History of the 1858 DebatesLincoln-Douglas Debate Communities

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
Tour Itineraries

Of the many ways to go "Looking for Lincoln" in Illinois, these are just a few. Every visitor can feel free to break apart, remodel, or otherwise customize these tours for their own use. The Lincoln-Douglas debate sites are an excellent jumping off point for each visitor to develop their own unique understanding of the story of our greatest President, Abraham Lincoln.

The debates were a pivotal moment in our nation's history, but what led up to that moment, what caused our nation's eyes to settle on this humble man from Illinois, and what set this man on his road to greatness?

We hope that by exploring along these journeys, each visitor will be able to cultivate a greater understanding of the answers they are seeking and enjoy themselves along the way. Lincoln the lawyer, Lincoln the statesman, and Lincoln the debater…all of these parts made the man, and led him to that watershed moment…and beyond...

A Resplendent Drive from the Heart of Illinois Down Through Little Egypt.

The Illinois River Road Tour

Traveling along this stunning National Scenic Byway beginning in Ottawa, the site of the first Lincoln-Douglas Debate, through to Alton, the site of the seventh debate, and then on down to Little Egypt in Jonesboro, the third site, this route offers visitors and strikingly beautiful setting in which to explore Lincoln. Caution: not for the faint of heart, this is a wonderful jaunt into Illinois




The Splendor of Northern Lincoln Country

Freeport Tour

Located along the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial Highway, Freeport, the second of the debate sites, is a short drive from Galena, Chicago, Rockford, and is a nice drive from Ottawa, the site of the first debate. Galena is not a site to be missed and was the home of nine civil war generals including Grant.




Right Off I-55 and an Easy Drive From Chicago

Galesburg-Quincy Tour

From the fifth debate site in Galesburg to the sixth debate site in Quincy, the visitor will see an important section of Illinois and catch some exciting history about westward expansion during this time as well. Cutting along the scenic Mississippi River, the tour begins and ends in an historic community no matter which way you drive on this single day adventure.




Reached easily from either I-57 or I-70

Charleston Tour

The site of the fourth Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Charleston is and excellent place to start exploring the early history of Abraham Lincoln, moving back in time beginning with the Debates and moving through the pre-debate arrangements and into Lincoln's time as a lawyer and his roots as a poor farmer's son. This two-day excursion can be picked apart thematically or simply followed as is, but either way guarantees something for the whole family.



Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition • #1 Old State Capitol Plaza • Springfield, IL 62701 • 217.782.6817