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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Lincoln-Douglas Debate "Reunion Tour '08"

Actors re-create debaters in updated format

October 04, 2008

Lincoln Douglas Debate Reunion Tour 08

Knox College's Old Main, the only remaining original building from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas Debates, provided an authentic setting for an updated presentation on Saturday, Oct. 4, of the 150-year-old political campaign. Actors George Buss as Abraham Lincoln and Tim Connors as Stephen Douglas based their presentation on the debates, adding explanatory remarks that brought the issues into sharper focus for a modern audience. "Reunion Tour '08" is being presented in each of the seven cities that hosted Lincoln Douglas debates in 1858.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Reunion Tour 08

George Buss as Abraham Lincoln, Tim Connors as Stephen Douglas.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Reunion Tour 08

George Buss as Lincoln talks with students attending the event for a class project.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Reunion Tour 08

Students and local news reporters, some in period dress, posed questions to the debaters.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Reunion Tour 08

Ed Finch portrayed naval officer Silas Terry, who served as moderator. Finch also scripted Reunion Tour '08.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Reunion Tour 08

An audience estimated at 350 listens to George Buss as Lincoln.

Lincoln-Douglas Debate Reunion Tour 08

Two presidents: Lincoln with Knox College President Roger Taylor.

While Tim Connors as Douglas and George Buss as Lincoln discussed the issues of the 1858 senatorial campaign, both closed with later well-known orations. Buss ended his remarks with an excerpt from Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address: "Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away..." Connors closed with Douglas's "Save the Flag" speech, given in a cross-country speaking tour shortly after the Civil War began: "There can be no neutrals in this war, only patriots or traitors... We have a duty to ourselves and to our country to protect the flag..."

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