The Instigator
midgetjoe
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
NeenahLibertarian
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points

Lincoln was a white supremicist and one of this countries worst, most unconstitutional presidents.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2007 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,326 times Debate No: 801
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
Votes (11)

 

midgetjoe

Pro

I'm making this a long debate because i really want to get to the bottom of this.

In this first post i will merely show my explanation for each of my points in the topic, then we'll go from there.

1. Lincoln was a White Supremicist.
A. Lincoln only freed the Slaves in the south
B. Immediatly after the war Lincoln began mass deportations of blacks to
Liberia and the Caribean
C. Lincoln Stated that White blood should not have to be contaminated with
blacks.

Based on that I Make my claim the Lincoln was a White Supremicist.

2. Lincoln was one of this countries worst, most unconstitutional presidents.
A. BEFORE the war, Lincoln arrested 13,000 political prisoners, many of whom
were newspaper editors who had merely published critisism of him.
B. When the legislature of Maryland refused to go along with his ideas, he
marched a division of the army and arrested the entire governing body of
Maryland and replaced them with his own supporters.
C. He suspended Habeus Corpus
D. One of the main reasons for the war (If i'm right about point 1. it
couldn't have been about slavery, plus the South was also were working to
free the slaves) was that lincoln wanted to put a tarrif on AG products
which would effectivly make the 30% of the US population residing in the
South pay 80% of the taxes.
E. Lincoln created an all powerful Federal Government (that we struggle to
keep in check to this day) and trampled on teh rights of the states and
the individual.

there's probably more but this is plenty of information to fill a 5 round debate.

Those are my Claims any takers?
NeenahLibertarian

Con

1) Before I go into your individual subpoints I will start by saying that it is nearly impossible to find a single person, past or present, that isn't/wasn't at least a little biased toward his/her own race. Based on societal norms of the time, it is also nearly impossible to find a white person from that time period that wouldn't be considered a white supremicist by todays norms, and based on my arguments to follow, Lincoln is the exception to that statement.
A) Lincoln did not only free slaves in the South. His first slave related measure, the Emancipation Proclimation, only freed slaves in the south, but this was really more of a war tactic than a statement of his beliefs. His post-war support for the thirteenth amendment helped to free all slaves, north and south.
B) Lincoln's deportation of the blacks was not out of any supremicist beliefs, in fact it was out of concern for their own best interest. With so many deaths in the civil war, almost everybody was affected, and many blamed the whole ordeal on the blacks making it extremely difficult to coexist. The American Colonization Society originally started sending blacks to Liberia well before the war for the purpose of providing them with a free society that lacked the discrimination they faced in America, and Lincoln's policy was simply a continuation of this belief.
C) A google search did not turn up this quote or evidence that this quote exists, so if you could give me the source that you took it from, I'll be glad to argue it in later rounds.

2) Even if you win that these constitutional violations actually happened and that they were bad for society, proving that he was the worst or one of the worst will be an impossible task for you because his policies that you talk about mirror the policies of every wartime president in the history of the United States.
A) Again, you need to provide evidence if you want this debate to happen correctly, all of the sources I find indicate that the arrests were made in the summer and fall of 1861, AFTER the war began. Also, I find that the average time of detainment was 2-3 months, far shorter than detainment ordered by other presidents in other wars, and an excutive order from Lincoln himself ended the arrests and freed all prisoners in February of 1862.
B) This was a simple and clear decision to make. If Maryland fell to the Confederacy, the capital would be surrounded and the war would fail before it even began. Despite constitutional issues, this was a necessary action to preserve the United States and allow it to become the great nation that it is today.
C) How is this different than your point A? You're just rewording your points to make it look like you have more support than you do.
D) The ONLY reason for war was to preserve the union. Lincoln believed strongly that the Union was perpetual and the states didn't have a right to break away. The concern for slavery grew out of the war effort as a secondary reason. In what is becoming a recurring theme, you fail to warrant either of the arguments you make about the tariff or Southern efforts to end slavery. I know you make the claim in your first post that you will warrant your arguments after you see how I respond, but 1) How do you expect me to respond effectively if you don't warrant any arguments? and 2) Waiting until later in the debate to bring out evidence allows you to shift your position and force me to waste posts responding to things that don't matter.
E) Lincoln limited the power of government and it's ability to run rampant on our rights by solidifying the check of the federal over the states. As in any system of checks and balances the various levels must be able to check each other in order to be effective and protect rights. While I believe in states rights and bringing power closer to the people, it is still possible for states to abuse rights as was evidenced in the civil war and at that point a federal check becomes necessary.
Debate Round No. 1
midgetjoe

Pro

1) I agree with you, except i would say Lincoln is nto an exception and was in fact much worse than the norm.

