Freeport, Illinois

City: Freeport

County: Stephenson

State: Illinois

Lat/Long: 42.2833, -89.6167

Situated on the Pecatonica River twenty-eight miles west of Rockford, Freeport was first settled in 1835. The town grew slowly over the next decade and a half, reaching a population of 1,020 by 1849. On February 14, 1855, the Illinois General Assembly chartered Freeport as a city. In August 1858, Freeport was the site of the second debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas during the 1858 senatorial campaign where Douglas espoused his “Freeport Doctrine” that local legislatures could act against slavery despite the United States Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dred Scott Case.

Webster’s New Geographical Dictionary (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1988), 417; The History of Stephenson County. Illinois (Chicago: Western Historical, 1880), 365-66, 379; “An Act to Incorporate the City of Freeport,” 14 February 1855, Private Laws of Illinois, (1855), 122-35; Paul M. Angle, ed., The Complete Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 138-77.