusted. Maddeningly, neither the Illinois Democratic party nor the Illinois Republican party maintain a historical archive, so it is by no means easy to reconstruct the activities of the state central committees in 1858. Only by stray mentions in the newspapers--or by the even more stray piece of letterhead, fortuitously listing the state committee's membership down the left margin--are we even able to identify who sat on them. In the case of the Republican state central committee, there were twelve members, including Norman Buel Judd, the "sly, crafty, shrewd" chairman (and incumbent state senator), the newspaper editors Charles H. Ray of the Chicago Press & Tribune and George Brown of the Alton Courier, the lawyers Jackson Grimshaw (who was running for Congress from the 4th Congressional District), Richard Yates, Samuel L. Baker (who was running for the state House seat in Chicago's 56th District), Thomas Turner of Freeport (who would serve as master-of-ceremonies at the Freeport debate), and Lincoln's own law partner, William H. Herudon. Operating in and around Judd and the committee were Ozias Mather Hatch (who served as the committee's treasurer), Ebenezer Peck, Leonard Swett, Stephen Hurlbut, and Joseph Medill, which gave the state committee a disturbingly strong flavor of Chicagoans and of one-time anti-Nebraska Democrats. Together they took immediate responsibility for managing Lincoln's senatorial campaign, including the appointment of a campaign manager "to attend your political appointments and write such articles for our paper in relation thereto as he may see proper and judicious" and the creation of a schedule of whistle-stops and local convention speeches. Although the Republican state central committee appears to have met only five times during the course of the Lincoln-Douglas campaign--in early April, in mid-June Oust before the state convention assembled to nominate Lincoln), and again in late July, late August and at the end of September, they aspired to "make complete arrangements for the entire canvass of the State and have a perfect system." They recruited candidates (Ozias Hatch wrote preemptorily to John C. Bagby "to drop declarations--demurrers--pleas and all and walk into the contest" for the 11th state Senate district); they constructed grass-roots strategies and quizzed candidates about whether "the friends of Lincoln" were "well-organized in your county," the "arrangements being made to bring out the full Lincoln vote in the different precincts," the deployment of campaign workers "to go to the people from house to house and give them explanations in plain and true language," and the designation of a "firm magistrate and constable ... near the place of voting" who would arrest "the first man that you think deposites an illegal vote." And they were not shy about telling Lincoln that his acceptance speech at the state convention (the famous 'House Divided' speech) was too radical and would "cause the death of Lincoln and the republican party," prodding Lincoln into issuing the challenge which resulted in the seven one-on-one debates, and urging Lincoln to "put a few ugly questions at Douglas" at Freeport. (10)

None of this, for either Democrats or Republicans, was going to work without the lubricant of money. And at first, it appeared that Douglas had the lion's share of campaign money easily at hand, and in two forms. The first was patronage: Douglas had for years been the broker for Democratic administrations of federal government jobs in Illinois, and like other politicos before the 1880s and the introduction of civil service reform, Douglas used appointment to office as a combination of payback for political services-rendered, as a guaranteed source of compulsory campaign donations, and as a salaried work-force who could be deployed as campaign workers. Postmasters, in particular, could use a number of subterfuges to break a political opponent's back, refusing "to distribute other than Douglas documents," and sometimes opening a rival's personal mail. But Douglas's breach with President Buchanan stripped Douglas of his brokerage powers, and cost numerous Douglas loyalists in Illinois their jobs. A Buchanan agent, complained Douglas, "goes to each man who wants an office, and makes the same threat and promises ... professing to speak in the name and by the authority of the Administration." Nor was Douglas exaggerating. "Old Buck has got the guillotine well-greased and in full swing," warned the Chicago Democrat. Almost half of the most lucrative federal patronage office-holders (those worth more than $1000 per annum) were fired by the Buchanan administration during the campaign; the others either turned coat or else kept their heads well out of sight. And who could blame them? One office-holder confessed to Douglas that "this office is worth 10,000 ... a year, an object almost sufficiently large to induse any Politician to play the mock friend of Buchanan --$40,000 four years salary, Only think of it!!!" (11)

