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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060168102, Hardcover)Published together in their original form for the first time, the seven Lincoln-Douglas debates are presented in their entirety, free of editing and embellishment. By the author of Lincoln on Democracy.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:19 -0400)
In the blistering summer of 1858, as America teetered on the brink of disunion, two Illinois politicians seized the nation's attention and gripped it for two extraordinary months. Through the sheer force of their words, personalities, and ideas, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas transformed a local contest for the U.S. Senate into a watershed national debate on the contentious issue of slavery and, indeed, on the principles upon which this country was founded. Yet what Lincoln and Douglas really said in those seminal debates has long been suppressed. At the time, newspapers were blatantly partisan, and though stenographers took down the speeches word for word, editors and transcribers subsequently "improved" their candidate's remarks while printing his opponent's words, warts and all. What has been reprinted ever since are the "improved," inaccurate versions. Harold Holzer has uncovered unedited texts of the debates, and this book will be the first ever to present all seven of them in their unexpurgated entirety. Besides the first true transcription of the debates, Holzer offers, through an Introduction and extensive notes, crystalline portraits of the combatants - their personalities and bearing, their quirks and foibles. Holzer also casts a brilliant light on the "house divided against itself," showing us an America at once exuberant and deeply uncertain about its future. He provides trenchant evocations of the physical and emotional stages on which the debates were set. We glimpse the feverishly enthusiastic audiences that mobbed the debates. We also witness the exceptional fervor with which the entire country followed them. Lincoln and Douglas galvanized a nation and permanently transformed our national consciousness with the speeches they gave during the summer and fall of 1858. To read the words these men actually spoke in their historic confrontation is an opportunity to witness the apex of American political discourse. Here - for the first time in more than 130 years - are those words. Here - at last - is that opportunity.
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