The debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas are among the most significant confrontations to have been staged in the history of American politics. The candidates’ sharp exchanges helped to polarize sectional attitudes towards slavery and, although Lincoln lost the 1858 Illinois Senate race of which they were a part, the debates catapulted Lincoln towards the 1860 presidential nomination, and into the White House.
A century later, another young Senator pushed himself to the forefront of public attention with the publication of his Profiles in Courage. The book, written with the assistance of John F. Kennedy’s principal speechwriter Theodore Sorensen, won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957.
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