“Washington vs. Lincoln—Who Was the Greatest President?” at Dover, Del.’s Old State House on Feb. 19, 2017

(DOVER, Del.—Feb. 8, 2017)—On Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017, at 2 p.m., there will be a debate on the issue of which president was the greatest—George Washington, the “Father of our Country,” or Abraham Lincoln, the “Rail Splitter.” The program will be held in The Old State House located at 25 The Green in Dover, Del. Admission is free but, due to space restrictions, reservations are required by calling 302-744-5054 no later than Feb. 18, 2017. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled to Feb. 26, 2017 at 2 p.m.

George Washington
George Washington

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

The program will feature two historians making the case for each president in a debate format. The case for President Washington will be made by Samuel Hoff, George Washington Distinguished Professor of History and Political Science at Delaware State University, and Tom Welch, historic-site interpreter at The Old State House.

Presenting the case for President Lincoln will be Larry Koch, retired educator from Maine, and Daniel Pritchett, retired Dover history teacher. The debate will be moderated by David Skocik, often-seen parade master, emcee and local public-relations professional. Acting as judge of the debate will be Resident Judge William Witham of the Superior Court of Kent County. Representing the press and invited to question the debaters will be Andrew West, editor of the Delaware State News, and Myna German, professor of media at Delaware State University.

It is rumored that the event will be visited by both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. This may be just a rumor.

Following the debate, the audience will be invited to vote their preference as to which man—Washington or Lincoln—was the greatest president. After the verdict is announced, a reception will be held in which apple pie (Lincoln’s favorite) and cherry pie (associated with Washington) will be served. Washington and Lincoln memorabilia from three different collections will also be on display.

“Washington vs. Lincoln—Who Was the Greatest President?” is jointly sponsored by The Old State House and the Dover History-Book-Club.

Completed in 1791, The Old State House is one of the earliest capitol buildings in the United States and was in active use when both Presidents Washington and Lincoln were in office. It served as the home of Delaware’s legislature until 1933 when the General Assembly moved to larger quarters in Legislative Hall. The venerable structure now appears as it would have in the late 1700s during the United States’ critical early years as a nation. It features a courtroom, governor’s and county offices and chambers for the state’s Senate and House of Representatives. The building is situated on Dover’s historic Green, a public area laid out in 1717 in accordance with William Penn’s order of 1683.

The Old State House
The Old State House


Jim Yurasek
Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs
Phone: 302-736-7413
E-mail: Jim.Yurasek@delaware.gov
Web: http://history.delaware.gov