Debat Lincoln-Douglas dimulai

Debat Lincoln-Douglas dimulai


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Senator Stephen Douglas dari Illinois dan Abraham Lincoln, seorang pengacara kelahiran Kentucky dan satu kali perwakilan AS dari Illinois, memulai serangkaian pertemuan publik yang terkenal tentang masalah perbudakan. Kedua politisi, mantan Demokrat Utara dan yang terakhir Republik, bersaing untuk kursi Senat AS Douglas. Dalam tujuh debat Lincoln-Douglas—semuanya berlangsung sekitar tiga jam—Lincoln menentang penyebaran perbudakan sementara Douglas menyatakan bahwa setiap wilayah harus memiliki hak untuk memutuskan apakah akan menjadi bebas atau budak. Lincoln kalah dalam pemilihan Senat, tetapi kampanyenya membawa perhatian nasional ke Partai Republik muda.

Pada tahun 1860, Lincoln memenangkan nominasi presiden dari Partai Republik. Dalam pemilihan itu, dia kembali menghadapi Douglas, yang mewakili faksi Utara dari Partai Demokrat yang sangat terpecah, serta kandidat Demokrat Selatan John C. Breckinridge dan kandidat Persatuan Konstitusi John Bell. Pada tanggal 6 November 1860, Lincoln mengalahkan lawan-lawannya dengan hanya 40 persen suara rakyat, menjadi Republikan pertama yang memenangkan kursi kepresidenan.

Pengumuman kemenangannya menandakan pemisahan negara bagian Selatan, yang sejak awal tahun telah secara terbuka mengancam pemisahan diri jika Partai Republik memperoleh Gedung Putih. Pada saat pelantikan Lincoln pada tanggal 4 Maret 1861, tujuh negara bagian telah memisahkan diri dan Negara Konfederasi Amerika telah secara resmi didirikan dengan Jefferson Davis sebagai presiden terpilihnya. Satu bulan kemudian, Perang Saudara Amerika dimulai ketika pasukan Konfederasi di bawah Jenderal P.G.T. Beauregard menembaki Fort Sumter yang dikuasai Union di Carolina Selatan.

BACA LEBIH BANYAK: Debat Lincoln-Douglas


Debat Lincoln-Douglas!

Selama satu dekade, kursi Senat Illinois AS dipegang oleh Stephen A. Douglas, salah satu politisi paling terkenal pada masanya. Begitulah, sampai seorang pengacara negara yang kurang dikenal bernama Abraham Lincoln menantangnya untuk serangkaian debat.

Debat ketujuh dan terakhir berlangsung di depan balai kota tua Alton pada tanggal 15 Oktober 1858. Debat Alton menarik perhatian nasional dan sekitar 6.000 pengunjung dari seluruh Illinois dan negara bagian tetangga. Ini merangkum argumen yang dimulai empat bulan sebelumnya.

Douglas berbicara lebih dulu, mengulangi keyakinannya pada doktrin Kedaulatan Rakyat, hak setiap negara untuk berbuat sesuka hati tentang perbudakan dan isu-isu lainnya. Lincoln menegaskan bahwa itu adalah perjuangan antara dua prinsip abadi'benar dan salah.

"Sebuah rumah dibagi
melawan dirinya sendiri
tidak tahan.

Saya percaya pemerintah ini tidak dapat bertahan, secara permanen setengah budak dan setengah bebas."
—Abraham Lincoln

"Kita
Pemerintah
bisa bertahan
selamanya, terbagi

menjadi Negara Bebas dan Budak sebagai
nenek moyang kita berhasil."
—Stephen A. Douglas

Siapa yang Memenangkan Debat?
Douglas memenangkan

kursi senat, tetapi perdebatan meluncurkan Lincoln menjadi sorotan nasional. Hanya dua tahun kemudian, Lincoln mengalahkan Douglas dalam pemilihan presiden tahun 1860.

Topik dan seri. Penanda sejarah ini tercantum dalam daftar topik berikut: Abolition & Underground RR &bull Pemerintah & Politik. Selain itu, ini termasuk dalam Mantan Presiden AS: #16 Abraham Lincoln, dan daftar seri Looking for Lincoln. Tanggal sejarah yang signifikan untuk entri ini adalah 15 Oktober 1858.

Lokasi. 38° 53.393′ N, 90° 11.139′ W. Marker berada di Alton, Illinois, di Madison County. Marker berada di Market Street di selatan West Broadway, di sebelah kiri saat bepergian ke utara. Sentuh untuk peta. Penanda berada di atau dekat alamat pos ini: 100 Market Street, Alton IL 62002, Amerika Serikat. Sentuh untuk petunjuk arah.

penanda terdekat lainnya. Setidaknya 8 penanda lain berada dalam jarak berjalan kaki dari penanda ini. Temukan Sejarah Di Sekitar Alton (di sini, di sebelah penanda ini) Debat Lincoln-Douglas, Alton (dalam jarak berteriak dari penanda ini) Gedung Ryder (sekitar 300 kaki, diukur dalam garis langsung) Gereja Episkopal St. Paul (sekitar 500 kaki jauhnya) Miles Davis (sekitar 600 kaki) Mengatur Panggung untuk Debat Hebat (sekitar 0,2 mil) Alton & Sangamon Railroad (sekitar 0,2 mil) Godfrey, Gilman & Co. Warehouse (sekitar mil jauhnya). Sentuh untuk daftar dan peta semua penanda di Alton.


Cara Kerja Debat Presiden

Di Amerika Serikat, debat presiden sebenarnya lahir dari serangkaian tujuh debat senator Illinois antara Abraham Lincoln dan Stephen Douglas pada tahun 1858. Debat, tanpa moderator atau panel, adalah hasil dari Lincoln mengikuti Douglas dalam perjalanan kampanyenya. negara. Beberapa hari setelah Douglas memberikan pidato di tempat tertentu, Lincoln akan melakukan hal yang sama. Douglas akhirnya setuju untuk naik panggung bersama Lincoln tujuh kali selama tiga jam masing-masing untuk memperdebatkan masalah moral dan ekonomi yang ditimbulkan oleh perbudakan. Efek dari debat senator mereka (Douglas memenangkan kursi) tidak akan terlihat segera Lincoln tidak berdebat sama sekali selama kampanye suksesnya untuk presiden dua tahun kemudian pada tahun 1860 [sumber: Kuzemchak].

Semua tetap diam di depan debat 15 siklus pemilu berlalu tanpa banyak argumen publik antara kandidat — dialognya terpisah, biasanya dalam bentuk pidato kampanye. Pada tahun 1948, debat presiden akan mendapatkan dorongan dengan siaran radio debat antara pesaing utama Partai Republik Thomas Dewey dan Harold Stassen. Antara 40 dan 80 juta pendengar mendengarkan siaran radio debat pasangan itu tentang pelarangan komunisme di Amerika Serikat.

Namun, perdebatan tidak benar-benar menarik. Bahkan setelah debat pertama di televisi (menampilkan semua calon potensial) pada tahun 1952, yang diselenggarakan oleh League of Women Voters (LWV), sebuah organisasi yang akan memainkan peran besar dalam membentuk debat presiden di AS, debat masih tetap di pinggiran proses pemilihan presiden.

Namun, begitu seri Kennedy-Nixon diadakan, konsep debat presiden melesat seperti roket. Publik mulai mengharapkan debat antar kandidat menjadi lembaga debat Amerika. Dengan semua perdebatan berat yang sekarang dilakukan, mereka juga dapat ditafsirkan sebagai kilat dalam botol. Bagi Nixon dan kandidat lain yang mengikuti, botol harus ditutup dengan aman. Lyndon Johnson menolak permintaan debat pada tahun 1964, seperti yang dilakukan Nixon pada kampanye 1968. Setelah terpilih, Nixon menggunakan hak veto kepresidenannya untuk mengesampingkan RUU yang mencabut ketentuan waktu yang sama dari Undang-Undang Komunikasi tahun 1934.

