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Jan. 1, 1862, was the beginning of a perilous year for President Abraham Lincoln and the nation. The Civil War was in its ninth month. The Treasury Department was broke. The War Department was a corrupt shambles. Foreign governments threatened to side with the Confederacy. Lincoln was under pressure from Congress, his generals, his cabinet and abolitionists. Even his wife presented him with considerable challenges. Historian David Von Drehle explains how Lincoln rose to greatness in the next 12 months by turning the tide of war in the Union’s favor, defining the role of commander-in-chief, establishing a blueprint for modern America and gaining support for the Emancipation Proclamation.
Excerpt from "Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's Most Perilous Year" by David Von Drehle. Copyright 2012 by David Von Drehle. Reprinted here by permission of Henry Holt and Co. All rights reserved.