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In the following pages it is proposed to present as full and as complete an account of the life and public services of Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, as the limits of this volume will allow. The events of the last six years have given to his name a world-wide fame, but his entire public career, as well as the incidents of his boyhood, furnish an example of success following a determined purpose to adhere to fixed political principles that has rarely had its equal. So intimately has Mr. Douglas been connected! with the most important legislation, and with the history of the political parties of the last twenty-five years, that it has been found difficult at times to confine this work to a record of his acts. But as far as it has been possible to do so, the writer has abstained carefully from comments upon the acts of others, except when to do so was necessary to present clearly and truthfully the history of Mr. Douglas.
It is due to candor to state that these pages have been prepared without having been submitted to Mr. Douglas, who, if he read them at all, will do so for the first time after the issue of the book. They have been written by one who agrees fully with Mr. Douglas in political views, and who, since the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, has been engaged in maintaining before the people of Illinois the wisdom, justice, and expediency of the policy of the Democratic party upon the question of Slavery in the Territories.
With these words of explanation the book is submitted to those who may choose to read it.