Undang-undang ini mengharuskan kandidat dalam pemilihan nasional harus memiliki eksposur yang sama di media. Artinya, jika sebuah stasiun mengizinkan penggunaan fasilitas penyiarannya untuk satu kandidat, ia harus melakukannya untuk mereka semua. Jaringan tidak ingin memberikan waktu tayang kepada setiap kandidat, baik besar atau kecil, sehingga Kongres mengeluarkan undang-undang untuk mencabut ketentuan ini tetapi Nixon memvetonya pada tahun 1970 [sumber: PBS].

Selama abad ke-20, para kandidat menggunakan ketentuan waktu yang sama untuk keuntungan mereka. Dengan menolak untuk berdebat, setiap kandidat dapat secara efektif melumpuhkan debat yang diusulkan. Tentu saja, ada ukuran pers yang buruk terkait dengan menolak undangan untuk berdebat. Tetapi pers yang buruk lebih baik daripada paparan televisi yang buruk setiap hari dalam seminggu, seperti yang diajarkan oleh pertunjukan Nixon pada tahun 1960. Lebih jauh lagi, memanfaatkan ketentuan waktu yang sama menjadi alat yang disukai oleh para kandidat terdepan dalam siklus pemilu. Pers yang buruk dari penolakan untuk berdebat jauh lebih besar daripada potensi kerugian yang diberikan oleh debat kandidat saingan yang mungkin memiliki penampilan yang baik dan mungkin mempengaruhi jutaan pemilih.

Pada tahun 1975, FCC menciptakan celah untuk menyiasati ketentuan waktu yang sama. Dikatakan bahwa selama debat "acara berita bonafide" disponsori oleh beberapa organisasi selain jaringan, mereka akan dibebaskan dari persyaratan waktu yang sama. LWV nonpartisan melangkah untuk mengambil kendali proses politik dari ahli strategi kampanye dan menjalankan debat selama delapan tahun. Pada tahun 1988, Komisi Debat Presiden (CPD) mengambil alih dan menjadi satu-satunya organisasi yang secara sah menyelenggarakan debat presiden.

Debat lain, yang diadakan sebelum calon dinominasikan di konvensi, diselenggarakan oleh kantor berita dan jaringan televisi dan bukan debat presiden resmi. CPD mengawasi persyaratan tinggi untuk podium dan suhu ruangan di ruang debat, memilih moderator, dan berfungsi sebagai lengan propaganda untuk partai Republik dan Demokrat. Pembentukan CPD akhirnya memakan kematian spontanitas dalam debat presiden.


Debat Lincoln-Douglas dimulai - SEJARAH

Hari ini dalam Sejarah: Debat Lincoln-Douglas dimulai pada tahun 1858

Pada 21 Agustus 1858, Abraham Lincoln dan petahana Demokrat Stephen A. Douglas mengadakan debat pertama dari tujuh debat bersejarah mereka sebagai calon Senat di Illinois. Perdebatan panjang ini berfokus pada masalah ekspansi perbudakan ke wilayah tersebut.

Menjelang peringatan 50 tahun Pawai di Washington, pertimbangkan peran yang dimainkan ras dan hak-hak sipil dalam debat politik abad ke-19. Menjelang debat Lincoln-Douglas, Douglas menggunakan "House Divided Speech" Lincoln yang terkenal untuk menyerang abolisionisme Lincoln. Seorang pendebat yang terampil, Lincoln tidak bertindak lebih jauh dengan menyerukan kesetaraan sosial di antara semua ras, tetapi dia mengulangi seruan yang dibuat dalam “House Divided Speech-nya untuk mencegah ekspansi perbudakan ke wilayah-wilayah baru:

Tetapi semua ini, menurut penilaian saya, tidak memberikan alasan lagi untuk mengizinkan perbudakan masuk ke wilayah bebas kita sendiri, selain menghidupkan kembali perdagangan budak Afrika secara hukum. Hukum yang melarang membawa budak dari Afrika, dan yang telah lama melarang pengambilannya ke Nebraska, hampir tidak dapat dibedakan berdasarkan prinsip moral apa pun dan pencabutan yang pertama dapat menemukan alasan yang sama masuk akalnya dengan yang terakhir.

Tidak seperti debat politik modern, Debat Lincoln-Douglas memberi setiap kandidat kesempatan untuk berbicara panjang lebar, tanpa interupsi. Debat masing-masing berdurasi tiga jam, dengan satu kandidat berbicara selama 60 menit, diikuti oleh sanggahan 90 menit, dan jawaban 30 menit. C-SPAN membuat reka ulang debat yang dapat disaksikan di sini.

Sebuah dukungan mengejutkan oleh mantan politisi Whig terkemuka untuk Douglas membantu Demokrat memenangkan mayoritas kursi di Majelis Umum Illinois, yang pada gilirannya memilih kembali Douglas. Perdebatan itu bukan kerugian total bagi Lincoln. Perhatian nasional yang dikumpulkan oleh debat Lincoln-Douglas membantu Lincoln meluncurkan kampanye presiden yang sukses hanya dua tahun kemudian.

Setelah mengetahui tentang peran Lincoln dalam mengakhiri perbudakan, pertimbangkan kemajuan Gerakan Hak Sipil menuju persamaan hak. Lihat ebook kami “Makna Hari Martin Luther King Jr.” untuk informasi lebih lanjut.

Bacaan Dekat untuk Pendidikan Kewarganegaraan

Cendekiawan-guru terkemuka Amy dan Leon Kass menunjukkan bagaimana cerita pendek, pidato, dan lagu dapat digunakan untuk meningkatkan pendidikan kewarganegaraan dan bagaimana pendekatan pedagogis yang menekankan pembelajaran melalui inkuiri dapat membuat sumber utama menjadi hidup bagi siswa dari segala usia.

Beli Bukunya

“Sungguh koleksi lagu, pidato, dan cerita Amerika yang luar biasa. Itu harus berharga bagi guru, siswa, orang tua, dan semua jenis pembaca.”

&mdash Diane Ravitch

3. Kedua Pria Itu Tidak Mencalonkan Presiden

Karena perdebatan antara Lincoln dan Douglas begitu sering disebutkan, dan karena orang-orang itu memang saling bertentangan dalam pemilihan tahun 1860, sering kali diasumsikan bahwa perdebatan itu adalah bagian dari pencalonan Gedung Putih. Mereka sebenarnya mencalonkan diri untuk kursi Senat AS yang sudah dipegang oleh Stephen Douglas.

Perdebatan, karena mereka dilaporkan secara nasional (terima kasih kepada stenografer surat kabar yang disebutkan di atas) memang mengangkat status Lincoln. Lincoln, bagaimanapun, mungkin tidak berpikir serius untuk mencalonkan diri sebagai presiden sampai setelah pidatonya di Cooper Union pada awal 1860.


Debat presiden: Sejarah tradisi politik Amerika

Debat terus menjadi bagian penting dari proses pemilihan presiden.

LOS ANGELES - Debat politik antara kandidat politik utama adalah tradisi Amerika di Amerika Serikat. Sementara debat presiden terus berkembang dan berkembang, semangat kompetitif mereka tidak berubah dan terus menjadi bagian penting dari proses pemilihan presiden.

Tapi di mana, dan bagaimana, debat politik dimulai?

Untuk memulai, itu dimulai tanpa moderator atau panel

Debat presiden Amerika dapat ditelusuri dari serangkaian debat ras Senat Illinois antara Abraham Lincoln dan Stephen Douglas pada tahun 1858, menurut penulis Josh Clark dan Melanie Radzicki McManus dari HowStuffWorks.

Tanpa moderator atau panel, Lincoln akan mengikuti Douglas dalam kampanyenya di seluruh negara bagian, dan Douglas akan memberikan komentarnya sendiri di lokasi itu. Kemudian, Lincoln akan melakukan hal yang sama.

