Lincoln-Douglas Debate Negotiations | History | Smithsonian
Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated in seven different locations in Illinois. (Library of Congress / National Park Service)

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Negotiations

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas engaged in pre-debate negotiations in 1858.

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MR. LINCOLN TO MR. DOUGLAS.
Chicago, Ill., July 24, 1858

HON. S. A. DOUGLAS:

My dear Sir,—Will it be agreeable to you to make an arrangement for you and myself to divide time, and address the same audiences the present canvass?  Mr. Judd, who will hand you this, is authorized to receive your answer; and, if agreeable to you, to enter into the terms of such arrangement.

Your obedient servant,

A. LINCOLN.


MR. DOUGLAS TO MR. LINCOLN.
Bement, Platt Co., Ill., July 30, 1858

Dear Sir,—Your letter dated yesterday, accepting my proposition for a joint discussion at one prominent point in each Congressional District, as stated in my previous letter, was received this morning.

The times and places designated are as follows:

Ottawa, La Salle County, August 21st, 1858

Freeport, Stephenson County, August 27th

Jonesboro, Union County, September 15th

Charleston, Coles County, September 18th

Galesburgh, Knox County, October 7th

Quincy, Adams County, October 13th

Alton, Madison County, October 15th

I agree to your suggestion that we shall alternately open and close the discussion.  I will speak at Ottawa one hour, you can reply, occupying an hour and a half, and I will then follow for half an hour.  At Freeport, you shall open the discussion and speak one hour; I will follow for an hour and a half, and you can then reply for half an hour.  We will alternate in like manner in each successive place.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S.A. DOUGLAS


MR. LINCOLN TO MR. DOUGLAS
Springfield, July 31, 1858

HON. S. A. DOUGLAS:

Dear Sir,—Yours of yesterday, naming places, times, and terms for joint discussions between us, was received this morning.  Although, by the terms, as you propose, you take four openings and closes, to my three, I accede, and thus close the arrangement.  I direct this to you at Hillsborough, and shall try to have both your letter and this appear in the Journal and Register of Monday morning.

Your obedient servant,

A. LINCOLN

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