A) If they were fighting over slavery than why would he use it as a tactic, unless they were fighting over something else, and if you ARE correct, why did he not free the slaves in the north as well? Afterall, if that was a high priority of his, wouldn't he do the easy one first and then fight to get the south to do the same?

B) Lincoln was a powerful member of the ACS, and while "looking out for there own best interest" sounds good on the surface, Liberia was not exactly paradise, and he also advocated sending them to malaria infested Panama.

C) It wasn't an exact quote because i couldn't remember it, but here's some more:

On Oct. 13, 1858, during his famed debates with Judge Stephen A. Douglas:
"I agree with Judge Douglas that he [a black] is not my equal in many respects, certainly not in color — perhaps not in intellectual and moral endowments"

a letter that he wrote to Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune. On Aug. 22, 1862, he wrote: "My paramount objective in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it."

2) are you asking for evidence, or do you grant that they happened? and my claim was that he was ONE of the worst, some other wartime presidents would be ranked up there with him. And also you factor in that he probably did the most to destroy the constitutional platform of this country.

A)
Thomas J. DiLorenzo. An economics professor at Loyola College in Maryland, and auther of "The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War:
"Right. The historians seem to have set the number at 13,000 Northern citizens put in political prison without a warrant, without being charged with anything. The highest estimate I heard was 38,000, but just to be conservative, I stick with 13,000 in my book. No one seems to know with any precision. Those prisoners included dozens, perhaps hundreds, of newspaper editors. The Journal of Commerce in New York City published an article early in the Lincoln administration listing 100 newspapers in the North that were opposed to him. Lincoln ordered the Postmaster General to cease mail delivery of those papers, and that's how papers were delivered in those days. Only a relatively few number of those papers resumed publication, and only after they promised not to criticize Lincoln. Quite a few editors and owners of newspapers were thrown in prison without even being charged."

B) But at the time the United States was exactly that...united states, if it was a puppet government saying they will NOT secede, than isn't that just ignoring the duly elected representatives of the people? Afterall this country was set up to be strong states held together by a weak central government, Lincoln was taking too much power and so that's why the state decided to secede. There is no nice way to put it, he did it to keep power and save his own skin.

C) You're right, i actually didn't notice that when i wrote it, consider this included in Point A.

D) ok first off the only reason the states wanted to break away was because Lincoln was a tyrant and because of the tarrifs i talked about. The south trying to free slaves arguement i will drop because we have both agreed that slavery was a secondary issue. The tarrifs are easy enough to find. I don't believe they were ever put in but Lincoln and the republicans were advocating them strongly. i mispoke earlier however when i said they were on ag products, the were on imports of manufactured goods. By putting large tarrifs on those, the south (which didn't have a lot of industry) would be paying 80% of the taxes because they had to import all their manufactured goods, while the north WHICH HAD Industry would have to pay very little. This would effectivly turn teh rich plantations of the south in to poor dirt farmers.

E) Except the states are supposed to check the federal, if the federal checks the states who checks the federal? that allows the federal governmetn to do whatever they want, something they've done to this day.
NeenahLibertarian

Con

1) I'm not sure how you can possibly say that Lincoln, who despite common feelings of superiority did the right thing in the end and freed the slaves, was more racist than all of the people who actually owned and abused slaves.

A) I've already acknowledged that freeing the slaves was a secondary issue. Freeing only the southern slaves was a war tactic because many of them joined the northern army and it discouraged slave owners from joining the southern cause because they now had a plantation to run without any workers (of course that is only the logic behind freeing them, at present I have no evidence saying that it was or wasn't effective). Freeing the northern slaves at that time would have created political backlash among northern slave owners. Even with the suspension of habeas corpus it would have required the diversion of resources to round them up, plus if they were in jail they couldn't be out on the battlefield fighting the war. Thus it was much more rational to wait to free them until after the war, which he of course did with the thirteenth amendment.

