Sunday, November 02, 2008

National Presidential Wax Museum- Lincoln Douglas Debate

Well, the Halloween countdown is over, yet Purplepeanut has continued to provide us with calendar appropriate wax museum pictures. This time, a little less ghoulish, but just as intense, and far more important. He decided to share some photographs of his recent trip to the National Presidential Wax Museum in South Dakota. So without further delay, let the debate begin. . .

Another presidential election year's in full swing, and the television debates have begun in earnest! We thought it might be fun to revisit one of history's most famous debates, with the help of the National Presidential Wax Museum (aka Parade of Presidents, aka Shrine of Democracy) in Keystone, South Dakota. These pictures are from the museum's display featuring the spectacular Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.

In a series of seven debates which took place in various Illinois towns, Democrat Stephen Douglas tangled with Republican challenger Abraham Lincoln over the issues of slavery, states' rights and popular sovereignty. The winner of the election would take the coveted post of U.S. Senator from Illinois.

Douglas barely won the election, but Lincoln's strong challenge led to his nomination for president in 1860. The rest, of course, is history.

The Lincoln figure, like the others in this display, was modeled by third-generation wax artist Katherine Stubergh-Keller. The life mask she used for Lincoln's features was later used to create the Abraham Lincoln animatronic at Walt Disney's theme parks.

In wax museums, Lincoln's not often depicted sans facial hair, much less in a white suit. He didn't grow his famous beard until shortly after his election. Here his figure is compared with a daguerreotype by Mathew Brady.

Douglas looks like he's itching for an opportunity to respond to Lincoln. Here's a comparison of his figure with an actual photograph of the "Little Giant".

The two on-stage spectators are identified, but they look quite attentive as Mr. Lincoln makes his points.

"A house divided against itself cannot stand," Lincoln said in the *** debate, at ***, *** on *** ***, 1858. "I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free."

(Special thanks to the National Presidential Wax Museum)

Photos and text courtesy of Purplepeanut.

Thanks again Richard for the terrific pictures!

Visit the National Presidential Wax Museum website here.


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