Ilustrasi kandidat presiden dari Partai Republik Abraham Lincoln berbicara di atas panggung selama debat dengan Steven Douglas dan lawan lainnya, Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, 7 Oktober 1858 (Koleksi Kean / Staf)

𠇍ouglas akhirnya setuju untuk naik panggung bersama Lincoln tujuh kali selama tiga jam masing-masing untuk memperdebatkan masalah moral dan ekonomi yang ditimbulkan oleh perbudakan,” Clark dan McManus menulis.

Debat ini mengharuskan kedua kandidat untuk berbicara panjang lebar. �lon pertama berbicara selama satu jam, diikuti oleh satu setengah jam sanggahan, dan kemudian setengah jam ditutup oleh pembicara pembuka,” menurut PBS.

Debat tersebut akhirnya dikenal sebagai Debat Lincoln-Douglas, dan “menyediakan kerangka kerja konseptual yang membawa debat presiden formal di era modern,” Bill of Rights Institute mengatakan. �t ini membantu menetapkan preseden bahwa para kandidat harus mempresentasikan kasus mereka dan menyatakan kritik mereka di depan publik, dan terlibat dalam dialog konstruktif satu sama lain tentang arah masa depan bangsa.”.”

Perdebatan menjadi hening selama lebih dari satu dekade sebelum radio muncul kembali

Menurut Clack dan McManus, 15 siklus pemilu berlalu tanpa banyak argumen publik antara kandidat. Dialog ke publik terutama dalam format pidato kampanye, bukan debat.

Tetapi hal-hal mulai berubah pada tahun 1948 dengan munculnya radio dan televisi.

Debat presiden memulai debutnya di siaran radio antara pesaing utama Partai Republik Thomas Dewey dan Harold Stassen. Menurut Clark dan McManus, antara 40-80 juta pendengar mendengarkan siaran radio untuk mendengar dua perdebatan tentang pelarangan komunisme di Amerika Serikat.

Debat radio diikuti beberapa tahun kemudian dengan debat televisi pertama di negara itu pada tahun 1952. Debat ini menampilkan semua calon presiden potensial dan dipandu oleh League of Women Voters (LWV).

1960 mengatur panggung untuk debat modern

Pada tahun 1960, calon dari Partai Demokrat John F. Kennedy dan calon dari Partai Republik Richard Nixon muncul dalam debat presiden pertama yang disiarkan secara nasional antara dua kandidat.

Menurut Institut Bill of Rights, “Kennedy tampak bagi pemirsa sebagai orang yang tenang dan tenang, terawat, dan tampan”, sementara “Nixon, di sisi lain, mulai berkeringat, tampak tidak bercukur, dan mengalihkan pandangannya di antara kamera, moderator, dan jam.”

Wakil Presiden Richard Nixon dan Senator John F. Kennedy selama debat terakhir dari empat debat mereka pada tahun 1960 (Bettman/Kontributor)

Menariknya, mereka yang mendengar debat di radio mengira Nixon adalah pemenangnya, sedangkan mereka yang menonton di televisi memilih Kennedy, kata PBS. Nixon kalah dalam pemilihan berikutnya.

Debat televisi membangun konsep debat presiden, dan “publik mulai mengharapkan debat antara debat kandidat menjadi institusi Amerika,” Clark dan McManus menulis.

Bahkan, sejak tahun 1972, setiap pemilihan presiden telah menyertakan debat televisi, yang mengakui layar TV sebagai elemen penting dalam pengambilan keputusan pemilih.

Tapi, tidak semua kandidat terbuka untuk debat

Faktanya, tidak ada debat dari tahun 1964 hingga 1976, karena presiden duduk Lyndon B. Johnson dan Nixon menolak permintaan untuk berdebat.

Nixon bahkan memveto RUU yang mencabut ketentuan waktu yang sama dari Undang-Undang Komunikasi 1934 — undang-undang komunikasi federal yang mengharuskan kandidat dalam pemilihan nasional untuk memiliki eksposur yang sama di media. Dengan demikian, calon presiden dapat menggunakan ketentuan ini untuk keuntungan mereka, menolak untuk berdebat.

Pada tahun 1975, FCC menciptakan celah

Pada tahun 1975, Komisi Komunikasi Federal (FCC) mengatakan bahwa selama debat disponsori oleh organisasi di luar jaringan TV, maka mereka akan dibebaskan dari persyaratan waktu yang sama. Oleh karena itu, LWV mampu mengambil kendali sebagai pihak ketiga dan menjalankan debat presiden selama delapan tahun dari 1976 hingga 1984.

Di antara periode waktu ini, debat terbukti sangat penting dalam pengambilan keputusan di antara para pemilih.

Dalam debat tahun 1976, Presiden Gerald Ford menyatakan, "Tidak ada dominasi Soviet di Eropa Timur." Banyak analis percaya bahwa pernyataannya berkontribusi pada kemenangan Jimmy Carter dalam pemilihan.

Penantang Demokrat Jimmy Carter (kiri) terlibat dalam debat politik tatap muka dengan Presiden petahana Gerald Ford di Philadelphia, PA, pada musim gugur 1976 selama puncak kampanye presiden tahun itu. (Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Pada tahun 1980, Carter menolak untuk berdebat dengan calon Republik Ronald Reagan dan calon independen John Anderson dalam debat presiden. Dengan demikian, debat diadakan tanpa Carter, dan para ahli percaya ketidakhadirannya adalah salah satu faktor dalam kemenangan pemilihan Reagan, menurut PBS.

Sepanjang masa kepresidenannya, Reagan dikenal sebagai pendebat berbakat, “menguasai seni suara pendek dan efektif yang memberi energi pada basis politiknya,” Bill of Rights Institute mengatakan.

Pada tahun 1988, Komisi Debat Presiden masuk

Pada tahun 1988, Demokrat dan Republik membentuk organisasi bipartisan nirlaba bersama Komisi Debat Presiden (CPD) — satu-satunya organisasi yang mampu secara sah menjadi tuan rumah debat presiden.

“PD mengawasi persyaratan ketinggian untuk podium dan suhu ruangan di ruang debat, memilih moderator, dan berfungsi sebagai alat propaganda untuk partai Republik dan Demokrat,” Clark dan McManus menulis.

Selain itu, lokasi debat harus netral, artinya lokasi tidak boleh dikaitkan dengan calon. Selanjutnya, pembagian waktu yang sama untuk kandidat diperlukan dalam debat.

Perdebatan terus berkembang di tahun 1990-an

Pada tahun 1992, ada banyak perubahan yang dilakukan pada format debat tradisional.

Perubahan tersebut termasuk penggabungan debat “town hall”, di mana para kandidat duduk਍i bangku, bukan podium, dan ditanyai pertanyaan dari penonton.

Demokrat Bill Clinton dimanfaatkan dan berkembang dalam format baru dengan mampu terlibat langsung dengan pemilih.

Kandidat presiden George Bush (Presiden Amerika Serikat ke-41), Ross Perot dan Bill Clinton selama debat presiden kedua. ( Ron Sachs/Keystone/CNP/Getty Images)

Pada tahun 2000-an, internet mulai berperan

“Media visual, terutama internet, adalah salah satu faktor terpenting dalam pemilu modern,” Institut Bill of Rights.

Dalam pemilihan pendahuluan presiden 2008, CNN menyelenggarakan debat menggunakan pertanyaan yang diajukan oleh pemilih melalui YouTube.

Twitter juga diluncurkan pada tahun 2008, menyediakan platform untuk kampanye untuk berdebat atas nama kandidat mereka.

Tetapi seperti halnya semua teknologi, ada sisi negatifnya. Video dan flub on-air dapat terus hidup dan dilestarikan oleh publik di era digital.

