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Stephen Arnold Douglas Edit Profile

senator

Stephen Arnold Douglas, American senator. member Illinois Legislature from Morgan County, 1836-1837; member United States House of Representatives from Illinois, 28th-29th congresses, 1843-1847; member United States Senate from Illinois, 1847-1861, Chairman of Commission on territories (chiefly concerned with organizing Western territories because of transcontinental railroad problem, slavery became involved as secondary issue).

Background

Douglas, Stephen Arnold was born on April 23, 1813 in Brandon, Vermont, United States. Son of Doctor Stephen A. and Sarah (Fisk) Douglass.

Education

Attended Brandon Academy, Canadaigua (New York) Academy.

Career

Moved to Winchester, Illinois, 1833. Admitted to Illinois bar, 1834. States attorney for 1st Judicial District Illinois, 1834-1835.

Leader in building Democratic Party organization in Illinois, which became powerful by 1848. Member Illinois Legislature from Morgan County, 1836-1837. United States register, land office, Springfield, Illinois, 1837-1839.

Secretary of state Illinois, 1840. Judge Illinois Supreme Court, 1841-1842. Member United States House of Representatives from Illinois, 28th-29th congresses, 1843-1847.

Member United States Senate from Illinois, 1847-1861, Chairman of Commission on territories (chiefly concerned with organizing Western territories because of transcontinental railroad problem, slavery became involved as secondary issue). Helped frame compromise bills establishing territorial government for Utah and New Mexico, 1850, secured passage of I.C. R.R. Bill, 1850. In debates on Kansas-Nebraska Bill (1854) originated term “popular sovereignty” (his idea of easiest and best way to handle slavery question in building a commercially close-knit ocean-to-ocean republic).

Alienated Southern Democrats by condemning Lecompton Constitution in Kansas, 1857. Engaged in Lincoln-Douglas debates in campaign for reelection to the United States Senate, 1858, defeated Lincoln in election but lost Southern support with “popular sovereignty” stand. Nominated for President United States by Northern Democrats at National Convention, Baltimore, 1860 (following Democratic Party split at convention, Charleston, South Carolina.), defeated by Lincoln, largely due to Democratic split.

Called “Little Giant.”.

Membership

Member Illinois Legislature from Morgan County, 1836-1837. Member United States House of Representatives from Illinois, 28th-29th congresses, 1843-1847. Member United States Senate from Illinois, 1847-1861, Chairman of Commission on territories (chiefly concerned with organizing Western territories because of transcontinental railroad problem, slavery became involved as secondary issue).

Connections

Married Martha Martin, April.; married second, Adele Cutts, circa 1856.

father:
Doctor Stephen A. Douglass

mother:
Sarah (Fisk) Douglass

spouses:
Martha Martin

Adele Cutts