The Presidency by Hugh Sidey: Time to Make or Break

There was talk of impeachment in Abraham Lincoln's third year, and one Senator told of the President's possessing "an unhuman sadness." Lincoln confided to a friend: "The tired part of me is inside and out of reach." But that was the year he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, gave the Gettysburg Address, and realized General Ulysses S. Grant should lead his army.

During Richard Nixon's third year, with the Viet Nam War effort failing and inflation rising, there was speculation about his being a one-term President. His response was what became known as the "Nixon shocks." He devalued the dollar,...

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