B) I never said that Liberia was paradise, but at least by sending them there they could establish their own government and live free from discrimination. As for sending them to Panama, I doubt Lincoln had an extensive knowledge of the living conditions and his reasoning for sending them their rather than Liberia probably had something to do with transportation costs, but the concept remains the same that they could have established their own government and lived free from discrimination. There is absolutely no evidence that the motives of the ACS were in any way racist.

C) Neither of these quotes suggest that "white blood should not be contaminated with blacks," they both simply show that Lincoln shared many of the beliefs that were instilled in him by the society in which he grew up. Specifically on the second one which talks about preservation of the union coming before freeing the slaves: I've already acknowledged that this is true. Lincoln's primary concern was preservation of the Union and he didn't want to free the slaves because of the political backlash that would cause, but as the war unfolded it became necessary to release those in the South and then post-war with sentiment in his favor, he was able to free the rest without the risk of backlash and thus did so.

2) I'll grant that the constitutional violations occurred and stick to the arguments that these are relatively minor violations compared to other presidents and in some cases can even be justified.

A) I've granted that these people were rounded up and put in jail without due process, but the average span of detainment was 2-3 months and all of them were released by February 1862, well under a year after the arrests began. This is nothing compared to the FDR's Japanese concentration camps during WWII, Gitmo and other military prisons of today, and the actions to round up political prisoners by other presidents during various other wars.

B) He did not want to preserve the Union simply to preserve his own power (although I'll grant that that probably played into it a little bit, because who doesn't want power?), but also to maintain the advantage of a diverse economy (by allowing states to secede the north would have been predominately manufacturing and the south predominately ag) and to maintain the military benefits of a larger nation (the United States would be much more suseptible to attack without such a large military [sorry for the mispelling of suseptible, that word always gets me]).

C) (Formerly point D) So are you suggesting that every time the federal government wants to impose a tax that would effect my state more than others, I should advocate seccesion before all other means of stopping it are exhausted?

D) (Formerly E) Like I said, states and the federal government must check eachother. The only way that a system of checks and balances can work is if both sides have a check. If the states could check federal but not the other way around then the states could run rampant on our rights, as they did on the rights of the blacks before the civil war.
Debate Round No. 2
midgetjoe

Pro

1) I didn't say he was MORE racist than certain people, my point was that there's a line....one side are racist bigots, and the other side they aren't. My Point was that Lincoln was on the wrong side of the line. Keep in mind that i'm not judging him against society, or generally accepted morals, but against himself, and in some cases other presidents. Yes, the majority of people back then may have been racists, that doesnt make it right that he was one. Especially since he has gone down in history as the great anti-racist.

A) Freeing teh Southern states could NOT have been used as a tactic in teh way you discribed, the north had no control over the south, so basically it was doing absolutly nothing. Waht's interesting is taht it DID allow Lincoln to look like he was freeing slaves without actually having to free any. Another point i didn't make earlier.....why didn't Lincoln free the slaves the same way every other country on the planet did? Buy them and give them their freedom? I mean even in the North, that would avoid all those obsticles you mentioned.

B) I have however heard there was a force involved in moving them, basically moving them wether they wanted to go or not, i don't have time to find evidence for or against this right now, but if it's true it adds a whole other dimension to it.

C) These quotes are no worse, or better than the one i gave you earlier. the second one was interesting because he said if he COULD do it without freeing the slaves he would. This is a hypothetical question, therfore he would also be able to assume there would be no backlash. he could quite as easily have said "if I COULD Free all the slaves i would" That would make much more sense if he had actually wanted to free them. Obviously he couldn't because of the backlash you mentioned, but he WANTED to. What he said implies he didn't want to do it if he could help it.

2) A president's job is to uphold the contitutions THAT'S ALL, we elect him to do exactly that. If he doesn't do that he is decieving the people who hired him and that makes it a VERY important issue.

A) But you'll have to admit, Lincoln was the first to do so, he set the precedent. And i despise FDR and Bush just as much for doing it.

B) Well if he REALLY wanted to preserve the union, than why wouldn't he take the south's side in congress? or at least a fair side? he was so anti-south the south had no choice but to secede. Why would he not try to compromise a little? instead he decided to force them to his way of thinking by brute force?

