Skip to Main Content

Somethin' to Write Home About: Lincoln-Douglas

An exhibit featuring letters from the Regional History Center Collections

Dr. Giles Random

Giles P. Ransom

Dr. Giles Paddock Ransom Family Collection, RC 275, Box 30, Folder 2


August 14, 1858

Dr. Giles P. Ransom, a physician from Winnebago County, wrote to his brother Erasmus Darwin Ransom about attending the speeches delivered by Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln in Chicago. Both Lincoln and Douglas were running for the United States Senate. The speeches were given shortly before the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, held in seven of the nine congressional districts in Illinois. Dr. Ransom describes how impressed he was with Lincoln’s communication skills:

I have had the privilege of hearing first little Dug. and Mr. Lincoln’s reply… Abe Lincoln is a great man, having had only 24 hours to prepare to reply to the speech of Douglas which was, without doubt, a well and carefully prepared speech. Lincoln completely dissected and riddled Douglas…

Dr. Ransom notes that he stood near a Douglas supporter who, when listening to Lincoln’s reply, was amazed by the address: “I declare I never heard anything answered like that.”


Dr. Giles Paddock Ransom Family Collection, RC 275, Box 12, Folder 2