- ›› Grade Level : 4
The Lincoln-Douglas debates were a series of seven joint discussions between Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, and Stephen A. Douglas, a Democrat, held during the summer and fall of 1858 in Illinois. Lincoln and Douglas had been debating each other for more than twenty years before their famous contest for the US Senate in 1858. They were longtime rivals with contrasting styles and sharp differences in philosophy. But from the beginning almost everyone realized the 1858 debates would be historic.
Take a look at Lincoln, Douglas, and...
For more than 225 years the principle of freedom and our understanding of its implications have evolved dramatically. The selections from this exhibition invite you to read the words and see the images of the men and women who forged this nation. Their words and images provide insights into the complexity of the past. James G. Basker, the president of the Gilder Lehrman Institute, guides viewers through this exploration of the evolution of liberty in the United States.
On October 16, 1859, John Brown and a band of followers, black and white, attacked the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. The raid was part of a larger plan to destroy the slave system by freeing and arming slaves. The raiders were captured and John Brown was executed on December 2, 1859. The unique documents discussed here examine John Brown’s beliefs and actions in the context of growing national divisions over slavery in the 1850s.
After the Civil War, the United States government commissioned several surveys of the American West. Photography was widely used to document the region's unusual geography, and it was this visual evidence that spurred Congress to create the national park system.
All images are from the Gilder Lehrman Collection.