A great READING resource with QUESTIONS and ANSWER KEY included! It focuses on the topic of Lincoln-Douglas debates.
Included are 1 page reading, 1 page question sheet and 1 page answer key! Perfect for homework assignments, classwork or reading for test review! Can be used for both middle and high school level.
The reading first provides an overview of why Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas engaged in a series of debates for the senatorial position of Illinois. It compares the different arguments made by both candidates in regards to slavery. For instance, it explains in depth how Lincoln was strategic in forcing Douglas to explain his contradictory stances on slavery. Prior to the Dred Scott case, Douglas was known for supporting popular sovereignty of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This allowed him to gain a base of southern supporters. However, Douglas’ responses in the debates jeopardized this relationship as he disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling in the Dred Scott case. The reading will introduce to students Douglas’ Freeport Doctrine and how it extends the concept of popular sovereignty. This includes explaining how the Freeport Doctrine allowed for the possibility of banning slavery in certain territories if the people demand through majority vote. Students will then analyze how the Freeport Doctrine ultimately cost Douglas’ bid to the presidential election of 1860 and how it alienated him from southern supporters. It will also mention Douglas’ stance on slavery and how he disagreed with Lincoln about slavery being an issue of morality. The latter half of the reading will focus on Abraham Lincoln’s rise to prominence through the debates. By engaging in a debate with Stephen A. Douglas, well-known politician at the time, Lincoln gained political exposure and national attention. The reading mentions briefly about his political background and how he established a platform for himself and the newly founded Republican Party. It will explain in depth about Lincoln’s arguments on why slavery was an immoral institution, wrong on a political and social scale. Most importantly, it will provide students an understanding of his famous “A House Divided” speech of how the nation can no longer endure divisive tensions on slavery and the need to make a final decision to be completely proslavery or antislavery. The reading will also explain the outcome of the debates, and how Lincoln won in the long run as he elevated his status to a national level and solidified his leadership image for the 1860 presidential election. Lastly, there is a reading section on the significant impact of the Lincoln-Douglas debates and how it brought the nation on the verge of a civil war.
Some vocabulary words and key terms included in this reading are Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas, Illinois, Republican Party, popular sovereignty, Kansas-Nebraska Act, Dred Scott, Supreme Court, Freeport Doctrine, presidential campaign of 1860, Free-Soil Party, A House Divided speech and Civil War.
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