The Lincoln-Douglas debates captivated the nation 150 years ago, as Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas addressed the key issue of slavery in America in a series of seven head-to-head debates across the state of Illinois. At stake was a seat in the United State Senate, and despite his good showing, Lincoln lost the election. But his eloquence and easy-going humor in this campaign helped catapult him to the presidency later. This Friday through Sunday (April 11 through 13), Alton, Illinois, celebrates the sesquicentennial of the Lincoln-Douglas debates with a wide and wonderful array of events, perhaps the greatest of which is the Association of Lincoln Presenters' national convention. The ALP members bring Lincoln's legacy to life through educational presentations and historical re-creation. At 1 p.m. Saturday at Lincoln-Douglas Square (West Broadway and Landmarks Boulevard; 618-465-6676 or www.visitalton.com), at least 50 costumed ALP members press the flesh of their constituents then briefly re-create the final debate (the one that took place in Alton) between Lincoln and Douglas. Other scheduled events include the play Lincoln and Booth Frozen in Time at the Alton Little Theater on Friday and a gala reception for Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln at Alton City Hall on Saturday evening. The only way you'll see more Lincolns is if you change a five-dollar bill into pennies.
April 11-13, 2008