The Lincoln-Douglas debates revisited
The Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 are models not of statesmanship and eloquence, as is sometimes thought, but of strategies and tactics of rhetorical invention in the context of the public forum. The debates were marked by four patterns of argument: conspiratorial, legal, historical, and moral. The dynamics of each pattern are explored and speculations are offered about the transformation of controversial questions in the crucible of public debate. With this focus, the debates are well worth scholarly and public attention.