Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, First Edition, Third Printing, 1860

Lincoln, Abraham and Stephen A. Douglas. Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, In the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois, Including the Preceding Speeches of Each, at Chicago, Springfield, Etc.; Also, the Two Great Speeches of Mr. Lincoln in Ohio, in 1859, As Carefully Prepared by the Reporters of Each Party, and Published at the Times of Their Delivery. Columbus: Follett, Foster, and Company, 1860.  First edition, third issue. Presented in original brown blind-stamped cloth, with new custom quarter leather and cloth archival clamshell case. 

This is a first edition, third issue printing of the political debates of Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, the most important political debates of the 19th Century. The book is presented in its original brown blind-stamped cloth boards, as issued in 1860 from the publisher Follet, Foster, and Company.

The series of seven debates between Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln during the 1858 Illinois state election campaign as among the most significant statements in American political history. The issues they discussed were not only of critical importance to the sectional conflict over slavery and states’ rights but also touched deeper questions that would continue to influence political discourse. As Lincoln said, the issues would be discussed long after “these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent.”

Douglas, a member of Congress since 1843 and a nationally prominent spokesman for the Democratic party, was seeking reelection to a third term in the U.S. Senate. Abraham Lincoln, by then a well-regarded lawyer and former one-term Republican congressman from Illinois, challenged Douglas for his Senate seat. Because of Douglas’s political stature, the campaign attracted national attention. Lincoln and Douglas participated in an unprecedented series of seven debates throughout Illinois, one in each of the state's Congressional districts. 

In the debates, Lincoln argued that the nation would eventually encompass all slave states or all free states, and nothing in between. He cited the end of the Missouri Compromise and the Dred Scott decision as evidence that slavery was spreading into the Northern states. Meanwhile, Douglas attempted to tie Lincoln to radical abolitionists who would undermine national political stability to extend equality to African Americans. Douglas continued on to win the election, then determined by the state legislature, not by direct popular vote, but the debates gave Lincoln some national name-recognition, which he leveraged at the Republican Convention to secure the party's nomination for president of the United States in the 1860 elections. 

Almost immediately after losing the 1858 to Douglas, Lincoln began collecting reports and transcriptions of his great debates with Douglas as they appeared in various Chicago newspapers. He later handed his notes and records over to the influential Republican operative Oran Follett of Ohio who published them in 1860, just in time for Lincoln’s presidential campaign. The book was a huge success, selling out in only a few months. It has been cited as a significant influence in helping Lincoln gain the presidency.


Overall very good condition. Original brown blind-stamped cloth binding, with faded gilt title to spine. Shelf and handling wear to cover and binding, with general signs of previous use. Original brown blind-stamped cloth, with chipping and fraying to extremities stabilized by a conservator. Interior paper is clean, with only light pencil notation and past ownership evidence. This is the first edition, third issue, with a line above the publisher on the verso of title, no publisher’s ads, and a number '2’ in lower margin of p. 13.  

Presented with a new custom ¼ leather and cloth archival clamshell case with raised bands and gilt stamps and titles to spine and inlay to front. Dimensions: Book: 9 ⅜ H x 6 ⅝ W x ¾” D. Case: 10 ⅝”H  x 7 ½” W x 1 ½” D.


Exclusive deals, new arrivals, and more. Sign up for our emails and get in on all the action!