To make up these losses, Douglas was forced to mortgage his valuable collection of properties in the city of Chicago, and take out a line of credit with New York financiers. His Chicago holdings allowed him to borrow "eighty thousand dollars" (which James Sheahan believed created "a debt which harassed him to his grave"); from Cornelius Vanderbilt he borrowed $50,000, from New York mayor Fernando Wood and Tammany Hall he borrowed another $39,000, and from an undisclosed "money lender in New York" he borrowed $13,000. Without this infusion of cash, Illinois Democrats were going to be reluctant to aid and endorse Douglas, since they would never be forgiven by a vengeful party administration if Douglas lost (or perhaps even if he won). Henry Villard, a German who was officially acting as Illinois correspondent for the New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung (but who was secretly moonlighting as a Douglas campaign worker) flatly refused to work further for Douglas--after making "speeches in thirteen different localities; organized clubs, etc." and getting nothing in the way of "remuneration" except his hotel bills--unless Douglas showed him the money. Usher F. Linder, whom Douglas melodramatically begged, "For God's sake, Linder, come up into the Northern part of the State and help me" (and thus earned for himself the nickname, 'For-God's-Sake' Linder), agreed to go on the stump for Douglas only if "he will be handsomely remunerated or paid for his services." (12)

Lincoln and the Republicans, however, lacked even these advantages. As a coalition party, and a new one at that, the Republicans were "bound together by no party traditions, by no Federal patronage, not even by habits of early and protracted political associations." Consequently, the Republican state central committee had no choice but to tell county and district committees that "friends must fork up." The principal responsibility for Republican fund-raising in 1858 fell to Norman Judd and Joseph Medill, who were not shy about informing prominent Republicans that "we must have money ... without fail--this must be done ... and the end Justifies the means in this instance." The strategy Judd confected for this purpose began with identifying one key Republican in each Illinois county and making him "guarantor" to an assessment laid on each "County Central, or Executive Committee; the county committees, in turn, should "circulate a subscription, and get the above amount reliably and distinctly pledged" which would then be entrusted to a county treasurer "upon whom the Treasurer of the State Central Committee may make requisitions, as the money may be needed in the progress of the campaign." But even at that, contributions were meager. One La Salle county Republican recalled in 1888 that after the Ottawa debate, he gave Lincoln "thirty or forty dollars" for the state central committee, and "some more two or three times thereafter," but all-in-all his contributions could not have amounted to much "over One hundred dollars." Thomas Halbach, a Republican campaign worker in the 1st Congressional district, had to beg Elihu Washburne for money to pay "my hired man" (who was watching the farm while Halbach was doing door-to-door solicitation) plus "about $20 or $30 besides." In the end, the state central committee even had to assess Lincoln (for $500, which he did not enjoy paying: "my ordinary expences during the campaign," he groused to Norman Judd, "all which being added to my loss of time and business, bears pretty heavily upon one no better off in world's goods than I") and so the Republicans ended up, like Douglas, borrowing money to the tune of "about sixty thousand dollars." (13)


In the 56th state House district, it cost a candidate $32 just for posters. In Quincy, it bought a near-fatality, when the contractor who nailed together the debate platform and bench seating did such a shoddy job that one bench broke under the weight of its sitters, including the wife of Quincy's Democratic candidate for the state House; at Ottawa, the wooden awning that a contractor had built over the platform "gave way" when "some adventurous spirits" climbed onto it for a better view. At least at Charleston, the carpenters built a sturdy 18x30-foot platform that held up "about sixty persons." (14)

Following the money leads us to five major expenses: receptions, parades, publications, transportation and polls. Lavish receptions for candidates, followed by parading, was described by one newspaper as "the English features of processions," but English or not, it had become one of the manic customs of 19th-century electioneering, and it was integral to Douglas's strategy of facing down the Buchanan insurgents in his own party. Douglas's credibility depended on generating enough popular enthusiasm to efface any fearful suspicions on the part of Illinois Democrats that a vote for Douglas was a bet on a slow horse. "Douglas," growled one truculent Republican, "gets his friends to give him Receptions, visits a place with a sort of Napoleon air, like that of a Conqueror." The receptions and parades, in fact, began before Douglas had even returned to Illinois, as crowds turned out at whistle-stops across New York and Ohio so that "the people might have an opportunity to see Douglas and allow him to briefly address them." Arriving in Chicago on July 9th, Douglas boarded "a special train" and proceeded from there down the Illinois Central Railroad, where "at every town en route flags were flying cannons were booming, and immense crowds were gathered at the station," and culminating in a triumphant arrival in Springfield where he was met by a local militia company, a band, cannon salutes, and fireworks. (Hooked onto Douglas's campaign special was a flatcar with a small brass howitzer to provide his own salutes, and two cannoneers improbably dressed in red militia shirts and "wearing cavalry sabers.") All of this gave Douglas the opportunity to radiate "success and sunshine; there was a strut of superiority in his gait; an appearance of general prosperity in his demeanor." But Douglas's finest--and most expensive--moments came in the face-to-face receptions hosted for him in the towns where he stopped overnight to make full-length speeches. At Freeport, Douglas "held a reception in the Brewster House" where he "paced up and down the large parlor ... and smoked cigars incessantly" and turned on the full force of his charm for enormous lines of well-wishers and curiosity-seekers. "One of my fellow-students," remembered Seymour Thompson, was "introduced to Stephen A. Douglas and had actually shaken hands with him," and although the friend was "a republican in politics," first-hand exposure to the Little Giant "so overwhelmed" him "that he almost danced with joy." (15)

