Douglas Stephen A

Stephen A. Douglas (1813 –1861), 4th cousin 6x removed

 

Stephen A. Douglas Tomb, Chicago, Illinois (35th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue) 1881 – Architect: Leonard W. Volk

Stephen Arnold Douglas was an American politician from Illinois.  He was a U.S. Representative, a U.S. Senator and the Democratic Party nominee for President in the 1860 election, losing to Republican Abraham Lincoln.  Douglas had previously defeated Lincoln in a Senate contest, noted for the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858[1].  He was nicknamed the “Little Giant” because though short in physical stature, he was a forceful and even dominant figure in politics.  Douglas was well known as a resourceful party leader, and an adroit, ready, skillful tactician in debate and passage of legislation.  He was a leading proponent of democracy and believed in the principle of popular sovereignty: that the majority of citizens should decide contentious issues such as slavery and territorial expansion.  As chairman of the Committee on Territories, Douglas dominated the Senate in the 1850s.  He was largely responsible for the Compromise of 1850 that apparently settled slavery issues.  However, in 1854 he reopened the slavery question with the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which opened some previously prohibited territories to slavery under popular sovereignty.  Opposition to this led to the formation of the Republican Party.  Douglas initially endorsed the Dred Scott decision of 1857.  However, during the 1858 Senate campaign, he argued its effect could be negated by popular sovereignty.  He also opposed the efforts of President James Buchanan and his Southern allies to enact a Federal slave code and impose the Lecompton Constitution on Kansas.  In 1860, the conflict over slavery led to the split in the Democratic Party in the 1860 Convention.  Hardline pro-slavery Southerners rejected Douglas and nominated their own candidate, Vice President John C. Breckinridge, while the Northern Democrats nominated Douglas.  Douglas deeply believed in democracy, arguing the will of the people should always be decisive.  When civil war came in April 1861, he rallied his supporters to the Union with all his energies, but he died a few weeks later.

 

Stephen Arnold Douglas (1813 – 1861), 4th cousin 6x removed – Sally Fiske (1789 – 1869) – Sarah Arnold (1753 – 1812) – Hannah Sheldon (1714 – 1780) – Abigail Tillinghast (1673 – 1744) – Pardon Tillinghast (1622 – 1718) – Hannah Tillinghast (1682 – 1731) – Lillis Haile (1714 – 1797) – Jesse Mason (1737 – 1823) – Lydia Mason (1765 – 1812) – Lydia Baker (1788 – 1851) – Fayette B Hamlin (1812 – 1866) – Henry Fayette Hamlin (1834 – 1901) – Clarence Clark Hamlin (1868 – 1940) – Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin (1901 – 1982) – Tor Martin Hylbom (1939 – 2009) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom

On his father’s side, Stephen A. Douglas is also my 7th cousin 4x removed, as follows:

Stephen Arnold Douglas (1813 – 1861), 7th cousin 4x removed – Stephen Arnold Douglas (1782 – 1813) – Martha Arnold (1762 – 1818) – Martha Gardiner (1739 – 1819) – Nicolas Gardiner (1710 – 1801) – Mary Eldred (1682 – 1762) – Susanna Cole (1653 – 1720) – Susanna Hutchinson (1633 – 1713) – Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson (1591 – 1643) – Edward (Capt.) Hutchinson (1613 – 1675) – Anne Hutchinson (1643 – 1716) – Ann Dyer (1672 – 1731) – Joseph Clarke (1699 – 1765) – Benjamin Clarke (1721 – 1790) – John Clarke (1780 – 1865) – Oratio Dyer Clarke (1811 – 1899) – Harriet Allen Clarke (1839 – 1898) – Clarence Clark Hamlin (1868 – 1940) – Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin (1901 – 1982) – Tor Martin Hylbom (1939 – 2009) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom

 


 

Abraham Lincoln speaks as Stephen Douglas looks on in during one of their seven debates in the 1858 campaign for Illinois senatorship.

[1] The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 were a series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln, the Republican candidate for Senate in Illinois, and the incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas, the Democratic Party candidate. At the time, U.S. senators were elected by state legislatures; thus Lincoln and Douglas were trying for their respective parties to win control of the Illinois legislature. The debates previewed the issues that Lincoln would face in the aftermath of his victory in the 1860 presidential election. The main theme of the debates was slavery, especially the issue of slavery’s expansion into the territories. After losing the election for Senator in Illinois, Lincoln edited the texts of all the debates and had them published in a book. The widespread coverage of the original debates and the subsequent popularity of the book contributed to Lincoln’s nomination for President of the United States by the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago.

 

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