Commentaries on the Exhibit’s Works




Download Commentary (181 KB)


A brief commentary prepared by Margaret Strain, PhD, Professor, English, on the following work:

Abraham Lincoln
Political Debates between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas in the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois
Columbus, 1860; first edition; first issue; presentation copy


The Illinois Senate campaign between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in the fall of 1858 drew audiences by the thousands, not just from Illinois, but also neighboring states. The issue at the heart of the campaign: slavery.Lincoln dutifully kept newspaper clippings and stenographers’ records, and in the spring of 1859, Lincoln decided to publish a chronicle of their seven joint appearances from August 21 to October 15. Released in the spring of 1860 and widely circulated, it helped Lincoln to secure the presidency.

In his second speech (Chicago), Lincoln voices his well-known statement, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Then as now, these words attest to the power of language to move the minds and hearts of others.

Permission Statement

This item and all others in the Imprints and Impressions collection are licensed for research, educational and private use. Proper attribution must be used when downloading or reproducing this content. If you wish to use the materials for other purposes, please contact University of Dayton Libraries to obtain permission: 937-229-4221.

Streaming Media

Contents of Streaming Media

Herbert Woodward Martin, professor emeritus of English, reads a selection.

Lincoln: Political Debates of 1858


View Images