Political Campaigning in 1858

Political Campaigning in 1858 (HM13WJ)

Location: Quincy, IL 62301 Adams County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 55.956', W 91° 24.521'

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Quincy was in a festive mood for the all-day event with bands, banners, and thousands of people in attendance. Historian E.B. Long said, "It was a carnival time in Illinois. Mobs of thousands journeyed by wagon, horseback, boat and train to stand for more than three hours to witness the political 'spectacular' of the day." Quincyan Abraham Jonas, an old friend, introduced Lincoln for his opening remarks. A young boy, Ben Miller, jumped to the platform and sold two cigars to Douglas who smoked constantly while waiting to speak. Campaigns of the frontier days involved "hell-for-leather" politics, extreme statements, sarcastic remarks, and slugging oratory. Although Lincoln and Douglas beseeched their followers for civility, applause, cheers, laughter, and shouting frequently interrupted the speakers. Both men baited the crowd to draw support. The Whig and Republican reported that in the last half-hour Lincoln gave Douglas one of the "severest skinnings" that he had received in the course of the debates. Historian Harold Holzer wrote, "The debate here degenerated into one of the nastiest of the campaign."

Built in 1837, The second Adams County Courthouse was an imposing Grecian-columned structure, located on Fifth Street directly across from the public square, site of the sixth Lincoln-Douglas Debate. One of the offices on the ground floor was used by Stephen A. Douglas during the 1840's. The wide steps leading up to the courthouse were a common gathering point, especially during the Civil War. The courthouse partially burned in January 1875, leading to the building of a new courthouse on Jefferson Square.

Lincoln arrived in Quincy the morning of the debate on the Burlington train from Macomb. A cheering crown and a cannon salute greeted Lincoln upon his arrival at the Spring Street depot. Lincoln hoped to walk to the home of Orville and Eliza Browning, but he rode in a parade led by a model ship on wheels, drawn by four horses, and labeled "CONSTITUTION." Filled with sailors, the helm was managed by a live raccoon. Later, John Tillson, candidate for state senator, presented Lincoln with flowers from the Republican ladies. Lincoln had dinner with friends before walking to the debate. Lincoln spent that night in the Browning home at Seventh and Hampshire, where he shook hands with throngs of well wishers from the front steps. The following day both Lincoln and Douglas boarded the imposing steamboat, City of Louisiana, for the seventh and final debate at Alton on October 15th.

HM NumberHM13WJ
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 14th, 2014 at 1:55am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 635970 N 4421488
Decimal Degrees39.93260000, -91.40868333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 55.956', W 91° 24.521'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 55' 57.36" N, 91° 24' 31.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 101-199 N 5th St, Quincy IL 62301, US
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