Team Lincoln vs Team Douglass Debates

2023  Parliamentary-Style Debate:  Team Lincoln vs. Team Douglass
Friday, July 28, 2023  (10am to 1130am)
Stern 102

RESOLVED:  That Frederick Douglass and the radical antislavery forces were right.  The best way to defeat slavery in America would have been through more relentless confrontation and an unyielding commitment to both freedom and equality.

Coin Toss for deciding teams:  Monday, July 24, 2023 following seminar

Teams:  Pinsker section (Bowman / Goodman) vs. Johnson section (Wingert) with Mealy section dividing up and joining half to each team

TEAM DOUGLASS (WINGERT): Candelaria, Carroll, Duvert, Knavel, Haines, Khuc, Orcutt, Peachey, Renault, Snyder, Squires, Yisrael

TEAM LINCOLN (BOWMAN / GOODMAN):  Castillo, Cheema, Echterling, Frederick, George, Grant, Masshardt, O’Gorman, Paz-Guerrero, Rasmussen, Sullivan, Tiru

COACHES:  Lindsay Bowman (with Charlotte Goodman) vs. Cooper Wingert

JUDGES:  Greg Zimmerman (Class of 1983) and various alums of the seminar

TEAM DOUGLASS will open and close the debate

Scene from the 2021 debate


There will be six speakers on each team.  Each speaker gets 2 minutes.  The teams will alternate, starting with Team Douglass arguing FOR the resolution.  Team Lincoln then argues against.  Each team much decide the order of its speakers in advance.

Each team will also designate a questioner for each speaker’s slot who will sit in the front rows.  There will be six questioners on each team. Each questioners has the right to stand and question his or her designated speaker for up to 3 questions per speech.  Speakers MUST yield the floor to at least ONE question (if asked).  If no question is asked during the two-minute speech, then the designated questioner  MUST ask at least one question at the end of the speech.  All questions should be short, direct, and relevant to whatever the speaker was commenting on at the time.  The 2-minute clock stops during the Q&A.

Any debater who believes there has been a violation of rules (regarding time limits, out-of-order questions, disruptive behavior, etc.) may rise and announce a point of order.  The parliamentarian will then hear the point and make a ruling.  The 2-minute clock stops during such points of order.

After all six speakers for each side have delivered their speeches and following the final questions, each team will then have 5 minutes to quietly prepare a plan for rebuttal.  Each team will then designate one speaker and this closing speaker will then have 2 minutes to summarize the entire general debate and to directly rebut any key points.  Final speakers may NOT introduce new arguments at this stage, but can respond to any previous discussions. TEAM LINCOLN will lead the closing arguments and TEAM DOUGLASS will finish them.  There will be no questions allowed during the rebuttal period.

Following the arguments, the panel of judges composed will consult and declare a winner.    Good luck!

Check out the coverage from the 2021 summer debate at the Carlisle Sentinel

Featured secondary sources for this debate:

James Oakes, The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics (New York: W.W. Norton, 2007)

Jonathan Holloway, The Cause of Freedom:  A Concise History of African Americans (New York: Oxford, 2021)


Team Lincoln

Team Douglass