C) All other means of fighting it WERE exausted, they had been fighting it in congress for i believe 16 years beforehand, The republicans got the majority the same time Lincoln was elected, which meant that it would firmly go against the south.

D) Correct, but Lincoln made the federal government powerful out of proportion, took most of the state's rights and made the fed an all powerful big brother, somethign that was further perfected during the Roosevelt administration and pretty much everyone since (barring Coolidge)
NeenahLibertarian

Con

1) The only way to judge people is in the context of the society in which they lived. It is unrealistic to expect people to completely reject the ideas instilled in them from the time they were young children. Even if I grant you that a line exists between racist and not racist (which there isn't, there is a heck of a lot of gray area) you still must account for that line moving as society and its ideals change. Lincoln was far in the clear with the line that existed at that time and could even hold his own today (just probably not in national level politics).

A) Though the Southern government did not recognize the sovereignty of the Union over them, many people who were simpathetic to the Northern cause but living in the South did, as did the slaves. So while the slave owners did not think their slaves were legitimately freed, the slaves and others did and this legal grounding provided them the courage to break free. As for buying them and granting their freedom, by the time of the emancipation proclamation we were already deeply commited to war, which as you know is extremely expensive. For the Union to attempt to purchase every slave in the north and south would have been impossible.

B) I would indeed have to work a lot harder to win this debate if you found that evidence. For now we will acknowledge that their intentions were good and the possibility existed for these people to live free from discrimination and debate the new argument later if evidence is found. Sound good?

C) Your alternative would only have indicated a difference in which was Lincoln's top priority, his actions would have been the same because both winning the war and freeing the slaves were priorities and both were taken care of. If he had said your alternative it simply would have meant that the slaves were at the forefront of his mind rather than an secondary consideration.

2) The president's duties extend beyond simply upholding the constitution, if laws of the united states or actions of united states society fail to uphold the constitution or the standard of equal rights set forth by the constitution and other documents that contributed to the founding of our nation and establishment of government, then it is the responsibility of those in power to correct it. The south was trying to break the perpetual union and society was stomping on the rights of African Americans and neither the courts, Congress, or society made any attempt to stop this. It fell on Lincoln's shoulders to correct these so that in the long run the constitution could be upheld and strengthened, even if it meant in the short term it had to be violated.

A) Lincoln was not the first to break from the constitution. His violations were probably more significant than those before him, but he was faced with a much more significant task. His violations, however, were miniscule next to FDR who has established the precedent for the violations we are seeing today.

B) He advocated the policies that he thought were best for the United States as a whole. The South had to take a small hit for the country to get a huge gain and rather than try to work within that or propose compramise, they immediately overreacted and seceeded and told Lincoln his only choice was to give them up or go to war.

C) Fighting it in Congress is not enough, maybe instead of fighting it they should have proposed compramises, or they could have fought it in the courts, or perhaps they could have tried to show northern citizens how they would be negatively effected by the south's plight so that northern congressmen would be simpathetic to them. Most other means were not even thought of, let alone exhausted.

D) He did not make it powerful out of proportion, the intent was always that as soon as the threats died down and the South began to rebuild, things would go back to the way they were before. Lincoln, of course, was shot before that could happen and Johnson implimented his own rebuilding policy which made the increased power permanent, rather than temporary as Lincoln had desired.
Debate Round No. 3
midgetjoe

Pro

midgetjoe forfeited this round.
NeenahLibertarian

Con

My opponent had nothing to say so I guess my argument stands. Lincoln did violate the constitution but this does not differ from most presidents in our history and is far from the worst example of this. Any racist beliefs were a result of the society he was brought up in, but even given that, actions speak louder than words and he freed the all of the slaves.
Debate Round No. 4
midgetjoe

