Illinois has long been active in politics -- both local and national -- dating back to the infancy of our country. And Ottawa, Illinois, marks where a significant national change began. It was here that senatorial candidates Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln held the first of seven debates throughout Illinois to discuss issues of the day, and the main theme concerned slavery and its expansion into the new territories.
Back in 1858 Illinois was a free state but its candidates, Douglas and Lincoln, disagreed whether slavery should be allowed in the new territories. Douglas favored popular sovereignty where the people of each territory could decide on slavery while Lincoln argued that it would nationalize and perpetuate slavery.
Although Steven Douglas won election to the Senate that year Abraham Lincoln published his thoughts and ran against Douglas two years later for President of the United States. So these "Great Debates" previewed the issues that Lincoln would face in the aftermath of his victory. And we all know how that turned out!
It's interesting that while Lincoln was successful in the 1860 presidential election he received fewer votes than Douglas here in Ottawa, so I'm not sure who this statue is celebrating. Maybe both of them?
As a footnote, three Presidents have been elected from Illinois: Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, and Barack Obama. Additionally, California's Ronald Reagan was born and raised in Illinois. However the state honors Lincoln with its state slogan, Land of Lincoln, and his presidential library is located in the state capital of Springfield.
Week 26, Miles 2125, Weather 85F☀️