Nor would his image be improved by his tendency toward moderate positions and long, complex arguments. Of course, today the most beloved of Lincoln’s speeches is his famously brief and achingly beautiful Gettysburg Address. But Lincoln rose to national prominence on the strength of his detailed and nuanced explorations of the most pressing issues of his day.
His pivotal Cooper Union address ran to one and a half hours. His career-defining1854 Peoria speech topped three hours. And in the now legendary Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, audiences braved the elements as the candidates took turns speaking for up to ninety minutes at a time.
A far cry from the quick and dirty potshots and zingers of today’s slickly produced debates. Another strike for the Great Emancipator.