Lincoln’s Death, New Nation: April 1865 to 1877

Lincoln Compared to Other Great Presidents

Could not the same be said of Franklin D. Roosevelt, or perhaps of George Washington?

No. Washington had enormous official duties, including the setting of many important precedents, but his personal life—during the 1790s—was relatively untroubled. Franklin D. Roosevelt had overcome many adversities by the time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, but he had almost no personal trials concerning family or friends during the four years that he was the active commander-in-chief. Then, too, Franklin D. Roosevelt had the advantage of a first-class education.

George Washington carried out the immense work of setting the nation on a course. Woodrow Wilson guided the nation through the First World War and attempted to navigate the free world through the peace that followed. Franklin D. Roosevelt carried the economic struggles of the nation during the 1930s and the military struggles of the 1940s, but he did not have to do them at the same time. No, Lincoln stands alone, at the top of his august company.

There have been other great presidents in American history, including those memorialized on Mount Rush-more—Washington, Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt—but of them all Abraham Lincoln surmounted the most trying time in American history as well as great personal hardships. Even on Mount Rushmore, he stands apart.


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