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Sixth Debate • Quincy, October 13

In John’s Square (now Washington Park), a crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 gathered to hear the debate.  Lincoln again declared that slavery was a moral wrong that should not be spread.  “We [the Republican Party] also oppose it as an evil so far as it seeks to spread itself. We insist on the policy that shall restrict it to its present limits.”  Republicans, said Lincoln, would attack slavery only where the Constitution permitted, presumably the territories.  Douglas countered with an explanation of why “I will not argue the question whether slavery is right or wrong. I tell you why I will not do it. I hold that under the Constitution of the United States, each State of this Union has a right to do as it pleases on the subject of slavery.”

Quincy Today
The site of the Quincy Lincoln-Douglas debate is in Washington Park which spans four lush acres in the heart of downtown.  The Sesquicentennial Plaza in the park is designed to tell the story of the sixth debate.  Two Looking for Lincoln storyboards provide historical context, a concrete plaza features an 1858 map of the United States and a Lorado Taft bas relieve sculpture depicts the event.  A low wall on either side of the sculpture features six pairs of “Point/counterpoint” quotes taken from the debate. The Park is the site of local events throughout the summer and is just blocks from the Mississippi.


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