Explains the central issues of the 1850s, including the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, popular sovereignty and the Dred Scott Decision.
"Now, I hold that Illinois had a right to abolish and prohibit slavery as she did, and I hold that Kentucky has the same right to continue and protect slavery that Illinois had to abolish. I hold that New York had as much right to abolish slavery as Virginia has to continue it, and that each and every State of this Union is a sovereign power, with the right to do as it pleases upon this question of slavery, and upon all its domestic institutions. ...And why can we not adhere to the great principle of self-government, upon which our institutions were originally based." - Stephen Douglas
A lot of ink has been spilled covering the lives of history's most influential figures, but how much of the forest is lost for the trees? In Charles River Editors' American Legends series, listeners can get caught up to speed on the lives of America's most important men and women in the time it takes to finish a commute, while learning interesting facts long forgotten or never known.
The most famous debates in American history were held over 150 years ago, and today they are remembered and celebrated, mostly because they included future President Abraham Lincoln, one of the nation's most revered men. But in the Fall of 1858, Lincoln was just a one-term Congressman who had to all but beg his US Senate opponent to debate him. That's because his opponent, incumbent US Senator Stephen Douglas, was one of the most famous national politicians of the era.
Though Douglas is remembered today almost entirely for his association with Lincoln, in 1858 he was "The Little Giant" of American politics and a leader of the Democratic Party.