Pro

midgetjoe forfeited this round.
NeenahLibertarian

Con

My opponent forfeits the final two rounds meaning that all of my arguments stand. Even had he not forfeited, this debate is very clear. My opponent does not provide sufficient evidence to prove that Lincoln's actions rank among the worst in history.
Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mors202 9 years ago
mors202
Fair enough. I think that we both can agree that, between Lincoln and Roosevelt Cleveland was the best president. I would say that, while not the worst, he was not the best, but that is my opinion.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
I am attacking what Jackson did. Did you read what I posted? I'm just saying that Jackson had his good points as well as his bad, whereas Lincoln was pure evil. Jefferson's presidency wasn't as good as it could have been either. The only president I'm really fond of (as a president) is Grover Cleveland.
Posted by mors202 9 years ago
mors202
Between Washington and Lincoln, the two most centralizing acts by the presidency could arguable be the Louisisana Purchase and the handling of the Nullification Crisis; botha acts were done by states righters--Jefferson and Jackson. Indeed, Jackson provided the precedent for Lincoln, you cannot attack Lincoln without attacking what Jackson did.
In fact, the original intent of Jefferson, prior to his acceptance of the Constitution as a fait accompli, was the preservation of the Articles of Confederation, which were entirely incapable of mainting a strong country. He had a chance, when he was president, to reverse what Hamilton did, he did not. Jefferson was smart enough to realize that the country worked better with the foundation Hamilton raised.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
The attacks are against the attacks on the Constitution. They are attacks on Hamiltonian centralization -- which you refer to as "unity." They are attacks IN DEFENSE of the Original Intent and of Jeffersonianism.

Lincoln was correct in his opposition to the Mexican-American War, and you are correct that this is not consistent with the fascism he expressed later. Lincoln was a political animal, and my guess is that he opposed that war because it was led by a (disgraceful) Democrat, James K. Polk.

Jackson's aims as president were to abolish the central bank and to take away the Supreme Court's illegitimate, self-appointed sole authority to interpret the Constitution. However, the means he used in pursuit of these goals -- aggregation of power to the executive branch -- proved disastrous.

You cite good points, but they are exceptions to the rule. Lincoln based his entire career on Clay's "Americanism" -- what was once known as Hamiltonianism and is now known as neoconservatism. His opposition to the Mexican-American War and Clay's opposition to Jackson were (probably, I can't say I know for sure) purely political, just as Tom DeLay and other neocons opposed Clinton's interventions in Bosnia, Haiti, Somalia, etc.
Posted by mors202 9 years ago
mors202
So, then, you would consider Jackson to be just as dictatorial and as bad as Lincoln. During the Nullification Crisis, he threatned to send troops into South Carolina to destroy the Calhoun and his supporters. It was actually Henry Clay, a whig, who defused the conflict by proposing a compromise tariff. If the whigs were such facists, then why would Clay end a conflict that would have been won, obviously, by the federal government and may quashed the secession theory in 1833?
In addition, fascists are usually warmongers. However, Lincoln objected to the Mexican-American War on moral grounds. A position completely out of line with the idea that he was a radical fascists.
Finally, this whole debate is not a referendum on Lincoln, but on the Civil War. The attacks on Lincoln are because he did what was necessary to win and preserve the Union. In reality, they are attacks on the idea of unity.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
No. No conspiracy theory. Lincoln was a dictator and a racist. He hated Jeffersonianism and supported American Whiggism, which is neoconservatism/fascism in practice: High taxes, centralized government, trade protectionism, fiat money, and corporate welfare. These were all elements of his platform.

Lincoln destroyed this country. Before Lincoln, the federal government was the agent of the respective states. After Lincoln, membership of the union became involuntary -- the states are hostages to a dictatorial central state. This is the exact opposite of what the founders had in mind.

Plus, once the slaves were free, the Republican Party used them as pawns and then abandoned them. Lincoln, who was assassinated by a white supremacist who thought Lincoln wasn't sufficiently racist, would have been even worse to the blacks than the GOP that instituted a one-party dictatorship for the next seventy years. He wanted to send blacks out of the U.S., and he had no desire whatsoever to hold slavemasters accountable for their crimes.

These are facts. Not conspiracies.
Posted by Rinaldanator 9 years ago
Rinaldanator
"You will take possession by military force, of the printing establishments of the New York World and Journal of Commerce... and prohibit any further publication thereof... you are therefore commanded forthwith to arrest and imprison... the editors, proprietors and publishers of the aforesaid newspapers"
Order from Abraham Lincoln to General John Dix, May 18, 1864.
Posted by kels1123 9 years ago
kels1123
clsmooth , you are so brainwashed with your Govt conspiracy theories :)
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
You people are so brainwashed by the socialist school system, it isn't even funny.
Posted by Neruda 9 years ago
Neruda
As my friend beneath me so cleverly said, do you have any sources?
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