“Pada tahun 2011, selama forum utama Partai Republik, kandidat Rick Perry melupakan bagian inti dari platformnya. Di era internet, rekaman debat tidak pernah mati," kata Bill of Rights Institute.

Saat ini, banyak orang mendapatkan berita melalui media sosial, bukan televisi atau media cetak. Tetapi sementara lebih banyak mata tertuju pada perdebatan daripada sebelumnya, mereka mungkin menonton untuk waktu yang lebih sedikit. Data dari YouTube menemukan bahwa rata-rata pemirsa YouTube menonton tiga debat presiden 2016 rata-rata 22 menit.

Debat di tahun 2020 berlanjut di tengah pandemi global

CPD terus mengorganisir dan menyelenggarakan debat presiden, meskipun AS berada di tengah pandemi COVID-19.

Pada tahun 2020, akan ada tiga debat capres dan satu debat cawapres. Setiap debat akan berdurasi 90 menit tanpa gangguan komersial, menurut CPD.

Panggung diatur untuk debat utama presiden Demokrat pertama untuk pemilihan 2020 di Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, 26 Juni 2019 di Miami, Florida. (Menggambar Marah)

Hanya akan ada satu moderator dan audiens terbatas karena tindakan pencegahan COVID-19.

Selain itu, debat akan dibagi menjadi enam bagian berdurasi 15 menit, masing-masing membahas topik yang berbeda.

Secara teknis tidak ada pemenang dalam debat, hanya persepsi

Secara teknis tidak ada pemenang dalam debat, tetapi mereka dapat membantu membentuk opini pemilih. Lembaga survei melacak efek debat pada pola pikir pemilih dengan menelepon dan menanyakan pendapat mereka tentang acara tersebut.

Tetapi para ahli masih memperdebatkan apakah debat benar-benar berubah atau hanya lebih jauh menegaskan kembali pendapat pemilih.

Menurut jajak pendapat Gallup, Hillary Clinton memenangkan ketiga debat presiden, dan meskipun memenangkan pemilihan umum, Donald Trump terpilih sebagai presiden Amerika Serikat.

Calon dari Partai Republik Donald Trump (kanan) menyaksikan calon dari Partai Demokrat Hillary Clinton selama debat presiden kedua di Universitas Washington di St. Louis, Missouri pada 9 Oktober 2016 (Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

Apakah debat merupakan sarana yang efektif bagi para kandidat untuk mempengaruhi opini pemilih atau tidak, prosesnya masih bisa terbukti bermanfaat bagi pemilih yang ragu-ragu di negara bagian yang diperebutkan.


Siapa yang Memenangkan Debat Lincoln / Douglas?

Pada tahun 1858, Republik Abraham Lincoln dan Demokrat Stephen Douglas mencalonkan diri untuk mewakili Illinois di Senat. Mereka mengadakan tujuh debat di seluruh Illinois selama dua bulan. Formatnya sama:

kandidat pertama berbicara selama enam puluh menit

kandidat lain berbicara selama sembilan puluh menit

kemudian kandidat pertama mendapat balasan tiga puluh menit.

Pada masa itu, Badan Legislatif Negara Bagian memilih Senator. Oleh karena itu Lincoln dan Douglas ingin para pemilih mendukung kandidat partai mereka untuk legislatif yang kemudian akan memilih Lincoln atau Douglas ke Senat AS. Pemilihan tidak langsung ini mirip dengan proses Electoral College untuk pemilihan Presiden dan akhirnya diubah dengan Amandemen ke-17 pada tahun 1913. Antara sepuluh hingga lima belas ribu penonton datang untuk mendengarkan debat tiga jam ini.

Satu-satunya masalah dalam perdebatan ini adalah perbudakan. Ketika Amerika Serikat berkembang, awalnya tanah akan diatur sebagai wilayah di bawah peraturan Federal. Begitu wilayah itu mencapai populasi yang cukup, ia menulis sebuah konstitusi dan mengajukan permohonan untuk menjadi Negara Bagian. Pada tahun 1820, Kompromi Missouri melarang perbudakan di wilayah atau negara bagian mana pun, di utara dengan garis lintang 36 derajat/30 menit (perbatasan selatan Missouri). Sebelumnya, Ordonansi Barat Laut Thomas Jefferson tahun 1787 telah melarang perbudakan di wilayah / Negara Bagian mana pun, di utara sungai Ohio.

Douglas mensponsori Undang-Undang Kansas/Nebraska 1854 yang mendukung prinsip 'kedaulatan rakyat' yang memungkinkan setiap negara bagian membuat keputusannya sendiri apakah akan menyetujui atau melarang perbudakan, bahkan jika sebelumnya dilarang oleh Kompromi Missouri 1820. Selanjutnya, ia mendukung Keputusan Mahkamah Agung tahun 1857 Dred Scott yang menyatakan orang Afrika-Amerika tidak memenuhi syarat untuk kewarganegaraan dan melarang Kongres melarang perbudakan di wilayah mana pun sebelum mengajukan permohonan status negara bagian. Banyak pernyataan Douglas yang rasis menurut standar saat ini.

Dalam perdebatan tersebut, Douglas menjelaskan posisinya tentang kedaulatan rakyat sebagai berikut: “Saya berpendapat bahwa Illinois memiliki hak untuk menghapus dan melarang perbudakan seperti yang dia lakukan, dan saya berpendapat bahwa Kentucky memiliki hak yang sama untuk melanjutkan dan melindungi perbudakan seperti yang harus dihapuskan oleh Illinois ... setiap Negara Bagian dari Persatuan ini adalah kekuatan berdaulat, dengan hak untuk berbuat sesukanya atas masalah perbudakan ini, dan atas semua lembaga domestiknya.

Douglas memiliki masalah dalam mencoba mendamaikan Keputusan Dred Scott, yang mengizinkan budak masuk ke wilayah, dengan kedaulatan rakyat yang diberikan, warga memiliki hak untuk melarang budak. Penjelasan Douglas legalistik, dia mengklaim suatu wilayah dapat melarang perbudakan dengan gagal membuat undang-undang yang mendukungnya. Posisinya dikenal sebagai doktrin 'Freeport' sejak Douglas pertama kali mengemukakannya dalam debat kedua yang diadakan di Freeport, Illinois. Itu tidak membuat siapa pun senang. Orang Selatan menentang batasan apa pun pada ekspansi perbudakan dan orang Utara percaya bahwa suatu wilayah harus diizinkan untuk melarang perbudakan jika diinginkan.

Douglas tidak percaya pada kesetaraan Afrika-Amerika: “Jika Anda menginginkan kewarganegaraan negro, jika Anda ingin mengizinkan mereka masuk ke Negara Bagian dan menetap dengan orang kulit putih, jika Anda ingin mereka memilih kesetaraan dengan diri Anda sendiri, dan membuat mereka memenuhi syarat untuk menjabat, menjadi juri, dan untuk menilai hak-hak Anda, kemudian dukung Mr. Lincoln dan partai Black Republican...Saya percaya Pemerintah ini ...dibuat oleh orang kulit putih untuk kepentingan orang kulit putih..."

Lincoln memegang jalan tengah politik antara abolisionis, yang ingin mengakhiri perbudakan sepenuhnya, dan pemilik budak yang menyukai ekspansi ke wilayah baru dan negara bagian baru. Dia menentang ekspansi tetapi bersedia membiarkannya berlanjut di tempat yang sudah ada. Seperti yang diungkapkannya: “Saya akan mengatakan di sini…bahwa saya tidak memiliki tujuan, secara langsung atau tidak langsung, untuk mencampuri institusi di negara-negara tempat lembaga itu berada. Saya percaya saya tidak punya hak untuk melakukannya. Saya tidak memiliki kecenderungan untuk melakukannya.

