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Stephen Douglas

Stephen A. Douglas was an astute politician from Illinois, who was largely responsible for the passage of the Compromise of 1850 by the U.S. Congress. Douglas served in the House of Representatives, as a U.S. Senator, and as the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States in 1860. He lost to Republican Abraham Lincoln, whom he had defeated in a legislative election some years earlier. Douglas was a champion of popular sovereignty, believing that the people should decide issues related to territorial expansion, and he served as chairman of the Committee on Territories. Douglas is perhaps best remembered for opposing Lincoln during the 1858 legislative campaign in Illinois and engaging in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and for renewing the debate on the slavery question with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. He was nicknamed the “Little Giant” and died of typhoid fever in Chicago in 1861 at the age of 48.

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