"The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, seven legendary meetings between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas during their 1858 senatorial campaign in Illinois, made history, and changed its course as well. ... The debates were the culmination of a political rivalry that had its origin twenty-five years before, when Lincoln and Douglas were aspiring politicians in the Illinois legislature. The main theme was slavery and its expansion into the western territories. Douglas argued for the concept of popular sovereignty, with the people of each territory deciding the slavery question for themselves. But in Lincoln's view, this approach would nationalize and perpetuate slavery. Though Douglas won re-election to the Senate, Lincoln's gift for oratory and his anti-slavery stance in the debates made him a nationally known figure, and led to his election to the presidency in 1860"--Container.