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Second Debate • Freeport, August 27

Six days after their meeting at Ottawa, Lincoln and Douglas met before 15,000 people at Freeport, the northernmost debate site.  Lincoln opened, answering seven questions that Douglas had put to him at Ottawa.  Lincoln declared, among other things, that it was “the right and duty of Congress to prohibit slavery in all the United States territories.” Lincoln then asked Douglas some questions of this own, with Douglas responding in part with what would become known as the Freeport Doctrine: that voters in a territory could decide whether to have slavery or not by passing laws favorable or unfavorable to it.

Freeport Today
Freeport's Debate Square is an acre plus park with winding walkways, benches, and vivid landscaping. Lily Tolpo's statues "Lincoln and Douglas in Debate" are its center piece, but the massive two-ton "Debate Rock" dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt is also a popular feature. A series of wayside interpretative signs line the walkway from Debate Rock to the statues and along with a Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibit tell the story of the Freeport debate.

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