Freeport Doctrine.pdf - Lincoln Home National Park Service...

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Lincoln HomeNational Park ServiceU.S. Department of the InteriorLincoln Home National Historic SiteThe Freeport DoctrineThe Freeport DoctrineIn 1858 Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas held a series of debates as they campaigned for the U. S. Senate seat from Illinois. In these debates one candidate would speak for an hour, the second for an hour and a half, followed by the first with a half-hour rebuttal. Douglas opened and closed four of the seven debates. The second of these debates was held in Freeport, Illinois on August 27, 1858. At Freeport, Lincoln asked Douglas whether the people of a territory could lawfully exclude slavery prior to the creation of a state constitution. Douglas' answer became known as the Freeport Doctrine and was another in a chain of events, all "linked" to each other, which led to Lincoln's election as the 16th President and to civil war.Douglas on SlaveryThe two "links" just before the Freeport Doctrine were the Kansas-Nebraska Act, championed by Douglas, and the Supreme Court's decision in the Dred Scott Case.Prior to passage of Douglas' Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Missouri Compromise had prohibited slavery in the Louisiana Territory north of 36 degrees, 30 minutes north latitude. The Kansas-Nebraska Act overthrew this and allowed the possibility of slavery in what had been the Louisiana Territory north of the "Missouri Compromise" line.In the Dred Scot Decision, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that negroes could not be U.S. citizens and that Congress and its designated representative, a territorial legislature, could not prohibit slavery in a territory. This angered many in Illinois and it was a fatal blow to Douglas' theory of popular sovereignty. Douglas had championed popular sovereignty as the end to all the controversy over the spread of slavery. Douglas wanted to let the people of a territory decide if they would have slavery or not. Lincoln and others contended it was the duty of the national government to regulate slavery in the territories, and the government should follow through with what they considered were the wishes of the "Founding Fathers" and prohibit

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