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Fifth Debate •  Galesburg, October 7

At Knox College, which had been founded by abolitionist ministers twenty years earlier, as many as 20,000 onlookers braved the wind and cold to hear the debate.  To escape the worst of the weather, the speakers’ platform was relocated from an open area to a more sheltered space next to Old Main.  Douglas claimed anew his devotion to the right of voters in each state and territory to decide issues.  Douglas also returned to discussion of the founders’ intent in declaring “all men are created equal.”   Were not some of the Declaration’s signers slaveholders who knew slaves were excluded?  Lincoln chided his opponent for not seeing the wrongness of slavery, declaring that Douglas was “blowing out the moral lights around us, when he contends that whoever wants slaves has a right to hold them.”

Galesburg Today
Built in 1857, Old Main at Knox College is the only Lincoln-Douglas Debate site where today's visitor can go back in time and stand with Abraham Lincoln, overlooking the east lawn where assembled an audience of more than ten-thousand. Now at the center of the Knox campus, Old Main still evokes the expansive prairie environment that existed on October 7, 1858. Large bronze tablets portraying Lincoln and Douglas now flank the east door, while historic exhibits inside Old Main reveal details of the debate and the founding of Galesburg and Knox College. A Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibit on the lawn provide further information and illustrations of the debate.

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