Stephen A. Douglas

The Political Apprenticeship, 1833–1843

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About the Book

When newly elected Illinois State Representative Abraham Lincoln first saw 5’4” Stephen A. Douglas, he sized him up as “the least man I ever saw.” With the introduction of Douglas’s first bill in 1834, Lincoln soon thought differently. The General Assembly not only passed the bill, it appointed the 21-year-old Douglas State’s Attorney of Illinois’ largest judicial district, replacing John J. Hardin, one of Lincoln’s most powerful political allies.
It was the first of many Douglas-Lincoln contests in the decade ahead. Struggles over banking, internal improvements, party organizations, the seat of government and slavery—even romantic rivalry—put them on opposing sides long before the 1860 presidential election. These battles were Douglas’s political apprenticeship and he would use what he learned to obstruct Lincoln—his friend and nemesis—while becoming the most powerful Democrat in the nation.

About the Author(s)

Reg Ankrom is a frequent writer and speaker about pre–Civil War Illinois and is working on two additional books on Stephen A. Douglas. He lives in Quincy, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Reg Ankrom
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, chronology, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9807-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2044-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Chronology Through the First Douglas Decade in Illinois xi

Preface 1

Introduction 3

1. Jacksonville, Illinois 5

2. “I have become a Western man” 16

3. Party Democrat Stephen A. Douglas 36

4. Sophisticates and Sophists 43

5. “The Lord, and the Legislature, and Gen Jackson” 53

6. A New Party in Jackson’s Image 63

7. “The least man I ever saw” 73

8. The First Douglas-Lincoln Contest 83

9. A Scheme to Capture the Capital 93

10. Convening the Faithful 105

11. The Contest for Miss Mary Ann Todd 123

12. The First Douglas-Lincoln Debates 134

13. Creating a Constitutional Crisis 145

14. The Move to Pack the Court 154

15. Judge Douglas 162

16. Quest for Congress 177

17. Natural Phenomena 186

Epilogue 191

Chapter Notes 193

Bibliography 213

Index 221

Book Reviews & Awards

“exceptionally well written and presented…very highly recommended”—Midwest Book Review.