Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

February 20, 2014

Lincoln bests Douglas in public mind

EFFINGHAM — Thursday's special historical presentation in downtown Effingham was about the lives, careers and legacies of political rivals Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

But while presenter Phil Lewis spent more than an hour on Lincoln, the longtime local historian needed only about 10 minutes to cover Douglas — even though Douglas was by far the most famous of the two until Lincoln was elected president in 1860.

Lewis said there's just so much more material on Lincoln.

"There's not that much out there on Douglas," he said.

Lewis, a longtime Teutopolis High School teacher, told a group at the Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum that Lincoln has captivated generations since his untimely death in 1865. And, he thinks he knows why.

"Lincoln was a common person," Lewis said. "He didn't come from wealth, but came up through the ranks to become a successful lawyer."

Lewis said Lincoln's assassination undoubtedly led to the mystique that surrounds the 16th President, even among people who weren't even born in the 20th century, much less than 19th.

"Then came April 14, 1865," Lewis said. "That's a date that will stick with us forever."

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com

For more, see Friday's print edition.

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