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WTVP to Feature Lincoln & Douglas at Galesburg - The Great Debate

Tuesday, August 21st, 2008


WTVP will launch its Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration with the premiere of Lincoln and Douglas at Galesburg—The Great Debate on Thursday, Sept. 11 from 8:10-9 p.m.

This new Knox College/WTVP production looks at the three-hour, October 1858 debate between Democratic U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas and Republican challenger Abraham Lincoln on the issues of slavery and popular sovereignty.

At the time, the country was burning both literally and figuratively—and slavery was the fuel. The main debate centered around Douglas’s view that the voters in each new state and territory had the right to determine whether it would be free or slave—and Lincoln’s view that no majority had the right to deprive a minority of the fundamental rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The Galesburg debate, which was held at Knox College on Oct. 7, was the fifth in a series of seven held throughout the state—a series that was considered a turning point in Lincoln’s political life.

At the time, the State Legislature—not the people—decided the outcome of the election and returned Douglas to Washington. The debates, however, projected Lincoln onto the national political stage and set the tone for 1860, when the two faced each other again in the race for the Presidency.

Lincoln and Douglas at Galesburg—The Great Debate includes interviews with James McPherson, Civil War historian; Bryon Anderson, research historian, Abraham Lincoln Library; Michael Burlingame, author of The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln; and Rodney Davis and Douglas Wilson, both from the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College.

WTVP will also join in the two-year celebration of the 200th birthday of Lincoln with a variety of additional local and national specials about the 16th President and his legacy.


For further information contact Janet McGrath, (309) 495-0593 or janet.mcgrath@wtvp.org



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