Writer Michael Barone noted that the three most difficult times to become President were…
A. 1860: Abraham Lincoln
B. 1932: Franklin Roosevelt
C. 1968: Richard Nixon
I agree. When Lincoln took the oath, states had already seceded and the Confederate States of America was launched in defense of slavery. It was called “The Secession Winter” and the nation was literally falling apart. FDR inherited a nation in economic chaos with communists threatening to hoist red flags in some American cities. The Great Depression stalked Americans and the Dust Bowl was about to spread darkness over much of the land. Nixon took the oath as 100 cities were on fire due to race and anti-war riots. LBJ had over 550,000 men in Vietnam and the counter-culture was planting bombs, killing officers of the law and lowering US flags at government buildings in order to hoist the flag of the Viet Cong.
All three called for calm and unity. All three called on what Nixon would call “The Silent Majority” to rise up and hold the center. After four years, Lincoln had won the Civil War. FDR’s New Deal saved millions of lives and with the help of a war economy – banished the Great Depression. Nixon got us out of Vietnam and in 1973 “Operation Homecoming” saw our POWS come home. The draft was ended and peace was at hand.