Lincoln-Douglas Debate Square


Experience the history of the second of the famous debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas.

Its was at this site on August 27, 1858 that the Freeport Doctrine, an important statement regarding slavery and state's rights, was proclaimed by Douglas. Although Douglas won the Senatorial campaign for which the debate was held, his statements lost him the support of the South and split the Democratic Party. This enabled Lincoln to win the Presidency in 1860, thus precipitating the Civil War. The site is self-interpretive through a series of waysides that tell of the events and ideas which led up to the debates, and also includes a boulder and plaque dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, as well as the life-size statues "Lincoln and Douglas in Debate" by artist Lily Tolpo which was dedicated in 1992. The park-like setting is complete with benches, lighting, and spacious walks.

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