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This website presents the history of American presidential debates within the broader context of shifting electoral strategies, party politics, and media landscapes. It is a collaboration of the students enrolled in History 302: History of Presidential Debates and has been an ongoing experience throughout the semester.  

This project explores how debates reflect the transitions in how politicians and voters interact on the campaign trail. Within are several areas of focus: the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Kennedy-Nixon debates, contemporary debates, and opinion editorials in regards to debates and political parties of the United States of America. We examine a broad range of topics stretching from the role of "Saturday Night Live" to the first political campaign debates and beyond. We have addressed the popular misconceptions surrounding the debates, offering a more nuanced, balanced, and scholarly analysis of the debates and their impact on American elections.  

Our goal is to enhance civic discourse, leaving you with the tools, sources and context necessary to understand presidential debates past, present, and future. We hope that you as a visitor to this site enjoy learning about debates and electoral politics as much as we have.   


   Gabriel Michael Sachs; Senior, Department of Political Science

   Michael Sanfilippo; Senior, Department of History

   Spencer Stukey; Junior, Department of History

   Jacob Smith; Junior, Department of History      

   Mallory Bilski; Senior, Brian Lamb Department of Communication

   Professor Kathryn Cramer Brownell, Assistant Professor, Department of History