The Lincoln Douglas Debates of 1854

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for 1850s America


Lincoln Douglas Debates

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Activity Overview


T Charts make it easy for students to look at different viewpoints side by side. This is especially useful when looking at two different sides of a debate!

For this activity, students will outline and define the arguments made by Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas during their famous debates in Illinois’ senatorial election of 1854. Students will use a T-Chart to list, define, and explain the arguments each candidate made, which will help further define the political divide created by “the slave question”. Students should research and understand the several arguments Lincoln makes against slavery’s expansion and Douglas’s arguments for the extension of slavery, based off popular sovereignty and individual/state rights. Students should make note of Lincoln’s “A House Divided” speech and Douglas’s “Freeport Doctrine”, both instrumental in understanding the gravity of the debates.


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a T Chart comparing and contrasting the arguments made by Lincoln and Douglas during the senatorial election of 1854.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In one column, describe who Lincoln is, his arguments, and his big speech.
  3. Create images that illustrate each of the aspects you described using appropriate characters, scenes, and items.
  4. In the other column, describe who Douglas is, his arguments, and his big speech.
  5. Create images that illustrate each of the aspects you described using appropriate characters, scenes, and items.
  6. Save your storyboard and submit it to the assignment.
Title/Description T-Chart

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