The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
The Lincoln-Douglas debates — the historic series of seven debates which pitted Abraham Lincoln against Stephen Douglas as they vied for an Illinois Senate seat — began on August 21, 1858. In honor of that anniversary, this episode explores the clash of constitutional visions that characterized the debates between Lincoln and Douglas. Each man argued that he was the heir to the Founders’ legacy as enshrined by the Constitution, as they battled over slavery, popular sovereignty, the nature of rights, and the future of the union. Historians Sidney Blumenthal and Lucas Morel trace the constitutional visions and political rivalries of Lincoln and Douglas from the Kansas Nebraska Act to the Dred Scott decision, through the Civil War and the passage of the Constitution’s Reconstruction amendments. Jeffrey Rosen hosts.
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