Mungkin mencerminkan sentimen waktu itu, Lincoln mengatakan bahwa orang Afrika-Amerika mungkin bukan persamaan sosialnya, tetapi mereka harus memiliki hak yang sama: “…tidak ada alasan di dunia ini mengapa orang negro tidak berhak atas semua hak yang disebutkan dalam Deklarasi Kemerdekaan—hak untuk hidup, kebebasan, dan mengejar kebahagiaan. Saya berpendapat bahwa dia memiliki hak yang sama dengan orang kulit putih ... dia [negro] tidak setara dengan saya dalam banyak hal, tentu saja tidak dalam warna-mungkin tidak dalam kekayaan intelektual dan moral tetapi dalam hak untuk makan roti tanpa izin dari orang lain yang diperoleh dengan tangannya sendiri, dia setara dengan saya dan setara dengan Hakim Douglas , dan setara dengan setiap orang lainnya.

Douglas menuduh Lincoln membagi negara dan mengobarkan perang: "Saya katakan bahwa ini adalah hasil yang tak terelakkan dan tak tertahankan dari argumen Mr. Lincoln, yang mengundang perang antara Utara dan Selatan, untuk dilakukan dengan pembalasan yang kejam, sampai satu bagian atau yang lain didorong ke tembok, dan menjadi korban kekejaman orang lain.

Lincoln menjawab bahwa masalah perbudakan telah memecah belah negara: “Saya serahkan kepada Anda untuk mengatakan apakah, dalam sejarah Pemerintah kita, institusi perbudakan ini tidak selalu gagal menjadi ikatan persatuan, dan, sebaliknya, menjadi apel perselisihan, dan elemen perpecahan di rumah.” Lincoln menyatakan bahwa para pendiri ingin membatasi ekspansi perbudakan: “...Aku memperhitungkannya dengan melihat posisi di mana ayah kita awalnya menempatkannya-membatasinya [perbudakan] dari Wilayah baru di mana ia tidak pergi, dan membuat undang-undang untuk memotong sumbernya dengan pencabutan perdagangan budak ... Pikiran publik benar-benar bersandar pada keyakinan bahwa itu sedang dalam perjalanan kepunahan akhir.” Lincoln mengacu pada peraturan tanah Northwest tahun 1787 yang melarang perbudakan di utara sungai Ohio, dan ketentuan konstitusional yang memungkinkan mengakhiri perdagangan budak internasional pada tahun 1808.

Douglas menegaskan dia tidak mengadvokasi atau menentang perbudakan, tetapi dia hanya mendukung penentuan nasib sendiri negara: “Saya tidak akan memperdebatkan pertanyaan apakah perbudakan itu benar atau salah. Saya berpendapat bahwa di bawah Konstitusi Amerika Serikat, setiap Negara Bagian dari Persatuan ini memiliki hak untuk melakukan apa yang diinginkannya mengenai masalah perbudakan.

Lincoln menjawab: “Ini menyatakan ketidakpedulian [ke perbudakan]…Aku tidak bisa tidak membenci. Saya membencinya karena ketidakadilan mengerikan dari perbudakan itu sendiri.” Lincoln lebih lanjut menyatakan: “Ada dua prinsip yang telah berhadap-hadapan sejak awal dan akan terus berjuang. Yang satu adalah hak bersama umat manusia dan yang lainnya adalah hak ilahi para raja. Ini adalah prinsip yang sama dalam bentuk apa pun yang dikembangkannya sendiri. Ini adalah roh yang sama yang mengatakan: Anda bekerja dan bekerja keras dan mendapatkan roti, dan saya akan memakannya.

Siapa yang memenangkan debat? Demokrat memenangkan 54 kursi di legislatif Illinois, Republik 46. Oleh karena itu Douglas terpilih sebagai Senator. Lincoln menulis surat setelah kehilangan, berpikir karirnya sudah berakhir: “Saya senang saya membuat balapan yang terlambat. Itu memberi saya pendengaran tentang pertanyaan besar dan tahan lama tentang zaman, yang tidak dapat saya dapatkan dengan cara lain, dan meskipun saya menghilang dari pandangan, dan akan dilupakan, saya percaya saya telah membuat beberapa tanda yang akan memberi tahu penyebab kebebasan sipil lama setelah saya pergi.Jelas dia tidak menghilang dari pandangan, juga tidak dilupakan. Kinerja Lincoln dalam debat ini membuatnya diakui sebagai pemimpin partai Republik, yang mengarah ke nominasi Presiden Partai Republik tahun 1860 dan kemenangan berikutnya. 'Doktrin Freeport' Douglas membuatnya kehilangan dukungan di Utara dan Selatan. Meskipun Demokrat Utara menominasikan Douglas untuk Presiden pada tahun 1860, Demokrat Selatan kabur dari partai dan menominasikan John Breckinridge sebagai kandidat pihak ketiga, membagi suara Demokrat.


15 September 1858: Debat Ketiga, Jonesboro, Illinois

Debat awal September hanya menarik sekitar 1.500 penonton. Dan Douglas, yang memimpin sesi, menyerang Lincoln dengan mengklaim bahwa pidato House Divided-nya menghasut peperangan dengan selatan. Douglas juga mengklaim Lincoln beroperasi di bawah "bendera hitam Abolisionisme," dan terus menerus menyatakan bahwa orang kulit hitam adalah ras yang lebih rendah.

Lincoln menahan emosinya. Dia mengartikulasikan keyakinannya bahwa pendiri bangsa telah menentang penyebaran perbudakan ke wilayah baru, karena mereka mengantisipasi "kepunahan akhir."


Debat Lincoln-Douglas dimulai - SEJARAH

Pada tahun 1858, Abraham Lincoln mencalonkan diri sebagai anggota Partai Republik untuk Senator AS dari Illinois. Lawannya adalah Demokrat Stephen Douglas. Sebagai bagian dari kampanye, kedua kandidat menyetujui serangkaian sembilan debat (satu di setiap distrik Kongres) di seluruh Illinois. Mereka akhirnya mengadakan tujuh debat karena Lincoln dan Douglas berbicara secara terpisah di Chicago dan Springfield.

Beda Waktu, Beda Aturan

Pada saat itu, Senator AS tidak dipilih oleh suara rakyat. Sebaliknya, Senator diangkat ke posisi mereka oleh anggota legislatif negara bagian. Ini berarti bahwa partai mana pun yang memenangkan kursi terbanyak di tingkat negara bagian akan mendapatkan pilihannya tentang siapa yang akan dikirim ke Washington.

Even so, debating before and appealing to the general public was still important for the Washington-level Senate candidates. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates drew gigantic crowds, even many people from out of state, because their focus was on the very hottest, most contentious issue of the day: Slavery.

The debate format was strenuous by today’s standard. The first speaker was given a full hour to speak uninterrupted. His opponent spoke next for 90 minutes. Then the first speaker was given an additional 30 minutes to rebut.

Freedom vs. Slavery

Lincoln made a passionate argument for the banishment of slavery. Douglas argued much the opposite. He favored a plan wherein each state should be allowed to form its own policy on slavery while Lincoln argued for a national ban that would include all states, and thus eliminate slavery from America.

Interest was so keen in the debates that local newspapers transcribed them word-for-word for the reading public. In those days, most newspapers were heavily partisan. Thus, a Republican paper would print cleaned up and well-edited versions of Lincoln’s speech, while printing the words of his opponent as they had been spoken, with all the common grammatical slips and mistakes of spoken language. Democratic newspapers did the same.

Free But Not Equal

It is interesting to note that while Lincoln favored freedom for black slaves, he also vigorously denied that he was an abolitionist. That is, he argued that while slaves would be free, they still might be considered inferior to whites. Lincoln said that he considered the white race superior to blacks, but that this was a non-issue in terms of whether black should be slaves or free.

He also said that he did not favor “a social and political equality” that would place blacks and white on an equal level. He did not favor the mixing of races in terms of marriage. Rather, he said that blacks should be free to live their lives as they please, and that white people could “ignore them” if they wanted to.

