Douglas' Disciple

Douglas' Disciple (HM13VZ)

Location: Quincy, IL 62301 Adams County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 55.981', W 91° 24.544'

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"I regard (Richardson) as one of the truest men that ever lived; he 'sticks to judge Douglas through thick and thin" (A. Lincoln, 1860). Douglas composed the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act. William A. Richardson, another Quincyan and Douglas' political disciple, facilitated its passage through the turbulent U.S. House of Representatives. This bill opened to slavery an area guaranteed free since the Missouri Compromise, leading to the formation of the Republican Party and Lincoln's return from political retirement. Douglas and Richardson's names were interwoven in early Illinois politics. Richardson benefited in 1835 from a bill drafted by Douglas to have the legislature appoint states attorneys. As did Douglas, Richardson won the position in his district, beating Whig candidate Orville H. Browning of Quincy. Although a Whig, Legislator Abraham Lincoln voted for Richardson. Richardson led Douglas' unsuccessful campaign for the presidency in 1860. upon the death of Douglas in 1861, Richardson, the second most powerful Illinois Democrat, was disappointed when Republican Governor Richard Yates appointed Browning to the U.S. Senate. Two years later, Richardson was elected to the Senate, opposing Lincoln, conscription, and emancipation.

Political opponents William A. Richardson and Lincoln had close ties. In early 1860 Lincoln invited Richardson to sculptor Leonard Volk's Chicago studio to view the life mask being made of Lincoln. Volk recounted the two amused each other with pleasant reminiscences. During the Civil War, Lincoln recommended Richardson for Brigadier General. Richardson declined. Richardson scarcely warranted the "Copperhead" label sometimes attributed to him—-he never wavered from being pro-Union.

Quincyans passed the Kansas Nebraska Bill based on Douglas' principle of popular sovereignty. With the nation moving westward, the U.S. House and the Senate Committees on the Territories were considered in 1854 among the most important. Richardson in the House and Douglas in the Senate—-both from Quincy—-chaired the two committees. Each introduced bills in 1853 to organize Nebraska. Douglas' written to appease Southerners by repealing the Missouri Compromise. Based on popular sovereignty, the bill allowed each new state to decide the slavery issue. The Senate approved. The House debated it for days. Richardson, with Douglas working the House floor, ultimately passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Quincy Herald, a Democratic paper, praised the Bill and the role played by Richardson, strongly criticizing the opponents. Richardson was later appointed the first governor of the Nebraska Territory by President Buchanan.

HM NumberHM13VZ
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 8:34pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 635937 N 4421534
Decimal Degrees39.93301667, -91.40906667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 55.981', W 91° 24.544'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 55' 58.86" N, 91° 24' 32.64" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 425 Hampshire St, Quincy IL 62301, US
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