Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind.
As an American, I would save Lincoln to find out how he would have managed the post-war of the Civil War.The post-war is often an after-thought, but while winning a war is the necessary origin point, the historical relevance of a war is mostly determined by the construction of the peace after the war.We screwed up the post-war of the Civil War. I believe the failure of Reconstruction (ie, the nation-building project to simultaneously integrate the freed slaves and the radically altered post-war South) has had a far greater long-term - and mostly negative effect - on the course of our nation than the Civil War itself.Andrew Johnson eventually decided to wash his hands of the difficult long-term project by cutting expedient political deals, reminiscent of Obama short-sightedly truncating the long-term project to liberalize the Middle East that Bush started in response to 9/11.Maybe Lincoln would have been boxed in by the same post-war political pressures and eventually reacted the same way towards post-war Reconstruction as his Vice-President. Or maybe Lincoln, like Bush, would have understood that some Presidential decisions have permanent downstream consequences and are worth sacrificing present-day political cache. Or like Bush, Lincoln would have governed by his long-term vision only to have the project unraveled by a short-sighted, demagogic successor.Anyway, we know Johnson screwed up *the* pivotal project of America 2.0 and thereby set us on a misdirected course that America has not recovered from. I like to think Lincoln would have done it better.
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