Douglas countered by attempting to paint Lincoln as a total abolitionist. Despite the distinctions he was making, Douglas said that Lincoln’s position on blacks and slavery would amount to making them equal to whites in all ways within American society.

Douglas Wins

After seven debates, the elections were conducted and Douglas and his Democrats won a very narrow majority of seats in the Illinois legislature, even though they lost slightly the overall popular vote. That meant Douglas was sent on to Washington as U.S. Senator. But Abraham Lincoln was to get the last laugh.

After the debates, Lincoln gathered the text of all his debate speeches, edited them and issued them in the form of a book. The book became popular reading throughout the United States. The book did much to bolster Lincoln’s image on a national scale. Upon losing his bid for the U.S. Senate, he ran for President of the United States successfully and was elected to that office in 1860.

Debates Lasting Influence

The Lincoln-Douglas debates have been studied ever since as examples of excellent debating. They are frequently cited as examples of rhetorical eloquence and use of style in language. Many of the central political and philosophical issues of American politics were more sharply defined as the result of the debates.

The Lincoln-Douglas debate also serve as a model for a specific kind of debate competition still taught in high schools, colleges and universities today. However, the format of speaking for an hour, then 90 minutes, followed by a 30-minute rebuttal is rarely used. Modern debates tend to involve more rigorous and frequent exchange between opponents who rebut each other point by point, each speaking for two or three minutes at a time.

The original Lincoln-Douglas debates remain today as a central aspect of American history. They mark a turning point for how political public discourse is conducted – the debates set a standard of excellence that has served as a model ever since.


Lincoln-Douglas debates begin - HISTORY

His debates text, Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America, was published in 2008 by Simon & Schuster. Using various documents, including unpublished results from original vote ledgers, Guelzo describes Lincoln, Douglas, and a cast of other characters in the most important senatorial contest to date. He provides a detailed account of each debate scene and the grassroots political maneuvering, as well as deeper issues, including the candidates' starkly different views of democracy.

ALO: Your book is the first narrative history of the debates. How does it differ from its predecessors?

Allen Guelzo: The emphasis is on the narrative. There have been a handful of books on the Lincoln-Douglas debates but they usually focused on the political theory of the debates, rather than the debates and the campaigns as historical events. A very good example of that is Harry Jaffa's book, Crisis of the House Divided. It's a book of genius but is almost entirely focused on extracting aspects of political theory from the debates. It does not really present a point-to-point account of how the debates were created and how they unfolded and what the results were.

David Zarefsky's wonderful book on the Lincoln-Douglas debates is an analysis of the rhetoric employed by Lincoln and Douglas. Again, it doesn't try to offer the point-to-point debate so much as it tries to isolate those elements of the rhetorical style and the rhetorical techniques used by Lincoln and Douglas to make their points during the debates.

When the debates have been treated as historical events, it's usually been within biographies of Lincoln, as in Albert Beveridge's Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1858, which contains the best narrative of the debates or, within a larger, synthetic work of history about the 1850s and the coming of the Civil War, such as David Potter's The Impending Crisis, or the series of volumes Allan Nevins wrote on the Ordeal of the Union.

There's really only been one major narrative history of the debates, a book by Saul Sigelschiffer, a New York education professor, published in the 1970s by a vanity press. There is a much shorter history of the debates by Richard Heckman, published in the 1960s, but it is a very brief overview.

ALO: Give us a glimpse of the "historical surprises" in your research.

Allen Guelzo: There are a number of them. The most important surprise has to do with the voting patterns for Lincoln and Douglas. Bear in mind that this was not a direct election U.S. senators were not directly elected by the people until 1912.

The original text of the Constitution mandated that members of the House of Representatives should be directly elected by the people, but members of the Senate were to be selected by the state legislatures. This reflected the view of the framers: that the House of Representatives was where the people of the United States were represented as a whole. The Senate was where the states and the sovereignty of the states was represented in Congress. So until 1912 it was the state legislatures which did the electing of senators.

Now in the case of Lincoln and Douglas, this means they are campaigning all through 1858 for votes that will not be cast for them. No one in 1858 actually cast a vote for either Abraham Lincoln or Stephen Douglas. What people were doing was casting a vote for state legislators (the state house or senate), with the understanding that when the new legislature met in January 1859, these people would then vote for either Lincoln or Douglas.

Nevertheless, you can should be able to look at how people voted indirectly for the state legislators and form some ideas of how they thought they were voting for Lincoln and Douglas, and that's where the surprise comes in. Virtually every account of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, when it finally explains how Lincoln loses and Douglas wins, cites as its version of the popular vote count the votes cast for the two state offices that were up for election, state treasurer and state superintendent of public instruction, because those are direct elections in 1858. Those elections are easy to take as a yardstick for how people voted for the state legislature (and for Lincoln and Douglas) because these two races are what the political almanacs report. So the reasoning runs that if someone votes for a Republican candidate for state superintendent of public instruction, then it's likely they also would cast a vote for Abraham Lincoln if they could have voted for him directly.

When you look at those two direct elections in Greeley's Tribune Almanac or the American Almanac, you discover that Republican candidates for State Treasurer and for State Superintendent of Public Instruction garnered about 125,000 votes, and that Democratic candidates for those two offices won about 121,000. If we assume that the votes cast for these two offices correlate pretty directly with the votes they cast for state legislators, then we can say that Republican state legislators -- and therefore, Lincoln -- eked out a small majority. But isn't that a surprise because isn't Lincoln supposed to have really shellacked Douglas in the debates? Does this mean the debates were for nothing? Is Lincoln's performance in the debates an illusion?

Well, the problem with that is the assumption that you can take the vote counts for those direct state offices and translate them into what would have been votes for Lincoln and Douglas, and they don't translate at all. If you go back to the original vote ledgers in the Illinois Secretary of State's office, you find that the votes cast for members of the state legislature amount to a great deal more than if you take those two figures together.

Actually, there were 330,000 votes cast in the state legislative elections, and the reason is that Illinois state legislative districts frequently elected multiple representatives from each district, so within a certain district you would actually have two or more elections going on with separate sets of votes being cast. When you look at that total, not only is it entirely different from what the almanacs and histories report, but the way the voting took place, Lincoln candidates for the legislature came off with about 54 percent of the vote. Douglas candidates came off with only about 45 percent.

But Lincoln loses, doesn't he? This is because the Illinois apportionment scheme heavily favored districts in the south of the state which were solidly Democratic and shortchanged districts from the north, which were heavily Republican. With the apportionment that much out of kilter, Douglas is handily reelected to the Senate and Lincoln loses. But if it had been a direct election, it might have been a very, very different story. If you just look at the number of ballots cast for Democrat or Republican legislators, Lincoln's victory on those terms would have been quite substantial. So that's a major surprise right there.

ALO: Has this ever been recorded before?

Allen Guelzo: No. It's simply been too easy to go to the standard reference works, especially to the political almanacs of the 1850s and just use the numbers that are there. The assumption is that we can't capture the numbers from the individual districts because you've got to look them up in places like the state voting ledgers, and that is itself something of a voyage of discovery.

When I originally posed the question, "How did people vote out of the districts?" it took two or three days in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, going through stacks, looking through books, before we finally isolated the vote ledgers, which are in the Secretary of State's office. So one very desolate and lonely Saturday morning I went to that office and spent a good deal of time scrolling through microfilm, recording the vote numbers on a spreadsheet. It was a really whopper to see those results come out at the end, very different from anything that could have been expected.

In the past it was too easy to go to the almanacs. So, one generation of historians authoritatively cites those numbers, and a second generation sees no reason why they should reinvent the wheel, and they perpetuate the cycle.


Site of "House Divided" Speech
© Abraham Lincoln Online
ALO: When the 1858 campaign began, Lincoln made a famous speech called the "House Divided," which some believed was a mistake. Bagaimana menurutmu?

