Search for Equality

Search for Equality (HM13X1)

Location: Quincy, IL 62301 Adams County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 55.87', W 91° 24.57'

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"Who shall say, I am the superior, and you are the inferior?" asked Lincoln in July 1858. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates focused on slavery. During the October 13th Quincy debate Lincoln affirmed: " the right to eat the bread without leave of anybody else which his own hands earns, he is my equal and the equal of every other man." As President, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and advocated voting rights for African-Americans who fought for the Union. By the standard of his era his views on racial equality, evolving over time, were progressive and changed American attitudes and culture. Lincoln endorsed women having the right to vote in 1836, a dozen years before the outset of the women's suffrage movement. In the 1850's he told a young woman who wanted to vote, "I believe you will vote, before you are much older than I." Lincoln's thirty-year friendship with Quincy's Eliza Caldwell Browning exemplifies his view of women as equals. They share an intellectual vigor and respect for one another's ideas. Lincoln championed equality, believing that everyone was entitled to equal rights and protection under the Constitution.

The home of Dr. Richard Eells, an abolitionist, symbolizes the key issue addressed by Lincoln and Douglas during their Quincy Debate. Built in 1835, it is the oldest brick house in Quincy and is a documented Underground Railroad station. It is located four blocks from the Mississippi River and was within sight of the debate. Ironically, Eells, who in April 1843 was convicted by Judge Stephen Douglas of helping a slave escape, was a distant cousin of Lincoln.

Hundreds of slaves escaped across the Mississippi River from the slave state of Missouri to Quincy by way of the Underground Railroad. In 1839 sixty-five members chartered the Adams County Anti-Slavery Society, the first in Illinois. Credited with assisting more than 200 slaves, Dr. Richard Eells was caught helping a fugitive. Charlie, escape. Eells was bound over for trial by Justice of the Peace Henry Asbury in 1842. Circuit Court Judge Stephen A. Douglas of Quincy convicted Eells, fining him $400 for harboring a runaway slave. Eells became president of the Illinois Anti-Slavery Party in 1843 and a candidate for the Liberty Party in the 1844 presidential election. Although he died before his case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, Eell's attorney, including William Seward and Salmon Chase—-future members of President Lincoln's cabinet—-carried his case through the nation's highest Court, though to an unfavorable verdict.

HM NumberHM13X1
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 18th, 2014 at 5:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 635903 N 4421328
Decimal Degrees39.93116667, -91.40950000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 55.87', W 91° 24.57'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 55' 52.20" N, 91° 24' 34.20" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 415 Jersey St, Quincy IL 62301, US
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