Clio Logo
Washington Park and Abraham Lincoln's Connection to Quincy, Illinois Walking Tour
Item 3 of 8

This bas relief sculpture by artist Lorado Taft was dedicated in 1936 and depicts the sixth debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas which occurred in this public square on October 13, 1858. The two men were candidates for the U.S. Senate at a time when Senators were selected by the state legislature. As a result, the debate was seen as representatives of the two political parties rather than a popular referendum between the two candidates. Although Douglas's Democratic Party won the majority of seats leading to his selection as Senator, Abraham Lincoln became the Republican Party's Presidential candidate in the next election.

This bas relief sculpture was dedicated in 1936 and photographed Bill Pfingsten in 2012

Plant, Sculpture, Tree, Statue

This photo by Bill Pfingsten shows the historical marker in Quincy's Washington Park

Wood, Motor vehicle, Automotive exterior, Table

This bas-relief sculpture was dedicated in 1936 and the artist's choice to depict Lincoln standing while Douglas sits with his arms crossed demonstrates the esteem Illinois residents felt for Abraham Lincoln in that era. A crowd estimated to be as large as 15,000 people watched the two rising political leaders debate the issues of the day, including the extension of slavery. While Lincoln began the debates with equivocation about the issue, it was at this location in Quincy where Lincoln expressed his moral opposition to slavery most clearly. Despite his clear belief that slavery was "a moral, a social, and a political wrong," Lincoln called only for ending the extension of slavery at this time and would not support actions to end slavery where it was practiced until halfway through the Civil War.