Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area

WNIJ

For our third episode, we head down to Charleston, Illinois, a city bursting with Lincoln history, where we meet up with Joe Woodard, a veteran Lincoln presenter who also happens to be beardless. A beardless Lincoln? How is that possible? But Lincoln didn't grow his beard until the 1860 election, so anyone portraying Lincoln's career as a prairie lawyer in Illinois should, for authenticity's sake, be clean shaven. Woodard's tonsured chops have defined his Lincoln career, giving him opportunities not available to his bewhiskered colleagues.

WNIJ

In this episode, we visit with Lincoln presenter George Buss in his hometown of Freeport, Illinois. George has been portraying Lincoln for more than 30 years and proudly serves as the official Lincoln of Gettysburg. George loves Freeport because it's a town steeped in Lincoln history. It was here, on August 27th, 1858, that Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas held the second of their seven debates. This debate is infamous for Douglas's introduction of the Freeport Doctrine, which helped him defeat Lincoln in that race, but propelled Lincoln to the presidency just two years later.

U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger is working on a bill that would expand the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area to portions of the WNIJ listening area.

One of these areas is Freeport.  It's well-known as the site of the second Lincoln-Douglas debate, with a statuary park and other exhibits commemorating the event.

Freeport Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Connie Sorn says it’s also where Douglas formed the Freeport Doctrine. This claimed that states could pass laws for or against slavery, regardless of Supreme Court decisions.