Allen Guelzo: Lincoln was bitterly criticized, not only by Douglas but by members of his own party, for delivering a speech that was widely read as inflammatory. This speech was given in June of 1858 at the Republican state convention, a month before Douglas was able to return from the meetings of the Senate in Washington.

It's important to read the opening of the House Divided Speech to understand what Lincoln thought he was saying, because he begins by talking about the Kansas-Nebraska Act and says that Douglas has promised that popular sovereignty and the Kansas-Nebraska Act he authored, are going to solve the slavery controversy.

A paraphrase of his remarks might be, "Well, we're now four and a half years on and not only is the controversy not solved it's actually been made worse. Why is that? It's because we haven't been looking the issue directly in the eye. We have been trying to limp along, like a house divided. We have been trying to avert our eyes from the need to confront this issue, an issue which means we're either going to become all one thing or all the other. We obviously can't go forward in this divided fashion. So as a nation we're going to have to make up our mind about what we want to be."

That's what Lincoln thought he was saying, but what people heard was the language of House Divided. It conjures up a number of Biblical images of strife and conflict, war, fighting, and collapse. That was what sounded inflammatory. Lincoln was actually puzzled by the way people responded to it.

But the fact is that over and over and over again, you read accounts of people complaining about the speech, that it was too inflammatory. I think Lincoln made a rhetorical misjudgment in the sense that although he was accurately describing the situation, the language he was using just set alarm bells off in the minds of those listening to it.

ALO: Of course, Douglas just kept throwing it back at him.

Allen Guelzo: Douglas never missed an opportunity to profess shock and dismay over the House Divided, from the very first speech he gave at the beginning of the campaign on July 9 in Chicago, all the way to the end.

ALO: The House Divided speech preceded the seven formal debates, but weren't there many other speeches that year?

Allen Guelzo: The debates grab our attention because they were face-to-face moments. In fact, Lincoln and Douglas were on the campaign trail almost without intermission from mid-July until the very eve of the election, the second of November. In the course of things they not only have the seven debates but they deliver upwards of 50 to 60 stump speeches in a variety of venues all around Illinois -- mostly in the middle of the state, because the swing votes are going to be in the old Whig party districts and counties of the mid-state and Illinois River towns. It's what I call the "Whig Belt." That's what held the balance and both Lincoln and Douglas knew it so they devoted most of their attention that way.

Actually, the campaign began, and went on for approximately two-and-a-half weeks without any whisper about debates. It's not until July 25 that the challenge to a debate is issued, which suggests this is an afterthought. In fact, it's not even Lincoln's afterthought. Lincoln believed the most efficient and productive strategy was in following Douglas around Illinois and giving a speech after Douglas was done.

The Illinois State Central Committee, however, looked at this and saw not a penny-pinching way to fly on Douglas's coattails, but what looked like a feeble, cheap imitation of Douglas's campaign strategy. The solution to this was suggested by Horace Greeley in the New York Tribune, by Joseph Medill and Charles Ray of the Chicago Tribune, and ultimately by the Republican Central Committee, which calls Lincoln to Chicago and tells him, "We think it would be a good idea to issue a challenge for one or more debates." So the debates were not originally Lincoln's plan.

The idea of one-on-one debating is really more of a surprise on Douglas's part. Douglas, while he knew Lincoln and had a fairly accurate perception of Lincoln's powers as a speaker and a debater, nevertheless must have assumed that, because he was the great Stephen A. Douglas, it should not take long for him to put Lincoln away. All it would take would be two or three of these debates and he would have Lincoln on the mat.

The first great surprise in the debates is that by the time we get to the fourth one, that hasn't happened. Lincoln instead is going like the Energizer Bunny. If anything, he picks up momentum after Charleston, goes to Galesburg, Quincy, and to Alton, and in those last three debates he clearly has the upper hand on Douglas.

This is really an upset, not just in terms of those voting statistics, but even in terms of perception. What would you have expected if the most famous American politician in the 1850s had been challenged by a man understood to have only a regional reputation, who was the perennial loser, the "nice guy" who always finishes last, who was always nominated by his party when they know can't win the election but have to nominate somebody -- what would you have expected to be the result of debates between candidates like these? I think the big surprise is not so much that Lincoln beats Douglas as that Douglas can't find a way to beat Lincoln.

ALO: He paints himself into a corner, so to speak.

Allen Guelzo: Yes, and very much to his surprise. He must have asked at some point late in the debates, "Why did I do this? What was I thinking? "

ALO: How does your description of Douglas as a "gambler" relate to this?

Allen Guelzo: Stephen A. Douglas is a man of appearances. He's a man who appears to be aggressive, powerful, masculine when in fact he's a man of sickly health who suffers from a variety of illnesses, and who does not have very much in the way of physical stamina. He's also a man who wants to appear as the heir of the mantle of Andrew Jackson: wise, sage, statesmanlike, thinking of the future of the country. And yet at every point the man is careless, offhand, impulsive. He's a gambler.

Now, curiously, he doesn't actually gamble with cards or horses, but he does almost everything else that's close to it: real estate speculation, big changes, big parties. He loved the thrill of the gamble, the thrill of the risk, as if it almost balanced out his physical infirmities and limitations. I don't want to sound excessively psychological about a man I've not actually met, of course, but you do get this sense with Douglas: here was a guy who did like living out on the edge.


Stephen A. Douglas
© Abraham Lincoln Online
ALO: Some writers have described Douglas as Lincoln's perpetual antagonist, pushing Lincoln toward greatness, even in the debates. Is there anything to this?

Allen Guelzo: I think there's an element of truth in that because what you see in Lincoln in the first three debates -- in Ottawa, in Freeport, in Jonesboro -- is a candidate who's trying to run his role in the debates along the same lines as Douglas. He's trying to make the same kinds of arguments. He's trying to play the safe way, and to use the same rhetorical strategies. He's holding his own but not doing anything spectacular.

In Charleston and Galesburg, you begin to hear the door open onto something else and it is in those final three debates that Lincoln begins to seize the high ground about the morality of slavery. The "real issue" (in Lincoln's phrase) is not the Constitutional technicality about who has the authority or doesn't have the authority to legalize slavery in the territories. Instead, it's whether slavery itself is right in the first place and whether we as a nation should even be talking about legalizing slavery.

When Lincoln moves onto that ground, it allows him to develop his most potent argument. Up till that point, the other kinds of more settled, lower-level cautious arguments simply aren't gaining much yardage against Douglas. He's not losing ground, but he's not gaining what needs to be gained.

In the opening debates he's playing it very cautiously, very carefully, which is very typical of Lincoln. But caution and carefulness were not getting him points in fact, as early as Freeport the Central Committee was pressuring him to get more aggressive and go on the attack and that forces him to do it and it's well that it does.

ALO: Is there anything in Douglas's upbringing to predict a future which might lack a moral core?

Allen Guelzo: Actually, both men have similarities in their childhoods. Both lose a parent at an early age Lincoln loses his mother, Douglas loses his father. For both of them, the loss of parents, the loss of continuity in the family -- in Lincoln's case, this includes the death of his grandfather -- have serious economic consequences for them. For Lincoln, the death of Abraham the elder throws all the property in the hands of the older brother, Mordecai, and Thomas Lincoln really has to start from scratch. He can't build on what his father was in the process of achieving in Kentucky.

Similarly, for Douglas's family, they were really on the way up and his father was probably the most successful and prominent of the Douglas generations in America. So when his father dies very suddenly, that's a catastrophe. Both Lincoln and Douglas find themselves behind an economic eight-ball. Then they both strike out on their own: Douglas from Vermont, all the way to Illinois Lincoln arrives in Illinois via Indiana. So there are some superficial similarities in terms of family background. But they translate into something entirely different.

