1858 and 1859 United States Senate elections

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The United States Senate elections of 1858 and 1859 were elections which had the Republican Party gain five additional seats in the United States Senate, but the Democrats retained their majority.wikipedia
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Abraham Lincoln

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In Illinois, incumbent Stephen A. Douglas (D) and challenger Abraham Lincoln (R) held a series of seven debates, known as the "Lincoln–Douglas debates."
He became a leader in the new Republican Party and gained national attention in the 1858 debates against national Democratic leader Stephen Douglas in the U.S Senate campaign in Illinois.

36th United States Congress

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Senate Party Division, 36th Congress (1859-1861)