Tag Archives: H.W. Brands

Lincoln-Douglas debates are back in the news

Newt Gingrich thinks modern voters could benefit from an old-fashioned campaign staple:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Saturday that, if he wins the Republican nomination, he’ll challenge President Barack Obama to seven forums akin to the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Gingrich announced this intention while speaking at a presidential forum in Iowa sponsored by the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition.

The former Georgia congressman described the 2012 election as the nation’s most pivotal since 1860, when Abraham Lincoln – a Republican – defeated three opponents, including Stephen Douglas, to capture the presidency.

Historian H.W. Brands, meanwhile, has written an op-ed piece questioning the value of such debates, arguing that success in these verbal contests doesn’t equal administrative ability. ┬áBrands also believes that debates exacerbate political divisions by bringing extremism to the fore.

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