A House Dividing: The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 updates the Lincoln-Douglas debates for the sound-bite era. Instead of 100,000 words, this volume in the Dialogues in History series gives students 20,000 words from the debates. Rather than long, uncontested ramblings, it offers rapid-fireaccusations and responses. Despite their reputations as intellectual heavyweights, Lincoln and Douglas were not above mudslinging; their arguments prove surprisingly studded with ad hominem attacks, political grandstanding, and gross appeals to the candidates' respective bases.Historians generally agree on Civil War causality: a disagreement over the right of slaveholding in the territories caused secession; a disagreement over the right of secession caused the Civil War. A House Dividing places these political disagreements at the center of the narrative. Watching thecut-and-thrust of past political theater draws students into discussions of the continued importance of the political process as the place where the national agenda is set and executed.