How Lincoln and Churchill Put National Unity First

The two war-time leaders both needed to unite their own skeptical allies and across the aisle to their opponents. It was a juggling act requiring enormous political dexterity. In the days after the Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter in April 1861, one of the first visitors to the White House was Illinois Sen. Stephen A. Douglas. Douglas and President Abraham Lincoln had differed and debated on political and economic issues for more a quarter century, but they shared an unwavering dedication to national unity and the U.S. Constitution.

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