This political charivari makes for some of the best popular theater in American history. But it raises anew the suspicion of Altschuler and Blumin that events of this force and complexity could hardly have happened as spontaneous outbursts of democratic enthusiasm. "Douglas," as Carl Schurz complained, "had plenty of money to spend for such things"--or looked like he had--and the distribution of that money and the co-ordination of the receptions and parades looks very much as though it really was the handiwork of party elites, putting on the good show. And indeed, "committees of arrangements" were organized at all seven of the debate sites to establish parade routes, purchase carriages to convey the candidates in style. (At Freeport, it cost the local Republican committee of arrangements five dollars to hire a wagon for Lincoln to ride from "an old drunkard note shaver and skinflint.") Hecklers frequently punctuated Lincoln and Douglas's debates with questions, insults, and fist-fights; at Beardstown on August 16th (where "the whisky commenced flowing") Lincoln "was interrupted a number of times by drunken Douglasites." At Alton, both the Douglas and Lincoln committees were so determined to suppress any rowdiness that they actually met jointly "to make arrangements for the public speaking." But a careful examination of the arrangements committee memberships, while it may reveal the activities of a leadership, frequently falls very short of showing us an elite who were positioned as 'bosses.' Douglas's arrangements committees come the closest to resembling an elite: at Alton, the twelve members of the committee included four lawyers, a doctor, a banker and two real estate speculators. The Lincoln committees, however, appear to have been open to anyone with enough energy to volunteer: at Quincy, the Lincoln committee included two lawyers and a pork-packer, but also featured a 25-year-old druggist, a 22-year-old confectioner, a farmer, a miller, a butcher and two wagon-makers; at Ottawa, out of the 19 Lincoln parade marshals who can be identified, three were farmers, one was a butcher, two owned livery stables, and the rest included a carpenter, a bank teller, a ferryman, and a produce dealer. Far from trying to manipulate an event, the Lincoln committee in Freeport arranged "no conference of leading Republicans as to the course Mr. Lincoln should pursue.... All discussion appeared to come about purely by accident--the door of Mr. Lincoln's room wide open, people coming and going as they chose." (16)


The complaint of the Springfield Republican about "the force of party machinery" was prefaced with the exculpatory phrase, In ordinary timer, and Altschuler and Blumin have taken advantage of that loophole to concede that the years surrounding the climax of the slavery debate were indeed extraordinary times, leaving us to conclude that the Lincoln-Douglas campaign should therefore stand as the exception that otherwise proves the rule. But the logic of that exculpation might just as easily be pushed in the other direction--that the overwhelming peril posed by the slavery debate would have called forth more management, more control and more interference from party elites. Especially in the Lincoln-Douglas campaigns, where Stephen A. Douglas was a nationally-known figure and his leadership of the Democratic party was squarely on the line, careful patrolling of the sidelines would seem to have been the prudent thing to do. Instead, what is presented to us is a chaotic mish-mash, examples of control sitting uncomfortably side-by-side with examples of popular unpredictability. The state Democratic convention cannot prevent a Buchananite faction from disrupting and bolting the party; the national party cannot prevent the vast majority of Douglas loyalists, even under threat of patronage firings, from staying true to the Little Giant. The state Republican convention carefully manages a unanimous endorsement of Abraham Lincoln, but cannot entirely suppress upstart nominations for other offices. The Republican state central committee micro-manages Lincoln's schedule; but it cannot prevent him from throwing an oil-soaked rag onto the political fire in the form of the 'House Divided' speech, nor can it eliminate insurgent attempts in the Congressional districts to unseat incumbent nominees. Both state committees are pressed for funds; both find that campaign workers will not work without those funds. Parades and receptions are carefully choreographed, only to be disrupted by hecklers and fist-fights; even Lincoln and Douglas have to fend off interruptions from the crowds. Above all, the party elites who were supposed to be stage-managing these events turn out, on close examination, not to be much of an elite at all.

