1862: The Year That Made a Great President (Encore presentation.)

Jun 18, 2013

For this encore presentation of our show, we look back on a remarkable year in the tenure  of our nation's greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. Our guest is journalist David Von Drehle, author of "Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's Most Perilous Year." Von Drehle argues that the truly pivotal year of the American Civil War was 1862 --- not 1863, as many historians have asserted. As 1862 opens, the war is going badly, Lincoln's own advisors are questioning his leadership, European powers are openly considering intervening on behalf of the South, the U.S. Treasury is empty, and corruption is rampant. Over the course of 1862,  Lincoln quells the European threats, revives the nation's economy with paper money, takes charge of the war effort, establishes his leadership over his scheming Cabinet and Congress, and issues the Emancipation Proclamation. In addition, he signs the Transcontinental Railroad Act and the Morrill Act (the latter of which creates land-grant colleges). This is the year in which Lincoln lays the groundwork for America to become a continental power. As our guest notes: "While 1862 was not the beginning of the end of the Civil War, it was the end of the beginning." This is the year that marks the ascent of a great leader.