On the whole, however, I think how they express themselves by 1858 is less a matter of family background than political ideology. What political culture do Lincoln and Douglas buy into? If you take them at the beginning of their political careers before they made commitments or choices, that's where the similarities grab you, but it's the choice of political worlds they inhabit that makes all the difference.

Douglas identifies with Andrew Jackson, becomes a Jacksonian Democrat, and is a Democrat of Democrats. When you buy into a political party, you're not just buying a party and a mechanism to get elected. You're also buying into an entire culture. The culture of the Jacksonian Democracy deplored the injection of moral questions because that wasn't what American politics was about.

American politics steered away from entanglements of church and state (that's the inheritance of Jefferson), and away from injecting what were understood to be questions of personal conviction onto the public square, which simply was not to be done. What governed the political square was the political process -- the political rules, the Constitution. Moral commitments and moral convictions were all good but they were considered your private affair.

Lincoln buys into the Whig party. His hero is Henry Clay, and the Whigs have a much more complicated relationship with questions of public morality. The Whig party is the place where questions of morality are permitted remarkably freely and where religious voices are in fact welcomed to provide opinions, stability, and cultural content.

ALO: What about the implications of Douglas marrying into a slaveholding family and receiving income from their slave-run plantation?

Allen Guelzo: Douglas actually was very candid about it. His father-in-law (from his first marriage) bequeathed the family's slaves to Douglas's two sons, with Douglas acting as trustee until they came of age. But whatever he could have gained in terms of political capital from saying, "I'm simply doing this because of this trust for my children," he excuses away by the reality that he takes a very direct hand in the management of the plantations and the slaves.

He certainly does not have much hesitation in taking money from them. I think this also explains why Douglas was so reluctant to have the issue about those slaves brought out into the open, because he could not, with an entirely consistent and clear conscience, say, "This is simply a fluke of the inheritance laws." He knew sooner or later people were going to find out there was a revenue stream for him.

ALO: When did this come to light?

Allen Guelzo: The person who "blows the whistle" most aggressively on this in 1858 is John Slidell, a Louisianan and a slaveholder. Slidell is a Buchanan lieutenant, and President James Buchanan sends him as his personal representative to work with the Buchananites in Illinois and spread around the news, or "dirt," on Douglas. The irony is you have a Southern slaveholder who's going around Illinois telling people "Stephen A. Douglas is a slaveholder."

ALO: Does it seems strange that Douglas says he doesn't care if slavery is "voted up or down" if he's profiting from it?

Allen Guelzo: I think in the long run he really meant what he said about not caring whether or not slavery was voted up or down. He could compartmentalize the slaves in his father-in-law's trust because, after all, it was a trust agreement, so he could give himself permission to assume this was something entirely different.

His objection to the Lecompton Constitution has nothing to do with slavery. He took as his ground of objection to Lecompton the fact that the election and the convention which stood behind it were rigged at Buchanan's behest. Therefore they do not represent genuine popular sovereignty. It's a very contrived argument but he has to find some ground on which to stand, and that becomes the ground. Ironically, it makes him a hero to the antislavery people, not because he had convictions about slavery but simply because he was opposing Lecompton. Anti-slavery people concluded, a little too hastily, that "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." He actually believed that convictions about right or wrong concerning slavery should not enter into public discussion or public policy, because they were, at least potentially, too divisive and too liable to be pushed to irreconcilable extremes. So, for Douglas, if Kansas, by a legitimate process, wanted to legalize slavery, it was fine with him.

ALO: Could you explain more about "process" and "principle?"

Allen Guelzo: For Douglas, democracy is principally a matter of the process of people openly determining by majority rule, what they want. If you put it in a phrase, for Douglas it would be simply vox populi -- the voice of the people rules. In fact, when he is notified of his official reelection to the Senate in January 1859, the message he telegraphs back is "Let the voice of the people rule."

That's the guiding star for Douglas politically. If the people want to vote themselves something that is wrong, well, that's the price you pay for democracy. So democracy for him is about process. Democracy is an end in itself and if you have observed all the rules and counted all the noses and everything is done above board, that's what democracy is.

Lincoln represents an entirely different point of view. For Lincoln, democracy is a means, a means of realizing the truths of natural law that are hardwired in human nature -- the ones Jefferson articulated -- the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those are things which are inalienable, not negotiable. That's what makes you a human being. The purpose of democracy is to create a system which gives natural rights the most natural flow.

Democracy is opposed to aristocracy. Does aristocracy promote the right to liberty or the pursuit of happiness? No, not nearly as well as democracy does. So the glory of democracy is the way it functions as a means to the higher goal of natural law. But it is a means, and there are certain elements of what are natural right and natural law which cannot be put to a vote.

There are certain principles which exist above the process. The purpose of the process is to realize the principles. It would almost be like saying, "Why do you own an automobile?" So you can turn the engine on and sit in it? Do you say this automobile runs great? Okay, what next? Are you going to go somewhere in it? Stephen A. Douglas, if he was an automobile mechanic, would say, "We'll just let it go where it wants to go."

Lincoln would say, "No, that automobile is a means to get me to another place. It's a means to get me to Illinois. It has some other purpose it serves beyond just being in operation." That represents a Continental Divide -- not just between Lincoln and Douglas. It also represents a fundamental divide in American political theory and it's one we have lived with for a long time in our history. That's one reason the Lincoln-Douglas debates have fascinated people.

However much the debates appear to be full of parry and thrust, bite and bite back, there is this real, basic, fundamental disagreement about what a democracy is supposed to be. For Douglas it really is, "I don't care." For Lincoln, the real issue is argued at the last debate, when he says, "That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles -- right and wrong -- throughout the world . It is the same spirit that says, 'You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it.' No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle." That separates the two men pretty decisively.

ALO: That's classic Lincoln, getting to the "nub" of an issue.

Allen Guelzo: He wants to ask this question: "What is the problem in the slavery controversy?" For Douglas, the problem is that there is controversy. For Lincoln, the problem with the slavery controversy is slavery. Lincoln's warning, from the House Divided speech all the way to the end of the campaign is, unless you come up fully and frankly to this question, "Is slavery right or wrong?" the controversy is never going to go away. No matter how many bandaids you put on it, no matter how much popular sovereignty you apply, we have to make up our minds, is slavery right or wrong? Everything else will flow from that position. Trying to deal with the controversy will get you nowhere. It will just produce another Kansas Territory bloodbath. If, however, we focus upon the real issue, whether this is right or wrong, we'll take care of the controversy along with it, but we have to make up our minds, one way or the other. The country can't be a house divided.

ALO: Douglas supported Lincoln's Union-saving efforts before his death in June 1861. If he lived longer, would that have changed?

Allen Guelzo: Suppose Douglas had lived past 1861. He would have had the expectation of running for president in 1864 and all of his energies would be bent in that direction. And on the path toward that election, I suspect he would have offered himself as the "honest broker" between North and South, not as a resolute ally of Lincoln. After all, what had achieved success and prominence for Douglas was his participation in the Compromise of 1850. That teaches Douglas a lesson. If you want to be famous and loved in American politics, be, like Clay, a Great Compromiser. So everything in Douglas's temperament would have been skewed toward saying, "All right, let's see if we can work out a compromise."

Even in Douglas's last statements in the Senate a month before he dies he's already beginning to indicate points on which there's liable to be opposition to the Lincoln administration. If he lived I think he would have become the core of Democratic opposition very early. Whether it would have been the same kind of peace-at-any-price Democratic opposition that's offered by people like Clement Vallandigham or Horatio Seymour is another question, but what is certain is when Douglas dies it takes the Democratic party almost a year to catch its wind, find a new set of leaders in Congress, and when it does find them they are Vallandigham, S.S. Cox, and other Peace Democrats. Would Douglas have been more of a War Democrat? Quite possibly. But I still think it would have been in opposition to Lincoln. Douglas would always be thinking of a re-match.

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