The very fact that so much unpredictability could work itself into the political equation of the 1858 Illinois senatorial campaign suggests either that this was indeed no ordinary time, or else that the Altschuler and Blumin model is a gross over-simplification, designed at least in part to imply that American democracy has never really been about a government of, by and for the people. But perhaps this only reads back into the 19th century the resentments of the 21st at contrived national party conventions, sanitized candidate debates, and media sensationalism. The presence of contrivance is not proof that democracy is nothing but contrivance, and the oddly-jointed mixture of control and chaos, of nervous committeemen and incompetent carpenters which pervaded Illinois politics around the mid-point of the 19th century is evidence that no matter how odd the joinery, both political determinism and political agency manage to co-exist. Democracy does not need to function merely as a contrivance, nor is it necessarily condemned to; it has a higher calling--the formulation of the best balance between individual natural rights and communal civil rights--and the Lincoln-Douglas campaign of 1858 is the prime instance of how ordinary political times can very suddenly become extraordinary, and very unpredictable, ones.

(1) "Senator Douglas-Speaker Douglas," Springfield Republican (June 10, 1858); George Merriam, The Life and Times of Samuel Bowles (New York: Century, 1885), 1:233; Glenn C. Altschuler and Stuart M. Blumin, "Limits of Political Engagement in Antebellum America: A New Look at the Golden Age of Participatory Democracy," Journal of American History 84 (December 1997), 879, 882.

(2) Glenn C. Altschuler and Stuart Blumin, Rude Republic: Americans and Their Politics in the Nineteenth Century (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2000).

(3) John L. Brooke, "To Be 'Read by the Whole People': Press, Party, and Public Sphere in the United States, 1789-1840," Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 110 (2002), 50, 52, 57-58, 89-90, 104-109.

(4) Mark Neely, The Boundaries of American Political Culture in the Civil War Era (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2005), 3, 5-6; Michael D. Pierson, "'Prairies on Fire': The Organization of the 1856 Mass Republican Rally in Beloit, Wisconsin," Civil War History 48 (June 2002), 121.

(5) Richard Carwardine, Lincoln (London: Pearson Education Ltd., 2003), 72.

(6) Rollo Ogden, Life and Letters of Edwin Lawrence Godkin (New York: Macmillan, 1907), 1:177; Richard A. Heckman, "Out-of-State Influences and the Lincoln-Douglas Campaign of 1858," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 59 (Spring 1966), 47.

(7) Chauncy M. Depew, My Memories of Eighty Years (New York: Scribner's, 1924), 19; Stephen L. Hansen, The Making of the Third Party System: Voters and Parties in Illinois, 7850-7876 (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1978), 21, 24; "Resolutions at a Whig Meeting" (March 1, 1843), in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy P. Basler et al (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 1:307.

(8) "To John Todd Stuart (March 26, 1840), in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 1:208; Illinois, National Era (July 22, 1858); William Kellogg to Jesse K. DuBois (April 25, 1858), in Jesse K. DuBois Correspondence SC 427, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, IL; S.S. Marshall to Charles H. Lanphier (October 9, 1858), in Charles H. Lanphier Papers, ALPLM; John H. Bryant and Stephen G. Paddock to AL (June 4, 1858) in Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress; "Republican State Convention," Jacksonville Sentinel (June 25 1858); "To Lyman.... Trumbull" (June 23, 1858), in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 2:472; Horace White, The Lincoln and Douglas Debates: An Address before the Chicago Historical Society, February 17, 1914 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1914), 17.

(9) James W. Sheahan, The Life of Stephen A. Douglas (New York: Harper & Bros., 1860), 391; Sydney Spring to AL (September 8, 1858), Abraham Lincoln Papers; David Davis to 'Dear Hill' (May 25, 1858), in David Davis Papers, ALPLM; Stephen L. Hansen, Making of the Third Party System, 95-97; Willard L King, Lincoln's Manager: David Davis (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1960), 112-114, 117-118, 124, 125; Isabel Wallace, Life and Letters of General W.H.L. Wallace (Chicago: Donnelly & Sons, 1909), 83-84; Jefftrey N. Lash, A Politician Turned General: The Civil War Career of Stephen Augustus Hurlbut (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2003), 49; C.D. Way to Lyman Trumbull (May 29, 1858), in Lyman Trumbull Papers (Volume 14), Library of Congress.

