The Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglas Joint Debates and the Communication of the Newspaper

By Philip Silberman

In the modern day, television and the Internet are the main sources of information to people throughout the United States. However, in 1858, during the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates, the newspaper was the only engine of mass communication. The debates were covered by many national and local newspapers and propelled Abraham Lincoln into the national spotlight. Lincoln, although losing the senatorial race, became known all over the country because of the newspaper reports and accounts, and two years later was nominated for the presidency. The debates, and the communication of them by the newspapers on both a local and national scale, are what gave Lincoln the popularity he needed to win the presidential nomination as well as the presidency itself.

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