Read this Jay Winik op-ed from The Wall Street Journal all the way through. Or should I say, please read this Jay Winik op-ed from The Wall Street Journal all the way through. It's just fascinating. Winik reminds us that the pressure on Lincoln was just extraordinary, more extraordinary than any other president ever experienced:
Early on, Lincoln learned that tumult is inherent in governing. Mr. Obama has already declared that he doesn't want "drama" within his cabinet and staff, but Lincoln's experience suggests that he should expect precisely that. From the outset of his administration, Lincoln's secretary of state, William Seward, a former senator from New York, was assiduously scheming against his president. Where Lincoln saw civil war as inevitable, Seward was freelancing, calling for negotiations with the South and privately telling Confederates that their differences could be peacefully resolved.