(10) William W. Baringer, "Campaign Technique in Illinois in 1860," Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society, 1932, 204; W.H. Herndon to Lyman Trumbull (April 12, 1858) in Trumbull Papers; "Republican State Convention," Peoria Daily Transcript (April 28, 1858); Norman Judd to Elihu Washburne (August 14, 1858, September 20, 1858 and October 22, 1858), in Elihu Washburne Papers (Volume 4), Library of Congress; Thomas Halbach to Elihu Washburne (August 19, 1858), in Washburne Papers; Joseph Medill to AL (August 10, 1858), Abraham Lincoln Papers; John Armstrong (WHH interview, February 1870), in Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews and Statements about Abraham Lincoln, eds. Rodney O. Davis and Douglas L. Wilson (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 576; Lloyd Wendt, Chicago Tribune: The Rise of a Great American Newspaper (New York: Rand McNally, 1979), 95; Joseph Medill to AL (August 27, 1858), in Abraham Lincoln Papers.

(11) Don E. Fehrenbacher, Lincoln in Text and Context: Collected Essays (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1987), 24-25, 29-30; Thomas M. Ward to SAD (June 28, 1858), Stephen A. Douglas Papers, Special Collections, Regenstein Library, University of Chicago; R.B. Carpenter to James Buchanan (June 23, 1858), in R.B. Carpenter Correspondence SC 254, ALPLM; SAD, "British Aggressions" (June 15, 1858), in Congressional Globe, 35th Congress, 1st session, 3056.

(12) William Gardner, Life of Stephen A. Douglas (Boston: Roxborough Press, 1905), 161, 169; Cornelius Bushnell to SAD (June 30, 1858), Stephen A. Douglas Papers; King, Lincoln's Manager, 125; Villard to SAD (August 24, 1858), Stephen A. Douglas Papers; A. Compton to AL (September 7, 1858), Abraham Lincoln Papers.

(13) "How to Succeed," National Era (October 21, 1858); Ozias M. Hatch to John C. Bagby (August 31, 1858), John C. Bagby Papers; Albert J. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1858 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1928), 2:555-56; Baringer, 204-205; Alexander Campbell to Jesse W. Weik (December 12, 1888), in Herndon's Informants, 669-70; Thomas Halbach to Elihu Washburne (August 19, 1858), Elihu Washburne Papers; "To Norman B Judd (November 16, 1858), in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 3:337; Sheahan, Life of Stephen A. Douglas, 416.

(14) Levi M. Dort reminiscence, Lincoln-Douglas Semi-Centennial Society of Quincy file (October 12, 1908), ALPLM; Saul Sigelschiffer, The American Conscience: The Drama of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates (New York: Horizon Press, 1973), 221; Simeon E. Thomas, "Lincoln-Douglas Debate: The Fourth Joint Debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, held in Charleston," Eastern Illinois State Teachers College Bulletin 86 (October 1, 1924), 8; Charles E. Coleman, "The Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Charleston, Illinois, September 18, 1858," Eastern Illinois University Bulletin 220 (October 1, 1957), 47.

(15) "I.N. Higgins bill for Campaign in 1858," in Chauncy L. Higbee Papers, ALPLM; W.J. Usrey to AL (July 19, 1858), Abraham Lincoln Papers; Mrs. John A. Logan, Reminiscences of a Soldier's Wife (New York: Scribner's, 1913), 60, 62-63; Charles J. Stewart, "The People and the Lincoln-Douglas Campaign of 1858," Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 75 (1967), 288; Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, 2:610; W.T. Rawleigh, Freeport's Lincoln: Exercises Attendant Upon the Unveiling of a Statue of Abraham Lincoln; Freeport, Illinois, August 27, 7929 (Freeport: W.T. Rawleigh,

1930), 85; Seymour D. Thompson, "Lincoln and Douglas: The Great Debate," American Law Review 39 (March-April 1905), 167-68.

(16) Schurz, in Sigelschiffer, 351; "Lincoln in the Field," Chicago Press & Tribune (August 16, 1858); Thompson, "Lincoln and Douglas: The Great Freeport Debate," 168; Rawleigh, Freeport's Lincoln, 187-188; Joy Wilson Upton, Madison County, Illinois, 1860 Census (Utica, KY: McDonald Publications, 1986), n.p.; Thomas B. & Mildred C. Nelson, The Census of Adams County, Illinois, for the year 1850 by Townships (Illinois State Genealogical Society, 1972), n.p.; Lasalle County, Illinois, 1860 Federal Census (Ottawa, IL: Lasalle County Genealogy Guild, 1993), n.p.; The 1850 Federal Census of Lasalle County, Illinois (Yakima, WA: Yakima Genealogical Society, 1978), n.p.; Smith D. Atkins, The Freeport Debate, in Abraham Lincoln: The Tribute of a Century, ed. Nathan William MacChesney, (Chicago: McClurg, 1910), 140.

Allen Carl Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce III Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College, where he serves as Director of the Civil War Era Studies Program. Send email to
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Author:Guelzo, Allen C.
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Date:Jan 1, 2010
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