Abraham Lincoln achieved national attention during his 1858 campaign to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate. His rival was Democrat Stephen A. Douglas; during the run-up, the two faced off in a series of debates about slavery. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates, as they came be known, attracted widespread, country-wide attention. Lincoln believed slavery should be abolished, while Douglas argued that the decision belonged to the states.
Lincoln lost that election, but two years later, the newly formed Republican Party selected him to run against Douglas, but—this time—for the presidency. On November 6, 1860 Lincoln was declared the 16th president of the United States.
For more information, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America by Allen C. Guelzo.
On November 7, 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first–and only– president to win a fourth term. He served from March 4, 1933 through April 12, 1945; he died of a stroke at the age of 63. His vice president, Harry S. Truman, succeeded him.
The unprecedented longevity of Roosevelt’s tenure was a difficult time; during his stewardship, Roosevelt led the country through the Great Depression, and World War II—a conflict that was fought by America, and its allies in Europe and the Pacific.
In 1947, Congress passed the 22nd Amendment, which limited a president’s service to two terms. it was ratified by the states in 1951.
For more information, the Grateful American Book Prize suggests Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Russell Freedman.
On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the U.S. Navy to raise two battalions of Marines for service as landing forces. The Navy and the Marine Corps were essential to the task of winning American independence. But, in 1783, they were disbanded when the revolution ended; they were given “new life” when they were re-established in the mid-1790s, yet, their birth dates remained October 13 and November 10, 1775, respectively.
For more information, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends The U. S. Marine Corps by Michael Benson.
History Matters is a biweekly feature courtesy of The Grateful American Book Prize.