Stephen A. Douglas: Champion of the Unionby Mike Bonner
This skillful Vermont politician and great orator was born in Brandon, Vermont, in 1813. Stephen Arnold Douglas was interested in debating and politics while growing up. After a brief career as a schoolteacher, Stephen obtained his law license in Illinois. Thus began a long career that centered on politics and public service. Stephen met fellow representative Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois House of Representatives. These two men would challenge each other for almost 20 years. They would continue their rivalry on a national level in 1858 when both men ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate, leading to their famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. Douglas was also involved in the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1853, both of which would affect the debate over slavery as the country headed for civil war.
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